Along the Hamburger Trail -- Herd's Burgers
Herd's Burgers - Jacksboro Texas
Jacksboro, Texas is a small town in Jack County and takes about 90 minutes to two hours to get to from our house. It's a small town of about 4,500 people and has an interesting history that predates the Civil War. Farming is pretty much the main local industry and the downtown area can be pretty much be toured in a matter of minutes.
There is a state park (Fort Richardson Historical State Park) and the skeletal remains of an abandoned drive in theater (the Mesquite) and other than that not much else to see. But they do have an attraction that is very unique; Herds Hamburgers, a tiny burger joint that has been in the business of serving up delicious (or as their sign says: “Larrupin” ) hamburgers for one hundred years. Yes you read right; one hundred years!
Ordering here is simplistic, yet complicated for the uninitiated. There is no menu and no numbered combo meal board to order off of. You ask for a burger (single or double) and pay extra for cheese or bacon. There are no French Fries; if you want chips you yank a bag off the display on the wall by the door and drinks too are self-served from a cooler underneath the chips.
The cook has a large pile of ground beef next to their tiny steel grill, yanks a handful of meat and forms the patty by hand and grills it, then hands it to two girls who assemble the burgers assembly-line style on a nearby counter. Each burger gets onion, lettuce tomato and mustard; if you want it any other way you have to ask; mayo and ketchup have to be asked for.
There is no phone to phone in orders and aside from the two or three picnic tables out front, no tables to eat at. There are school desks to eat at in the main waiting area but most of the people ordering the day we were there seemed to be taking their orders to go.
And the burgers? Absolutely delicious...they taste the way you remember burgers tasting when you were a kid. I watched the guy fix ours and I didn't notice him doing anything unusual when preparing them, yet they were wonderful. Are they worth a two-hour drive? Well that's debatable but they were good. Very good in fact. Maybe that's how this place has survived 100 years; serving a good quality product in a town that has a Dairy Queen just up the highway
Don't come here if you're in a hurry; the burgers do in fact take a few minutes. And bring cash; they don't take credit cards and in a town like Jacksboro ATMs are far and few between. I think that is part of the charm of driving the extra distance to a place like Herds ; you're going to a place where time may not have stood still but it moves at a much slower pace.