Buda Grocery & Grill
Put this spot on your foodie radar
Reviewed by Mick Vann, Fri., June 10, 2011
Buda Grocery & Grill100 N. Main St., Buda, 512/295-2151
Monday-Friday, 6am-8pm; Saturday, 8am-8pm
Buda Grocery & Grill opened in 1913 as the E. J. Cleveland General Store, on the corner of Main and Peach streets in downtown Buda, and it still has the original pressed-tin ceiling and hardwood floors. It went through several sets of owners in the intervening years, until Madelyn and Rusty Uresti purchased it two years ago. The store has made burgers until 3pm for the last seven years, but the Urestis came up with new extended hours, a new menu, and a new seasoning mix for the meat, and the public has taken notice ... quietly. "We've never advertised the burgers – just relied on word of mouth," says night manager Mike Davis. "That's the best advertising you can get."
I heard about the burgers from a friend who lives in the area. The first one I had really reminded me of the burgers of days past, perfectly fitting the history of the building. When I got through, there was juice running halfway down both arms and a small pool in the bottom of the basket. I had to jury-rig some folded napkins to tilt the fries-end of my basket to isolate the juice. This is definitely not a burger for long sleeves, and a bib wouldn't be overkill. My favorite is the double cheeseburger with bacon ($5.29). The buns (white or wheat) are toasted on both sides on the griddle, which gives them the strength to contain the massive girth of what's in the middle. Two well-seasoned, hefty patties are both covered with thick slices of smoky bacon and cheese, and the vegetables are all crisp and fresh. You want your onions grilled? You need only ask. Then you have to smash everything down to be able to take the first bite. This, my friends, is a hamburger of note, and the Blue Bell vanilla shake ($2.49) was as good as it gets.
But burgers are not all that's here. Back in the day, Angie Garcia's breakfast tacos were legendary. Garcia is no longer there, but the tacos remain ($1.39-1.89). One of the favorites is Walter's Special ($2.49), with rich carne guisada, grilled jalapeños and onions, and tomatoes. The ultimate might be the Kicker ($2.49), with chorizo, egg, potato, sausage, beans, cheese, jalapeños, and bacon bits. It has a full breakfast menu, including migas, huevos rancheros and mexicanos, omelets, pancakes, biscuits, and the delightful "oatmeal and fixin's" ($2.99), loaded with raisins, dried cranberries, shaved almonds, butter, and brown sugar.
Daily lunch specials ($5.99) run all week. We had some wonderful lasagna on a Monday, and Tuesday's special is Minnie's Enchiladas. Minnie is Rusty's mom, and a cook of such note that the Valero Texas Open golf tournament in San Antonio (where they know good Mexican food) asked her to start catering the closing party every year. They had no choice, as pro golfer Nick Watney is Madelyn and Rusty's son-in-law, and Minnie's legendary aftertournament parties were so good that few golfers would go to the official party. To round out the week, Wednesday's special is meat loaf, Thursday's is chicken-fried steak, and Friday's is barbecue brisket.
The Urestis hope to have their liquor permit by mid-July and will start serving cocktails. They will also start serving steaks, pasta, fish, and other items on the back patio soon after. Every first Saturday is classic car day, when local gearheads show off their rides at the restaurant. First Thursdays in Buda, there's a wine tasting in the evening, and then you can head down to the flower shop for a catered dinner ($8.99). On Saturdays, Miss Ruthie, an elderly African-American local, is out front selling amazing baked goods (that $10 chess pie was fantastic). For a return to the amazing burgers of the past and great food in the present, Buda Grocery & Grill needs to be on your foodie radar. It is superb – and only getting better.