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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Lunch Report: Bobby J's in Helotes...

You know this guy's face from the billboards up and down Bandera Road and you've probably read about his restaurant being a Critic's Choice for years, but for whatever reason, you haven't taken the short drive north of 16o4 on Highway 16 to Bobby J's.I know, there are any number of valid reasons including the crappy traffic in the Bandera Pointe area, or maybe you think that Bobby J looks as creepy in person as his billboard makes him out to be. Actually, we have been before but hadn't been back for several years. Our reason had nothing to do with the food, but rather the atmosphere. On our one and only visit prior to today, we found the place to be extremely cramped. As I recall, we had a hard time finding a table in the small cramped dining room, then felt rushed by other people waiting for a place to sit as we finished up.So a few things you should know: Bobby J does not look creepy in person, in fact, he looks nothing like Captain Kangaroo. More importantly, the place has expanded and even though there was already a brisk business during our visit, we had no problem sitting in the new dining room. In case you need it, they also have ample outdoor seating, especially nice on a beautiful day like today.

There are loads of Internet reviews of Bobby J's and most all are accurate as far as I'm concerned, calling the burgers excellent, mouth watering, must have and such. We only have one minor dissent, so I have to give you the bad right along with the good.
My wife ordered the 1/3 lb Chili Burger. According to the official web page, they say that Bobby makes his chili with his own secret recipe. I told my wife this and she said his only secret is that he takes the labels off the cans of Hormel.I think she was more put off on the appearance. On our last visit to Red Robin, she had seen some people at the table next to our order a chili burger and it came open-faced with obvious beans and beef, whereas her burger seemed to have more of a chili sauce, not unlike what you might squirt onto a hot dog when you stop into an Exxon for a quick lunch. Okay, so my wife won't race back for the chili burger, but don't let her misfortune stop you from giving it a try.Instead of ordering fries or rings with our burgers, we got a family order of onion rings and fries together. You need to know two things. The fries were okay, the onion rings were outstanding. And it was a pretty good idea to offer an order of the two together.My son was with us and he ordered up the 1/3 lb Fiesta Burger which is a regular burger but with refried beans on top of it. He loved it but opined that it would have been really good with a slice of cheddar cheese to top it off. He also wished he had ordered the 1/2 lb.I have heard several people recommend the Jalapeño Cheddar burger, and I went for the 1/2 pounder. No complaints at all. If you recall the report on our visit to Armadillo's over off of McCullough downtown, I would be willing to bet that the folks there have been to Bobby J's. There is a good similarity to the buns that I like - grilled and smashed. Some people have described Bobby's burgers as greasy in a good way and I have to agree completely.People, I dig me some vittles and I gotta tell you that I made serious work of that 1/2 pound Jalapeño Cheddar burger. The ingredients are fresh, there is no skimping on the fixin's and we really didn't wait that long for our order. My wife's disappointment with the appearance of her chili notwithstanding, Bobby J's gets the Tasty Treat in my book.


Anonymous said...

Eva says:

I was not just the appearance of the burger but the rumble it left in my tummy.Heck I am from Texas I love me some chili but this his own recipe was eh okay. It would probably be good on chili fries.I just was not impressed and won't say oh let us make a special trip. Like I would for Red Robin. The onion rings were great but the fries were cold tasty treat this was not. Anyhoo, I have heard from the great chefs appearance is 90% of the food. On a scale of 1-10 . I give it a 4 . Perhaps I just wasn't in the mood for a sloppy burger.

m2 said...

"The fries were okay"

I gotta disagree, I think Bobby J's fries are some of the best you'll find in S.A.

But overall I love the place, and we go back often. As a matter of fact, I lobbied (successfully) to get the Hamburger Steak back after it's introductory period was over.

And the folks that work there are the best!

Cheers! M2

Dave said...

Yea, this is one that my wife and I will just disagree on. She just wasn't happy with her burger or the fries and she gets to have her opinion. But both my son and I were pleased as punch.

I do confess, I only had one or two actual fries (because they were not hot) but of course, I was more involved with a half-pound of heaven in the form of the Jalapeño Cheddar burger and they very well could have arrived hot, but cooled as I shoveled pure goodness down my gullet.

Bottomline: I'll definitely return.

Mike said...

I love it and my wife had the chili burger and loved it...then we went to Red Robin, then Chesters where she also got the chili burger and she said Bobby J's was the best...

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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