A family affair

Family-owned burger joint and drive-thru buddies up to North Austin

Family-owned burger joint and drive-thru buddies up to North Austin

burgers from Buddy's Burger in Austin
Hand-formed Angus patties anchor the menu at Buddy's Burger in North Austin. Photo courtesy of Buddy's Burger

A new family-owned burger joint is shaking up the local drive-thru scene. And Austin has a few college kids to thank for it.

Buddy’s Burger, which offers a small but classic burger menu, opened recently at 9001 Cameron Rd. near East Rundberg Lane, in North Austin. The concept comes from two University of Texas students and a University of Houston grad, all family members, who opened the burger house mid-pandemic after realizing it was just the beef injection the neighborhood needed. Though Buddy’s does provide some indoor and outdoor seating, the concept aims to offer a high-end burger experience via the drive-thru.

“We noticed a lack of local food places on Cameron Road and wanted to introduce a new idea to the market,” says co-owner Isha Fidai. “Buddy’s is different than other local spots because of the new concept we have introduced: high-quality food but served fast.”

Highlights of the Buddy’s menu include classic hamburgers and cheeseburgers made with 100 percent Angus beef and drizzled with Buddy’s regular or spicy Smack Sauce, a 12-ingredient, mayo-based family recipe dating back decades. And diners won’t have a beef with these meaty masterpieces, which are hand-formed daily and messy in all the ways a juicy burger should be. Buddy’s also serves hand-tossed regular and seasoned fries, handspun milkshakes, hand-squeezed lemonade, and — oh yeah — pints of draft beer, giving the hamburger stand a sudsy advantage over other local burger shops like P. Terry’s and Mighty Fine.

The Fidai family originally planned to open Buddy’s in March, but that date got pushed back because of the pandemic. 

“We were hesitant to open in June and were initially deciding to push our opening an additional six months later. However, we decided to take a leap of faith because we didn’t know how long COVID would be around,” Fidai says.

Buddy’s Burgers is open daily from 11 am to 11 pm for dine-in and drive-thru service. The eatery’s COVID-specific safety precautions include requiring masks for all customers and employees while inside the restaurant, offering socially distanced seating, and providing enhanced sanitizing measures.

Austinites who’ve been in a pickle and unable to find a high-quality drive-thru burger are relishing Buddy’s, and the concept has become popular so quickly that the Fidai family is already planning to expand locally with additional locations. 

“We have been so overwhelmed with the support we have received at Buddy’s,” Fidai says. “Opening during a pandemic has been hard, but we are grateful to Buddy’s friendly staff and the customers that have made this possible.”