Here is one of America's great hamburger-eating experiences. It is a half a pound of beef, charred and well-seasoned, lean yet drippingly juicy, sandwiched between thick halves of a big warm bun that oozes a surfeit of condiments, onions, tomato slices, and shreds of lettuce. What an unholy mess it is, compounded by the fact that Kincaid's accommodations are – how shall we say it? – less than deluxe.
In fact, it is the ambience of Kincaid's that gives these hamburgers their extra pizzazz. Kincaid’s is not quite a normal restaurant. It started as a grocery store and is still configured that way. The old grocery shelves cut down to approximately chest high and surfaced so customers can find a convenient place to stand and scarf down lunch. Many years ago when we first discovered the place, we saw one old couple arrive with their own folding chairs, wait in line at the counter, get their burgers, find an unoccupied length of shelf space, tuck napkins into their collars, and dig in with gusto. They told us they eat lunch at Kincaid's at least three days every week. Several years ago tables and chairs were added to the front of the place so people can dine more normally, but somehow this place makes us want to be in the aisles where the action is.
The makeshift tables are strewn with magazines for reading while you chew. And dangling from above is what must be called interior decoration: a menagerie of plastic yellow happy faces, inflatable anthropomorphic hot dogs, and similar amusing gew gaws.
"A cheeseburger fully dressed. This is on the short list of Texas' best burgers!"
"Way back when, before Kincaid's had any real tables and chairs, this pair of hamburger gourmets brought their own chairs so they could sit at the makeshift counters and enjoy their hamburgers ... with the works."
"While there are regular tables and chairs, it is more fun to stand and eat your burger at one of the short wooden counters."
"A photo taken of Kincaid's interior in 1985. Note the inflatable decor hanging from the ceiling."
"No one goes to Kincaid's for groceries any more. Big, juicy burgers are the lure."