“Absolutely one of the best burgers I've ever eaten,” one person said. “Their fries make me want to ugly cry because they're so DARN GOOD,” another added. In fact, the list of praise for this place is so long you’d think these reviews were for a world-famous restaurant headed up by an equally famous chef. But, nope, these five-star reviews are all for the most beloved place in Austin: P. Terry’s.
For those unfamiliar with the name, P. Terry’s is a small fast-casual food chain located in Austin, Texas. After first opening its doors in 2005, the chain immediately gained a mighty and loyal following. And perhaps that’s because its owners, Patrick Terry and his wife Kathy, have kept both their ingredients and their values real since day one.
“There’s always been some sense of, this just feels like an honest business – burgers and fries and milkshakes,” Patrick shared with the Austin Statesman in 2013.
According to Patrick, he was able to do everything differently by studying up on what others did wrong before him. In fact, he credits the scathing fast food critique Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser as his “bible.”
“Everything that everyone was doing wrong in that book, we stayed away from. And the stuff that they were doing right, we aimed toward,” he said.
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That includes keeping his ingredients as close to natural as possible, like the chain’s hormone and antibiotic-free meat, along with its corn syrup-free ketchup, which Yelp reviewers can’t get enough of. And that also means P. Terry’s cooks their food in their own unique way, such as using canola oil for their french fries rather than peanut oil. This, Patrick, told Eater in 2011, means they have no trans fats or hydrogenated oils.
“Our whole deal is, we have no secrets,” Patrick noted to the Statesman. “You watch everything we do and, in a way, it keeps us honest. But I want the customers to know what they’re eating; I want them to see what it is and I want them to feel comfortable.”
Sadly, Patrick noted to Eater that there are no plans to take P. Terry’s national, because as he said he’s “too old” for that kind of thing. So, Texans will get to keep this one all for themselves. But, trust us, these burgers, fries, and shakes are worth a visit to the Lone Star State.