Woe is Me

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

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

Nothing's what it used to be, or so the fogies tell us. I feel myself turning into one lately. The news that Roznovsky's had shuttered its clapboard burger joint on a somnolent West End corner put me into a certified fogey funk; I haven't felt so out of sorts since Joe Matranga up and closed his spaghetti house one summer while I was away on vacation.

Roznovsky's ramshackle old corner grocery building could always transport me into the heart of small-town Texas; in the heavy stillness of a summer afternoon, over a cheeseburger and a longneck, I could practically hear screen doors banging and the phantom click of dominos. But now that I've visited Roznovsky's younger, northside location -- their sole remaining outpost -- I'm beginning to see that my attachment to the decrepit wooden original may have blinded me

o its flaws.
I wanted to like the newer model, a clean, well-lighted place festooned with urban-sportsbar paraphernalia and baseball mementoes from Ron Roznovsky's UT All-American days. I appreciated the irony that it looked more like the real, unsentimental version of modern small-town Texas than the converted grocery ever did.

No matter how much I admired the gimme cap gallery and vintage Longhorn blanket, though, the food kept getting in my way. The cheeseburger I once revered was dry and unyielding, the patty a testament to the sorrows of the industrial age. When did the slippage occur? Beguiled by my surroundings, did I simply fail to notice?

The newfangled seasoned fries I ordered were puffy and bronzed and great at first bite, but their appeal faded fast; the more inert they grew, the more I wondered whether I was eating those frozen "coated fries" I've seen in the restaurant trade magazines. Fogeydom loomed.

Even the refrigerated longnecks were not what they once were -- namely, iced down with the genuine article, and swaddled in a tissue-paper wrapper. Or am I just fantasizing the tissue and the ice? I really don't know anymore; that's what nostalgia can do to you.

Come back, Joe Matranga; as one fogey to another, all is forgiven.

-- Alison Cook

Roznovsky's Hamburgers, 3401 West T.C. Jester at 34th, 957-1100.

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.