Cheeseburger, Greyhound-Style

Categories: Burger Break

Greyhound Burger 005.jpg
Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
Every time I gaze down on its bright lights from my balcony at night, the Greyhound bus station taunts me. Look past the homeless man deliberately coughing on cars as they drive by and the cab driver yelling at the drug dealers, and you'll see it too: the bright blue sign that reads "Best Burgers in Midtown."

Even if Christian's Tailgate and Hefley's weren't directly down West Gray from the bus station, I'd still have a hard time believing that the same place which produces thrice-daily fistfights outside its front doors is turning out some hidden jewel of a burger. It couldn't possibly be any good.

Or could it?

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Now I know, Greyhound. NOW I KNOW.
I took Glenn Livet with me one afternoon to prove that obnoxious blue sign wrong once and for all. Only a few seconds into placing our order at the 24-hour restaurant-cum-gift shop tucked inside the terminal, Livet had already offended the delicate sensibilities of the Greyhound staff.

Yes, it can be done.

"All right, your order number is 69," said the salt-and-pepper-haired cashier as she handed back my receipt -- $14 for two lunch combos -- and Livet immediately giggled like a middle school kid in detention.

There was a pause while I gave him the hairy eyeball, then: "Jesus Christ!" exclaimed the cashier. "I know where your mind is!"

Livet blushed and fumbled his way over to the soda fountain to grab our drinks. "You offended the 24-hour restaurant cashier at the Greyhound station," I remarked, somewhat astonished. She couldn't have been that offended, though, as she chased off some loiterers from a table in the restaurant so we could sit down.

There's nowhere else to sit and wait inside the station, making the restaurant's few chairs and tables hot real estate. As we waited for our combo meals, I watched as the cashier chased off a few other folks lingering over laptops or listening to iPods at the tables, none of them having ordered any food.

Livet quickly became fascinated with a dreadlocked young woman who looked as if she'd just come off a three-day rave, circa 1996. He concocted a story for her while we waited: Her grizzled old grandparents had taken custody of the troubled young teen, and were now sending her back to her mother in West Texas via bus.

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Finally, our food arrived. For all the time it took, I had begun to think that it might actually be good after all. Maybe they were hand-forming the patties back there! No dice, of course. The meat was obviously frozen, with no flavor whatsoever, and was barely warm enough to melt the cheese on top. And the jalapeños I'd requested were nowhere to be seen.

The bun reminded me of an old-school Wendy's hamburger, with a dusting of cornmeal on top. It wasn't bad. Neither was the crunchy produce, all of which looked very fresh. I ate the burger with no complaints other than the flavorless patty and the missing peppers. It wasn't the best burger in Midtown by any stretch of the imagination. However, it was certainly better than what you'd get at McDonald's across the street.

Frozen, crinkle-cut French fries added nothing to the burger, so we threw those away and walked away with our cups refilled for free with Coke despite a sternly worded sign warning that refills were 50 cents. Maybe there's something to be said for joking about sexual positions with the cashier after all...



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Location Info

Christian's Tailgate Grill & Bar (Midtown)

2000 Bagby, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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12 comments
Sherie
Sherie

I love that you reviewed this...I drive by on my way home and without fail read the "Best Burgers" claim and think......."Really????!!!?"  Now, I know and I don't have to fight off that coughing guy.

n8d0g
n8d0g

Eat the homeless.

green lamp
green lamp

Why would you throw your fries away when there are homeless, probably hungry, people only a few steps outside the bus station?

Hunter
Hunter

I swear, this blog has the strangest comments sometimes.  *shaking head*  Do you freaks just sit around in some sort of troll brain trust thinking up shit to complain about?  I can't even imagine being cruel OR disrespectful enough to give ANYONE cold, half-eaten fries!  Really? 

If you're so concerned about the homeless at the bus station, then I sincerely suggest you hop on down there and spend your first-of-the-month paycheck buying burgers all around. 

homeless love crust
homeless love crust

I cut the crust off sandwiches for my kids... Should I put them in a bag and go feed the homeless instead of the trash?  

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I wouldn't have inflicted those fries on anyone, especially the homeless.

Guest
Guest

*Sigh*  Why would you be on a food blog when you could be out volunteering?  That logic gets tiresome, and fast.  There's an infinite number of 'better' things we could all do with our time, our money... our crinkle-cut fries.

Glenn Livet
Glenn Livet

You should give them to homeless crust punks. Get it?

green lamp
green lamp

this is all simply elitist thinking. I doubt if a hungry, homeless person would be concerned with the culinary merits of frozen fries

Fear2stop
Fear2stop

Hell, I haven't eaten in three days. I'd have taken those fries. I'd have bitched about them, but I'd have eaten them.

John Davis
John Davis

No, but all people deserve dignity. Even homeless ones.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Straight answer, then? I didn't see any homeless outside that day. And certainly no one inside the terminal looked homeless. Besides, I feel like there's something more than a little insulting about giving your unwanted, shitty fries, covered with crumbs and mustard from your eaten burger, to someone who didn't ask for them.

If you're genuinely concerned about this issue, I suggest you look into volunteering with the awesome folks at Noah's Kitchen: http://noahskitchen.wordpress....

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