BONNIE'S BURGERS & TERIYAKI

111 NW 21st, 224-8438

My Aunt Wanda once had a nervous breakdown, and for months, could only eat fried chicken from a Texaco station. She was also fearful of being overcome by poisonous fumes, but the thing that really bugged my family was the chicken. We weren't concerned about her eating the chicken--it was her insistence that we eat the chicken, too. She would stroll in at dinnertime with three, big grease-stained buckets, announcing, "Wanda's got chicken! Who's hungry?"

What were we to do? Tell a crazy person we weren't going to eat her chicken? What if our response sent her careening off her crumbling cliff of sanity? So, we ate the oily-soaked chicken, trying not to gag as Aunt Wanda occasionally sniffed the air for poisonous fumes.

Though Aunt Wanda eventually resumed eating normal food, I was cursed from ever eating anything from a gas station. That is, until I dined at Bonnie's Burgers & Teriyaki. And while it may have a four-pump Astro station out front, the food inside is economically divine. The menu is a mixture of American/Asian fast-food favorites, but the reason to go is the Bonnie Burger. For a mere $1.45, the Bonnie Burger deserves a spot in hamburger heaven, with a crispy, overdone patty sitting atop a soft, toasted sesame-seed bun, generously slopped with mayo, ketchup, lettuce and pickles.

While the cheeseburger version is less perfect (grease does a whammy on the dairy), the Bonnie Original puts mass-marketed burgers to shame on both a taste and aesthetic level. Aunt Wanda would surely agree, if you have to eat at a gas station the rest of your life, you'd be hard pressed to find any better than Bonnie's.