50 Burgers, 50 Days: Buda Grocery & Grill

 
 
The final installment of a daily burger binge that began Aug. 11. In the days ahead, I’ll pick five favorites, throw in a few veggie burgers and start working on the next list of 50.
 
Day 50: Buda Grocery & Grill
100 N. Main St., Buda. 512-295-2151, www.budagroceryandgrill.com.
Hours: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday. 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday.
 
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 09.29.11
 
(UPDATED 04/01/13: Buda Grocery & Grill has closed. The new owner is planning to put both a Cajun restaurant and a surf-and-turf grill in the space.)
 
The burger: From the half-empty shelves along the rough wooden floors at the Buda Grocery, you can get dark Karo syrup and a jumbo box of stuffing, or even a six-pack of Independence Amber and a bottle of Becker Iconoclast cabernet. There’s a vintage bowling bag and an old red Fire Chief pedal car, too, in keeping with Buda’s treasure-hunting Main Street, where an antique shop might have the word “ish” in its posted hours.
 
The Buda Grocery and Grill also cooks the tallest double-patty bacon cheeseburger I’ve ever seen, another recommendation from Austin Chronicle food writer and friend Mick Vann. You need that kind of wiseguy introduction, because you’d never stumble across this lunch-counter cafe by happy accident to discover this $5.29 marvel of seared beef stacked in two patties welded together by cheese and striped with salty bacon. Close to 13 ounces of beef, the owner said. On Tuesdays, his mother makes beef enchiladas for a $5.99 special.
 
A bakery wheat roll sprinkled with oatmeal holds the burger together for the first few bites, but then it’s a job for knife and fork.  No problem. Because then it transforms into a blue-plate special of hamburger steak with salad and bread, seasoned with the same kind of respect. Letters hand-painted on a faded green wall proclaim, “Gently resisting change since 1913.” If a lunch like this means staying the same, I wouldn’t want to change, either.
 
Fries or rings? Crackly food-service fries ($1.69) and nicely battered onion rings ($1.99) aren’t in the same league of extraordinary diner foods as the burger. But they do the job in this time-warped environment, where if you look across the street, you’ll see a freight train go screaming by. Feel free to sing railroad songs while you eat.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)