Gas isn’t the only fuel you can get at the Shell station in Elkridge. You can also get pumped up on burgers.
Chef Rod’s Outrageous Burgers opened earlier this year in a former Food Mart at the gas station at 7894 Washington Blvd. It previously housed its sister restaurant, R&R Taqueria, which moved to a nearby strip shopping center.
At Outrageous Burgers, Rodrigo Albarran, owner and chef of both eateries, has created more than a dozen wow-worthy patties, from a chorizo burger with salted pepper bacon and double Provolone cheese to a Cubano burger with ham, pineapple and a fried egg.
There are also buns stuffed with turkey burgers, blackened chicken, shrimp and a veggie patty. A lengua burger (sliced beef tongue) is available if you ask for it.
“I like burgers,” said Albarran. “I wanted to do nice gourmet burgers that were not overpriced.”
Most of the 8-ounce patties, made fresh on the premises, cost $8.99. When we visited, we were told the burgers would take 10 minutes to prepare. That’s not a long time to wait for these delicious concoctions.
There are only four stools at two counters the size of window ledges in a cramped space that is more suited to carryout. But we grabbed three seats and waited for our order, sipping on glass bottles of Mexican Coke and Dewshine, a Mountain Dew drink made with real sugar.
But this burger joint has more than burgers on its menu. There are wings, ribs and specials, including a crab cake sandwich or shrimp and grits on recent days. A breakfast menu includes items like a western omelet and buttermilk pancakes.
We were pleased with our choices. The fuego burger lived up to its fiery Spanish name. The beef patty got its heat quotient from super-hot ghost pepper cheese, spicy barbecue sauce, cayenne onion straws and Sriracha mayonnaise. Warning: It’s not for sissies.
The “three (not so little) pigs” burger was a delicious stack of pork belly burger with peppered bacon, pulled pork, barbecue sauce, American cheese and creamy coleslaw with chipotle mayonnaise.
Even the seemingly mild, golden-crusted mahi-mahi had a pleasant zing with Sriracha sauce and habanero jelly. The sandwich was tempered by Provolone cheese and a cilantro avocado dressing.
Sides like onion rings and curly fries were hot and crispy.
Before Outrageous Burgers took over the space, R&R Taqueria attracted a devoted following at the gas station.
It received more attention when its tacos and other dishes were featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” with host Guy Fieri and an appearance by former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann.
Recently, R&R, which also has a Perry Hall location, was named one of the top five restaurants in the United States with authentic Mexican food by Food Network.
But Albarran, who grew up in Mexico City before coming to the U.S. at age 11, wasn’t content to focus on one cuisine. “I didn’t just want to be known as the Mexican cook,” he said.
After moving R&R Taqueria to a larger space, he came up with the burger concept.
Albarran, who learned to cook from his mother and grandmother, had worked in pizza, burger and Italian restaurants from a young age, he said.
But he followed a passion for flying planes and became a commercial airline pilot. When he was furloughed during the economic downturn, he ended up back in the kitchen when the Shell station space became available.
“I wanted to do something authentic,” Albarran said. “I wanted people to have a good experience.”