After reading a few dozen passionate online reviews about the Bellaire Broiler Burger, a local legend, we decided to swing by Bellaire and Bissonnet, where BBB is tucked away in a time capsule out of the '70s. Smoking was allowed there until not too long ago, but now, only the burgers smoke - on a real grill where real bacon is prepped to top off the bacon cheeseburger.
Our companion was so intimidated by the solemnity of the occasion that when he ordered, he asked that all condiments come "on the side," as though this joint was devoted to ladies' luncheons. But the counter help - infamous for surliness - complied nonchalantly.
Spuds Mackenzie holds court at Bellaire Broiler, not unlike the Buddha you find in some Asian restaurants. But the only hint of an Eastern influence here was the Zen swirl of mustard and mayonnaise in the little to-go cup on the side. To further investigate the integrity of the bacon cheeseburger, we ate it dry, and found it truly contained real bacon, a nice charbroiled (albeit thin) burger, and the kind of cheese we enjoyed when we worked at the Pit Stop burger stand at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington about 1,000 years ago -- a cross between the American slices and real cheddar. Yum!
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To sum: This is comfort food that's a notch above fast food. The prices are in fast-food's domain. Our order was less than $13 for two burgers, one order of fries (crinkle-cut) and one of onion rings (you couldn't knock the sturdy crumb coating off these with a blow torch). Despite the ambience that no doubt conjures decades of fond memories for many, we took our food home to enjoy with our favorite adult beverages.