Doublecheese has been in a slump. Doublecheese was lost in the ground beef and cheese hub-bub and may have forgotten what it’s all about. Deep in the belly of the whale, struggling for some light, Doublecheese returned to where it all started. Venturing deep into West Zarzamora, Doublecheese tried to return to the burger roots. Those roots, all the sweet burger memories, where found at the Malt House.
The Malt House brings a tear to doublecheese’s eye and a thousand precious moments where Selena plays on a jukebox while burgers and black cows are inhaled. Thoughts of my Pa laughing and drinking beer, enjoying chips and salsa, enjoying the peoples and products of a 50 year tradition are still encompassed by this well known establishment. And although change is transforming this place, carhops are still running food out to parked cars and the latest trends can still be purchased from a lone vendor on the outside benches.
Situated on the cusp of the touristy San Antonio downtown area, with Mi Tierra’s and El Mercado blocks away and one of the few remaining operating Handy Andy’s a few blocks into the real heart of San Antonio, the Malt House is an icon to west San Antonians. An icon portrayed in Jesse Trevino’s recent exhibition on display at the Museo Alemada in 2009. The painter captures San Antonio’s distinct cultural flavor with simple honesty a restaurant that caters to the neighborhood it serves.
When you bite into a malt house burger you’ll want to compare it to a Whataburger, easy. But, a few bites in you’ll quickly realize the small differences. The cheese and mayo mingle so sweetly with the standard simple bun. The juices of the patty create a flavor that feels so classically cheeseburgery delicious. Adding ketchup to the jumbo cheeseburger gives the sweet mayo and cheese medley a hint of sour, a taste that highlights the patty in a new light.
Although you may go to a hundred chain burger restaurants and order the same burger, you’ll walk away with a different experience almost every time. The Malt House has been serving the same burger and experience for over 50 years. A diner experience of a waitress that may not speak English fluently. An experience peppered with live mariachis and street vendors selling bracelets decorated with saints or keychains hand braided with a note of a deaf person’s prayer. I recommend this eatery to true San Antonians who understand the culture of the hard working class.
The prices are unbelievably affordable in a time where a $10 burger is becoming the standard. The service is fast and friendly. Revisions have definitely changed the once brown and tan building, but carhops are still available if you “leave your lights on.” It may never be the best burger in town, but it will be the burger place for generations to come. The place where families can leave full for under $20 bucks. I give the burger a 7.5. However, because I was raised on this burger, it will always be a 10 to me. So, Eat It!
Malt House (Closed)
115 S Zarzamora St
San Antonio, TX 78207