Sisters carry on the tradition of serving Char-Burger’s beloved burgers | Local News

In a small, unpretentious building in downtown Kilgore, Char-Burger Stockade makes one of the oldest and best burgers in East Texas.

Sisters Kourtney McDonald and Kayla Wade operate the family business inherited from their father, Johnny Wade, who owned Char-Burger for about three decades.

“We grew up in the restaurant, but we didn’t really work here until my father passed away, so we had to come and learn everything,” McDonald said. “This restaurant was so important to him and we just wanted to keep it going.”

Char-Burger’s roots go back to 1972 when the restaurant was founded by Aldeen Barbee.

Johnny Wade bought the business in the 1980s. With hand-breaded beef, fresh toppings, and a variety of options, Char-Burger quickly became a favorite among Kilgorites.

Wade died in 2014, when his daughters took over the management of Char-Burger. McDonald said she and her sister plan to continue running the business like their father did.

They pick up fresh meat every day at the Clower Meat Market in Kilgore and make all the food to order.

The Char-Burger menu is extensive. The classic cheeseburger (# 10) includes cheese, onions, pickles, lettuce, tomato and mustard. The most popular burger is the Chili Cheeseburger (# 3), which features chili, onions, cheese, and Char-Burger fan’s favorite smoky sauce.

Char-Burger Stockade is located at 206 N. Kilgore St. in downtown Kilgore. The restaurant is open from 10 am to 9 pm Monday to Saturday; it is closed on Sunday. For information, visit

For more on other East Texas burger restaurants, check out ETX View Magazine’s Burger Bucket List at

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