The workers at The Shack Corner Store are determined to keep the shop spic and span.
As I place my order for a burger, one gentleman begins knocking the tops of my boots with a broom.
I shift a foot or so to the side.
“Sorry man I gotta clean.”
Back in Alabama you don’t want to ever sweep around a Black man’s feet. According to lore that means you’re trying to get him sent to the pen. I only did it once and committed the fact to memory.
Another gentleman comes at me from the other side with a mop and swishes it around my feet.
I sort of hot foot it about for a few seconds hoping to get my order in and the cashier paid before they tackle me and start buffing and polishing me from head to toe.
Rodney the grill cook is having a good day. He immediately starts hollerin at me to make sure I’m going to get the burger the way I want it.
One of the few things on earth I can’t tolerate on a hamburger is ketchup so we get that clear and he begins hustling out my food.
A couple minutes pass and my carefully wrapped, $4.32 sandwich and I make our way out to the parking lot.
I stroll about under the brilliant Texas heat chewing contentedly as the neighborhood buzzes in and out of the store.
A young mom wearing fuzzy slippers shepherds her flock of kiddos in through the doors, an old timer with a head full of white wool shuffles in for a snow cone, a group of young bucks roll up in an Electra, rattling the quarterpanels with some G-Side.
The parking lot of The Shack is a good place to stand and eat a burger.
The sandwich is fine, the patty’s in the 6 ounce range, seasoned with a little salt and heaped up with onions, mayo, mustard, lettuce and tomato. It comes on a griddled bun.
As is the custom of a lot of restaurants when you order a hamburger you need to say “no cheese” or it’s ritually given. Two slices of American in this instance.
Prior to it’s reinvention as a quick mart, The Shack existed in Austin for years. It was an old school, Black folks night club that threw legendary parties that are still talked about years after its’ closure.
It’s new business model as a quick mart/lunch spot, appears to be serving the neighborhood well. Business is strong, prices are low and the people watching can’t be beat.
All “Best Hamburger In Austin” coverage here: http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/search.cfm?search=best+hamburger+in+Austin
1167 Eastfield Ave
Hours of Operation [ food counter ]
6 am – 10 pm