Thursday, April 03, 2008


There's a hamburger joint on Lamar called Hill-bert's, and I stopped by there on Monday to eat lunch.

I have a particular reason that I eat at Hill-bert's, and it goes all the way back to when I was a kid. In Corpus Christi, there were basically three places to get a hamburger: Whataburger, McDonald's, and a place called Burger Chef.

Burger Chef hamburgers had an absolutely distinctive flavor, because they had a charcoal-grilled taste that no one else had.

Going to Burger Chef when I was a kid was a big deal. For one, we only went out to eat about once a week. Plus, it was about a twenty-minute drive through Corpus Christi (the "big" city), and we drove over both a causeway and a big bridge to get there.

What I remember most, though, is that we always passed a small building that had a big sign on it that said "POOL."

This sign always totally baffled me (I was eight or nine at the time, I think). The building wasn't that large, so how in the world could they fit an entire pool inside?

At some point, Burger Chef just disappeared, but I never forgot the delicious taste of their hamburgers, and I never tasted it anywhere else.

Except at Hill-bert's. The burgers at Hill-bert's have the exact flavor of Burger Chef burgers, only they're much bigger. So whenever I want a nostalgia burger, I go to Hill-bert's.

Today, I was getting a drink refill and chatting with the lady at the counter, and I told her the Burger Chef story. She said, "You're not going to believe this, but this WAS a Burger Chef. It only became Hill-bert's in 1968."

I did a little Wikipedia research, and it turns out that Burger Chef was purchased by General Foods Corporation in 1968, and that's probably why the location was sold.

So it may not be Burger Chef by name, but they still make hamburgers the same way they did forty years ago.

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