Scott Ball / Rivard Report
Little more than one month after a new owner took the helm of iconic burger joint Chris Madrid’s in September, a fire broke out, forcing the restaurant to close temporarily. But as renovations continue, a new food truck will offer loyal fans their favorite fare until the near-Northside eatery reopens.
Richard Peacock, who bought the restaurant from its namesake’s family after 40 years of ownership, said he began mulling the possibility of a food truck right after the fire broke out in mid-October. When it became clear that restorations would take several months, he embraced the idea.
“Chris [Madrid] started out 40 years ago in this tiny little gas station, with no indoor seating and barely a big enough building to cook the burgers,” Peacock said. “In some ways, we’re kind of going back to that.”
On Sunday night, a photo of a glistening Chris Madrid’s food truck appeared on the restaurant’s Facebook page. A short message below it said the “custom-made kitchen” in the truck is “perfect for making our (almost) world-famous Tostada Burgers.” At the time of publication the post had received more than 2,700 likes, loves, and wows.
Peacock said he’s shooting for a quiet rollout for the food truck next week. And while the plan is for the truck to be stationary until the restaurant reopens, Peacock would not yet disclose the location.
Part of the rollout will include taking the truck to select charities so cooks can provide burger fans with meals while perfecting their chops in the new kitchen, the Facebook post states.
“We want to have our act together and really do whatever it is we’re going to do with excellence,” Peacock said.
The truck will serve a limited menu of Chris Madrid’s burger and fries, Peacock said. For the time being, seasoned patrons will have to make do without the restaurant’s signature nachos and chalupas.
The cause of the October fire remains undetermined, said San Antonio Fire Department spokesman Woody Woodward, and there is no ongoing investigation into its cause.
A reopening date has not yet been announced, but a Facebook post from early November stated “it will be late spring of 2018 at the earliest.” The same post states that the cause of the fire was “most-likely … a faulty extension in that back storeroom behind Jimmy’s bar.”
The restaurant’s original owner, Chris Madrid, opened the burger joint on Blanco Road in 1977. When he died unexpectedly at the age of 61 in 2012, his widow and children took over the restaurant. After 40 years, they sold the family business to Peacock, a former real estate broker who owns the Mexican food staple Paloma Blanca in Alamo Heights. Old and new owners had discussed the sale at length, with Peacock agreeing to keep much of the Madrids’ operations the same.
Renovations aim to preserve the restaurant’s original look, Peacock said, but will add “some new cool things to the building,” including additional trees and an upgraded patio, possibly with a fire pit and a small stage on which musicians could play.
“Things like that I think were always in the back of the Madrids’ minds if they were going to keep the restaurant,” Peacock said.