If there’s a chance of combining food with work I really get motivated. So when it was decided I’d cover the Rangers’ first Winter Caravan stop in Waco on Thursday the dinner options started spinning in my head.
I’ve been meaning to do another Crowding the Plate anyway. With spring training a month away I need to start getting my stomach into eating shape. You don’t look this way without work.
Previous editions of Crowding the Plate Culver’s Joe’s Farm Grill Booty’s Pappy’s Smokehouse
Anyhoo, after the event, I headed towards Kitok, a long-standing Waco institution that was fusion dining before fusion dining was a thing. Long story short: It’s an Asian restaurant known for great burgers and Oriental fries. I’ve been there once, but it was over six years ago. I’ve eaten enough burgers since then to fill the Brazos so I wanted to see if it was as good as I remembered. On my way, I drove past Kim’s Diner, an unassuming malt and burger shop with a full parking lot. I’d never heard of it. A few minutes later I realized Kitok closes at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. What day was it? Oh, yes, it’s Thursday. Shucks!
I immediately called my Waco food insider Jason Hoskins, a Star-Telegram designer, who had originally tipped me off about Kitok.
“What do you know about this Kim’s place,” I asked.
“I used to go there all the time. It was really good,” he said.
That’s all I needed to hear. I headed to Kim’s, which first opened in 1965.
I didn’t waste any time. After a brief glance of the menu I knew what I wanted for my first-time at a burger joint: the 1/3 pound cheeseburger with fries and the chicken-fried steak sandwich with onion rings and a side of gravy. Yes, you read that correctly.
The server asked as she set down my food if someone else was joining me.
“No,” I said. “It’s all for me. Please ... don’t judge.”
She laughed and turned away, appropriately judging all the way back to the kitchen.
The burger was exactly like I like it: not too thick, well-done with raw onions, pickles, lettuce and buttered buns. I asked for no tomatoes. They make a soggy burger even more unruly. The server asked whether I wanted mustard or mayo. I went with mayo, but I can go either way, or both. The meat had a legit million year old skillet flavor that I’m a sucker for.
The fries were fresh cut and freshly fried, some dark and crunchy, others softer.
The onion rings had a fresh crispness and the onions came apart when I bit into them instead of sliding out of the ring.
The CFS sandwich, which I’m always on the hunt for, especially at a place like Kim’s, was substantial and packed a credible crunch. The cream gravy I used for dipping was also on the money.
Kim’s serves diet Dr Pepper so I was happy before my food arrived. For the record, I finished the burger and got close on the CFS sandwich. Needless to say, the belt was off for the drive back to Fort Worth. The restaurant was closed and remodeled two years ago and decked out with a sparkling red and white interior and 50s pop stars and accoutrements. An Elvis Presley statue even greets you at the entrance.
By the way, Waco has an inordinate amount of tasty, well-known burger joints to check out. I’ll definitely go back to Kim’s, perhaps even before making it back to Kitok.
Previous editions of Crowding the Plate: