Wally’s Burger Express Beginnings
I founded Wally’s Burger Express in 1980 on the site of an old Dairy Queen store. At the time, we had just rescued a little dog we got at the Puppy Love Show, and we thought it would be fun to name the dog after our new restaurant. So we named her Wally. A lot of people think we named the restaurant after the dog, and that makes a good story, and some folks think you should not let the facts get in the way of a good story. She did love hamburgers, though, and she did like riding in the car, sticking her nose out the window, and going through the drive-up at Wally’s. We started giving her a dog biscuit when she came through the drive with her “Mother”, Marion, my wife. It was like she knew she was connected with “her” restaurant in some way. We used to keep a picture of her in the dining room and we may do so again. By the way, we now give dog biscuits at the drive-up window to all dogs who come through…They love it, and it started with Wally.
A Family-Owned Restaurant
Wally’s is, and I hope always will be, a family restaurant. Not just for my family, but for our “work family”. We have always treated our “Team” like we would like to be treated and try to give them a feeling of belonging to a work-family that they can trust and be loyal to. We think loyalty is a two-way street. It pays off in a win-win situation. We have very low turnover for our industry. For example, a long term employee, Alberta, just retired after 30 + years. Moe, a long term manager, has now been with Wally’s 25+ years. Some customers call him “Wally”. Others of our Team have been with us 11, 8, 6, 5 years….You get the idea. We are a good place to work. It’s not all about money, although we do have a high starting pay at $12 per hour. What this means is when you come to Wally’s, you can expect some good hospitality from long term Team members who you will see again when you come back.
We believe in hospitality. We have fun at work, and we want you to have fun when you visit us. We believe in smiles and stories. Notice the “Bad Attitudes Here” sign above the trash can at the front entrance.
Our Menu - Burgers, Chicken Strips and Shakes
And don’t forget quality of food. With the kind of experience we have, you know you are going to get a good burger you will remember. We are especially known for burgers, our famous hand breaded chicken strips, and shakes. Our burgers use fresh meat and fresh vegetables and will be hot and juicy. We call them 5 napkin burgers because you will have to use 5 napkins (at least) to eat one of our juicy burgers. We have ½ pound patties and classic ¼ pound burgers. We have some of the best Applewood bacon in the business. No dry burgers here.
Our hand breaded chicken strips are so good that in a hamburger restaurant, believe it or not, we sell up to 20% of our total sales in chicken strips—baskets, sandwiches, and salads.
You’ll like them.
We have better shakes than most of our competitors, and more interesting flavors, too. We use a high butterfat mix that makes the best-tasting shakes. Oh, we have the usual chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry (with real fruit), but also butterscotch, cappuccino, pina colada, crème de menthe, and root beer. We serve them with ½ inch diameter straws for the best tasting experience.
As for me, I have a law degree and grew up in the restaurant business in Cleburne, Texas. I went to UT straight through and when I got out, my wife Marion, who is from Nova Scotia, Canada, wanted to print up some cards saying “Robert Mayfield, Attorney at Last”. I am a Longhorn fan who likes nothing better to see us beat OU in the Cotton Bowl.
My oldest son, Linton has been working for the company since 1997. He graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Restaurant Hotel Management with dreams of entering the restaurant industry and climbing the corporate ladder. But alas the lure of working in a successful family business was too much to ignore and he has been working for us ever since. My other son, Nathaniel, is a professional trumpet player who went to Juilliard and Columbia University in New York City. He is one of the best trumpet players in the world, who can play the baroque trumpet, which goes back to Bach and not many people can even play. He gets calls from all over, including Europe. I now have 4 little granddaughters and one baby grandson because Linton married a pretty girl from Ukraine, and Nathaniel married another pretty girl from Germany.
So I am a family man who runs a family business that has a work family to take care of you. We have fun serving you the best juicy burgers, chicken strips, and shakes/malts in Austin. Life is too short to eat dry burgers! If life is good for us and if life is good for you, hopefully, Wally’s is part of the reason. God bless.
---- Robert Mayfield, owner of Wally’s Burger Express