$7 at Bubba's Texas Burger Shack

Where: Bubba's Texas Burger Shack, 5230 Westpark Dr., 713-661-1622

What $7 gets you: Your pick from ten burgers made with beef or buffalo. Bubba's has a long list of other menu items, like a bowl of chili or patty melt, but it's no chili shack.

Any place that has "Bubba's," "Texas" and "Burger Shack" in its name, along with a location that's pretty much underneath a highway interchange, makes us wonder, What the hell goes on in there?

The "shack" part is not a joke, and while there are tables inside, there isn't much space to eat. We sat down at a table to wait for our burger but had to move so an employee could open a storage door.

The patio makes up for any shortcomings on the inside, and Bubba's would work great for a few after-work beers. During weekday afternoons from two to seven, beers are $2.25, and the selection goes deep into the Saint Arnold's playbook.

There's no short supply of Texas at Bubba's. Things like Lone Star Beer signs and old Texas license plates are tacked to the wall. Some of the weathered-wood patio tables are painted like Texas flags. There's at least one picture of David Allan Coe.

Nothing wrong with any of that, but if Bubba's was in a suburban retail strip, or hadn't been in the same place for 24 years and owned by the same family for the last 20, we might say it was trying a little too hard.

The place has a genuine charm, and the other customers seem to dig it. A few minutes after we ordered our burger, a couple in their mid-twenties - probably not from Texas - walked in, and the first thing the woman did was whip out her camera, grab her boyfriend and snap a picture of them standing in all that hard-scrabble glory.

Bubba's pushes the buffalo burger pretty hard, but we couldn't resist the standard beef cheeseburger ($4.50). It was juicy and messy and all the things that make a cheeseburger great.

The one disappointment about Bubba's is the lack of side options. There's no deep fryer, so no fries or onion rings, and other than a variety of potato chips (to be fair, a nice variety) there's only the jalapeño potato salad. It was okay with the cheeseburger and would've been great without the jalapeños.

The potato salad cost about $1, so with our $7 we could have added a bag of chips, but we didn't. We weren't really there for the food anyway.

Recommended? Absolutely, even if you think you're not a burger shack type of person.

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Paul Knight
Contact: Paul Knight