Popular burger joint in the East End known for feeding first responders

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For nearly 60 years, Champ Burger has fueled the East End community, and even during the pandemic, the grill stayed on to help essential workers.

Parked on the corner of Garrow and Sampson Street sits a uniquely colored and tiled building that gets plenty of foot traffic and offers customers an old school place to eat.

"It's just a good, big, greasy burger," customer Doug Baugher said.

The same style burger that you would get when the window opened 58 years ago.

"We feed this community," owner Christopher Saladino said.

Champ Burger was originally started when Saladino's grandparents moved to the East End.

"They were German immigrants and they lived on this corner," Saladino explained. "Once they had passed away years later, my grandfather decided to build a little burger joint on it and it's worked ever since."

Saladino said even though his dad is gone, his spirit sticks around in the food and from an image on the wall.

"Every day I look at him and get his blessing and go in and go to work," Saladino said.

He added that his father taught him to give back and stay open even if a hurricane hit.

When the pandemic hit, Champ Burger closed, but two weeks later, the grill was back open.

"We feed the workers, we feed the truck drivers, we feed the first responders, we feed the doctors," Saladino explained. "That is what we do. For the most part, the food is exactly the same. The product we throw out is exactly the same."

Saladino has worked at Champ Burger for 30 years. He said he has no plans to leave the window because he feels "pretty good."

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