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Restaurants & Bars

‘Burbalicious: What I Ate in Murphy

Country burger with mustard, lettuce, onion, pickles and tomato (photos by Carol Shih)

To gear you guys up for July’s Best Suburbs issue, I’m traveling to ten different ‘burbs in the DFW area for a semi-weird cross-city food tour. I’ll be documenting all my finds in these ‘Burbalicious posts that’ll be peppered throughout June and July. If you feel like your suburb deserves a shot at some SideDish love, email me and I’ll ask my Magic 8 ball if I should go.

I was in the midst of composing a Shakepeare sonnet for this Country Burger (est. 1973) post, but I decided against it. I can already predict what the comments might say. They’d mostly be some variation of “you suck” and “your poetry makes me want to rip my hair out.”

Here’s the thing: I went to Parker last week and seriously considered eating grass or a whole cow since there was nothing edible in that town. The landscape looked at me, and I looked back at it, my stomach still growling. Good church-goers pointed me towards Murphy, which pretty much looked like the Promise Land of food at that time. I was hopeful. The grass looked way greener over yonder in Murphy.

Do the burger jump.

Outside (left); inside (right)

Murphy, like Parker, is a tiny little thing and only extends about 5.2 square miles. It ranks #7 on our Best Suburbs article for its low, low crime rate and slower pace livin’, but don’t be fooled into eating here just because it has commercial properties. The only place that looked like the smallest chain restaurant around Murphy Road was Country Burger, which has at least two other locations in Plano.

Chicken fried steak with fries and Texas toast

The menu at Country Burger is exactly what you’d expect. It has burgers, chicken sandwiches, and chicken fried steaks to choose from. Snooze, snooze, snooze. I ordered the signature country burger, a double-double (2 – 1/3 lb. beef patties, 2 slices cheese with mustard, lettuce, onion, pickles & tomato), and a chicken fried steak platter with Texas toast and gravy from a chipper lady who drawled out every vowel. Was I really in a city? As I waited for the food to come out, I twiddled my thumbs and stared at all the license plates and kitschy Texas decor that plastered the walls in an attempt to make Country Burger look like the inside of your grandmother’s ranch house.  Kenny Chesney was smooth-singing through the speakers. A chair for shoe-shining sat right next to the bathrooms. This was Southern hospitality-meets-fast freaking food at its finest.

Except, the dining is not so fine. Eating the chicken fried steak was akin to feeding myself a very bland, flat pancake with some breading on top. Usually a good gravy will help fix this problem, but poring Country Burger’s watery gravy just made the whole platter much worse. My lifeless chicken fried steak was now drowning in tasteless white sauce, and nothing could bring it back to life.

The burgers aren’t much better. The patties were thin as cardboard while the buns tasted like they came from a generic brand in the bread aisle of Kroger. Maybe I should’ve just stayed in Parker and eaten the grass instead.

Double-Double ( 2 - 1/3 lb. beef patties, 2 slices cheese with mustard, lettuce, onion, pickles and tomato)

If you want to read a nicer, kinder (and probably better) review of Country Burger, you’d best read Jessica Koller’s article in the June 22 issue of Oak Cliff People. She goes back down memory lane and revisits her old flame, Country Burger, which she hadn’t seen since 1994. It’s a lovely piece, really, and filled with beautiful imagery of brown paper bags and wagon wheels from her childhood memories of the fast food restaurant that she grew up enjoying. (In ten years, I’ll probably write about Sonic with that much nostalgia.) The real kicker is when her article inspired legislative action by a Rep from the House. Mind. Blowing.