It's happening y'all. Ronnie Killen is going for a trifecta and it centers around the very item that has made him a local household name: beef.
In June, Killen launched a Twitter account for Killen's Burger. Word quickly spread and within minutes, the account quickly amassed over 200 followers. A few up-dates here and there through July, but nothing was ever mentioned again. Yesterday, that all changed:
Is Killen mercilessly teasing his legions of steakhouse and barbecue fans or is this the real deal? No one can say for sure except Killen, but there are clues pointing to a strong possibility. Upon closer inspection of the above photos, there's a yellow piece of paper visible on the side of the building. A yellow paper generally indicates a building permit, commonly seen throughout the Houston-area common. Another clue is an updated real estate listing from Rob Giesecke of Anchor Commercial Real Estate.
Described as a "high profile ground lease site at "Main and Main" intersection," the listing shows a 21,364 square foot property on the corner of Farm to Market 518 and State Highway 35. A look on Google Map showed this picture of an abandoned Exxon gas station. Notice the orange building in the background? It's the same as the one shown above. Also worth noting, sixteen days ago, the listing was updated.
Killen shied away from a response on the possible future home of Killen's Burger but was thrilled to see everyone's enthusiasm. "I'm kind of shocked about that type of response to a burger or a burger place."
Killen has wanted a burger restaurant for sometime. In the last three to four years, he's played around with ideas of making burger Pearland and Houston would enjoy. Wild and out-there-type of toppings won't be on the menu, but there will be bacon, aged Wisconsin chedder, Swiss and mushroom. Killen explained he doesn't want to take away from what a burger is supposed to be, "I'm not going to be putting frito pies or anything on my hamburgers." He went on to say, "if you have good meat and you have good buns and fresh vegetables, you don't really need a a lot of other stuff. That takes away from what the burger is all about."
Stressing that a burger is all about the meat and the bun, Killen drove the point home further, "we're not going to overcomplicate burgers, it's going to be for the purists. It's going to be good meat. It's going to be seared correctly, give it a nice crunch on the outside texture of the patty and a good bun that will hold up to [toppings]."
Produce will be locally sourced and beef will be ground on site. When discussing the cuts of meats that will be used, "between the steakhouse and the barbecue place, we have a lot of steak trimmings, dry-aged beef, fat and different things that will make a really good burger" Brisket, short ribs, and various chucks will be used too. Not a fan of beef? There will be a turkey burger available too which Killen promises to be killer.
Killen is toying with the idea of resurrecting the Killen Burger. Sold at his first Pearland barbecue restaurant in the early 90's, the burger consists of a one or two pound patty on a ten and three quarter inch muflleta bun. It was one the menu's more popular items whose fans included The Houston Oilers. Killen reminisced over the days most of the players visited, sharing that their trips were frequent and each time, most ordered the burger.
Other plans in store for Killen's Burger: hand-cut french fries, sweet potato fries, handmade onion rings, local craft beer and handspun milkshakes. There may possibly be an old-school fountain for fountain drinks. Additional sides will be available and a kids menu for children.