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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lunch Report: Big's at Potranco and 151...

Just last week I had taken a new co-worker to eat at my favorite place for a good burger and our conversation hit on the topic of finding places along the highway where you can go in and get a good, greasy, totally unhealthy but extremely tasty burger. What a coincidence? Several regular readers here told us we needed to check out the Texaco Gas Station called Big's at the intersection of Potranco and Highway 151 for a really good burger at a really fair price. By further coincidence, my wife and I were extremely hungry yesterday afternoon, so off we went!As it turns out, Big's has been the Saturday hang-out place for local car enthusiasts for some time now. When we pulled in, the place was packed with cool cars lined up, hoods open and people milling about admiring one another's shiny rods. More on that in a bit.Inside, Big's is clean, bright and well, bigger than your regular convenience store. I love travel stops like this where you can take a short break on your trip, gas up the car, get some souvenirs and something to eat, then be on your way. Big's is probably a lesser version of Buc-ee's but nonetheless, worth stopping in especially if you are from out of town and just leaving Sea World (which is just a few blocks away).Because of the car show outside, the place was packed. As luck would have it, I had a brief conversation with The Most Interesting Man in the World. I told him he looked much thinner in person. He told me I also looked much thinner than the pictures on my blog.Big's has a huge selection of pre-made fried stuff - chicken, wings, stuffed jalapeno and all sorts of stuff someone might grab to go in a hurry. But thy also serve pizza and have a full grill running behind the counter. Of course, we were there for the burgers. As we were placing our order, we saw some folks from the neighborhood (there to display their Corvette), and we were told the onion rings were a must. Good call.My wife ordered a cheeseburger combo with rings and a drink for about $5.00. The patties are obviously pre-packaged, but they are half-pound and fried to be juicy. (That is a bad picture - my fault). You'll notice that the bun has been grilled - a must for a good burger, and of course they load it with all the fixin's - including mayo! The onion rings are simply top notch. These are the battered type which I love and they are neither undercooked or overcooked. I suspect they use a timer. I upgraded to the bacon cheeseburger and for the price, it was a solid purchase. I think our total bill was $11, and we were a lot happier than what we have gotten from other places for double that price. Obviously, you pay for atmosphere when you go to a fancier place, but I'm talking strictly quality/taste of food. I should also point out again, if you are freaked out by a little grease, you'd best get a bib or just order something a little lighter.

Overall, walk in and check the place out. Give the burgers a try at least once, and if you don't check out the onion rings, you'll regret it.


My very first car was a 1973 Camaro which, thanks to a collision became a '72 Camaro when we had to go with a different front end because that was all we could find. I spent a lot of money on that car and it was fine. Someday, I'll find a picture of it and post it here. About the time I got married and we had our first kid, I sort of lost the desire to spend money on expensive paint jobs, over sized tires and special engine parts. Instead, money spent on vehicles included things like new radiators, new brakes, new alternators and such. Times are often tight for young families, and wasting cash on a shiny car was not an option.
Having said that, I am impressed by the people who take the time and put in the hard work to take their vehicles to the next level. Whether it is their daily driver that just has a little extra to make it sharp, or it is strictly a weekend show car that has gone through years of restoration and tweaking for the pure satisfaction of showing it off to friends, you have to appreciate - and I do - the pride of ownership and the camaraderie that these folks share.So when we asked the person taking our order about the car gathering out in front of Big's, he told us that it had been a weekly event but that in fact, this Saturday would be the last. It seems that a few bad apples in the crowd had ruined it for everyone else. Stupid things like pushing the emergency gas shut-off button, not once, but three times. And who knows? the perpetrators could every well have been people passing through, not even folks there to show their cars. Who knows?Any way, I just wanted to say that, without knowing all the details, the fact that they aren't willing to sponsor this event anymore is just another continuing commentary on how small numbers of jerks ruin good things for folks. When we were there, there were at least 100 different cars on display. From what we could see, most of the folks seemed to just kick back in lawn chairs and answer questions to anyone interested in their cars. You see the same thing at public parks, concerts and other events. Most people just want to go out and have an enjoyable time but an isolated few want to ruin it. Sad.

I hope the folks can find a new place to meet and show their cars.


Deep Forest said...

Well apparently Bigg's doesn't give a flip about the weekend after lunch crowd. Went over there this afternoon expecting something great and found nothing. Nobody manning the grill, only someone taking money for gas...A rip-off to say the least. Avoid this place on the weekends at all cost..They don't care and it shows....

Steve said...

They sold the Deli/Grill to another company, and the new prices seem very high, burgers are still reasonable though, not sure how they taste. They no longer have the car shows due to security reasons; drinking, drugs, etc.

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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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