Monday, July 26, 2010

At last...a great Texas burger.

Those of you who know me also know about my obsession with the perfect burger. In my many years in LA, I found great burgers from the likes of The Apple Pan, Father's Office, Cassell's, Pie N Burger, Tyler's, The Sunset Grill, Tommy's and a few others. When I moved to Texas, I thought there would be great burgers on every corner. You know, because this is where the cows are. But my search for a great Texas burger has been long and frustrating.

It seems that Texans are so in love with their meat that they just tear off a big hunk of it and throw it on a bun. That is, of course, after they cook the everlovin' crap out of it. That's right...Texans love their burgers well done it seems, and every true burger aficionado knows that the greatest burgers are medium to medium rare.

When I arrived here last year, it coincided with an article in Texas Monthly about the 50 greatest burgers in Texas. I immediately set out to taste as many as I could, and each time I was disappointed. Number 2 (The Counter Cafe in Austin) was a little piece of burnt meat in a gigantic bun. Number 5 (The Cove in San Antonio) was mediocre at best. The only decent burgers I've had in Texas were either carpetbaggers like Five Guys that were ineligible for inclusion on The List or ones like La Tuna Grill that didn't even make it at all (probably because the owners forgot to grease the palms of the head muckety-mucks at TM).

Well, The List finally delivered. Number 3, the burger at the Alamo Springs Cafe near Fredericksburg, was probably the finest burger I've had in Texas so far. (That's it in the picture above. Actually, that's Margaret's burger since I ate my so fast that I forgot to get a pic of it. That explains the mountain of ketchup next to it as well, since Margaret's kinda fond of the red stuff. Ech.) The Alamo Springs Cafe is literally in the middle of nowhere, at least a dozen miles from Fredericksburg proper (even though its address is in Fredericksburg). It took us a while to find it off Old San Antonio Road--there weren't even any signs. But we finally made it, ordered our burgers and were instantly treated to a TEXAS-sized meal.

The patty itself was well over a half-pound, and it was juicy and flavorful and well-seasoned. This burger could easily compete with the best of LA, except for maybe the preternaturally amazing Hickory Burger from the Apple Pan. The wait was a bit long (a sign on the wall said "If you want fast food, turn right and go 12 miles and you'll find a McDonald's"), and the place was packed. But that's always a good sign.

So a big thumbs up for the Alamo Springs Cafe burger...the Number 1 burger on the Vinyl Anachronist's List of the 50 Greatest Burgers in Texas.


  1. Here in Luckenbach Texas, Alamo Springs Cafe burgers are #1 for us!!

  2. Are you one of the three people who actually live in Luckenbach? :)

    That was such a good burger! Can't wait to have another. I'm also still eating lots of wonderful peaches I bought from a local farm btween Fredericksburg and Luckenbach.

  3. Marc,

    Have you eaten the burger at Fran's on S. Congress?

  4. I haven't tried Fran's, but someone told me they were exactly like Dan's, which I have had. The story supposedly is that Fran was Dan's wife, and when thy dicorced she got half of the burger joints and renamed them Fran's. I think Dan's is good, but not quite great.