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ON THE MENU — Boss Burger food truck serves up big tastes

Boss Burger is a small food truck situated between Gulf Coast Credit Union and Memorial Church of Christ off of Aero Drive in Port Arthur.

The outside is unassuming and small, but it’s what happens on the inside of the tin truck that gives the joint its name.

Mary and Joe Oates started the business in 2014 as a full-fledged brick and mortar restaurant, but soon downsized to the kitchen on wheels.

“I couldn’t find a good burger anywhere and quite frankly I didn’t know what to do with myself,” Joe said. “My friends told me to get a food truck.”

A Boss Burger with pepper jack cheese and bacon. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

Joe took the leap, piggybacking off of the written word of Lee Iacocca, a legendary U.S. automobile executive.

“I ended up reading Lee Iacocca’s autobiography, and in it he mentioned that the best burger he ever had in his life was at the Chrysler Commissary,” Oates said. “He spent six months trying to make the best one or make one equal, but he couldn’t. He finally went and asked the chef, ‘How do you make your hamburgers so good?’ The chef said, ‘When I get done trimming the tenderloins and the rib roasts, I take the pieces and put them in with the chuck, grind it and make the burgers.’ The moral of the story is that if you start with a good product and have a good process, the end product will be good — that’s what we strive to do here.”

Boss Burger’s meat is ground from 44 different farms in north College Station that specialize in raising genetically superior beef.

“We used to cut and grind our own meat when we first opened, but we still hand make the patties every morning,” Joe said. “What makes us special is the quality of the meat. You get a hot meal with a warm smile. It’s just old-fashioned goodness. We don’t have to hide our meat with fancy bread or toppings. Our toppings are meant to enhance your burger experience, not change it.”

Boss Burger toppings come with all the original fixings, such as lettuce, tomato and ketchup, but it’s the specialty Boss Sauce that turns the experience into a unique one.

The Boss Sauce is a bacon-infused sriracha mayonnaise.

Boss Burger owner Joe Oates runs the food truck off of Aero Drive in Port Arthur. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

Oates said he developed the flavor combination while looking for something to dip the menu’s fresh fish in.

“I’ve cooked on boats on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast for years and watched guys come on the boat with their own hot sauce,” he said. “We decided we needed something to serve with our fish other than tartar sauce, an all around general-purpose sauce. We came out with bacon-infused sriracha mayonnaise. Not only does it go well on our fish and po-boys, but it’s also good on our outlaw burger, for dipping fries and during crawfish season it can be bought.”

The restaurant also serves up award-winning mesquite smoked pulled pork.

“It’s smoked for 15 hours over mesquite wood,” Oates said. “Before pulling it off the bone, we toss it in our homemade seasoning. No one does that.”

The menu also includes blackened chicken breast with a Caribbean seasoning, home cut French fries and fish on Fridays.

Recently, Joe and his wife Mary took the food truck on the road to provide hot meals to places hit after Hurricane Laura.

Boss Burger made stops in Nederland and Orange to provide a food option to cities struggling with the massive power outages.

Oates said having the food truck allows them accessibility to move.

“We spent two years in a brick and mortar off of Twin City Highway,” he said. “Then we moved to Boston Avenue for 2 1/2 years. That was cool, being part of the community, being able to sit down and talk to regulars.

“I worked for 35 years offshore. No wife. No kids. No vehicle. Then I came over here, met Mary, my partner, and started this trailer. Now we are a part of a community. I never had that before. To be a part of Nederland and the Golden Triangle is awesome and we are glad to be here.”

Mary said while the food truck is a new experience to her, and she hopes the community continues to support the Boss Burger name.

“Joe’s been cooking for 35 years, but I’d never done anything like this,” she said. “It’s new to me, but I love it. The trailer is a lot less stress, although I miss the customers that would come into the restaurant.

“A lot of people really miss the restaurant, but since we’ve been more consistent at this new location our customers are finding us again. It’s the good food that draws people in, the friendliness, and the awesome burgers. That’s all I can say.”

Boss Burger is located at 2665 Aero Drive in Port Arthur. Hours are Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.