A friend of mine (let’s call him The Sledge) raved about Chris Madrid’s several years ago, and I’ve wanted to go since. I finally got a chance to hit the place up before attending an after-lunch conference. When I pulled up, I was heartbroken–the restaurant had burned down. It was being rebuilt, but appeared to be weeks away from slinging burgers. Despite the heat, I walked the street since the architecture looked interesting, and lo and behold: The Chris Madrid food trailer around the corner!
A fire in October 2017 (“I’m sure it was a grease fire,” explained a waiter at dinner at the conference hotel) knocked Chris Madrid’s out of commission. The extent of the damage and the city’s insistence of bringing the building to code resulted in starting from scratch. Fortunately, the place reopened as a trailer with covered seating, including an area with AC and fans. Pretty lo-fi, but I was here for the chow.
The Tostada Burger is Chris Madrid’s specialty (it includes refried beans, chips, and metled cheddar on the burger) but I went with “Everyone’s Favorite,” the Cheddar Cheezy (lots of melted cheddar cheese with mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pcikles; $9.75) with a side of fries (which are not their usual fries; $3.25). I believe I got macho’d (update: I found my receipt and did NOT get macho’d; I’m afraid to ask what the holy hell macho’d is!). Or at least I hope so, because the burger I got was the size of a gorilla head with a cheese glacier oozing across the beef and down the sides ready to calve into your mouth.
This mighty fine, thin-patty had the pleasant texture of an old skool 1950s burger (Madrid’s reaches back to 1977) with each bite having a nice balance of beef, cheese, bread, and condiments. “Only eat half of it fer cry eye!” yelped the voice of logic, but my taste buds Billy Idol’d “More! More! More!” The fries were good, but I’m intrigued about their usual fries. And perhaps in a nod to the 1970s, the soundtrack was delightfully disco!
I saw The Sledge later and told him where I had been, and he replied “You got the Tostada Burger, right?” Next time, my friend: Next time.
UPDATE 2/9/2020: Stopped in to (1) check out the new digs and (2) try out the Tostada Burger. The new digs are fantastic: large with lots of indoor and outdoor seating. Although new, Madrid’s has worked to build in the dive charm. The Tostada Burger was really good, but you’re really not getting much more than the basic cheeseburger (essentially chips on the patty).
web&where: interwebs; 830 west hollywood, san antonio, texas; (210) 735-3552
what’s the deal? old skool burgers the size of gorilla heads dripping with cheddar; table service
overall: *** (food***; drink*; atmosphere**; service**; instagrammability***)
– meh [think twice]
* OK [it’ll get the job done]
** good [solid neighborhood joint]
*** damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
**** yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best]