BENCHLEY, Texas – Just a few miles north of Aggieland on the original El Camino Real, or Old San Antonio Road, you’ll find a small hill with one heck of a hamburger joint.
Retha Valero bought this old store from the 70s back in 2002. Today, groceries are not as big a part of the business plan.
“We found out the grocery store, it just wasn’t making it for us,” Retha explained. “We saw more people are coming for the greasy burgers. When you pick up your burger, you want to see the juices run out in that paper. I know I did a good job when I see that.”
So Retha focused on what beckoned burger lovers from all over the Brazos Valley.
“I really enjoy seeing people eat and enjoy that food,” Retha says.
Retha works with her son Vick and if you climb up to this place once or twice, they’ll know exactly what you want.
“It’s like walking into the bank,” Retha explained. “They know you by name. Well, that’s pretty much what it is here. They know you by a burger here.”
We went with one of the original and most popular offerings on the menu. The Superman.
“A lot of the burgers where named after customers when we first opened, and that fella used to come in with a Superman shirt on all the time,” Retha shared. “So once we saw him get out of the vehicle we said, ‘Op, one Superman.’ So we knew.”
Now that we know the background behind the burger, it’s time to get a behind the scenes look at the making of the Superman.
Retha gets things started with a hand pressed patty that’s huge to say the least.
“It’s a third pound, and you’d be surprised,” Retha said. “We use, you know like your big coffee can, the lid of it is what forms that.”
With the local meat cooking away, the buns are toasted while bacon and house made jalapenos hit the grill.
“One flip, and don’t mash it,” Retha said as she flipped the patties. “Oh my god, it hurts my heart when I see somebody mash the fatage. Either you’re squeezing out the blood or the juices. One or the other.”
Next she stacks the Superman together, and we’re ready to leap over the hill in a single bite.
Right off the bat that smell is incredible. You get all that black pepper coming off it just covering that local meat with jalapenos and cheese. Oh, this just looks like a good old-fashioned cheeseburger.
You ever get that feeling of being completely powerless against something? Well, the Superman at Top of the Hill is definitely my kryptonite.
As Arthur, a Top of the Hill regular says, “Ain’t nothing wrong with that hamburger. That’s just perfect.”
With that greasy bread, bacon, cheese, and jalapenos, and all those veggies mixing in, it definitely provides a supper flavor. They may call it the Superman, but I’m pretty sure that with this size and flavor it could feed the whole Justice League.
If you want to feel what it’s like to soar through the sky like the man of steel himself, a burger at Top of the Hill is well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List.
“It makes us a living, and God smiles on us every day with what we have,” Retha said.