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Although it seems mighty un-Texan of us, my family isn’t big on red meat. But when we do fall off of the wagon, we head over to The Barbecue Station or Chris Madrid’s.

Voted the San Antonio Express-News’ 2011 Readers’ Choice for best non-chain/local burgers, Chris Madrid’s has had an extremely loyal following since 1977 when it opened in a converted gas station. Where else does the line to order a burger traverse across the restaurant with hungry patrons who are content to wait?

Their motto is “Cook Each Item as if You Were Cooking it For a Friend,” and you can feel the love. Chris’s tostada burger is what lures us in. Homemade refried beans, chips, onions and cheddar cheese top a quarter pound (regular) burger for $5.95 or a half pound (macho) burger for $7.25.  You’ll want to stop by their salsa bar to add a little heat to your selection. Plus, don’t skip the fries (regular, $2.25, or macho, $4.25). They are the real deal. And, be sure to get at least two napkins per person. The tostada burger is a gooey mess, but boy is it good. Bean and cheese nachos are another crowd favorite.

We had a mango margarita the last time we were there. I enjoyed it, but my husband did not. Chris Madrid’s also offers soft drinks, tea, wine, beer and cocktails, so you’ll find something to suit every thirst. You may sit inside or out. Since it was more than 100 degrees outside, we opted for inside; however, the outdoor patio does have shade umbrellas and there was a nice breeze.

Several years ago, I went to Chris Madrid’s with my mother, mother-in-law and daughter. As usual, it was packed, so we shared a table with two women who were visiting San Antonio from New Mexico. Over burgers and nachos, we gave them the low down on places to go while they were in town. Not only did we enjoy our meal, but we came away with two new friends.

Located at 1900 Blanco Road at Hollywood, Chris Madrid’s is open 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. They are closed on Sundays. Their phone number is (210) 735-3552, and they accept reservations for large groups and parties.