August 11th, 2010

Hubcap Grill: More Meat Sweats

The feeling of deja vu is coming over me. I think we’ve had this discussion once or maybe twice before. Burgers are a touchy subject, but we here at The Loop Scoop are trying to break through the bull (or is it heifer in this situation?) by checking out a bunch of Houston burger joints.

In my last foray into this world of bovine tastiness I tiptoed over the sensitive subject of Whataburger vs. In-N-Out by suggesting a few other options around town, namely, Hubcap Grill and Christian’s Tailgate. So what is it about Hubcap Grill that keeps bringing me back? The burgers of course, but there are other things that make me happy to have this place in the Bayou City.

Hubcap Grill Exterior

When you first meet Ricky Craig, the owner of Hubcap Grill, you may think he’s a bit brash or even rude, but once you ask him about his craft, a smile comes over him and he is happy to tell you what he and his dad have created. Hubcap Grill sits on Prairie Street in a small building that used to house a Mexican restaurant. Walk inside and you are thrown into an old style burger joint. Four tables line a long wall inside and there is also a patio with seating outside. Either Ricky or his dad are standing behind the counter ready to take your order.

Ricky Craig of Hubcap Grill

Ordering is probably the hardest part of your experience. The menu reads like an ER report, with burger names such as “Triple Heart Clogger,” “Black & Blue” and the “Sticky Burger.” Honestly, you can’t go wrong at Hubcap. Just think of your favorite flavors and find the burger that matches it. Have a craving for Frito pie? There’s a burger for that.

Where Hubcap Grill stands out for me is the patty. It is thin. It is well seasoned. It is cooked to a perfect medium rare to medium. Charred bits mixing with the slightly rarer bits give your tastebuds that grease induced high that they crave. Yes, the burger could stand alone, but the toppings at Hubcap make it all the more interesting. Cheetos? Yes. Frito pie? We’ve already been over that. Hot dog? Hot diggity dog!

My favorite burger, as of late, is the Hubcap Decker (pictured below). It is two patties, American and Swiss cheese and Hubcap’s special mayo. Talk about a lot of flavor in a burger. When father and son Craig put this choice at the top of the menu, they knew it was going to be their flagship sandwich.

There are two other things that set Hubcap Grill apart from other places. One is the fries and the other are the old-time, glass-bottled sodas. The fries are cooked well, but the seasonings that put them over the top. They’re not too salty and have just enough flavor to please your mouth. Old-time, bottled sodas are a personal memory jolt and I know I’m not alone. They throw my mind back to being a kid and drinking Dr. Pepper and RC Cola out of an ice cold bottle. Having a great burger, some fries and a bottled soda is not only delicious and a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, it’s also a trip down memory lane.

Hubcap can get really crowded on weekdays due to the downtown lunch crowd knowing a good thing when they taste it. If you want to visit during a calmer setting, try a Saturday afternoon. Tell Ricky and his dad hello and enjoy a great burger.

Hubcap Grill has also recently opened a burger truck. Ricky is serving his signature burgers but he is also making sliders. The truck was located at the southwest corner of West Gray and Montrose in the parking lot of Christy’s Donuts but Ricky recently posted on Twitter that he is moving to Liberty Station, which is fine with us – we’re big fans of the bar on Washington. Now we’ll have cold beers a stone’s pebble’s throw away from a delicious burger.

[Check out the rest of our photos on the Flickr Photo Set]


Where – Downtown: 1111 Prairie, Houston, TX 77002 (View Map)
Burger Truck: 2101 Washington, Houston, TX 77007 (View Map) [location subject to change]
What – Delicious burgers in the middle of downtown Houston
Wear – There is no dress code, though Ricky has been seen in Ed Hardy
How Much – You’ll pay nearly the same amount as you would at a Whataburger but you’ll get a better burger
When – Downtown: Monday-Saturday 11am-3pm
Burger Truck: Follow Hubcap Grill’s Twitter account for the hours.

— Stephan


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