CARLOS, Texas – There’s nothing like riding a steel horse on the highways of Texas, and over in Grimes County just southwest of Aggieland in a little town called Carlos, you’ll find a place that’s home to some beautiful bikes and big ole’ burgers: Yankee’s Tavern & Grill.
Mike Pulkkinen is that said Yankee, originally from a faraway land called Maine.
“Well, when I came here and I was on a ’72 Sportster,” said Pulkkine. “The South was still fighting the North when I moved here.”
This Yankee was lured to the Lone Star State by one of our greatest treasures.
“Well, I hate to say how I got here, but…fell in love with a Texas girl back in Millinocket. After about a year I followed her down to Schulenberg, Texas,” Pulkkine said.
Pulkkine worked in the oil fields, and that brought him to the Brazos Valley.
“I ended up buying a little bar in Snook, Texas, and that was the original Yankee’s Tavern. I bought that in 1985 and it’s still there,” said Pulkkine.
After opening a second location just down the road in Somerville, Mike needed someplace with more room for parking. So in 2000, Yankee’s Tavern in Carlos came to be.
“It was just a tin building on a dirt road,” Pulkkine said. “This was all woods out here.”
Now sitting on 10 acres, Yankee’s has got a tank to fish in, plenty of space for camping, and lots of room to spread out and smell the fresh Texas air.
“It’s a great destination point,” said Phillip Lanier, a customer at Yankee’s. “You come here on the weekends and there’s two, three hundred motorcycles out here. All different brands from Harleys to Hondas to BMWs, and it’s just a great place to come and ride and kind of meet some fellow riders,”
This miniature country resting spot might bring in the bikes, but making burgers is where the real fun happens. We’re here for a burger and maybe a cold Texas beer, so we headed to the home fire to meet the cook, Kody Lemons.
Kody got things cruising on the special, the Wide and Glide.
“Well, it’s wide because it’s a half-pound patty with bacon, jalapenos, mushrooms, all three cheeses and onions,” said Kody. “[It glides] because it’s going to make you slide down your chair when you’re done, when you’re so full.”
Now it’s time to take this burger-maker out for a spin! A hand pressed half pound patty and slice of bacon gets things started., then comes the secret sauce rubbed into the meat. Onions, jalapenos, and mushroom hit the grill with some extra love and, after some cooking, shredded Monterey jack cheese is added to the veggies.
Meanwhile, Swiss goes on the burger that’s topped with bacon and American cheese. The cheesy grilled veggies go on top, and all of that is placed on a jalapeno bun with mayo, tomatoes, pickles, and lettuce.
With just one bite of the cheesy hamburger that’s as heavy as a Harley, it didn’t take long until we were in another place – in a very good way. With all that cheese, grilled veggies, and that secret rubbed-in sauce, there’s so much going on in the Wide Glide.
“Every good woman should bring her man to Yankees for a burger,” said Gypsy Glo, avid biker and customer at Yankee’s.
So if you’re ever itching for a trip with the wind in your face and hair in the wind, be sure to park your ride at Yankee’s Tavern for the Wide Glide hamburger.
“Oh, if you don’t make the trip you don’t know what you’ve missed. If you don’t make the trip, you miss the ride,” Gypsy Glo said.