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Little Bitty Burger Barn
5503 Pinemont Drive
Houston, TX 77092-2619 (map)
Wittle Bit Hungwy –
In the middle of a busy work week, I got a call from my brother in law telling me he had an expiring coupon to this burger place in northwest Houston. Did I want to go try it with him? Uh… Yeah! I made my way to one of the less savory areas in Houston and pulled up to a shack by some railroad tracks. The parking lot was full and there was already a line out the door. Well that is a good sign that we were in for a special Burger Tyme. I managed to park behind what looked to be an abandoned hardware store within walking distance and walked my way to the “Barn”. We stepped inside and I was surprised by how deceptively big this place is. From the outside it seems like just a small portable building, but inside there were plenty of tables and booths… All full. We got in line and and began perusing the menu board.
Right off the bat, things were looking pretty good for this Itty Bitty Burger Tyme. All burgers were served on a fresh baked bun and could be ordered with either the 1/4 or 1/2 lb patty of fresh, never frozen beef. The price also included your choice of fries, tater tots, or onion rings. So far, this place had the features that I look for and a price that like. It could only be better if they have shakes… THEY DO! Can I add a fried egg?… YES! This is burger heaven. While we were waiting, it is becoming obvious that there are some struggles at the cash register. It was the employees first day and the owner was running back and forth from the kitchen to help her ring customers up. It wasn’t that big of a deal but the aroma of cooking burgers was making my stomach yearn for some little bitty goodness.
Wait a Wittle Wonger –
Our turn comes up, but there is a problem. Neither the owner nor the new employee are to be found. It’s just a line of potential customers and an empty counter. For about five minutes, we waited at the counter, while they would pop their head out of the kitchen and say it would be just a minute. At this point I’m still OK waiting. The burgers I see coming out of the kitchen look great. Finally the owner steps out and explains that they are very busy and begins to take our order.
I put my order in for a fully loaded 1/4 lb cheese burger with an added fried egg ( of course), tater tots, and a chocolate shake. I was told the shake would come out with my order. My brother in law placed his order and we were fortunate enough to find a seat. While we were in line, the people continued to pile in and the line was always out the door. So, obviously, this place was busy. After waiting 15 minutes to get an order in, we waited some more for our order… And waited… And waited. After about 20 minutes here it came. In the hands of the new employee who had been relegated to bringing food out, were two great looking baskets filled with big burgers, lots of tots, and a shake… No wait, where is my shake. I asked her about the missing item, and she said she would bring it right out. Thinking it would soon turn up, we dug in.
The bun was pillowy soft and very good. While I only ordered the 1/4lb patty, it seemed a little larger and added a very nicely seasoned beefy flavor. It had a nice sear on it and the cheese was perfectly melted. The veggies were so so. The slice of red onion was great but the chopped ice burg lettuce was the let down, albeit the only let down of the very well balanced burger. The addition of the fried egg only vaulted this burger into the greatness stratosphere! The tots were, well, tots. I love tots but I honestly couldn’t tell you a tot I’ve had is any different than any place else, like I could with fries. I’m sure they are frozen and all come out of the same factory in the north east, but I still love them.
The shake was… was… still not there. I was halfway through the burger. I approached the counter to ask for it and was told by the owner it was coming out soon. I grabbed a cup of water to at least have something to wash this down with. I managed to finish this entire meal with only a cup of water. While my arteries were happy, my mouth was sad.
The Wrap It Up –
Little Bitty Burger Barn has a great, GREAT burger! But this place also has some Little Bitty problems. The wait time is just ridiculous. I understand that they were busy and there was a new employee, but almost 40 minutes from arrival to eating is insane. The owner was somewhat apologetic for the wait and the confusion but never actually apologized. He would only say “We’re really busy”… Yeah, I can tell. I did finally get my shake… As I was walking out the door. Had I had it with the meal I would have probably thought it was pretty good. But while driving home, it seemed like nothing more than half-hearted mixture of soft serve mixed with Hershey’s syrup. Overall, I would go back but not during a week day lunch. The burger was surprisingly good with borderline gourmet quality and the price was spot on. They just need to fix a few of the rush hour kinks. If they can iron this out, I can promise, the rating will go up.