On a typical Saturday night, most of the restaurants on Barton Springs, especially those just west of Lamar, are packed. So typical that I wouldn't expect to see people sitting at a fast food drive-thru on South Lama, not with so many good restaurants nearby. I would think...
But it's a different story for P. Terry's on South Lamar than it is for all the box chains down the street. It's atypical fast food. The burgers and fries and even the drive-thru are all there, but the stakes are raised by quality, fresh (and gasp!) healthy ingredients.
Veggies burgers, whole wheat buns and organic produce all fit into the menu. It might be hard to justify eating french fries, but if I'm going to clog my arteries, I'm doing it at a local place. And this little burger joint definitely helps keep it weird and local, even with the golden arches across the street.
Particularly, the chicken burger is interesting (and tasty) because unlike a normal chicken sandwich, P. Terry's chicken burger is a patty of ground chicken. So yes, it's chicken but it's also a burger. Order it on a whole wheat bun and without the mayo and suddenly those french fries are justifiable. (Barely...)
What's also great is that the prices aren't inflated by the quality food. You can get a combo meal for under $6, making it competitive with fast food places (with much less grease).
It has plenty outdoor seating, a fun 50s inspired feel, and kid-friendly fare including a sandbox. Couple that with the oldies playing on the loud speaker, and I'd say it's a great way to spend a Saturday evening in Austin.
Location: 404 S. Lamar Blvd., near the corner of Lamar and Barton Springs
Price: Under $10
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily
Accepts: Visa, Mastercard, cash
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Bottom line: Fast food without the guilt