By Stacey Patton Wallace
Now, I know I am a fried chicken freak; sometimes, however, I crave a delicious, mouthwatering hamburger.
My love of hamburgers developed because when I was really young, I stayed with my Granddaddy and Grandma Patton (Daddy’s parents) after school and during the summer on Monday through Friday while Mama and Daddy worked at Russell Mills, Inc., in Alexander City (“Eleck” City to the locals).
Monday through Thursday, Grandma would cook an amazing dinner. In the South, dinner is served at noon; supper is at 6 p.m. I know that these are the correct names for meals because the late, great Alabama writer and storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham once said, “The painting was called the Last Supper, not the Last Dinner.” I agree with Miss Kathryn and was once honored to meet her.
Anyway, a typical dinner at Grandma’s might include: homemade fried chicken, green beans, corn, fried green tomatoes, fresh red tomatoes, homemade biscuits or cornbread and lemon ice box pie. Also, the vegetables would come from my Daddy’s garden. Those fresh vegetables were too delicious to describe.
However, on Fridays, my Grandma, a meticulously neat and orderly woman, tore up that four-room Avondale Mill village house for a deep clean. Dirt and dust never had a fighting chance.
So while Grandma was doing battle with grit and grim (However, I never saw any of it anywhere at any time.), Granddaddy and I would hop into his 1966 blue Chevrolet and go to a local restaurant for three hamburgers and three orders of fries.
Ah, nostalgia. But back to the present day. When Mike and I moved to Auburn in November 2015, I needed to find a favorite burger place. Now, I’ve enjoyed a lot of burger places in our area.
However, my favorite burger place in all of Lee County is … Sheila C’s Burger Barn at 622 Shug Jordan Parkway in Auburn.
One reason that Mike and I love Sheila C’s is because the burgers taste so much like the wonderful hamburgers my Mama and Mike’s Mama used to make; they have that distinctive, homemade flavor, and you can’t beat that. Oh, my two times.
I am a frequent customer at Sheila C’s, and I do not consider the burgers there to be fast food at all, although that’s how the restaurant is described on the internet. Fast food burgers start with frozen patties, and when they’re cooked, you don’t know how long they’ve been sitting under a lamp. Not at Sheila C’s, where the burgers are freshly made, and perfection takes time. Not long ago, I met Mr. Al, Sheila C’s husband. I told him that next year they should enter the annual Burger Wars. They’d DEFINITELY get my vote.
In addition, I love the modest, unassuming building that houses Sheila C’s Burger Barn. Also, I love the signs and pictures which decorate the walls. My favorite is: “Shopping with your husband is like hunting with the game warden.” 100% correct.
Sheila C’s 6-ounce burger comes with mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, onions, lettuce, tomato and pickles. Just tell them what to hold, and they will leave it off. Mike and I always tell them to add cheese because life is just better with cheese. While Mike has them hold lettuce and tomato, I like mine all the way except for mayonnaise. Also, we love the delicious, thick fries at Sheila C’s, and you get a very generous portion. Sheila C’s is also very affordable. A cheeseburger with fries is only $9.
This morning, as I did low impact aerobics on Roku, I thought that the young, thin British instructor could use two or three Sheila C’s cheeseburgers. In fact, since he’s trying to help me get in better shape, I’d even treat him to Sheila C’s if he’s ever in town.
Besides the best cheeseburgers in Lee County, Sheila C’s Burger Barn also offers diners: hot dogs, BLTs, chicken boxes (Just Chicken), chicken sandwiches, grilled cheese and ham & cheese. Desserts include: pecan pie, milkshakes or root beer floats.
Trust me, run, do not walk to Sheila C’s Burger Barn at 622 Shug Jordan Parkway in Auburn.
Shelia C’s is closed on Sunday and Monday, and open on Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Shelia C’s Burger Barn makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher.
Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!
Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” will appear each week in the Observer. Stacey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.