At a Valero gas station in Pflugerville, customers can grab a gourmet burger while they pump their car with gas.

Buddha Burger is housed inside the GMart convenience store off of Pflugerville Parkway. Despite the unassuming location, the restaurant prides itself on freshly ground beef patties and unique housemade sauces.

What's on the menu

In addition to specialty burgers, such as the Laughing Buddha with cheese-filled breaded mushrooms, the menu also includes chicken sandwiches, vegan sandwiches, fries, onion rings and milkshakes.

Owner Raaziq Bhimani, whose family owns the Valero location, said all of the meats are prepared fresh every morning instead of frozen.

Bhimani said the menu includes some South Asian-inspired touches, such as the spicy sauces and ghee, a type of clarified butter, that every dish is cooked in.

"I'm a firm believer in constantly creating. I'm always testing. Behind every sauce and every new burger, there's maybe 15 or 20 versions that I didn't like. We don't stop until we get it right," Bhimani said.

The background

In 2021, Bhimani arrived to Texas with 17 years of experience in the restaurant industry, after opening several of his own dining spots and professionally consulting others.

Bhimani said his vision for Buddha Burger was to combine his interest in clean, quality food with the down-home fare like burgers, fries and milkshakes.

"In Austin, you see a lot of wrap, salad and bowl places, but I didn't really see anyone doing a really clean burger, so I wanted to test it out. ... And instead of committing to the huge investment of a brick-and-mortar location, we thought here, along this busy intersection, would be a great way to see how people responded," Bhimani said.

Quote of Note

"Sometimes when you go to a fine dining place, you're paying for an extravagant atmosphere, or you're paying for all the decor. For us, we bring it down to the bare bones. I'm essentially giving you the same quality food as fine dining, but it's more accessible," Bhimani said.

Looking ahead

In the future, Bhimani said he is planning to open two standalone brick-and-mortar locations—one in Georgetown and one closer to Austin.

He may also begin to offer bubble teas at the new spots.