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Friday, November 18, 2011

Another Hole In The Wall - Newcastle, TX

I have been visiting Hole In The Wall in Newcastle for some time now and have been remiss about posting a review until now.


A quick history about the name and some confusion I have with it. About 13-14 years ago there was a place in Graham called 'The Hole In The Wall', HITW for short. It was nestled in a former gas station across from the old Shawnee School (Shawnee Park). The HITW was famous for their HOG burger and would post Polaroid pictures on their restaurant wall of people who defeated it. I never attempted it, for fear it might just be the artery-clogging end of me. I don't recall the exact ingredients, but I do recall it had lots of bacon and ham piled upon a burger.


About the time the HITW in Graham was popular, a similarly-named place sprang up in Newcastle with the same type of HOG burger. I am unsure if the original HITW owner was financially involved in the Newcastle venture. If I recall correctly, the sign in Newcastle said 'Hole In The Wall 2' at one time. After the closing of the HITW in Graham, it seems 'Another' was added to the front of the HITW's name in Newcastle to differentiate the location. Perhaps a change in ownership occurred, I am unsure. All of the various web posts I have found call in the Hole In The Wall, so that is what I refer to it as now, or HITW for short.


As I stated, I have not attempted the HOG burger. In fact, with all of the visits I have made, I usually order the same thing, a mini-burger with cheese, sometimes with a side of fries. I have tried the 'Irish burger/sandwich', a burger patty on toast with fries on top, smothered in brown gravy. If I were on Death Row it would probably be on my list of things for my last meal. I figure it would give me a Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) and save the State of Texas the trouble.


The HITW is a small place that probably, comfortably, seats 30-40 people. There is a small front area that was recently added on with a couple of tables and the main dining area has about 5-6 booths, a couple of tables end-to-end and a larger round table. 


Each time I visit the HITW, the round table is the center stage for the locals. I usually grab a booth, order some unsweet tea and my standard mini-burger with cheese, all the way. I then have a few moments while the order is being prepared to look over the collection of deer pictures hanging on the wall around the restaurant. Every year the owner has a Biggest Buck contest. Sitting in such a small dining area, one cannot help but overhear the local gossip coming from the round table. It is usually talk of the work day that just ended or the tasks ahead of them tomorrow. Good folks breaking bread, sipping coffee, swapping stories and telling lies, not always in that order. The side of the building even boasts this is the place 'Where Hunters, Fishermen and Other Liars Meet'.



Anyway, back to the burgers.


The burgers always arrive nice and hot. I have found the small burger is more than enough to satisfy my appetite. The burger to the right was my most recent order. As you can see, the patty is medium thick and hand formed. The cheese, yellow American, has melted over the piping hot patty and formed an inseparable bond between the bun and the meat. There are ample slices of white onions, a layer of lettuce, tomatoes and pickles with a thin layer of yellow mustard on the bottom bun to complete the entree. And, remember, this is the small burger. 


If you are near Newcastle, TX and looking for a burger, it's a great place to stop. The *only* drawback to the HITW is it is a smoking-allowed restaurant. And, trust me, after a meal in the small confines of the place, you *will* smell like an ashtray. I usually ride the Spyder over and fill up at the Newcastle Grocery, saving an average of 10 cents over any station in Graham, where I live. After my meal at the HITW, the ride back home rids my clothing of the cigarette smell and I can stand myself as I settle in for a few hours of television. 


Don't let the smokers bother you, though, as all of their menu items can be ordered to go and they have a convenient drive-up window.


As for the Texas Burger Stop's rating, here goes:
  • Patty Size and Style: medium thick and hand formed
  • Cooking style: Cooked on a flat top
  • Char: excellent seasoning on the grill makes for a great char across the patty
  • Bun: Fresh buns, appears to be toasted lightly on the grill
  • Vegetables: good veggies
  • Napkins needs: Needed a napkin
  • Special attributes: Smoking allowed. Where the locals gather. Biggest buck contest each deer season.
  • Ownership: locally owned

1 comment:

RJG said...

I think what surprises me most about this post is that Newcastle actually has a restaurant at all. Back in the 80s, when I was still a student at Texas Tech, I'd many times take the US-380 route through Newcastle. I don't think they had anything back then. Or maybe I just didn't notice - which could very well be the case. But then again, there wasn't much else to do on that road but notice things. Haha...

If I ever retrace that route again, I'll defintely want to stop here and try this! Might even go for the HOG burger.