We had actually driven by the Bracken Store Cafe a few years ago but as I recall, it was closed, and we even commented on how we should come back some day and give it a visit. Of course, time flies and there are probably dozens of places we have driven by and commented that we ought to stop by sometime, and we just never seem to make it back.
Then, a month or so ago, I read about BSC from the folks over at San Antonio Burger Blog, and it was only a matter of fitting a visit for some good vittles into our schedule. Today, my friends, was the day.
Even from the outside, you just know that regardless of how the food comes out, there is going to be something to enjoy about the inside of the place. On the roof of the place, there was a tricycle. I wondered if it was creative decoration or if someone just got bored and threw the thing up there as a prank. Who knows?
Inside, I was instantly happy with lots to look at. Not in a Chili’s or Applebee’s way, but in a, “Hey, look what I found in the barn; let’s nail it to the wall” kinda way. We walked in and immediately began to place our orders. All three of us (my son is in town visiting for the weekend) ordered the cheeseburger and we then got an order of onion rings and some tater tots to share. For those of you who live off of your debit card, you need to know that this is strictly a cash operation. When you hear that guy on the radio say, “What’s in your wallet?” the answer better be cash.
Before we get to the food, I need to mention what regular readers already know. I consider the gold standard of burgers in San Antonio to be Lord’s Kitchen. It isn’t that I am somehow tied to it – I’d be happy to find a better burger, but when I hear people attempt to put Chris Madrid’s or Chunky’s or even Bobby J’s – all very excellent places; places that I’ll gladly dine at anytime and enjoy – in the same tier as Lord’s, I’m sorry, it just doesn’t sit well with me. So when I had seen that many people were not only comparing the burgers at BSC to Lord’s, but even saying BSC was better, I went in prepared to be wow’d.
We took a table toward the back where we could see the bar and the door and all the cool things hanging from the ceiling and walls. As we were waiting for the food, we struck up a conversation with a nice lady who also had her kids in town for the Easter weekend and we talked of college students and Easter baskets for adult children and pictures in Bluebonnets and such. A very nice lady who really seemed to fit in with the atmosphere of the place. The wait staff was made up of friendly folks and everyone around us seemed to be in a great mood. I love that in a place to eat.
The only downside of where we were sitting was, it seemed to be on the Balcones Fault Line, because every time someone would walk by us to get a drink or deliver some food, the place literally shook. My son commented that it was worse than the two earthquakes he has experienced in Oklahoma City this year. I’d recommend you select a booth closer to the front of the store unless you happen to have some Dramamine with you or enjoy a simulated boat trip around Canyon Lake.
The web page says to expect about twenty-minutes to cook your burgers, but our wait was much shorter. When the waitress delivered the onion rings and tater tots, I knew we were in for a treat. The onion rings were comparable to Lord’s utilizing the same type of batter and served golden fried and hot. The tater tots were wonderful. They literally had the sensation of eating a roasted marshmallow; you know that feeling you get when you blow out the flame on your marshmallow and pull the burnt skin and it sizzles in a good way? They were just so light and perfectly fried.
The half-pound cheeseburgers come in a basket and served with a toothpick mounted green olive. I’m not sure what that is all about, but the burger itself looked well prepared. The handmade half-pound patty was not overcooked, and I like it that way. Admittedly, the appearance today would not have won me over, but I did see a photo on the SA Burger blog that did look a little better. The buns were very fresh and grilled. I’m guessing though that they do not slather on a hunk of lard before grilling the buns because they were not greasy. The mayo and mustard were clearly present, a must for my taste, and the generous load of pickles were a bonus.
When I had finished taking pictures, I looked up to see my son had wolfed down half his burger and was already in a trance. My wife was working on her burger as well, and I found myself behind in my eating duties. When I took that first bite, I knew. I understand the love for this place. I simply cannot tell you today that in a blindfolded taste test whether or not BSC would prevail over my love for the greasy heaven that is Lord’s Kitchen, but I do know now that there is a real competitor in town (or slightly outside of town).
I have to say that given all the factors, the atmosphere, the amount of seating, the cool location (compared to the relatively scary location of Lord’s) and the tater tots, I would probably send a visitor to BSC over Lord’s. Something to consider.
In the end, we left full, we left extremely satisfied and we all found Bracken Store Cafe to be an incredibly Tasty Treat.
Have you been to BSC? Have you had the catfish? I hope you’ll tell us about it. Why not click on the comment button below and tell us about it.