In Search of Wichita Falls Best Local Burger
In the name of science, we attempted to find out who has the best burgers, fries, tots and onion rings
TheFUSE has previously attempted to determine who serves the best pizza in Wichita Falls, with delicious results. We concluded Stone Oven Pizza, Progress Pizza, Half-Pint, and Chicago Pizza Kitchens were among the best.
Next, we turned our attention to burgers in an attempt to discern where is the best place to get a burger and fries in Fallstown? For clarity’s sake, it should be noted we focused on five specific mom & pop type burger joints. Although there are surely more bougie out-of-this-world full-service restaurant burgers to be had, we wanted to focus specifically on local places that specialize in burgers and fries.
So, we chose five different locations, and over the course of a week, we visited each for lunch and ordered the same four items at each place to make sure our experience would be apples-to-apples. Here are our thoughts:
Gene’s Tasty Burger
We lost Gene’s Tasty Burger for a period in 2023 when the location closed, but they soon re-opened under new management. We visited on a weekday, just as the lunch rush was getting underway. We found Gene’s to be located in a working class neighborhood, at 2310 Holliday Rd, and it appeared to be a popular lunch spot for law enforcement personnel.
We found the burgers at Gene’s salty and old-fashioned, just the way we like ‘em. The patties came in small (4 oz) and large sizes (6 oz) and they appeared to be hand-pattied from fresh beef, with great flavor.
The onion rings were standout crunchy, and the tots were, in one taste-tester’s opinion, the best she ever had. Gene’s french fries were soft and potato-ey shoe strings, and the portions were some of the most generous of the restaurants we visited. Gene’s offered free refills on soda.
The price point at Gene’s Tasty Burger for two burger combos with an extra side of onion rings was $30.86, and we would find nearly every place we visited (with one exception) in approximately the same price range.
Scott’s Drive-In, at 4701 Old Jacksboro Highway, is a real old-fashioned drive in with cooks in paper hats and oldies blaring from the overhead speakers in the dining room. Outside, there are about a dozen drive in parking spots where you can order your food from a speaker and get it delivered by a car hop. The dining room is very small with limited seating, and the indoor ordering model has you order at the counter, then they sling your order ticket down a line on a clothespin to the cooks. You pay when you pick it up, and our total order seemed to be about 5-dollars cheaper than the other places we visited.
We found Scott’s fries to be a delicious crinkle cut style, and the tots were very good too. The burgers seemed to be on the smaller side, and our taste testers couldn’t agree on whether the patties were previously frozen or not.
If you decide to visit Scott’s, be aware they get very busy during lunch time. Also, if you need something sweet for dessert, one taste tester had a Cherry Malt that was absolutely to die for… we were still talking about it days later.
Ronnie’s Burgers, 1501 Midwestern Parkway, was the only location we visited with a strip mall location, and the overall ambience reflected a more corporate experience, with a large dining room and franchise-type look. The food, however, was great, and each of our taste testers took note of the excellent customer service.
We found the burgers at Ronnie’s to be good with big patties, and the fries were soft and potato-ey. The tots at Ronnie’s seemed to be lightly seasoned in a manner the other locations’ were not. Ronnie’s offered free soda refills at the counter, and the strawberry shake we ordered was thick and delicious.
When your order is ready for pickup at the counter, they call your number over a loudspeaker… have your airport ears at the ready, because they are not always easy to understand.
Willie’s Place was the most “downhome” of the burger joints we visited for this story, and it had character in spades. Located at 3135 10th Street, Willie’s is in a blue-collar neighborhood where we saw two (friendly) stray dogs running loose outside, mounted deer heads and old license plates on the walls, and a corrugated steel ceiling. There are no public restrooms that we saw at Willie’s, so each table has a bottle of hand sanitizer for pre and post-meal cleanup.
Our taste testers agreed Willie’s burgers were in the middle of the pack, but their shoestring fries were good, as were the tater tots, although they lacked seasoning. Willie’s offers only condiment packets; there are no ketchup or mustard bottles at the table. On the positive side, Willie’s offered a good selection of BBQ items, including ribs, brisket and hot links.
Pat’s Drive Inn
Pat’s Drive Inn is located right near downtown, at 400 Scott Avenue, and we visted right at the height of lunch rush. We arrived to find the parking lot packed and expected to have a hard time finding a seat, so we were surprised to find a booth just being cleared, and we were able to sit down without a wait.
Of particular note, Pat’s was the only burger joint we visited in which a server waited on you at your table, and ours was prompt and attentive.
The burgers at Pat’s, in our opinion, appeared to be made from a frozen patty and were somewhat average. The fries were, however, one taste tester’s favorite of the bunch — thin, shoestring fries that looked like they would be soft and potato-ey under most circumstances, but ours were well-done and crunchy. Very good.
The tater tots were crispy but otherwise run-of-the-mill, and the onion rings were about the same. We had one negative observation about Pat’s, but no explanation… the unpleasant taste of Wichita Falls’ tap water seemed to be particularly overpowering in the ice cubes at Pat’s, and it was the only place our taste testers did not ask for a soda refill.
In the long run, we found something to love about each place we tried, and we cannot name an overall winner. We agreed, though, that Gene’s had the best tater tots and onion rings, the best burgers were likely from Ronnie’s or Gene’s in our opinion, and Scott’s had the best malt (Cherry) we’ve ever had. Willie’s was the place to go if you want a real Texas dive burger experience, and Pat’s and Ronnie’s were neck-and-neck frontrunners in the customer service experience.
For those with particular dietary desires, nobody had a gluten-free bun and nobody had an alternative (black bean) burger. All five of these locations are a guilty pleasure for sure.
There are other places to get burgers and fries in Wichita Falls, of course, and we’d love to hear your favorites. Mom & Pop burger joints? Full-service restaurants? Sound off in the comments and tell us what you think.
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