Review #4 - Uncle Barney's Old Fashioned Hamburgers

Posted by Burger Boy | Labels: | Posted On Friday, January 9, 2009 at 3:21 PM


The moment that I heard that we would be reviewing the burgers at a San Antonio establishment by the name of "Uncle Barney's Old Fashioned Hamburgers," I knew that I must eat of his victuals and be the one to pen this review. Sitting in the office dreaming of lunch, my most fervent wish was to meet the eponymous Uncle Barney. These idle thoughts continued most of the morning, until the avuncular founder of a burger joint had assumed mythic proportions in my mind. Would he have time to spend a precious few postprandial moments with me before rushing off to service the next patron? Only time would tell if Uncle Barney and I were destined to become more intimate...


We visited Uncle Barney’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers at 7015 IH 35 South. Google claims he has another location at 16505 Blanco Rd, but as we didn’t visit that location we can’t vouch for it existence. As we pulled into the parking lot shortly before noon, we decided that Uncle Barney really had it going on, because the entire parking lot was full. We ended up parking across the street and hiking back to Uncle Barney’s.

Can you see Uncle Barney's in the distance? As we got closer we realized that the restaurant super-complex we had thought was Uncle Barney’s was in fact two concatenated restaurants. On one side of the building lay the entrance to “Uncle Barney’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers.” The other side of the building allowed you to enter the “Hungry Farmer Steak House.” This created some confusion, but we eventually found our way into Uncle Barney’s.

There was plenty of seating inside the restaurant, but unfortunately much of it was too odoriferous for use. For a further discussion of the restaurant's smell, please see "Ambiance" below.
You can't see it in this picture, but it really stinks in here.

The menu was large and impressive. There were hamburgers and fries and hot dogs and milk shakes. Hamburglar and Fry Daddy were excited to see onion rings.
The Burger – 5 out of 10

I ordered the double cheeseburger combo, which came with both fries and onions. It was a large enough burger that I couldn’t finish all my onions and fries after finishing the burger. Trust me, that’s saying something. The bun was attractive and fluffy and the meat was juicy but, in my opinion, generally flavorless.

Only one tomato came on the burger, which disappointed Hamburglar. BurgerGal astutely noted that based upon the prominently displayed schematic of a hamburger, that there should have been two tomatoes.

Overall, my fellow reviewers and I rated the burger as follows:
Hamburglar-5.5 “My patty was burned crispy on the edges and could have used a little more seasoning”
Fry Daddy-5.5 "The burger was okay but left my with a queasy feeling that lingered late into the afternoon."
BurgerGal-5 “I hate the American cheese slice on my burger, plus it wasn't squarely on there, so I had to spread the cheese around.”
Burger Boy-5 “It was big and bland.”
Aggregate Ranking: 5 (Sorry Uncle Barney, but when in doubt, I round down).

Sides – 4 out of 10

Uncle Barney served up fries and onion rings. Everyone agreed that the fries pretty poor, earning them a ranking of 4. The onion rings were a big hit with Hamburglar, Fry Daddy, and BurgerGal. I don’t like onion rings in general, and these were no exception, but even I could tell the onion rings were better than Uncle Barney’s flaccid, sodium-free, taste-free fries. Since we’re not rating onion rings, I won’t bore you with my fellow reviewers' commentary. Well, maybe I will: “Delicious!,” “Crispity-Crunchity!”, and “I hope I smell like these onion rings FOREVER!”

Ambiance – 2 out of 10

The place was bursting with barnyard/western-style flair. Saddles and bicycles and all sorts of whozzits, whatzits, what-nots, thingamabobs, and other flim-flammery were dangling precariously from every exposed surface. If you like that sort of thing this is the place for you. I’m fairly indifferent to the ambiance of a burger joint. To my mind the word “ambiance” cannot be used without irony in the same sentence as the phrase “burger joint.”

Extra points to Uncle Barney for the Galaga/Pac-Man machine.

Unfortunately, what “ambiance” the place had was largely ruined by the fact that half of the building smelled, in the words of one reviewer, "like a day care." To be fair to Uncle Barney, the portions of the restaurant that smelled like a day care were largely confined to the “Hungry Farmer” portion of the restaurant, but since several members of our party had to sortie through the smell to pay their bill, Uncle Barney still takes a serious hit for having such a ripe… bouquet.
You can't see it in this picture, but it really stinks in here.
Price – 5 out of 10

The prices were average. Nothing to write home about. One reviewer was annoyed that they charged $0.25 per soda refill. They do have a military discount, so if you've been serving your country the deal may be pretty good.

Service – 4 out of 10

At Uncle Barney’s, you order at the counter. Two or three ladies were working the counter, so the size of Uncle Barney’s staff was adequate. After about 5 or 10 minutes one of the ladies calls your number and you pick up your order. This is typical of many burger joints. The biggest problem with Uncle Barney’s was that he only accepts cash. If you want to use your credit card, you must venture into the the Hungry Farmer to pay your bill. BurgerGal wasn’t pleased to discover first-hand that the ketchup bottle was sticky.

Epilogue, or Uncle Barney Himself – 1 out of 10

As soon as I got into the restaurant I began searching for Uncle Barney. In my mind, I was expecting a jolly, friendly fellow who looked like, well, I'll just admit it: I was expecting a pirate. Why? I have no idea. I just think pirates arrgh cool. I also assumed that he would be busily peg-legging his way around the restaurant dispensing a dollop of wisdom along with his fries and burgers. Either that or he'd have a good excuse. Perhaps when I inquired after him the staff would politely inform me that Uncle Barney has a busy schedule, and that today he regrets that he cannot take your order himself because he has a busy morning ahead of him full of dastardly deeds, including pillaging a village and then chasing some scallywag off the plank. In every particular I was disappointed. Initially, I thought Uncle Barney just wasn't in the restaurant. But then, I found him, and let me tell you I wish I hadn't seen what I saw.

The restaurant had placed a tiny picture of him hidden on the top right corner of an inconspicuous menu. Uncle Barney appears to be some sort of cobb-pipe smoking farmer. I'm glad he wasn’t physically present on site. Uncle Barney gets low points for failing to meet my expectations.

As you leave Uncle Barney's you'll encounter the following helpful sign on the door. I think this sign sums up my impressions of Uncle Barney: He tries hard, but doesn't quite hit the mark, ect... My fellow reviewers and I will not be returning.


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