Abilene's Number One Burger Joint Coming to San Angelo
In many parts of the world, the name Heff's evokes images of the risqué. In Abilene, the moniker is tied to burgers; and darn good ones at that if you consider the success of the expanding joint.
After three consecutive years winning 'Best Burger' awards in our northeasterly neighbor, the rapidly growing success story is expanding its service area to include San Angelo, with a location to be opened at 2017 N Bryant.
“We have always loved San Angelo," owner and operator Brenda Heffernan said. "Our three boys always did stock shows here for years.”
Now the family will be seeing a lot more of the city, as preparation for the grand opening takes place. The Heffernan's currently operate two locations in Abilene, and a third is being built. San Angelo will not be their first out-of-town venture, and the family is certain of their success, as parts of it have already been measured.
A good many of Heff's Abilene customers are actually San Angeloans, Heffernan said, adding that those who visit often express the need for a San Angelo location. Brenda's son, Brian Heffernan, was also in favor of the idea. Brian is slated to be the manager of the San Angelo store, a job he enthusiastically took on because his girlfriend attends Angelo State University.
“He just said, ‘Mom let’s just open a place in San Angelo, then we can go there all the time,’” she explained.
The idea for the family-owned business started small, in a town that was even smaller. The family rented out a gas station in Potosi, about an hour and a half southwest of Abilene, and set up shop at the suggestion of their son.
“My son was paralyzed by a drunk driver, so we got him out of the house and rented a convenience store,” said Hefferan. “It allowed him to get out and be social, then one day he said, 'Let’s cook burgers, I’ll man the grill.'”
At first it was 25 burgers, then 50, and before the family knew it, they were serving over 200 hamburgers a day out of their gas station and grill.
“We grew out of our place real quick,”Heffernan laughed. “From the day we moved in--the first day in Abilene--we’ve been slammed ever since.”
Hefferan attributes the success of Heff’s Burgers to the homemade food and friendly customer service. All the patties are shaped and made to order by the cooks, all vegetables are cut each day, and even the potatoes remain uncut until there’s an order of fries to prepare.
“Your fries will be cut once you order, they’re not sitting in buckets or under heat lamps,” Hefferan stated. For dessert, Heff’s has an ice cream bar that serves shakes, malts, sundaes and cones in many flavors.
The family's fresh cut method appears to be working, as evidenced by three consecutive wins in the Abilene Reporter News Readers’ Choice Awards for the best burger in the city in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Urbanspoon.com also ranks the joint as number one in the municipality.
The Hefferans hope that they will be met with the same success in San Angelo, in addition to joining a community they love.
“We’ve always just loved the town,” Brenda Heffernan said. “If I ever move from Abilene it will be [to] San Angelo.”
Standing behind her support and love for the community, Heffernan intends to hire out of the local pool, bringing with her a small staff of four or five senior cooks from the Abilene locations.
“You always want to be there for your community,” she said, adding that when the weather gets bad, she makes sure to open for emergency and medical personnel.
“I have a soft spot for them. They really helped me out with my son,” she explained. “I want them to have a place to get out of the weather and have a hot meal when everyone else closes down.”
The projected opening for Heff’s Burgers is Feb. 12, just in time for the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo.
“We’re very excited about the stock show and rodeo," Heffernan said. "We still have friends that show animals.”