Serving Detention at Bernie's Burger Bus
The parking lot at Inversion has become my newest food mecca for lightning-fast weekday lunches. The cozy coffee shop is close to the office, you can get a great cortado inside (as well as goodies from local bakers Michael's Cookie Jar, Sinfull Bakery and Fluff Bake Bar), and nearly every day of the week at lunch a different food truck is parked outside.
This is the Houston I love so much these days: businesses helping each other out, a variety of local options every single day, and the sense that your city is maturing around you as you eat.
Late last week, I dropped by without even knowing which food truck would be there. I hit the jackpot when I turned onto Montrose and saw the telltale yellow-and-black truck that meant Bernie's Burger Bus was in the parking lot.
Listen for Bernie's to call your order over a bullhorn, gym teacher-style.
I first met Justin Turner, the chef and owner of Bernie's Burger Bus, late last year. He had just returned to Houston from selling his burgers at the annual Austin City Limits music festival and was excited to be a part of our burgeoning food truck scene. Nearly eight months later, the truck seems to be a runaway success.
Much of that success is due to the plainly fabulous burgers the bus serves, each with an eye-winkingly school-related name: The Principal, The Substitute, The Bully, Detention, Homeroom, etc. As tempting as the Detention sounded that afternoon, on a stomach that hadn't seen breakfast that morning, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to make it all the way through: two beef patties with cheese and onions, with two grilled cheese sandwiches serving as the buns.
I instead went with the comparatively lighter Homeroom, which features only one patty and regular buns in addition to chipotle aioli and a fried egg. Healthy? No. Delicious. Absolutely.
No burger is complete without fries.
With an order of sweet potato fries with still more chipotle aioli packed into the car along with my Homeroom burger, I was a happy camper. Until the smell from the white bag nearly made me veer off the road and into a parking lot; the wait to eat the burger was making the five-minute drive back to work seem longer than the director's cut of Das Boot.
Once at work, the poor burger didn't stand a chance, and I ate nearly the entire thing. It was so good, I didn't even stop to photograph it. Gone. My desk was a mess -- this isn't a burger to eat before a meeting, or while wearing white pants -- but it was worth it.
But to grab one of Turner's burgers for yourself, you can't just drive to a restaurant any old time you're in the mood; you have to work for your burger by figuring out where Turner's parked the Burger Bus each day. Follow the Burger Bus on Twitter or Facebook, and be sure to keep an eye out for The Principal.
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