As we bid farewell to February, in doing so, alas, we must also wrap up our savory burger exploits. Well, at least for now. However, because we hate to disappoint our loyal readers and fellow foodies, we’re closing out this month’s feature with a visit to a bang-up burger joint in one of the most odd spots we have ever encountered.
Tucked away inside Lee’s Pharmacy on North 10th Street, yes you read correctly, is a local gem that brings back all the welcomed nostalgia of malt shops from yesteryears, The Soda Fountain. We told you we weren’t playing around (wink). From the marble-topped tables and spinning stools along the counter, to the soda spouts and malt-flavored milkshakes, this place is the real deal!
Gaby: Daaaamn son! Lee's is crunk!!!
Trisha: (wide-eyed emoji) Omw! Feel free to order for us.
Gaby: What would you like? (sends photo of menu) There’s no more breakfast.
TIP: Breakfast is served only from 7:00 a.m.-11:00a.m. (Monday-Friday) and 8:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m. (Saturday). NO exceptions
Trisha: I’m a wee bit ravenous, soooo… Cheeseburger special with extra crispy bacon and jalapeño, please!
Gaby: Ooooh… same here! To drink?
Trisha: Vanilla shake and agua por favor.
Gaby: Yup, yup. You got it.
While seated in our diner booth waiting for our food, we took in the vintage ambiance and noticed all that has made this place such a local favorite for what has now been decades. There was a Dr. Pepper clock hanging on the wall and half-filled, red plastic ketchup bottles and yellow mustard bottles just waiting to have their contents squeezed onto juicy burgers and fresh fries.
As we watched and listened, there were smiling friends and families finishing up their meals and, behind us, we could hear cherished war stories being exchanged by proud veterans of World War II. A few of the “regulars” even seemed to be on a first name basis with our waitress. Ah, that warm, hometown feeling.
Trisha: Could this bacon be any better?! Perfectly crisped and just the right amount of thickness to bite in to before tasting the tender hamburger meat and melted cheese.
Gaby: Let me have some o’ that vanilla shake for quality inspection. (slurps up a good mouthful) Whoa! This is taking things to a whole new level of tasty freeze!
It probably goes without saying that we left with “barrigas llenas y corazones contentos” (full bellies and happy hearts). ZERO regrets! We’ll definitely be stopping by The Soda Fountain more often.
Oh, we almost forgot to mention, in observance of the Lenten Season, try the currently offered Lent Friday special: tuna sandwich, bag of Lay’s potato chips and an iced tea for just under $6.00.
Stop by the Soda Fountain inside Lee’s Pharmacy at 5120 N 10th St, McAllen, TX 78504, during their normal hours of operation, Sunday through Friday (7:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.) and Saturday (8:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.). You can also reach them at (956) 630-2367 or visit their website and check out their full menu at www.leespharmacy.com/the-soda-fountain-menu.
Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors and Watts is the communications director for Visit McAllen. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on various locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.