The griddle at Lion’s Municipal Golf Course in west Austin is nicely seasoned after three quarters of a century of use. Trouble is, you really can’t feel the history due to numerous renovations of the facility over the years.
I walk in expecting an Edward Hopper scene with a surly fry cook having a smoke over a Modern Detective magazine, maybe a short row of circular stools hard up against a long counter overlooking an ancient flat top. Perhaps a few glass domes filled with the cakes and the pies of the day.
Given the fact that the facility was established in 1934 I expect a bit of Dashiell Hammett mixed in with my dining experience but sadly I’m denied this small pleasure.
The food service in the snack bar is run by Players Restaurant, the jerry-built burger house on the southern tip of UT’s campus. I’ve enjoyed Players for years and know them to be a reputable burger joint. Prices are cheap, they char grill their pattys and I absolutely love their ramshackle bier garten where their use of the word garden to describe a little patch of blasted asphalt always brings a tear to my eye.
I have an affinity for gregarious grill cooks. Lion’s Municipal Golf Course’s Warren is a talkative lad. Few subjects go untouched as he prepares my food. We discuss the history of the golf course, his tenure at the snack bar and what happens during the course of a typical shift with the conversation eventually shifting over to the utility and design of electric bicycles.
The burger here at Lion’s is good. There’s value afoot as the price is $3.69 which is certainly a rarity in this modern Austin of $18 cheeseburgers and quarter million dollar bungalows.
The patty is a quarter pound or so of select beef garnished with the standard items of lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. It’s the thin, flat style popular in diners and roadside stands the USA over.
Fries are the standard freezer bag version. Of note is the use of Tony Chachere’s Cajun spices as the salt of choice. The portion is enormous.
As a non-golfer, the hubbub of the Lion’s Municipal Golf Course being bulldozed to build a condo community hasn’t really touched me.
It would be sad to see a Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer take out the very nice al fresco dining area overlooking one of the greens however.
This is where I take my repast. With the sun high in the sky the sheltering oaks provide a nice respite from the day’s heat. A few errant grackles are just a shotgun’s blast away from being no longer in the mood to circle my table for a stray french fry.
As the list of restaurants I’ve never tried in Austin has dwindled to a handful I’ve turned increasingly towards those that are flying well under the radar. Which has led me to this public golf course in West Austin. I expect to start making the rounds of the National Guard Armory’s snack bar scene shortly.
What is your favorite Austin municipality food source?
2901 Enfield Rd