Cheap Eats: Hut’s Hamburgers
Austin classic is still one of the best deals in town
There are few things scarier than putting yourself out there, especially when it comes to dating. For that reason, it's best to go somewhere you know you'll feel comfortable, somewhere your stunning intellect and ravishing good looks can shimmer seductively in the dim glow of a red neon beer sign. Contrast makes things interesting, and if you really want to wow someone, what better way to win hearts and minds than by looking fabulous and eating burgers in one of Austin's most iconic locations.
Cheap Eats Case File 004: Hut's Hamburgers
One of the oldest businesses on West Sixth, Hut's is criminally underrated. With a huge variety of burgers and food options, getting full here isn't of concern, which is great news when you're eating on the cheap. The burgers here are generously large, the service is fast and friendly, and the decor is charmingly ramshackle.
The Meal: There are only two kinds of burger lovers in the world: those who like burgers with thick patties, and those who prefer burgers with thin patties. I am 100% on Team Thin Patty. I like to experience everything in one bite; the tang of mustard, the tenderness of the meat against the crunch of iceberg lettuce, and the dripping tomato. Luckily for me, Hut's agrees. But the 20 different kinds of burgers are just a start. There are also 14 kinds of sandwiches, and an array of Blue Plate specials (which features some of the best chicken-fried steak [$10.95] that has ever, or will ever exist) so you can't really go wrong here. We ordered the Ritchie Valens Burger ($7.75), featuring guacamole, grated cheddar, chopped tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños, as well as Hut's All American Buddy Holly Burger ($7.75, jazzed up with an adder of the chipotle mayo for an additional 50 cents) which has all the traditional fixings. Both were remarkably juicy, just dense enough to have some bite. The thick-cut fries ($3.95) are fresh-cut, with ends of potato skin still on, and the gigantic cornmeal-coated onion rings ($4.50) are ridiculously filling. If you have room after all that, the seriously decadent milkshakes – topped with mountains of whipped cream, maraschino cherries and served in icy soda fountain glasses ($3.75) – are definitely a worthwhile treat.
The Atmosphere: Maybe there are more contemporary dining rooms out there serving fancier burgers, but nothing beats Hut's retro dining room for old-fashioned romance. Featuring college football pennants, Fifties pinup girls, maps of old Austin, and a stuffed buffalo head wearing a jaunty cap, Hut's dining room has changed little since its inception. From the vinyl booths to the red and black checkered floor, eating here is a welcome step back to another era.
The Verdict: There's something refreshingly no-nonsense about getting a burger at an old-fashioned burger joint. And for the budget-minded, Hut's is unbeatable. For two burgers and a split basket of fries and onion rings, we landed squarely at $21.65 before tip. For those wanting to mind their pocketbook even more, the Austin classic has one of the best deals in town – two burgers for the price of one from 6-10pm on Wednesdays. Additionally, most of the beer selection is under $5, so you won't feel guilty about downing a couple while your dining companion tells yet another insufferable, name-dropping story. There's nothing fake or bougie about Hut's. It's just food, and that's exactly why it's so good. Now if we could say the same about your date.