Everything is bigger in Texas—the sky, the hats, the trucks, and most certainly the burgers. From the appearance of the building, Arnold Burgers screams “Roadfood!” If it weren’t for the packed lot of pickups outside, you may question whether or not the building had fallen into disuse. There is nothing fancy about this burger joint: the building is past its prime, the menu is computer-printed and taped to the walls, and the aroma that meets you at the door is distinctly one of a greasy grill.
The folks behind the counter were incredibly friendly, going out of their way to explain the different burgers available. Although they have tried to quantify the burger options through the use of adjectives such as “baby,” “junior,” and “small,” words prove far less effective than the diagrams that cover much of the wall space. Similar to the cardboard circles hung on pizzeria walls, the increasing diameters displayed on the Arnold Burgers wall help patrons to gauge their level of hunger. In addition to the individually-sized burgers, “family burgers” are available and large enough to be sliced like a pizza. The largest among them is a 24” burger, which takes an hour to cook and feeds up to 25 adults. When we asked how often this big boy was ordered, the woman behind the grill quickly responded, “At least once a day!”
We enjoyed a pair of Texas-shaped burgers, one with bacon and jalapeño dressing and the other with guacamole and cheddar. The burgers were perfectly charred from the well-worn grill, and the jalapeño dressing was so good that we considered ordering a side of it to stand on its own. The Lone Star state buns were more doughy than traditional hamburger buns, but hefty enough to handle multiple toppings without sloughing off or disintegrating.
The burgers are certainly good enough by themselves, but there are many topping combinations available to choose from if you are feeling creative. The NAFTA, for example, is a double-meat Junior burger with Canadian bacon, American cheese, and beans and salsa on the side. Although the Texas-shaped burger is a consistent offering on the menu, several other shapes become available depending on the season; among them are Easter bunnies and Halloween jack-o-lanterns. If you’re looking for a special way to say “I love you,” just know that orders for heart-shaped burgers must be made four days in advance.
The list of side orders is extensive, ranging from the familiar French fries and mozzarella sticks to the more elusive fried bell pepper sticks and grilled tomato slices with parmesan cheese. On this visit, we opted for a basket of homemade potato chips and were not disappointed. Once we had placed our order and taken our place at one of the half a dozen tables inside, the gentleman behind the corner presented us out-of-towners with a binder filled to the brim with local and national news clippings chronicling the Arnold Burgers story.
Hours listed on the website as “Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. (most of the time)” so be sure to call ahead. One trip to Arnold Burgers isn’t remotely enough, as we’ll plan our next trip around their hours of operation!