Come on down to Burger Town

The Big Bopper Burger, onion rings, and a root beer float

When Bruce Self was a boy, he often visited his favorite drive-in burger joint on Texas Avenue in Bridge City to grab some hand-battered, crispy-coated onion rings. Self said he remembers the then-owner of Burger Town, the late Joyce Viator, and how important it was to her to serve good, fresh food with just the right ingredients.

“Nothing was bought pre-made,” Bruce says. “She had a secret family recipe that just couldn’t be beat.”

With fast food infiltrating every nook and cranny of American society and consumers now spending an annual $117 billion at popular chains across the country, according to a 2014 article in USA Today, many have forgotten how enjoyable it can be to visit a mom-and-pop burger shop.

While Bruce was working as a process operator at Goodyear in Beaumont, he envisioned owning such a shop.

“All the guys at the plant would be buying bass boats, and I’d be buying fryers,” Bruce says. His food obsession started with a simple snow-cone stand in Bridge City, which began adding more and more menu items at the request of frequent customers.

In 1995, Bruce and his wife Donna decided to make their dream a reality and purchased Burger Town from Viator. And with it, all her secret recipes.

“We’re not in fast food; we’re in good food,” Bruce says. “We still use all the same original recipes from the old days.”

Along with the 1950s décor — 45s you might remember playing in your favorite soda shop jukebox line the walls and nostalgic knick-knacks and doodads can be seen resting on the mantle beside an old Coca-Cola Huffy — menu items remind of a simpler time.

The Big Bopper Burger is 1 pound of ground chuck with double bacon and double cheese, fully dressed — a juicy and voluptuous burger that not only tantalizes your taste buds, but is also a challenge to finish. And don’t forget the onion rings, homemade daily and a long-time favorite of locals, including Bruce, since 1958. But the fun and flavor doesn’t stop there. The Chicken Strip Spud is another customer favorite, which comes with rich, creamy white gravy, bacon bits, green onions, butter and cheese. Not your average baked potato, it’s also a chore to finish.

Root beer floats, homemade malts, and other tasty beverages evoke memories of soda jerks at your nearby drugstore. (Blue Bell Ice Cream will be returning to Burger Town soon too).

The service couldn’t get any more personalized, either. Not only does Bruce greet customers with a smile, but if you frequent often, don’t be surprised if he remembers your favorite menu item.

And the menu offers more than just burgers. You can get a plethora of baskets including butterfly shrimp, steak fingers, chicken strips, oysters or po boys, wings, and great barbecue such as chopped beef brisket and the BBQ Link Burger.

While there, the influx of customers ordered items such as the Crab Burger, Pizza Burger and Chicken Fried Steak Burger.

Bruce’s vision for Burger Town was built with his own hands – literally. Bruce constructed the building at 6223 W. Roundbunch Road in Orangefield after Hurricane Rita destroyed the old building on the property, which, by the way, he also built.

The building was barely hanging on, but Bruce was determined to continue the Burger Town legacy. The slab for the current building was poured in 2009.

“It took him three years to finish it,” Donna says.

Classic car shows are held in the parking lot and oldies concerts on the outside patio, adding to the flavor of Burger Town, which is hopping during the school year.

“We get customers from Orangefield, Bridge City, Vidor and Orange. On Friday nights during high school football season, this place is packed,” Bruce says.

Even if you live in Beaumont or Port Arthur, this one’s worth the drive. We’re actually surprised that it hasn’t been featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Yes, it’s that good! So come on down to Burger Town at 6223 W. Roundbunch Road, Orangefield. They're open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Call ahead orders at (409) 735-8840. You won’t be disappointed!

—  Kevin King and Chad Cooper