In a culinary culture where fast is favored and excellence denied, it can be a real treat to find food that is prepared and served with passion and quality ingredients. You will not find a more passionate person when it comes to unique and delicious burgers other than Willie Harmon at Willie’s Place. Willie boasts of his 100% pure beef that is ordered fresh every morning and never frozen. He says that only the best ingredients are used in his signature burgers called the “Wet Willie,” “Big Willie,” and “Little Willie.” “We also have some of the best BBQ in this part of Texas,” Harmon added.
The passion that drives Willie to serve up the best burgers in town has resonated since his teen years. He recalls working at Dairy Queen as a 16-year-old young man with dreams of using the empty lot just a block away to open his own restaurant one day. That entrepreneurial spirit has guided Willie throughout his life. His business ownership experience didn’t begin in the restaurant industry, however, it began in auto detail. In 2009, he decided to return to his teenage-dream. Thus, Willie’s Place was born.
Willie’s Place is located at 3135 10th Street, in place of the old Stanley’s #2 that was famous for the “Beanie Burger.” Founder of Stanley’s and the Beanie Burger, is the late Stanley Hill. Stanley and his wife, Joan, opened their first establishment in 1971. They enjoyed great success in the barbecue business. Before passing away, Stanley served as a mentor to Willie. He helped Willie in the beginning stages of opening his restaurant with one condition — that Willie not sell Beanie Burgers as long as Stanley was alive. The agreement was made over a handshake. Customers would often ask for the famous Beanie Burger, but Willie kept his word and left the sought-after sandwich off the menu. After Stanley passed, his wife wasted no time in approaching Willie about serving up the Beanie Burger. Willie reluctantly agreed. He admits that it is not the exact recipe that Stanley used, which created some critics, but he is okay with that.
Willie is a family man. He attributes his success to the support his family has shown him over the years. He extends family attitude to his restaurant, adding a welcoming atmosphere for patrons who find themselves returning regularly. “We are always friendly and we love serving customers,” he shares. He is passionate about his work, his food, and keeping his customers happy.
Willie tries to give the same customer service to all his customers, no matter who they are. “I’m not going to let anyone go hungry; I can’t afford to do it every time, but if I can help someone then I am going to help them,” Willie said. Harmon truly cares about his customers and his heart for service has turned many of them into friends. This is evident by the restaurant’s décor which is mostly provided by his regulars. Their trinkets and signs hang all along the walls.
The restaurant has received numerous awards and accolades, including “Texas Bucket List” and “Top 15 Burgers in the State of Texas.” Though Willie says, “As far as awards go, my biggest is when people walk out of my restaurant happy.” Willie has put his heart and soul into his place. There is nothing else he would rather be doing with his life.
Willie’s Place boasts a large menu. There are multiple hot sauce levels that could be added to burgers or fries. Few dare to attempt the Ghost Pepper, but it’s quite entertaining to watch the ones that do! From fries to desert, to everything in between, Willie is ready to pour his heart into your meal and is eager to meet you. So, make a point to head over to 3135 10th Street and enjoy a unique dining experience from one of Wichita Falls’ favorite local eateries.