Did you know May is National Burger Month? The best way to celebrate is to visit your local burger places! A hamburger is defined as “a sandwich consisting of a cooked patty of ground or chopped beef, usually in a roll or bun, variously garnished.” The exact origins of the hamburger remain unclear, but some historians believe that Fletcher Davis invented the first hamburger in the late 1880s.
Davis owned a café on Tyler Street in Athens, Texas, located in Henderson County. On his menu was an unnamed sandwich that featured a fried ground beef patty, slices of Bermuda onion and mustard, in between 2 slices of bread. Sounds a lot like a burger to me!
Here are some must visit burger places in the Southside of San Antonio:
Armadillo’s Texas Style Burgers– Armadillo’s has 2 locations in San Antonio, their original location is at 1423 McCullough Avenue and their 2nd location is at 2619 SE Military Drive. Their menu features 8 different Texas Style Burgers in 3 sizes- 1/3 lb., ½ lb. and 1 lb. Also, on their menu are 3 Giant Burgers in 2 sizes- 1 ½ lb. and 3 lb. A favorite on their menu is the Fiesta Burger, which features refried beans, Pico de Gallo, fried tortilla chips and cheddar cheese.
Big Lou’s Burgers & BBQ– Big Lou’s is located at 2014 South W.W. Road. Their menu features a Hamburger and a Mushroom Swiss Burger, both come in 2 sizes- 1/3 lb. and ½ lb. From those 2 burgers, you can build your own burger, by adding avocado, bacon, cheese, fried pickles, fried tomatoes, grilled egg, grilled mushrooms, grilled onions, homemade chili and/or jalapenos. One of their popular menu items is the Super Big Lou Burger, which is a whopping 12-pound burger (feeds 8-10 people) that features a 6.5-pound Angus patty, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, mayonnaise, mustard, French fries, tater tots and onion rings.
Brenda’s Burgers– Brenda’s Burgers is located at 3837 SW Military Drive. The establishment was opened by Brenda Barry in 1988. Today, Brenda and her husband, Richard Ramon, are still a huge part of the restaurant, but their daughters, Crystal Garza and Robin Ramon, handle most of the restaurant’s management duties. Their menu features 4 main burgers- Small Burger, Large Burger, Double Meat Burger and Chili Cheese Burger- all of which can be topped with additional toppings like avocado, bacon, cheese, chili, grilled jalapenos and/or grilled onions.
Burger Culture– Burger Culture is located at 801 South Presa Street, in the heart of Southtown. Opened in 2017, Burger Culture’s owners, Randy Vrana, a former cattleman and his wife Julie, a food scientist, also own Southtown Pizzeria, located across the street. The interior décor of the establishment represents the couple’s love of 1960’s pop culture, featuring psychedelic murals of 1960’s pop icons like Carlos Santana, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and The Beatles. One of their popular items on the menu is The Pizza Burger, which features a 5.3-ounce griddle-cooked beef patty, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce, on a ciabatta roll.
Burgerteca– Burgerteca is located at 403 Blue Star. The restaurant was established in December 2017 by Johnny Hernandez, an award-winning chef and entrepreneur. If his name sounds familiar, that’s because he also owns La Gloria and The Fruteria. Burgerteca has a brightly-colored interior, complete with lanterns hanging from the ceiling and folk-art animal heads donning the walls. One of the restaurant’s popular menu items is the Al Pastor, a burger that tastes sort of like a taco. It starts with a beef patty that is seasoned with al pastor seasoning and then topped with manchego cheese, grilled pineapple, slivered cabbage, cilantro and tomatillo ketchup.
Candy’s Old Fashion Burgers– Candy’s is located at 115 South Flores Street. The establishment was opened in 2006 by father-son team, Tony and Mark Vasquez. Candy’s Old Fashion Burgers’ namesake is Candy Vasquez, Mark’s wife. From their Facebook page, Candy’s is “Serving good ol’ times, good ol’ music, and old-fashion burgers just like the good ol’ days since 2006.” Many of the restaurant’s loyal customers describe it as having a nostalgic, small-town feel with friendly staff, excellent service and outstanding food. A popular item on their menu is the Double Meat Cheese Burger, which consists of over 1 lb. of meat topped with lettuce, onions, pickles and tomatoes, served with chips.
Everybody Loves Raymond’s– Everybody Loves Raymond’s is located at 18600 Pleasanton Road, where they serve big burgers packed with flavor. Raymond Diaz, the current owner and the restaurant’s namesake, said that when it came to naming the restaurant, the popular sitcom came to mind. Everybody Loves Raymond is an award-winning sitcom that aired on CBS for 9 seasons, from 1996-2005. In 2014, Raymond Diaz created the Charles Barkley Fat Mexican Burger, which was inspired by Charles Barkley, retired professional basketball player-turned television NBA analyst, rude, disrespectful remarks about the waistlines of women in San Antonio. On May 7, 2014, during “Inside the NBA,” the postgame show for NBA on TNT, Barkley, who is an analyst on the show, rudely stated (about San Antonio women), “There’s some big ‘ol women down there. That’s a gold mine for Weight Watchers. Victoria is definitely a secret… they can’t wear no Victoria’s Secret down there.”
Griff’s Hamburgers– Griff’s is located at 2418 Pleasanton Road, in the heart of Harlandale. Griff’s Hamburgers, a regional fast food restaurant chain, was founded by Harold Griffin in 1960, in Wichita, Kansas. Today, only a handful of Griff’s Hamburgers remain, in Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana. The interior of the establishment is decked out in a red, white and blue color scheme and their logo dons a clown-like mascot in a chef’s hat. One of their popular menu items is the Regular Cheeseburger, which is cooked on a flat-top grill and topped with melted American cheese, onions, shredded lettuce and tomatoes.
Gyro’s Drive Inn- Gyro’s has 2 Southside locations- 444 West Mitchell Street and 2401 Nogalitos Street. They don’t have an online presence, but I did manage to dig up a few things about them. The establishment is a casual eatery with a sit-down dining room and a drive-thru window. Gyro’s Drive Inn is popular among patrons because of their fantastic food, friendly staff and reasonable prices. Their burger menu includes Gyro Burger, Cheeseburger, Double Burger, Bacon Cheese Burger and Jalapeno Cheeseburger.
Hometown Burger– Hometown Burger is located at 3436 Roosevelt Avenue. They pride themselves on using 100% fresh (never frozen) meat and all-natural ingredients. Also, their burgers are handcrafted and made-to-order. Featuring both a dine-in and drive-thru option, Hometown Burger’s atmosphere, décor, menu and music, all resemble that of a retro 1950’s diner. Their “Most Wanted” menu item is The Big Boy Burger, which features double meat, double cheese, bacon, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, mayonnaise and mustard.
Kenny’s Burgers– Kenny’s Burgers is located at 1927 Goliad Street. Their burgers are homemade and cooked to perfection. Their menu features 4 old-fashioned burgers- Classic Single, Classic Double, The One Pounder and Junior’s Two Pounder. From each of these burgers, you can add toppings, such as cheese, chili, fried egg, grilled mushrooms, grilled onions, guacamole, jalapenos and/or smoked bacon. While Kenny’s Burgers does have a website, there isn’t a lot of information about the restaurant. However, this, from their website, pretty much says it all- “So to really get to know who we are here at Kenny’s Burgers, look no further than the plates we serve, the plate featuring the very best burger in San Antonio (and the most affordable burger in San Antonio). Get to know us by coming to our restaurant, that’s all we ask. We know you’ll be back—again and again and again.”
Longhorn Café– The Longhorn Café is located at 3150 SE Military Drive, in the heart of South Side. It was established in the 1950’s as a taco stand on Blanco Road, in San Antonio. In 1980, the establishment opened as Longhorn Café, a burger joint. The current owners- Paul Weir and David Wynn, both from San Antonio- purchased Longhorn Café in 1995. To date, Longhorn Café has 9 locations in Texas- 7 of them in San Antonio, 1 in Boerne and 1 in New Braunfels. Their most popular item on the menu is The Original Big Juicy, which is made with fresh beef patties topped with cheese, onions, pickles, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise and mustard, in between 2 toasted buns.
Mad Mack’s Burger Company– Mad Mack’s is located at 2933 Roosevelt Avenue, in the heart of Harlandale. The restaurant was established in 2015 by owners Rick and Shanda Kern and is operated entirely by family members. The restaurant is named after Shanda’s nieces, Madison (Mad) and Mackenzie (Mack). The interior décor of the establishment features a throwback Coca-Cola theme, complete with red, black and white colors throughout the establishment. Their signature burger is the Mad Mack, featuring 2 patties topped with bacon, cheese, onion rings (2), Thousand Island dressing (house-made) and veggies, in between 2 grilled cheese sandwiches.
Monster Burgers– Monster Burgers is located at 5201 South Flores Street. The family-owned restaurant was opened in 2010 by Juan Trevino. He came up with the idea to create a Halloween-themed restaurant as a result of his parents trying to scare him, with tales of monsters, when he was a child. The restaurant’s interior décor pays homage to classic movie monsters and the menu items are named after monsters of horror movies and urban legends. For example, they have burgers that are named Bigfoot Burger, Cucuy Burger, Dracula Burger and Werewolf Burger. The Krueger Burger was created as a result of Juan Trevino’s 2 favorite foods- burgers and pizza. This burger features meat, cheese, pepperoni and pizza sauce.
TJ’s Hamburgers– TJ’s Hamburgers is located at 2323 West Southcross Boulevard, in the heart of Palm Heights. The restaurant was established 46 years ago, in 1973. In December 2016, TJ’s Hamburgers earned the Blue Plate Award from News 4 San Antonio. The Blue-Plate Award is earned by receiving a perfect score of 100 from the San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department. The restaurant features an array of different specials throughout the year to celebrate occasions such as Back to School and Super Bowl Sunday, as well as holidays like July 4th and Labor Day. A popular menu item at TJ’s is the Quarter Pounder With Cheese, which has a seasoned patty, American cheese, fresh iceberg lettuce, chopped onions, crunchy dill pickles and mustard, on buttery toasted buns.
Uncle Barney’s Old Fashion Hamburgers- As another establishment with no real online presence, Uncle Barney’s is located at 7015 Interstate 35 South, in the heart of Harlandale. Uncle Barney’s shares its building with the Hungry Farmer Steakhouse, its sister restaurant. The interior décor of the restaurant features an array of vintage advertising signs hanging throughout the establishment, including John Deere, Morton’s Salt and Phillips 66. Popular burgers at Uncle Barney’s include the Double Meat & Cheese Burger, the Bacon Burger and the Chili Cheeseburger.