After a string of recent visits to upscale joints, San Antonio classics, and other notable burger eateries in the area, the burger blog crew (me particularly) felt the urge to do some soul cleansing and review an unknown place somewhat off the beaten path. While we all enjoy visiting and reviewing the more popular San Antonio burger joints, I feel that it’s our reviews of the small burger shacks that end up being our greatest service to the community. You see, it’s the small burger shack where the potential for true burger greatness lies. The chance of finding that hole-in-the-wall, undiscovered establishment keeps us going week after week.
With this in mind, our newest burger outing took us to Che's Fried Chicken and Burgers on San Antonio's Southside. Che's is located just a few miles south of downtown at 4303 S. Presa St.
Our preconceived notions were disproved, however, when we eventually discovered that Che’s Chicken and Burgers has nothing to do with an underground Commie movement in the Alamo City but rather was named after the proprietor of the establishment…honest mistake.
Che’s has your typical greasy burger shack ordering process. Huge menu posted on the front and then order at the window. As you see, Che’s offers a variety of culinary options.
That’s right. To our surprise, Che’s Chicken and Burgers received the prestigious Blue Plate Award from WOAI.
For those of you who are more Chris Marrou types rather than Randy Beamer fans, the WOAI nightly news hands out the Blue Plate Award for those restaurants who get a perfect score from the health inspectors.
Normally, receiving the Blue Plate Award is something a patron should take comfort in when frequenting his or her favorite establishment. However, this isn’t necessarily the case as far as burger joints go where you seem to expect, nay even hope for a little greasiness with your meal. I suppose Che’s is trying to be a little cutting-edge with being the first burger shack to take its sanitation seriously. ¡Viva la revolucion!
The burgers at Che’s were just ok…not great, but definitely not bad. I would say that the burger is on par with a Whataburger offering. Fry Daddy seemed to agree: “The burger was a step above a good fast food burger, but nothing spectacular. The bun did have a nice greasy sheen, which is always a good sign.” Basically, the consensus was that the burger was merely average, which is why it got a 5 rating.
**Special Edition** Chicken - 8
Seeing that most of the menu is chicken or chicken related product (both chicken gizzards and livers are featured on the menu), we felt obligated to review Che’s Fried Chicken. Looking at some of the old menus hung around the place, it seems that once upon a time, Che’s was solely a fried chicken eatery with burgers only recently added to the menu. Now, before all you burger joint purists start having a fit, the blog crew voted and agreed that Che’s still qualifies as a reviewable burger joint since “burger” is in its name.
Well, the fried chicken did not disappoint. In fact, we all agreed that it is some of the best fried chicken SA has to offer. Here are some of the comments:
Where’s the Beef – Awesome! Hand-battered and deep fried to perfection. I’d take this over KFC or Bill Miller’s any day.
Fry Daddy - Hot, handmade and crispy, the fried chicken is actually the main reason why I would come back to Che's.
Sides – 5 out of 10
Again, fries were of the frozen bag / elementary school cafeteria variety, but at least Che's had the decency to serve them warm (which surprisingly is not standard...see Murph's Better Burger Review).
The onion rings were frozen too and were pretty much the same ones that you would get at Sonic.
Fry Daddy summed up the sides the best when he said that “they’re just your run of the mill fries and onion rings - decent but forgettable.”
Ambience – 6 out of 10
Che’s Chicken and Burgers is not exactly in the best part of town. You know how when you’re watching the nightly news and there’s always that story about a stabbing or shooting at a San Antonio Sports Bar and you wonder if it’s the one you frequent, but then find out that its some shady looking joint south of downtown so you feel safe knowing you would never go to that kind of place; well, Che’s Chicken and Burgers is on the same street as those places.
However, at lunch time, the surroundings didn’t seem too bad (just don’t go there at night as the San Antonio Burger Blog danger level jumps from code green to red). There’s also a cozy little love shack right across the street.
Despite these conditions, we felt that the little shack with only outdoor seating had a certain charm to it, so Che’s gets a 6 here.
Service – Great
Fast, friendly, courteous, what more can you ask for.
Price - Excellent
Che’s is not a break the bank kind of place. You can easily eat for under $5 here. Just remember to bring your cash.
We came to Che’s with hopes of finding that undiscovered burger gem, but left with just an average burger in our bellies. Overall, if you’re in the area (during the daytime), stop by Che’s Chicken and Burgers for a good, cheap lunch. However, you’re probably better off sticking with the chicken.