Review #46 - Bracken Store Cafe

Posted by Burgermeister Meisterburger | | Posted On Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 3:53 AM

“I'm headin' down the Bracken highway, lookin' for the burger getaway, Headin’ for the burger getaway . . .”

Yes, Bracken Store Café (BSC), with its “tin roof, rusted!” is now my own personal Burger “Love Shack.”

If you want a true, country burger joint experience without having to travel far from San Antonio’s beaten path, I recommend the Bracken Store Café. The store bills itself as a “Big Burger in a Small Town” on BSC's website and indicates that they are located in downtown Bracken. Little did I know that downtown Bracken was located just a couple of miles from Rolling Oaks Mall.

The first beautiful thing about BSC strikes you as you walk in the front door. The Grill – that place where the magic happens – is right there for your viewing pleasure. It is impossible to keep your mouth from watering as you watch the thick, juicy patties steaming on the grill.

We placed our orders and took a seat in the restaurant’s “Antique” wing, as opposed to the main dining room, so as to remain somewhat inconspicuous. We took in the full effect of the kitschy atmophere, replete with plenty of wall signage and more thermometers than you can possibly count (which indicated that the room temperature was somewhere between 23 and 107 degrees).

As a nice touch, the entire staff is listed on the “Receiving in Rear” wall, so that you can at once determine who is making and delivering your food.

Burger – 8.0 out of 10

The burger is a thick, juicy half pound patty cooked to perfection with an ample amount of fresh lettuce and tomatoes. As you can tell from the picture, the cheese is melted to perfection and provides the perfect complement to the burger – not so much that it overwhelms the meat, but just enough that it cascades over the sides of the patty.

Likes His Tots Tatered - "Bracken Café makes a damn fine burger with nothing but the freshest ingredients. I love it how all the burgers are a half pound, the way God intended a burger to be served. If I was going to have any criticism, the patty itself could have used a little more salt (or even some season salt), but otherwise the burger is one of the best around."

Fry Daddy – "Super-fresh toppings and a nice thick patty that’s cooked medium make this burger one of my favorites in the greater San Antonio area. For some reason, thinner patties seem to be more the norm among San Antonio burger joints. Maybe burger joints think the additional real estate will make their burgers look bigger and more menacing. But I just prefer a huge hunk of meat to jam in my face!"

Hamburglar - "A perfectly sized juicy beef patty with the freshest and crispiest lettuce I have ever had on a burger. The lettuce gave the burger a delicious little crunch reminiscent of a homemade burger. A little more seasoning on the beef and butter on the bun would likely make this the best burger in S.A. "

Burger Boy - "The best thing about the patty was that it was of substantial thickness; think of the way you make your burgers when you’re grilling in your backyard and you get the idea. I thought it could use a little more seasoning, though. I, like Fry Daddy, think size does matter."

Sides – 8.5 out of 10

We have found a new altar at which to worship in the San Antonio Burger Universe. The guy (or gal) that runs the frier at BSC, is not getting paid what they are worth. I am not sure how it is possible to have different levels of expertise within the Fry Guy profession, but this person truly is the “Lord of the Fry.” I have never had a more perfect crisp on hand-cut fries or onion rings. This saint also made the tater tots stand out among the crowd of sides that I have eaten over the last 15 months (I had been previously convinced that all tater tots are pretty much the same and hard to screw up . . . or make better).

Hamburglar - "Undoubtedly the best tater-tot I have ever had, along with delicious rings and what would appear to be mediocre fries that have been made perfect by a mastery of the fryer. The sides trifecta lives in Bracken!"

Tots Tatered - "Bracken Café could have just stopped at their delicious burgers, and I would have still loved the place. But, they didn’t stop there. The sides were fantastic, not to mention that they have all three options."

Fry Pops - "The fries were pretty good but could not hold their own against BSC’s heavyweights – their crispy tater tots and hand-breaded onion rings. Whatever BSC is paying the guy or girl operating the fryer, it’s not enough. The rings and tots were dynamite – easily some of the best we’ve had of the nearly 50 burger joints we’ve tried."

Burger Boy – "The sides were good, but not spectacular."

Rrrr . . . What??

You may start to see a trend at this point. It appears that Burger Boy was less than enthused about the whole BSC experience. I think it relates to his own feelings of inadequacy. I mean, the guy carries around a camera with a HUGE lens whenever we venture out to get our beefy burger fix.

Well, for any BSC enthusiasts out there, I, Burgermeister Meisterburger, personally apologize for the disrespect this young lad shows through his less than adequate ratings. If I had my way, I would publicly flog him, but as that form of justice is frowned upon in these sensitive days of political-correctness, the best I can do is give him a verbal tongue-lashing. I'll have you know that when we eliminate Burger Boy's scores for BSC, its Burger rating moves upward from an 8.0 to an 8.5, Ambience bumps up a half-notch to 8.5 as well and the Sides rating skyrockets to a 9.5!

Ambience (pronounced primarily with the short “a” sounds as in “ambulance” – “am – bee – ance”) – 8.0 out of 10

BSC has that quintessential, small-town, country café feel, housed in a weather-worn, yet sturdy, building and with ample amounts of good ole’ Americana décor (a.k.a. bunches of crap on the walls). If you are the introverted, self-conscious type, you may want to think twice about coming to BSC. When you walk in the front door, you are thrust directly into the main dining room, replete with what appear to be the local regulars and the lady behind the counter immediately greets you with a friendly “Hello.” [Contrast this to the proprietress/waitress/cook at
Joe’s Hamburger Place – although she, too, had her own unique charm].

Fry Daddy-O: "While the interior is not all too different than many other burger joints we’ve been too, there’s something authentic about BSC. The building it’s in looks old and decrepit enough, and it certainly helps that this place is in the middle of nowhere . . . er, I mean, downtown Bracken. On top of that, the place appears to have a loyal local following and the staff were friendly. Bracken Store Café is the real deal."

Burger Boy: "Bracken had the feel of an old timey country restaurant. I especially enjoyed that the proprietress told us her store was located in “downtown bracken” because it was, in fact, surrounded by farm fields."

Again, BB, with the snide comments. Well, I guess in this case, he's at least accurate.

So if you’ve got a Chrysler that seats about 20 (or simply a Toyota Prius that no one will ride in) hurry up and bring your juke box money to that little old place where we can get together and stuff our faces with some of the best burgers and sides in San Antonio – BSC, Baby! – That’s where it's at . . .


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