Lunch in the Fast Lane

Jerry Hitt’s new restaurant, The Fillin’ Station in downtown Granbury, has been growing steadily thanks to loyal customers and rave word-of-mouth reviews.

After years of waiting patiently, Jerry Hitt is finally getting to live life in the fast lane—and he’s starting with lunch.
A self-proclaimed “car nut,” Hitt designed the place with speed racers and stick shifts in mind. It’s an energetic, auto-themed atmosphere that pays homage to the building’s roots as a historic fueling station for Marathon Oil, which ran a 24-hour cafe and gas station there from 1929 through World War II.
And it doesn’t skimp on the nostalgia. Red walls covered with vintage Pennzoil posters, Route 66 signs, tin hot rods and checkered flags make you feel as though you’ve stepped right onto the Daytona Speedway. The menu is equally eccentric, featuring tasty dishes such as Lug Nuts (fried jalapeños), Thunderbird (chicken sandwich), Harley D (bacon cheeseburger) and Studebaker (ice cream sundae).

My favorite is the Cadillac, a thick and juicy burger with hickory-smoked bacon crumbles hand-ground right into the patty. It’s juicy without being overly messy, but you’ll still want to use two hands. Order it with a jalapeño bun and a side of fries for a meal that will fill you up just enough for a brisk walk around the square afterward. The menu doesn’t feature very many vegetarian-friendly entrees, but a good place to start is the Deuce Coupe. This not-your-mama’s grilled cheese is topped with macaroni and cheese and grilled “till it runs out the sides.” Another two-hander. Here with a group? Share a basket of Coil Springs, or house-made, lightly seasoned potato chips served with a bowl of white queso. It’s plenty for four people to share or two if you’re really hungry.

Thanks to his background in supermarket operations, Hitt serves up dishes with freshness in mind. “I grind my meat daily,” he shares. “That’s the difference between my burgers and others.” He’s also not opposed to experimenting with flavor, which is great news for those of us who aren’t opposed to experimenting with taste. When the whim strikes him, Hitt and his crew will whip up a “Garage Special” and write it on a chalkboard outside the restaurant. A recent special was the Ranchero Burger: ground beef with bacon, green chilies and ranch powder. It’s best not to dilly-dally if you want to try one of these—because they’re only served “while they last.”

In the end, the Fillin’ Station is bound to become the type of place where everybody knows your name—if they don’t already. Situated on the southeast corner of historic downtown Granbury, it’s a hit with tourists and locals alike. Even some of the wait staff is on a first-name basis with customers. “I don’t get many days off,” explained our waitress to a neighboring table, “but when I do, people notice.”
So what’s next for this place? Although its first six months have far surpassed Hitt’s expectations, his next goal of business is expanding the patio. In its current state, it has plentiful seating and a great view of the square, so you’re likely to see a horse-drawn carriage or a neighbor pass by between bites of your Dipstick. It features both air conditioners and heaters because, well, that’s how Texas goes. Ultimately, he wants to create a space that blends right into the Granbury community, adding, “It’s all about good food, good friends and good fun.” And maybe a good speedster, too.

by Jenni Hanley