On a corner of Guadalupe saturated with burger joints, Mark Oliver Williams is confident that he still has the best burger to offer at the new Crazy Ricky’s.
After operating as a food truck for five years, Crazy Ricky’s has upgraded to a West Campus brick-and-mortar near 26th and Guadalupe under the ownership of Williams, who wants to offer UT students a superior budget burger option with better ingredients.
“The burger itself is just USDA ground beef,” Williams said. “I can tell you that Whataburger’s is not. It’s got xantham gum, it’s going to have all kinds of preservatives in it, because they don’t hand patty their stuff. Ours is just beef.” (Note: According to the Whataburger website, their patties are 100 percent beef.)
Williams said he wants Crazy Ricky’s to have a fun vibe that will make customers want to sit down and enjoy a burger without compromising on quick serving times.
“We do karaoke, we have bands play (and) I have a food trailer that we (use) to do events with music,” Williams said. “We have a sit-down atmosphere, but we don’t have the ambiance of fast food. Everything we do is fast, though.”
Williams said he learned to run a fun and effective business during his 10-year tenure as a manager with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.
“They taught me a very important part of running a business, and that’s the numbers side, like how to profit from the fun stuff you’re doing,” Williams said.
Now, Williams is using the techniques he learned during his time at the Drafthouse to give students the most affordable prices he can offer.
“We do a special called the Little Ricky, which is a five-dollar meal,” Williams said. “Whenever we’re open, if you’re a student and want a burger and fries for five bucks, just come in and ask for the Little Ricky, and I’ve got you.”
The food at Crazy Ricky’s benefits immensely from the fresh ingredients used. The cheeseburger is a no-frills, old school, flat-top burger with the basic fixings of lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mustard, mayo and cheese. There’s a selection of things customers can add to their burgers, such as a fried egg or an avocado, but overall, it’s a pretty simple burger. It stands out, though, because the patty is clearly
hand-pressed and grilled on the spot, the vegetables are fresh and ripe and the bun is soft and buttery. It’s a much more authentic product than anything the other burger joints on Guadalupe currently offer.
The fries, which are equally simple, are also noticeably tasty. They’re thin, hand-cut fries with nothing more than salt and pepper as seasoning, which is more than enough to leave them with a great savory flavor. They also have just enough fryer oil on them without being too greasy to enjoy on the go.
Although a lot of the items on Crazy Ricky’s menu keep things simple for the sake of quality, there are still some more ambitious options. The Pennywise Corndog, for example, smothers a massive corn dog in housemade chili, cheddar cheese, onion, mustard, ketchup and freshly sliced jalapenos. All of these ingredients combined together yield a wonderfully enjoyable product that seamlessly blends sweet, salty and spicy.
Between attention to detail in the kitchen and pleasantly low prices for students, Crazy Ricky’s is a great value for anyone who wants some good, old-fashioned American food that will keep their wallets happy.