NEDERLAND, Texas — This week we’re in downtown Nederland, at a burger joint I’m told is the boss: Boss Burger.
The first time you walk into this legendary local eatery, it doesn’t take long for owner Joe Oates to give you a hearty welcome, and it’s safe to say he’s a bit boisterous.
“I say it’s dinner and a show with Joe, you know,” Mary said. “So never a dull moment.”
Mary is Joe’s partner in life and together they started Boss Burger out of trailer but decided to make it destination in downtown.
“Years ago she was a maid of honor at my first wedding in 1989,” Joe said. “I knew she was going to be the one when we had a motor cycle accident our second week dating. We took the bike and ran it off and slid it off into a ditch, a muddy ditch. She said ‘chalk this off to the bucket list.’”
Born on the east coast, Joe has come a long way over the years after spending the majority of his life offshore, cooking for fishing vessels and off shore rigs in the gulf.
“You get compliments by 45 guys, three times a day and good job and I’m getting paid to do what I like to do, which is cook,” Joe said.
But when he came back to shore, Joe didn’t really have a place to call home. Eventually he got his life together thanks to his faith, friends, and food.
“There was a time in my life, if I walked into the police station they wanted to take my picture and today I walk into the police station and they want to have their picture taken with me,” Joe said.
Now Joe is very passionate, especially about his food and we’re here for a burger topped with of all things. Apples.
“The one constant in the world that will keep a man in everlasting ignorance is contempt prior to investigation,” Joe said.
Who am I to say no, so we start with prime rib and chuck roast. Once we got our half pound patty, Joe throws it on the grill. A not so fancy bun is toasted, and once it’s cooked, Joe’s own recipe known as the Berkley sauce is busted out.
“Now this is our maple flavored bacon, Granny Smith Apples, sweet yellow onions, pure maple syrup,” Joe said.
Freshly ground beef with that apple, bacon, Berkley sauce and cheese. Just a simple burger with an incredible topping we’ve never seen on the Texas Bucket List. An incredible combination of flavors with that sweet apple with that savory bacon mixed in with those onions mixing together with that freshly ground beef. And the bun? Don’t worry about it, because it’s all about what’s in here.
“It’s one of the best burgers I’ve ever had,” Daniel, a Boss Burger customer said.
“I’ve never belonged to anything, you know,” Joe said. “Now I’ve got a girl, we’ve got a house, a couple of dogs, a business. Belonged to motorcycle organizations, chamber of commerce, a couple of churches. We drive through the town and people honk and wave. Oh my God. All because of hamburgers.”