It has been two decades or more since I ate my all-time favorite hamburger, but I remember it as if it were sitting in front of me: the Double-Double at the Country Burger, in Plano. In fact, when I was a teenager, my order sounded something like this: Double-Double-with-cheese-large-fries-Dr-Pepper, all spoken in a single breath. As I recall, the whole thing cost $4.99.
Country Burger was my family’s beloved neighborhood restaurant. It opened in 1973, and it was housed in a red barn-shaped building with a windmill out front that I tried to climb on every visit. We’d gather at the counter, and the cashier would write down our order on a brown paper bag. He didn’t have to ask for our name because he already knew it. Then I’d beg for a quarter to play Pac-Man while we waited for our food.
When I got older, I’d ride over on my bike with friends. In high school, Country Burger was the site of an unprecedented string of off-campus lunches. I ate there after baseball and football games, and it was the reward for working on countless Boy Scout service projects. Everything was hot, everything was greasy, and everything tasted just right. I won’t make the case that a professional food writer would agree—or rank it among the fifty greatest hamburgers in Texas—but the entire experience defined for me what a burger joint should be. That remains true to this day. When I get a craving for a hamburger, I immediately think of a Double-Double.
Though the windmill is long gone, Country Burger is still open on Fourteenth Street, and two other locations have popped up. As for the Double-Double, I enjoyed that at a time in my life when calories were as distant a concern as worrying about a career or raising a family. I downgraded over time to the signature single-patty burger, and having since moved away, it has been too long since I’ve walked through those doors. But if you’re ever on the old East Side of Plano, stop in and order one for me. It just might remind you of your own childhood.