Theresa Fong is the owner and hamburger chef of Stanton's City Bites at the corner of Edwards Street and Houston Avenue in the First Ward (1420 Edwards St, 713 227-4893, stantonscitybites.com). You might have seen Theresa's burger on the cover of Houstonia magazine this month.
Stanton’s was founded by a transplanted San Francisco butcher named Stanton Fong in 1961. He later added a meat counter to the little store and started grinding beef for hamburgers, teaching his trade to his son Art, who took over the store when his dad retired. Art met his wife Theresa Fong in Hong Kong. After settling here, she went to work in the kitchen frying hamburgers. And over the years she has developed a griddle technique that is unrivalved.
Theresa took over the business just over two months ago, when Art Fong died suddenly of a stroke. Art left Theresa with the business and a whole lot of medical bills. Friends of the Stanton family are raising money to help out: In Memory of Art Stanton. When Houstonia art director Chris Skiles hired photographer Ralph Smith to shoot the cover photo.
The two decided they wanted a realistic shot of Stanton's hamburger, not a studio creation. Ralph Smith is one of America's top food photographers. A lot of care was taken to capture the real essence of Stanton's burger. There was no food styling other than a little steam to help the cheese melt and a redistribution of cooking oil as the shoot went on to keep the patty looking moist.
Theresa Fong brought all the ingredients for the burger with her from Stanton's and used one of Ralph Smith's kitchens (there are several in his famous studio complex) to cook it. So if you go to Stanton's, you can expect to get a burger that looks exactly like the one on our cover.