^
Keep Houston Press Free
4
| Burgers |

A Patio and a Postcard View at The Refinery

It seems as though a new burger joint opens in Houston every week. Whether it's imports like Denver-based Elevation Burger and Dallas-based Burger House or homegrown concepts like Guru Burger in Sugar Land and JerryBuilt in Bellaire, it's no longer good enough just to serve a terrific burger. You have to stand out from the crowd, too.

And although The Refinery -- the subject of this week's cafe review -- is still struggling to craft a terrific burger, it succeeds in setting itself apart in part because of its setting. (Say that last part five times fast.)

There is no better place right now to catch a football game than on The Refinery's cedar-planked patio, filled with TV screens and picnic tables that feature handy, metal-lined beer wells down the center. There's also no prettier view of the downtown skyline -- sitting smack dab in front of your face, just over I-45 -- than the one that The Refinery affords, especially when the sun starts to sink.

That The Refinery should offer such a view onto the city's central business district is entirely appropriate. After all, the icehouse-cum-burger joint pays homage to the business upon which Houston was founded: oil, which led to the city's first big growth spurt in 1901 after being discovered at Spindletop. A few short years later, the discovery of oil reserves in Humble and Goose Creek in 1906, put Houston on the map as the center of new oil and oilfield equipment development.

Today, Houston is known throughout the world (for better or worse) as the home of petrochemical processing plants, natural gas refineries, petroleum exploration, pipeline development, the massive Offshore Technology Conference each year and energy companies large and small. Hell, we're home to 31 percent of the nation's energy-related jobs and over 5,000 energy firms (including 17 energy-related Fortune 500 companies).

With that in mind, it's almost surprising that The Refinery -- or something like it -- didn't spring up sooner. Its walls are decorated with pipeline fittings and old gas station signs. Trash cans are repurposed oil drums. Its very logo is comprised of letters lifted ransom note-style from old oil companies and filling stations. And if the pretty patio setting (not to mention the excellent craft beer and whiskey selection) didn't make The Refinery stand out, these little touches certainly would.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

I just don't want to be anywhere near the place when OTC comes to town again this May. The Refinery is only a few short blocks away from the George R. Brown Convention Center and any visiting oilman would be foolish not to enjoy a burger in one of the few places left in this country that celebrates fossil fuels with such passion.

Read more about The Refinery in this week's cafe review and explore its petroleum-themed dining rooms in our slideshow.


Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.