A Plea for the Perfect Patty: Bring P. Terry's to Houston

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Photo by Cristina Cuellar
P. Terry's Double with Cheese.
I first ate P. Terry's some years back when I was staying up in Austin for a few days with a friend. He just so happened to have one right around the corner from his place, and we must have eaten there four times in three days. It wasn't a high point in my life, from a health standpoint, but it was certainly enjoyable from a gluttonous food lover's standpoint.

P. Terry's can only be compared to In-N-Out, the West Coast-based chain of burger stands that prides itself on never-frozen, delivered-that-day produce and meat. (This is the reason why their eastward expansion was so glacial; they insist on having distribution plants within a day's drive from the surrounding stores.)

In-N-Out has as simple a recipe as can be: all-beef patty, white bun, lettuce, tomato, "spread," which is what they call their special sauce, and your choice of with or without onions, all placed between white buns. You can get a single or a double, with or without cheese.

It's the same at P. Terry's. You choose whether or not you want pickles and onions, however, and you've got the added (Texas) bonus of jalapenos. It also features a special sauce, which is a mayo/Thousand Island-style mix, but it provides just the proper ring of velvety tang. I don't generally take mayo on my burger, but this stuff is the perfect complement.

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Photo by Cristina Cuellar
The griddle adds the perfect crust to the meat.
P. Terry's is just outstanding. It really is. The buns get a turn on the griddle for extra crunch, and the toppings are fresh. The burgers are outstanding, the service is impeccable, the place is clean and modern... and the fries? They are a delight.

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Photo by Cristina Cuellar
Crisp and delicious.
In fact, P. Terry's is so delicious, I'm going to go ahead and say it: P. Terry's is better than In-N-Out.

In-N-Out holds a special place in my heart. When I was 18, one of my best friends and I went to California for a few weeks and gorged upon In-N-Out almost every day. Reality trumps nostalgia, though, and for me the reality is that P. Terry's boasts one of the tastiest, freshest and most complete burger experiences you will find. It's also incredibly cheap.

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Photo by Cristina Cuellar
Simple and affordable.
P. Terry's menu features a Veggie Burger designed by a local chef, as well as a Chicken Burger, which my girlfriend had and enjoyed thoroughly. You can get any sandwich on a wheat bun, but let's be real: You don't eat at a place like this to avoid atherosclerosis. However, P. Terry's philosophy is what you want from a restaurant -- fresh food, never frozen, local and organic where available and, oh yeah, the beef comes from Nolan friggin' Ryan.

I hope they bring a P. Terry's home to Houston. Austin's fine and all, but when it comes down to it, Austin can stay weird and Houston can stay home. I crave food from this place. There aren't a lot of restaurants that I just can't live without, but each and every time I travel to Austin, I must eat at P. Terry's

Mr. Terry, if you read this, know that you have at least one devoted, loving fan. A fan who will continue to return and enjoy your food whenever possible. Bring P. Terry's to Houston.



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27 comments
Bruce R
Bruce R

 Sam, what are your favorite burger joints in Houston?

Daniel Castillo
Daniel Castillo

Also the best way to eat P. Terry's is standing on the greens at Peter Pan putt putt while day drinking a box of lone stars.

Daniel Castillo
Daniel Castillo

If it's good enough for Nolan friggin' Ryan, it's good enough for me.

Ms. R
Ms. R

My mouth is watering!

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

Go to Bellaire Broiler Burger for a better comparison.  You're welcome.

DDT
DDT

Hey, we already got a Torchy's... goddammit Austin sympathizers, is that not enough for you? Now you want a burger place? What's next Hula Hut? Kerbey Lane? If you want something from Austin, MOVE THERE! 

LKT
LKT

KEEP AUSTIN 178 MILES FROM HOUSTON!

Bruce R
Bruce R

Are you an unemployed UT flunky, watching TV on your parents' couch reminiscing about your college days in Austin?  I'm getting that vibe.

Here's a tip.  If you want to introduce a non-local burger joint to Houston, you might compare it to a local joint, not one like In-N-Out with most of its stores in CA.

As for the fresh meat you seem to fawn over, doesn't Five Guys use fresh meat?  And Whataburger?  And Wendy's?  And Fuddrucker's?  Seems like you can't whip it out and do a whirlybird without hitting fresh meat.

Not Sam's Brother
Not Sam's Brother

I like this article because it makes a vegetarian dick like me want to eat a burger. I big one.

Matthew
Matthew

i will always welcome cheap and tasty burger options.

Kelliwalker
Kelliwalker

I love love LOVE this place.  Anytime I'm in Austin I eat there, in fact, I have my in-laws drive an order back to me from their trip in Austin and it was worth every mile.  If any restaurant from Austin migrates here, it should be P. Terry's (and Hopdoddy for that matter). 

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

Sweet! We head that way often & are always looking for new places. We always stay w/ our two favorite vegetarians--glad this place will suit them, too! 

Charlotte Some Thyme
Charlotte Some Thyme

Thanks Sam Brown, I'm going to Austin mañana.

I find that several ounces of Nolan Ryan beef really wakes up a veggie burger.

Sam Houston Jones
Sam Houston Jones

This is the second Austin blog post this week! Enough. Are we seriously out of places to write about in Houston? No? I didn't think so.

If you want to write about Austin, go join Austinist or The Austin Chronicle. 

Sam Brown
Sam Brown

Hubcap.  Barnaby's.  Lil' Bigs.  I had a burger from Hillstone's, formerly Houston's, on Kirby, and it was quite good.  Also, anyone who says Whataburger's A-1 Thick and Hearty isn't badass is a craven.

Chris M.
Chris M.

Are you a douche? I'm getting that vibe.

Here's a tip. You're condescending.

A bunch of rhetorical questions. Do you really think this post was witty? I hope not.

Chiknkitchn
Chiknkitchn

It is difficult to "get" since I've never had an In-N-Out burger.

DX
DX

I think you missed the point of his article. Are we seriously out of quality blog post comments? No? I didn't think so.

Broadened Horizons
Broadened Horizons

Maybe it's time for a vacation Mr. Jones? Perhaps just a weekend getaway? Southwest Airlines has some great specials to Austin.

Bruce R
Bruce R

I think the comparison you're looking for is with Five Guys, not In-N-Out.  Based on your description and photo, the burgers are similar.  And it appears that PT's is a lot cheaper.  (Burger, fries, and a drink from Five-Guys, including tax, is $11.)

april
april

Do you intend to sound like turd in every comment?

Chris M.
Chris M.

Not really. Five Guys is a grease bomb.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Let's see, two smallish well-done patties, fresh meat, salad stuff on bottom.  Same as Five Guys.  And Mooyah.

I'm not a big fan of Five Guys but I do find them to be better than In-N-Out.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown

The comparison stands.  They aren't at all like Five Guys. 

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