Sometimes the best things are found in the most unexpected places. And sometimes they're right where food television has trained us to expect them: in a rundown gas station on the road to nowhere.
If you take US-75 North and get off at Bethany Drive and follow it all the way across Lake Lavon where it becomes East Lucas Branch Road, there is a gas station that serves up one of the most delicious burgers I have had the pleasure to consume.
The Phillips 66 gas station on the left side of the road is part of the Branch Grocery and RV Park. Next door, as advertised, is the RV park. There are several RVs in residence. Across the road is an empty firework stand and a billboard with Bible passages printed across it.
A man has ridden his lawn mower to the gas station and is filling it up as we pull in. It's a beautiful place, like we're already in East Texas. We order from the ancient menu on the wall that advertises something called "Pizza Stick" and the woman at the counter turns around yells "TANYA! YOU'VE GOT AN ORDER!"
Tanya mans the tiny grill hidden behind the counter, and pops her head out once or twice to confirm our order. The woman at the counter wrangles two brooms from somewhere and starts sweeping, joking to Tanya that you know she means business when she gets two brooms out. There is talk of someone's baby and a trip to the fair. People come in and out and they know everyone's name. This isn't as sketchy as I remember it being. It's actually incredibly pleasant. I feel like my grandma is about to pop in and say hello.
When the burger comes, it is large and admittedly kind of sad looking. The bun is not great, but the bun does not matter with this burger. You can tell the patty was shaped by hand, and the veggies are fresh and crisp. IThe burger is juicy and meaty, and melted on top is good old slice of Kraft American cheese. Everything is messy and amazing.
We leave, saying goodbye and thank you to the ladies of Branch Grocery and RV Park, and pass underneath the looming Bible passages. Down the road, we see Lawn Mower Man out mowing his yard in the near dark.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.