Decemburger: Texastar Kitchen

 
Novemburger has come and gone. It's time to wrap up 2011 with a burger a day for Decemburger.
 
Day 1: Texastar Kitchen
1602 RM 620, Lakeway. 402-0222, www.texastarkitchen.com.
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday. Closed Saturday-Sunday.
 
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 12.01.11
 
Imagine the days before fast food was a corporate commodity, before Ray Kroc figured out a formula that would serve McBillions. Texastar might come to mind, a tan cinderblock burger box across from Goodwill in a community still figuring out whether it’s a small town by Lake Travis or the next West Lake Hills.
 
Texastar is a food stand in the classic model, a drive-through with five tables and a bench on a covered patio next to a walk-up window. The menu ranges from entree salads with grilled chicken to Santa Fe fried fish wraps to burgers and a chicken-fried steak . And in the small-town food-stand spirit, it closes down on the weekends.
 
The burger: The building block for Texastar burgers is a wide, flat quarter-pound patty cooked to a play-it-safe stiff well-done. A basic Star Burger on a sesame seed bun is $3.49, and for $5.19 it becomes a California Burger, self-actualized by Swiss cheese, cardboard-thin avocado and crumbles of bacon that lend more porky fat-itude than smoky sharpness. In Lakeway, it doesn’t compete with the League at the high end nor even P. Terry’s at the low end. Both of them do better burgers. Texastar is somewhere in-between, a shop-local alternative to nearby Wendy’s, Sonic and Whataburger outlets.
 
Fries or rings? Another word for “chain” is “shackle,” and Texastsar is bound by neither. That’s how they can put green bean casserole ($2.54) on the menu without focus-grouping it, just by knowing that we’ll eat it year-round and not just at Thanksgiving. It’s your standard cream of mushroom soup and pre-cut green beans, but little pieces of onion ring are a nice touch. I wish the portion size were larger for the price. I didn’t order onion rings ($2.44), because the cashier said they come from a bag. The fries do, too, but they’re crinkle-cut and cooked just right, and they have that burger-stand taste particular to places like this ($2.09).
 
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
 
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