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C&D & Nostalgia

This South Houston burger joint with a small-town vibe serves tasty, old-school burgers.

Take a trip back in time with C&D Burger Shoppe in our slideshow.

Two cheeseburgers arrive at our table, each half-wrapped in white butcher paper and positioned above an avalanche of hot fries on a plastic, picnic-style plate. Behind me, the low rumble of Fox News murmurs from the small TV that's mounted in one corner of C&D Burger Shoppe. In front of me, a faded T-shirt hangs from a wood-paneled wall over a decades-old jukebox. "I Survived Alicia," reads the shirt's ironed-on bubble letters.

Like C&D, I survived Alicia. I slept through it, in fact. And both C&D Burger Shoppe and I are roughly the same age, 30 years old. C&D has been a mainstay here in South Houston, on a quiet stretch of Fuqua, for the better part of three decades, serving old-school Texas roadside burgers like the ones that my dining companion and I greedily tore into that sleepy night.

Takes you back: junior burger and a Frito pie.
Troy Fields
Takes you back: junior burger and a Frito pie.

Location Info

Map

C & D Burger Shoppe

10606 Fuqua St.
Houston, TX 77089

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Outer Loop - SE

Details

281-481-8606. Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays.
Mini burger: $0.99
Special sauce burger: $3.24
Frito pie: $2.99
Tater tots: $1.29
Chopped barbecue sandwich: $3.49
Chicken fried steak sandwich: $3.89
Junior burger combo: $4.79
Medium shake: $2.49


READ MORE
BLOG POST: The Taste of Nostalgia at C&D Burger Shoppe
SLIDESHOW: Nifty Nostalgia at C&D Burger Shoppe


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A classic Texas roadside burger has a thin patty, usually pre-formed, covered with tangles of lettuce and onions, a few tomato slices, cheese if you want it, and a generous slather of mustard. Mayonnaise might be featured on the opposite bun, but it's an afterthought in a burger of this design. You don't order a burger like this if you want something dripping with juice, or a sandwich that you can barely fit past your lips. You order a burger like this if you want a heavy dose of nostalgia, and that's exactly what C&D provides.

Here, you order your burger with grape Kool-Aid and a chocolate shake for dessert, whether you're five years old or 50. If you're still hungry after your burger and fries — a very real possibility if you order either the mini or the junior burger, which both come with correspondingly tiny price tags — you order a Frito pie. I prefer to plan ahead and order the Frito pie as an appetizer, then watch my dining companion's eyes light up as another Texas classic hits the table along with those burgers.

While some dishes here are lacking, to put it gently, the Frito pie is not. This is the kind of Frito pie that's sustained generations of Little League spectators and Friday-night football fans, corn chips piled high in a Styrofoam bowl and topped with raw white onions, meat-filled chili and nacho cheese from a pump.

"There is nothing good for you about this thing," my dining companion laughed that night as he tucked into the pie, spearing hunks of hamburger patty on his fork in between heaping bites of cheese-covered chips. It's the same neon-orange cheese that you see on C&D's nachos; you know it's faker than Dolly Parton's breasts, but you almost love it all the more because of its cheerful shamelessness.

"I feel like I just stepped out of Dazed and Confused," joked my dining companion as we left C&D that night, walking out into the humid evening air. "It'd be a lot cooler if we did," he added with a final chuckle.

_____________________

There's something about C&D that calls to mind a certain very specific, quasi-rural Texas upbringing in the same way that Richard Linklater's seminal Austin-based film did. Like Dazed and Confused, there is a palpable sense of nostalgia at the burger stand, which was originally a Dairy Queen until Joe Craddock bought it 30 years ago and turned it into the neighborhood spot it is now. The nostalgia is in the little paper menus with advertisements in them for local realtors, beauty salons and insurance agents. It's in the shake-like wood that panels the walls, in the handpainted Butt Pot that greets smokers at the entrance under C&D's broad, wooden awning, in the Halloween decorations that look straight out of some mother's suburban home.

Nearly every Houstonian likely knows someone who grew up in this area, went to Dobie High School and — between tearing around South Houston and having keggers in vacant fields on the weekends — grabbed their burgers and shakes from C&D. I've reminisced about the place with my dentist, who lived off C&D burgers as a high schooler. And it was Greenway Coffee & Tea owner David Buehrer who first pointed me in C&D's direction, reminiscing over Twitter one night: "Mini burgers and grape Kool-aid got me through Mondays in high school when Pho Binh was closed."

There are traces of these kids, these generations of families and neighbors, covering every wall of the restaurant. Craddock and his burger stand have sponsored innumerable Little League teams and small-town organizations like the South Belt-Ellington Leader Touchdown Club Luncheon, which has its own table reserved in the middle of the linoleum-tiled restaurant. There are small, framed photos of Craddock reading to elementary school kids in libraries and his more memorable golf scorecards among heaps of other golf memorabilia mounted on shelves and walls.

Craddock is still at C&D every single night. He's stooped with age now, but still works the drive-through from a stool behind the counter. He and his team of employees — all women, mostly Hispanic — greet customers inside the time-worn place as if they were welcoming them home. And for them, C&D is home.

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16 comments
Jess
Jess

I am 27. I've been going to C&D since I was able to walk! Their burgers really do take you back to simpler times. I've always hated when it was sunday because they aren't open! LOL I'm a Dobie grad and a native sagemont citizen relocated to Austin. I've lived in alot of places since I've moved from Sagemont and none have that wonderful, warm feeling that C&D does!

Mike Mexico
Mike Mexico

I live in Singapore and visit Houston once every year to visit a couple of old Vietnam era buddies. We always make the breakfast stop at C&D and talk trash about the good old days. I just wish they had a really good T-shirt I could wear down Orchard Road here in Singapore!

Skippy
Skippy

This place has been and still is one of my favorites in the neighbor where I grew up and still live/work. When I was a student, the counter help were usually some of the pretty girls I went to school with. And trust me, I don't go there for what's on the TV. I don't give a (to borrow a phrase) good gravy shit what's on the TV as long as the burgers they crank out are as good as Joe's been cranking out for lo these many years. While a double cheeseburger and order of chili cheese fries don't do my cholesterol a lick of good, that bit of nostalgia you mentioned sure does my heart good.

Craigley
Craigley

Was your dentist Dr. Ray Pomokol (sp)? He was mine (first near Eagle and later across from San Jac) and he ate there ALL the time.

Feldman
Feldman

Seriously? This place is a 30 year old icon of fast food goodness & the only comments are about the TV station? Get back on track people. Its about the food!

++++++
++++++

these people look as though they'd PREFER to lose customers who don't like FOX.

and Zappo's is still around. they sell shoes online.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

My nostalgia stays with Bellaire Broiler Burger. I was lucky to have it in my backyard growing up. If only Zappos were still around.

And what does C&D stand for anyway? Any $2 bills there?

Sircharlesnorthside
Sircharlesnorthside

Haven't been here in years. Burgers sound like they're stillngood but you lose ne as a customer when FOX News is played. Advice to restaurants and bars, turn the tv to something like sports or the local channels, leave the political stations out.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Nope, that's not him. But funny to know that both of our dentists were C&D regulars! :D

Fear2stop
Fear2stop

"These people look as though they'd PREFER to lose customers who don't like FOX." From my understanding, you're right. Pretty much the whole area was like that when I grew up there, which is why I kept to myself.

FYI...I wouldn't call that section of Fuqua "quiet". Maybe not as busy as it used to be when the Randalls was there, but good gravy sh*t the traffic is horrendous.

Geezy
Geezy

Man I love the Bellaire Broiler Burger as well. I'm not originally from Houston, but when my wife and I started dating in 2000 my father in law who owns Bellaire Shoe Repair right across from it took me there first time I met him. They also serve ice cold High Life in there; a find pairing.

Leanna
Leanna

the shop was named for his sons.

Craigley
Craigley

And of course I went to Dobie. And by chance I work with 7 Dobie alumni downtown. We truly ARE everywhere.

I guess that's what happens when you have classes as big as Dobie did.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I'm going to now co-opt the hilarious phrase "good gravy shit" from you. Thank you, sir.

Sihaya
Sihaya

True! I forgot about Zappos. Another one to throw on the "You know you're from Houston if ..." list.

 
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