Clown Hamburgers ~ Haltom City, Texas
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce to you the finest Regular Joe's Guide hamburger for Northeast Tarrant County. If you asked me to draw up the perfect Regular Joe's Guide restaurant, I still couldn't produce the masterpiece that is Clown Burger. Just look at those photos. My oh my. I would travel all day just to see a place like this. Careful on that last point, as they have some quirky hours. Check their website (below) before heading over.
From what I can gather, Clown Burger is a surviving institution, and the interior was pretty much moved piece by piece over to its current location. Originally it was on the old US Highway 377 (Belknap) and like just about every other such place, eventually closed down. Only to be resurrected later. We spoke about Haltom City in the Bangkok Thai entry, and it's the suburb that provides the most Regular Joe thrills per square mile. Populated by working class and newly arrived immigrants, it's the perfect blend for allowing old institutions to survive while at the same time creating new ones. Other than maybe Bud Kennedy, the journalists have steered well clear of the area. And the foodies think it's a no-go 'hood. Fine with me - keep out.
I've been going to Clown Burger for about 4 years now. Not too often, as it's a haul for me and the Mrs. RJG has little desire to eat there. The burger recipe is probably part of some Secret Order, buried with the Holy Ark somewhere in Scotland. Or Ft. Worth. Combine that with a grill that's seen more burgers than a congressman pork dollar total, and you have the formula for happiness. Right there, Mr. RJG has provided you the key to happiness. Did you gloss over that sentence? I wouldn't. I should also mention that the burgers on the small side, so I recommend a double.
I remember traveling with my Dad in West Texas in the early 1970s. It seemed to me that all places that had hamburgers were great. I get that kind of flavor here. All these years, and I still haven't been to Herd's in Jacksboro (how did I miss it on all those college drives from Dallas to Lubbock?). But I'm guessing it's that flavor. I smell a road trip this weekend.
Clown Burger is not easy to find. It's in the kind of shopping area that stopped existing since the 1940s - one that depended more on pedestrian traffic than automobile. I remember them fondly on trips to my Grandma's house in Long Island. It doesn't even seem possible that it can exist in a modern metropolis.
To get there, take Denton Highway and turn west on Stanley Keller. On the next corner will be Haltom Rd. Look for it on the SW corner. You won't believe your eyes. It's like a time tunnel. Once in the restaurant, there is nothing to remind you that this is 2008. It's 1958. For real.
Oh, It's officially known as Clown Hamburgers Too.