The Lord's Kitchen serves up a 2-pound burger as good as it is large
| The Lord's Kitchen co-owner Charlie Weaver shows off the 2-pound Hurt You Burger at his east-side eatery. (Photo by Mark Greenberg)
OK. It says something about the utter hugeness of this metropolis when you live here most of your life, and you've never even heard of a place that's widely acclaimed (in the Current office, at least) for making the best hamburgers in town. It's more embarrassing to hear that people have driven up from Corpus Christi, stopped at The Lord's Kitchen, and raved about the burgers.
Current readers picked Chris Madrid's as the purveyor of the best burger in town, and it's hard to argue with them. Even their second choice, Chester's, makes great hamburgers, and offers an even better beer selection.
But if they could just locate The Lord's Kitchen, and try the hamburgers, they might have picked this little joint that has stood in the shadow of the New Braunfels Street overpass of the railroad yard since 1994 as the venue for Best Hamburger in San Antonio.
"I get new customers every day," says Charlie Weaver. He and his wife, Lillie, and a handful of employees "get down" six days a week and serve up freshly ground sirloin hamburgers to satisfied patrons. "They bring friends who are diehard fans of Chris Madrid's, Sam's Burger Joint (readers' third choice), and Cheesy Jane's, but before these people leave, they switch allegiance. I'll put my burger up to anybody's, anyday. I know what I put on it, and I know it's got flavor."
Weaver says the secret to his formula for best burger in town lies in the eight ingredients he mixes into the ground meat, but he won't reveal the nature of these spices. He says that only family members, including his wife, of course, know the ingredients.
The Lord's Kitchen started out as a taco stand, with dinner plates that featured Salisbury steak, chicken fried steak, enchiladas, barbecue sausage and ribs. Weaver previously worked as a semi-professional football player and a mechanic, but since he and Lillie both loved to cook, they decided to open a restaurant, with an emphasis on big portions. "We did burgers at the same time, and we came up with the seasoning, and people were tearing the burgers up, they weren't going to the dinner plates."
The Weavers pared the menu to about 25 different hamburgers, although they still offer breakfast tacos. "It took off from there, and it ain't ever been the same. We tripled our business, and now we're known for our burgers," says Weaver.
Before we get down to the burgers on the menu of the Lord's Kitchen, a special note should be made about the french fries and onion rings that come with the lunch specials. Staffers commented that the onion rings were tasty, and that the homemade-style fries "taste like real potatoes."
Now, the burgers. Mayor Ed Garza calls for catering about once a month, and the menu features Mayor Ed's molé burger nestled among half-pounders with names like the Mama Bell Burger with beans, jalapeños, onions, and cheese; the Santa Fe Burger with barbecue sauce, onions, cheese, and bacon; the Ghetto Burger with chile, cheese, mustard, and pickle; and the Caliente Burger with jalapeños, cheese, salsa, and mustard.
Adventurous types can up the ante with the 1-pound Lord's Burger, just under $8 with fries and a drink. There's the 1 1/2-pound Get Down Burger that's guaranteed to make one seek out a backyard hammock for a long afternoon nap.
| The Lord's Kitchen |
Price range $3-12.95
Credit cards accepted
Burgers dominate the menu, but there are alternatives such as grilled chicken burgers, fish burgers, jumbo old-fashion chile dogs (another special recipe Weaver concocted), and a menu for kids that includes chicken nuggets and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.
Weaver says that when he and Lillie jumped into the burger joint business, they had about $300 in their pockets. With nobody willing to give them a loan, they scrounged around for tables, chairs, and used kitchen equipment, which they cleaned and repaired before they opened. "It took us a long time to get where we're at, but the hard work is done, now all we have to do is ensure the quality of the food."
Lastly, Weaver explains how he came up with the name, The Lord's Kitchen. "I was going to name it 'Get Down Charlie's,' but I fell off the roof, got heat stroke, and survived. I decided to call it The Lord's Kitchen." •
By Michael Cary