GC: A Family Affair: Petitts make home-grown burgers at Port Aransas Brewing Company

Trysta Eakin

June 16, 2011 at 1:16 a.m.

Port Aransas Brewing Company makes its burgers from scratch. And we do literally mean from scratch.

Starting at their farm north of Dallas, June and Bob Petitt raise Angus-Hereford cross cattle on corn-based grain with no steroids or hormones. The buns are freshly baked nearby at their secondary restaurant, Beaches Cafe, 118 Beach St. The two ingredients are joined in a labor of love as the entire family takes on the baking, brewing, cooking, serving, accounting, dishwashing and more.

And the hard work is paying off. Just a few months after opening in 2008, the brew company was featured in Texas Monthly's 50 Best Burgers, earning the 44th spot with their Stopher Burger.

"It was the highest ranking burger south of Interstate 10," Bob Petitt said. "When we get ranchers in here, they are usually pretty impressed with the quality of the meat."

Burgers aren't the only thing the Petitts are good at making. Boasting more than 10 different Gorm "A" pizzas, appetizers, salads and sandwiches, along with hot, mild and barbecue wings, the menu is a treasure trove of treats.

One of the few nonseafood places in Port Aransas, the family has found their niche, developing their restaurant knowledge the hard way.

A civil engineer in the previous 30 years, Bob Petitt said he traded in that life more than three years ago and is now schooling himself on raising cattle, producing a superior product in the restaurant business and carving out their place in the industry.

"When we started this, we didn't want to buy all the same products as other restaurants, so I took classes at A&M. One of the things we learned was how the breed of steer is the single biggest influence on the quality of beef," he said.

Petitt, his wife and three children all contribute to the food-making process, taking classes on barbecuing, baking delectable desserts and breads, roasting coffee beans and learning about the brewing industry.

"My older son brews for us. My daughter runs the bakery, and my wife and I run the two restaurants. My wife is more like the general manager," he said. "My youngest son just graduated high school and is more the accountant type.

"My father-in-law is 85 and washes dishes for us on the weekends. In fact, he gets upset with us if we don't call him in," Bob Petitt added.

With their newly opened Beaches Cafe and Bakery, the family has expanded its offerings to steak, seafood, barbecue and a throng of baked goods, once again proving that what they are doing is working.

"We're all rookies in this business," he said. "But we've been successful because we work hard and provide good food."



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