Elizabethton, TN

Up the Creek to the Burger Hut

John M. Dabbs

The Burger HutJohn Dabbs/Photographer

This morning I skipped breakfast for reasons beyond my control. With hunger taking its toll, my trip to Elizabethton this morning took me out of my way. My belly took over, and I was headed up the creek without a paddle. That's right - Stoney Creek. The next thing I knew, I was pulling in at The Burger Hut across from the Elizabethton Municipal Airport.

dining roomJohn Dabbs/Photographer

Mid-Century modern

Locally still referred to as "Betty's Burger Hut" by many, The Burger Hut has been in business since Larry and Betty Shouse started it in 1974. It's been on Stoney Creek as long as I can remember at at 440 Tennessee Highway 91 across from the Elizabethton Airport.

The tale-tell signs of price value and taste brought me there initially. I was riding with an engineer for WQUT to the transmitter on Holston Mountain while I was on break from college. Kevin and I made a stop for lunch on our way back. New to the Betty's, I wasn't sure what to get - but with a name like burger hut it should be safe. It was.

The front counterJohn Dabbs/Photographer

I enjoyed one of the best hamburgers I'd ever eaten at a diner. It wasn't anything fancy. It was simple but perfect. The price was right too on a college kid's budget.

The 50's type decor is fitting with the food and menu. The hut would fit into any small town or downtown atmosphere and be a great place for date night too for a kids of all ages.

At times you'll see deputy sheriffs, the rescue squad, and the crew from the aeromedical helicopter base across the highway eating here. That speaks loads to visitors. I use the presence of police and EMS eating to know its a good value for the money and the service is decent. Betty's Burger Hut continues to draw locals and visitors alike.

The only drawback would be the bathrooms not being big enough for people in the modern age. They are fine for me, but I can see how larger clientelle may find it snug or possibly even claustrophobic.

Great basic food

The classic hole-in-the-wall restaurant, it's not. It may not look like it, but it is your classic diner on the inside. The flattop grille, fryers, and ovens make great food. The mixers and soda fountains produce great drinks. If you aren't full when you're done - there's also soft-serve ice cream on tap, along with other desserts.

Burger and FriesJohn Dabbs/Photographer

Their isn't anything that really stands out and makes the Burger Hut special. It is almost nondescript and and blends into the background when there isn't a crowd. You'll ususally find a crowd building around traditional meal times. The food is solid. I've never had a bad meal there, it's just right. It is hard to explain. Simplicity done right is about how'd I would some it up.

If you are up the creek and in the mood for good food at a decent price, you should give it a try. You'd be comfortable taking your mother, father, date, or child here. It is a family friendly location that picks up business from locals, the nearby Northeast State Community College's Elizabethton campus, and Tennessee College of Applied Technology nearby.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Johnson City, TN

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