They celebrated their first anniversary in April, and right as high noon hits, the dining room is empty. It’s literally empty — the chairs and tables have vanished, and stickers form a pathway every six feet to show where a few souls can stand. Miroslava Pena, who’s runs the burger joint with her family, punches the register behind a shield and a mask.
Porky’s Burgers and Wings is the free-standing, baby-blue hut on the edge of a vision-spanning parking lot. It’s a family business situated at the base of a mountain range of big retail shops, a real Rocky Balboa kind of burger joint on Gus Thomasson Road in Mesquite.
Their griddled cheeseburgers — giant, two-hander sandwiches with tons of fixings — are knockouts. They’re given a heavy coat of salt, pepper and some punchy garlicky dry seasoning. The french fries are fantastic, tall, salty columns that stay standing when swiped through condiments.
The chicken-fried steak sandwich is a simple pleasure with pickle slices, very fresh tomato, lettuce and onion under the flash-crunch of breaded, fork-tender steak. There’s some mayonnaise on the top bun, a big soft puffy disc, and that’s it.
Porky’s is one of those rare species of family-owned fast food joints that keeps their burger toppings as fresh as the beef. Things you won’t find on a Porky’s sandwich: Rusty-ended lettuce bits or tomatoes as basic and flavorless as printer paper, and you absolutely won’t find buns that taste like a cup of sand.
There’s time spent on construction here: Caramelized beef juices run into the lettuce-onion-pickles mix, melding into a new condiment. It’s stacked neatly and knife-ready between the bun. They don’t drop defunct lettuce and red onion that’s so potent it stings in a Styrofoam package. You don’t need to build your own burger here; they’ve figured out what you want.
It travels brilliantly — the chicken-fried steak’s breading snaps awake when I slice it down the center. The structural integrity is intact through and through. Curly fries are spiked with some heat. Tater tots crunch loud enough to be noise-canceling.
Porky’s is ideal fast food — drive-thru, dining in or any way that we can get it — in times of crisis.
Porky's Burgers and Wings, 4612 Gus Thomasson Road, Mesquite. Open for takeout only 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.