From icehouse to casual burger joint to Houston staple, Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack has evolved alongside the city it calls home.

Originally located on the old Westheimer Road, the shack moved to its current abode on Westpark Drive in 1985, serving drinks with the occasional burger.Five years into its relocation, then-owner Bubba Gilliam sold the restaurant to one of its regular customers, Richard Reed.

Now, the former dive bar is run by another generation: Reed’s daughters, Erin Fisher and Allison Boyd, with family friend Matt McCracken. The trio have taken charge of Bubba’s, seeing the eatery through what they said have been the best and worst times of its history.

The dive was unique early on for the inclusion of bison beef in its burger patties. The meat is sourced from just outside Rapid City, South Dakota, through 777 Bison Ranch, they said.

When paired with a 27-ingredient spice blend, the burgers are one of a kind, Fisher said.

After nearly three decades in business, the biggest change to the restaurant came in the form of a highway.

“We’re on year three of the expansion of the I-69/Loop 610 interchange, and they started in this area first,” Boyd said. “They closed Westpark, and we were the only thing that didn’t move.”

Delivery trucks had issues finding where to drop supplies off, and customers assumed the restaurant had closed, Fisher said. When it comes to why the owners have chosen to stay at the current site, Boyd said it is because they can.

“It’s not something that was contrived,” she said. “It wasn’t thought up to be perfect. It’s something that just became.”

Eight months after construction began, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and business slowed to a crawl.“It was like a double whammy,” Fisher said.

Through the storm of problems, Bubba’s kept its doors open and is looking to expand its menu, hoping to make enough room to add a deep fryer to the already condensed kitchen space.

“It’s beautiful in all its imperfections, and it’s a family from the bottom to the top,” Boyd said.

Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack

5230 Westpark Drive, Houston


Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily