P.O.s Burgers is the next stop on the quest for the ultimate cheeseburger. It's a middle-of-nowhere burger stop that's in Cypress, TX which is a little almost-suburb of Houston. The restaurant itself is an offshoot of a country bar and dance hall that's attached to the back of the building. The sign promises the world's best burgers. So we went in to see if they can stand up to their claims.
When you walk in, you walk into what was obviously a bar at some point. A bar stretches around the L-shaped dining area and behind it there is a griddle and some fryers where the food is prepared. There were a lot of old, dusty beer signs and memorabilia on the walls of the dining area. which was made up of wooden picnic tables. In fact, when you really take a look around, you realize that the entire place is either dead trees or scrap metal
Taking a look at the menu, they offer the usual selection of hamburgers, cheeseburgers and bacon cheeseburgers, but they also have buffalo, ostrich and turkey burgers. Their specialty is the P.O. burger which is a mushroom, bacon and swiss burger with mayo and lettuce only. All of them are offered up in 1/4 lb and 1/2 lb sizes. You can also get specialty buns that weren't unloaded off of a truck that are made out of fresh baked white, wheat or jalepeno cheese breads.
Deciding that the place needed to be judged based on their namesake burger, I ordered the P.O. burger with fries on the jalepeno cheese bun. They asked me what kind of fries I wanted, and I had to ask what they had. This was a mistake because the list weighs in at about six hundred different varieties. They have french fries, waffle fries, cheese fries, cajun fries, curly fries, steak fries, onion fries (which are really just onion rings) and tater tots. If you have a specific way you like your deep fried potatoes, P.O.'s has it.
While waiting for the food to come out we noticed two things that made us really anticipate the perfect, hole in the wall, middle of nowhere, mom and pop cheeseburger. The ketchup bottle and the roof. The ketchup was the most generic bottle of tomato paste we'd ever seen and then the roof? Completely made of tin. It definitely brought that small town feeling to a place not very far from the big city.
Before the burgers made their way out I also noted that I might have found the worst soda fountain in the city. I'm used to a soda fountain dumping too much carbonated water in the drink, but too much syrup? This was new, and it wasn't much of a treat. The Diet Coke was overpowering and then when I tried the Coca-Cola Classic I was greeted with the same super sweet flavor I was trying to escape. I stuck with it though, as I didn't want to venture a guess as to how old the iced tea was.
Our number was called and the burgers were on their way out. They come in good-ol' red baskets, wrapped in butcher paper that the grease has eaten almost completely through. It's definitely the juiciest burger we've seen short of the Gut Bomb from Otto's Barbecue. First bite? FANTASTIC!! The place may not have great amenities, they might have terrible soda, they might have ketchup manufactured in China that contains lead and asbestos, but the burger was something else.
The first taste I got was sweet. The jalepeno cheese bread had a little bit of sugar in it to make it a sweet kind of bread and it melted in my mouth with the assistance of the grease from the patty. That taste gave way to the flavor of bacon, mushrooms, cheese and mayonnaise, which is a condiment I usually despise, but in this case the combination of bread, grease and vegetables came together and produced one of the richest flavors I have ever gotten out of a burger. Then the patty. It hits just when you don't think your tastebuds can take much more, suddenly blending fresh cow in with all the flavors that you've already experienced.
We all quickly agree that this is one of the best burgers we've had so far despite the rest of the places shortcomings. I was convinced it was one of the best we've had and struggled to rank it while Nick quickly declared it the new silver medalist in our search. I couldn't disagree. Once again we are still convinced that Backyard Grill has them beat, but P.O.'s put the stomp on all the other competition we have found so far, including the legendary Lankford Grocery and our old second favorite, Otto's BBQ.
Check the map and give P.O.'s a try for yourself. It's a fantastic burger that will probably become one of your staples, especially if you live out on the northwest side.