Big Al’s is actually a gas station outside of Searcy, probably six or seven minutes from campus by car. It offers a different environment than County Kitchen, though. Country Kitchen is separated into two discernable sections: diner and service station. Big Al’s, however, is truly just a gas station, but with a grill behind the counter. The eating area sits in the middle of the service station, between the counter and a wall of bottled drinks.
Hunter: For a long time I have said that Big Al’s has the best burger in Searcy, and even after trying so many for this series, this gas station still holds that title. Everything about it is just done right. The burger is made-to-order, making the beef noticeably fresh with a strong, rich flavor. The cheese melts perfectly into the beef, more so than any other burger in Searcy. Big Al’s also distinguishes itself with its bacon, if you order a bacon burger. Many bacon burgers include cheap bacon that is thin or ready-made. Big Al’s gives you a heap of thick, breakfast bacon. In addition to the burger, Big Al’s offers a unique side — fresh-cut, homemade fried potato chips, properly cooked and seasoned. They’re fantastic, and you won’t find them anywhere else in Searcy. Big Al’s also separates itself from other restaurants with its value. A double bacon cheeseburger, fries or chips, and a drink cost me $8. For me, Big Al’s scores a 9/10.
JP: As this review series has continued, I have found it progressively more difficult to make a definitive ranking of the Searcy-area burgers. How can I compare such a wide variety of flavors, preparations and condiments? Few burgers stand out as clearly superior; most burgers I would like to have again. The numbers I give are but crude attempts to evaluate an experience that is mostly inestimable. With that said, the Big Al’s burger is probably the best all-around burger you can get near Searcy. I could spend pages equivocating—it may not be the absolute best-tasting, it may not have all of my favorite condiments, and it may not be prepared just the way I like— but at worst, it comes in second place in all of these categories, making it the most well-rounded burger I have yet devoured. On top of it all, the burger, alone or in a combo, is incredibly cheap. Big Al’s is truly a hidden treasure, though not to remain hidden long. This burger gets a 9/10.
Bottom Line: Big Al’s offers what is probably the best all-around burger in Searcy. Every part of the burger blends together perfectly. The pile of fries or chips they’ll give you for your side and the low price of the meal make it an unbeatable value. Averaging our scores, Big Al’s burger ranks at number on our list with a score of 9/10.