Yep, it's an Austin original. That's something we're gonna try to do now and then here on the site, being that we're in Austin and all, we're gonna start reviewing the Austin, Texas originals we happen into at any given time, like we did with the new Lakeline Drafthouse, and our next lucky establishment is P. Terry's Burger Stand (the one just beyond the Domain, if you wanna get specific; 12301 N Mopac).
Now, if you've never been there, the whole "thing" with P. Terry's Burger Stand is that it's retro, as you can clearly see. It's a sorta 1950's/60's style place. Visually, it scores an A+ in that regard, even if it has a very modern style of drive-thru, and not the oldschool style Sonic employs. I can live without that though, as I'd much rather eat inside. The only negative the outside of P. Terry's gets from me is in regard to getting into the parking lot when coming right off or along Mopac. There's a road you can turn down on one side of P. Terry's that is probably the easy way to get access to the restaurant, but the more direct access isn't very convenient at all. Oh well, I don't hold this sort of thing as a major mark against a place, just something I find annoying enough to mention.
Now, entering P. Terry's, the retro theming is held up very well, at least to the mind of someone like me, born a fair while after the 50's/60's. However, here comes my big complaint in regards to this. It's such a very important one, too! Guys, guys, guys! What's with the music! Set the mood! Use music that matches your theming! The music playing is just all over the place, like they're just tuned into a radio station of some kind. They play SOME older stuff, but rarely any 50's/60's stuff, and it severely hurts the style/tone of the place to me! What a shame when it is visually so well done! Get a jukebox in here, pronto! And one of the appropriate time period, too! And with records from that time period, not greatest hits from the 70's, 80's, 90's and today, which seemed to be most of what I was hearing.
Moving on though, one of the things I love about P. Terry's is the prices. Seriously. You can get a Hamburger for 2 bucks, a Cheeseburger for 2.25, a drink for 1.50, fries for 1.55, all combos are just over 5 or 6 bucks, the large milk shake is 2.50, they have some big cookies for a dollar... Sure, it's not 1950's prices, and yeah, other places to have dollar menus these days, but this is P.Terry's main stuff, not their dollar menu! And it's good stuff, too! And it's all natural, fresh ingredients, including all Angus beef and locally grown tomatoes.
Now, the staff is friendly and the ordering easy, and you can access your free fountain refills as you like (this is counter service, not wait service, so, yeah, I guess there is something else not so retro, but at least you don't have to tip anyone! I swear, people are tip-crazy nowadays!), but I suppose you're wondering how the food is?
Well, let's see... I've been to P. Terry's twice now (I live very close), and it's been pretty consistent. Let's focus on my most recent visit, which was last night. And, sorry, ate half my burger and some of my fries before I realized I was supposed to photograph my meal, ha. I believe the burger is also upside down here. Once I'd gotten this far into it, the bottom looked nicer for a photo than the top did, ha.
Okay, I'm gonna lay it on the line for ya. The food was all good, but the highlight was, unquestionably, the fries. Well, no complaints about the Coke either. No complaints about the burger, and everything was very fresh and good, though I wouldn't declare anything spectacular about it beyond that. I mean, burgerwise, give me a Moonie's Blue Moon, and we'll cover that soon in a future review. There's just a lot more taste there, and it's one of those burgers that feels more like a serious burger. P. Terry's reminds me somewhat more of a Whataburger, though without Whataburger's signature taste. It also isn't particularly big, though it's better than a dollar menu item. Personally, I ordered this one as a double, and I added bacon (once you have a burger with bacon, you never want a burger without it. I will add though, that I grew up one of those guys who always ordered his burgers plain, without even veggies, just meat and cheese, and leaving in the lettuce and tomato, as I've learned to do lately, as well as omitting the "special sauce," as I almost always omit any sauces, may be what is making this burger a bit less tasty for me than, say, a Whataburger, which I still sometimes will order up sans veggies. In addition to this bit of info, if you want onions and/or pickles, you have to request them, though the menu seems to imply that you will not be charged for them (Personally, I never eat either).
As for the fries I was raving about, there is one size of order, and it's great, and these thin cut fries are excellent, but fair warning, they come unsalted, so you will have to apply your own with the provided table shaker. When you do and once you've pumped out some ketchup for your party, you're good to go.
I opted to pay 25 cents more for the large size soft drink, which means you get a souvenir cup with it (though the lid is throw away)!
I also decided to try one of their in-house baked, butter, oat-meal, chocolate chip cookies. I'd had a chocolate milkshake on my previous visit, and that was pretty Whataburger reminiscent, so I thought I'd try something new.
The cookies are really good, and a nice size for a buck. However, they'd be perfect with some pecans in the mix and/or just a hint of salt. Though, I get why the nut thing is something easier not to do. A lot of people are deathly allergic, after all.
So, my final verdict overall? P. Terry's is a pretty nice place to stop in on now and then. The food runs from good (the burgers) to great (the fries), the prices are among the nicest these days, and the retro style is really charming, attractive, and fun. The negatives are the lack of music to match the era of the restaurant's theming and that the burgers could be a bit more memorable taste-wise. However, this could potentially be attributed to my rejection of the "special sauce". I can't say anything about the veggie or chicken burgers yet though.
When all is said and done, I can definitely recommend you stop into P. Terry's sometime and give it a try for yourself. There's nothing strikingly bad about this place, so you're safe all around, and there's plenty to like about it. If they'd just get a jukebox full of really old oldies in there, they'd REALLY have something special. Hey, the right music can do so much! In the meantime though, it's still a treat to swing by and have a meal. I look forward to trying their banana bread next time. But, at this time of year, and being a fanatic for the stuff, I gotta ask, why not pumpkin bread? Ha.