Brownsville, Texas: Smallest sit-down hamburger joint ever!

Rutledge table

Don’t let the look of the ketchup bottle put you off.  You simply must visit this tiny 84-year-old restaurant hidden away in historic downtown Brownsville, Texas.  You’ll be able to say you’ve rubbed shoulders in a place where American President, Lyndon Johnson, once rubbed shoulders, too.

And rub shoulders is exactly what happens here – the walls are only about 6 feet apart.

Read on. . .

Wall to wall with burgers

You don’t come to this Brownsville burger joint for a great burger; you come to the Rutledge restaurant for a unique experience.  This family-run tiny hallway of a restaurant is a little difficult to find on Washington Street, in between 11th and 12th streets. But it’s worth the effort, if only for the claustrophobic adventure.

Rutledge Hallway Restaurant

Imagine eating in a tunnel flanked by tiny red-enameled tables attached to white stone walls.  Seats are four-legged square stools that are barely large enough for an ample butt.  If you stand up, be prepared to yield to folks either coming in or leaving.  One of you will have to squish up against the wall to let the other pass.

The waitresses all speak Spanish, so communicating is a little difficult.  But you can point to a faded-out hand-written menu on the wall.  And speaking of the wall, be sure to read a yellowed old newspaper story about the history of the place.  That’s where you’ll discover that Lyndon Johnson once grabbed a burger here, too.

The burgers are nothing fancy, and they are built on the cheapest white buns imaginable, but they taste pretty good.  They arrive with little fanfare, wrapped in a paper napkin, and with no plate.  But the price is right: $6 for two double cheeseburgers, plus 2 Cokes.

Rutledge Restaurant on Washington Street

Rutledge restaurant is not a place for long conversations; you eat and move on.  And speaking of moving on and visiting old things, be sure to visit the Brownsville City Cemetery, a few blocks away.  I’ll blog about that adventure later.

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11 Responses to “Brownsville, Texas: Smallest sit-down hamburger joint ever!”

  1. Ren Says:

    Looks like fun to me!

  2. Greig Says:

    Have done Rutledge many times – you\’re right it\’s not the bestest burger, but it is fresh, hot, and you can\’t beat the ambiance. I always order the double meat, double cheese with ham. And for .40 cents more be sure to ask for a side of pickled Jalapenos!

  3. Sheree Says:

    Thanks for the advice, Grieig. Didn’t notice the side of pickled Jalapenos. Will have to do that on my next visit.

    Sheree

  4. marc mendiondo Says:

    dude you are all wrong these are damn good hamburgers i could eat 5 or 10 DMDC(double-meat double-cheese) there like heaven in a bun and grease mmmmmmm

  5. Sheree Says:

    Thanks for the commnet, Marc. You are sure right about the grease. How’s your heart?

    But I hope people go for the fun, the experience, if not for the burgers.

    Sheree

  6. Elin Says:

    oh i wish i knew about this burger joint. I just left Brownsville!

  7. cesar Says:

    HEY, I LIVE N BROWNSVIILE AND I GO TO SCHOOL A COUPLE OF BLOCKS AWAY, AND I EAT THERE EVERY DAY THIS BURGERS ARE REALLY GOOD BUT THR PRICES HAVE GONE UP I PAID 11 DLLRS FOR TWO DOUBL CHEESE BURGERS WITH FRIES N COKE
    BUT THEY TASTE GOOD TOO..

  8. Sheree Says:

    Thanks for the update, Cesar. Maybe it’s all the Internet attention they are getting. ;-) ) Please enjoy a cheeseburger for me, too.

    Sheree

  9. Krysti Says:

    The burgers are awesome and very cheap … I think we got a burger for $2~

    I used to be grossed out when I would walk by cos its so small and crowded but trust me it is very good!! and its a part of our history~

    Brownsville’s history is wonderful!! :)

  10. htelra....1 Says:

    all of you guys are right!!!!!!! thoose hamburgers are terrific they\’re the best i\’ve ever tried! i just got back from brownsville and i went to eat there cause i heard about them on the san antonio newspaper and also here on internet . i super recommend the triple hamburger !!!!!!

  11. soldier boy Says:

    I live in bronwnsville aka browntown n every time I go there I order the one with three meat one cheese and a hot dog sausage with a gatorade cause is so freaking hot oh and dont forget the cheetos with hot sauce.
    hey if you come to browntown and don\\\’t stop by rutledge IT\\\’S LIKE IF YOU NEVER CAME TO BROWNSVILLE…..!!!!!!!!!!!