Mother’s Day 1982 was a big day in the Burton family as they opened the doors of Burton’s Family Restaurant located at 1505 East Shannon Road just off Interstate 30 and Loop 301.
“Big mistake,” laughed Don Burton. “Never open a restaurant on one of the busiest days of the year.”
Don and Patsy Burton came to Hopkins County in 1978 and before opening Burton’s the couple ran another local restaurant for four years.
According to Don, he and his wife were no strangers to the restaurant industry having managed several 24-hour establishments during a 12-year period.
He said the restaurant business came natural to him since he had grown up in a large family on a farm in the San Joaquin Valley of California – “the vegetable and fruit bowl capital of the world.”
Between mom, dad, two brothers and a whole slew of aunts and uncles, family get-togethers, which were quite often, were very similar to that of running a restaurant, according to Don.
Raised on a farm during the Great Depression, Don said his family, like most of that time period, grew and produced much of their own foods and cooked and canned their own fresh fruits and vegetables.
“I remember going to town once a month to stock up on things like flour, sugar and other spices,” he recalled.
The family also produced their own fresh eggs, milk and butter, according to Don, as well as raised their own pork, free range chickens “and some of the best Black Angus steaks, roasts and hamburger you ever put a lip-lock on.”
Today, certified Black Angus steaks are one of Burton’s most popular menu items, according to Jerry, the youngest of the Burton sons who now runs the family business.
“They are marinated just like you’d do if you were cooking them at home,” he said.
Bacon wrapped sirloin, juicy pot roast and country pork chops are a few other Burton specialties.
From the chicken coop section of the menu, patrons can order golden fried chicken, grilled chicken, chicken strips as well as chicken livers and gizzards, too.
Farm raised catfish, jumbo shrimp, stuffed crab and fried oysters make up the seafood section.
Home-style vegetables are served with all their dinners and include a choice of seasoned green beans, slow cooked Pintos, boiled cabbage, macaroni and cheese, Southern fried okra, turnip greens and squash, just to name a few.
“From the very first day we were open Patsy insisted on fresh mashed potatoes, gravy, and the best chicken fried steak you can buy to be on our menu,” said Don. “Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep mash potatoes fresh and ready to serve around the clock!”
Burton’s is one of the few restaurants in Sulphur Springs open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and breakfast is available morning and night.
“We have great breakfast,” said Jerry. “The JB is my special I like to eat.”
The JB includes three large eggs with two slices of American cheese on top served with a pancake topped with powdered sugar. It also includes home fries and your choice of ham, bacon or sausage.
The “Garbage Plate” is his father’s creation.
“Dad came up with the Garbage Plate-it don’t look real good, but everybody seems to like it,” laughed Jerry explaining that it is a combination of eggs, hash browns, ham, bell pepper, onions, jalapenos and tomatoes all scrambled together then topped with cheese.
“When we first started, it was just burgers and breakfast-little things. The prices were little too,” Don added with a chuckle.
Now, prices range from a $2.95 grilled cheese sandwich to a $17.99 16 ounce T-bone steak.
“The menu has grown a lot over the years,” Jerry said.
Old-fashioned hamburgers, classic triple decker clubs and hoagies are some of Burton’s most popular sandwiches. Also on the menu is a wide variety of EXTRAS such as corn fritters, potato skins, Texas toothpicks, cheese fries, onion rings, mozzarella cheese sticks, broccoli/cheese poppers, as well as fried mushrooms, and their newest appetizer- fried pickles, a “real treat, “ according to Jerry.
Speaking of treats, Burton’s homemade pies, “three-inches deep in meringue, speak for themselves,” according to Don.
Coconut cream, chocolate cream and lemon cream pies displayed in a freezer box near the register are hard for customers to resist. Folks can buy them by the slice or $13 will get you a whole one while they last.
“They’re all Mom and Dad’s recipes that they have worked on to get just right,” explained Jerry, who praised 11-year employee Vicki Melton Elledge for baking them to perfection. “She does a real good job with our pies.
“They’re beautiful,” he added.
Other sweet treats include cheesecake, gooey Southern pecan, cherry and old-fashioned apple pie, as well as Texas-size cinnamon rolls, peach cobbler with ice cream, banana pudding and banana nut loaf, sold also by the slice or whole.
The Burton family believes if they start with the freshest and best foods, they can turn out a meal every bit as good as one can make at home-without the hassle and messy clean up.
“The Burton’s have been serving Hopkins County for 31 years,” Jerry emphasized. “And we plan on making it another 31 years.”
For more information and a complete menu log onto www.burtonsfamilyrestaraunt.com.
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