An Ode to the Classic Texas-Style Roadside Burger
What's a roadside burger without a glass of Kool-Aid to wash it down? At C&D Burger Shoppe, you can have the uber-American kids' drink with your skinny, Texas burger and a side of Frito pie, too. The burger shop, open since the early 1980s, used to be a Dairy Queen before Joe Craddock bought it and turned it into a neighborhood hotspot. As noted in our review of the place, many Houstonians recall eating at C&D nearly every night when they were in high school on the southeast side of town. Though the menu has options beyond burgers and Frito pie, those are the best bets here.
Photo by Troy Fields Mytiburger is about as classically Texan as it gets.
There are a few other burger stands in town that, like the ones already mentioned, serve a mean roadside burger that makes you long to hop in the car and chow down as you head west toward some unknown destination. Places like Cream Burger, which has been open for "decades," though no one can say exactly how many. The burgers here taste half of beef and half of sinus-clearing vinegar, thanks to the heap of pickles and onions and generous smear of mustard that nestle between the patty and the top bun. And places like Shuttle Burgers & More, whose crumbly, hand-formed patties are served with a side of tacky, space-aged memorabilia like photos of shuttle launches and astronaut crews.
When I called to ask what year Shuttle Burgers opened, the person on the other end of the line laughed. "Ummm...no one really knows," she said, as if referring to something that was not a concrete event once upon a time, but a scientific mystery yet to be solved. "At least 30 years, I think. Probably. Yeah, no one knows."
That's the things about these historic burger shops. They survive when newer restaurants serving foie gras-topped burgers with artisan buns fail, but no one remembers the specifics. What's important are fleeting moments spent inhaling a burger while leaning against the building or in the car after a long, hard day at work. What's important are the families who still run the joints, and the way the thin, greasy patties haven't changed a lick since they made their debut so many years ago.
Here's to you, Texas-style, guilty pleasure burgers. May you never change.
2211 W. 43rd St., Houston, TX
6704 Martin Luther King Jr Drive, Houston, TX
5216 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire, TX
10606 Fuqua St., Houston, TX
3481 Elgin St., Houston, TX
8405 Almeda Genoa Road, Houston, TX