Photos by Shannon Richardson

Shark Beach Burgers

The menu at Shark Beach Burgers is simple: classic takeout-style cheeseburgers, plus sides like tater tots, french fries, onion rings and fried cheese curds. A few alternatives for the non-burger crowd, including chicken sandwiches and grilled cheese. Cherry limes and soda and tea and beer. That’s about it.

But everything else about this place, from its history to its vision? Not so simple.

Across 10-plus acres on the Claude Highway, not far from the entrance to Lake Tanglewood, Shark Beach is an experience. It’s a concert venue, a local hangout, a family business and a cultural oddity.

“When we moved here, we didn’t even know how long we were gonna stay,” says Bryan Bailey. He and his wife, Brenda, brought the family to Amarillo from South Padre Island. “We were going to just have a little restaurant and then maybe sell and motor on. But now it’s like, nope, we’re going to just keep pouring investment into it.”

His oldest son, Austin, chimes in: “All of us have fallen in love with Amarillo.” The couple’s youngest son, Chase, also works at Shark Beach, while middle son, Blake, serves in the Navy.

Brenda grew up here. Her grandmother, Charlotte Schroeter, operated the tiny Gram’s Burger Farm on the property. Schroeter closed the business in 2018 after a stroke and passed away in 2019. Her little burger shack sat empty for nearly a year until Brenda and her brothers decided to clean it out.

They arrived in February 2020 before COVID shut everything down in March. That’s when the family decided to reopen to meet the growing demand for takeout food.

The Tanglewood community embraced it. Then Amarillo and Canyon residents started showing up. Then the Baileys—who had left their beloved beach behind in South Padre—decided to bring the beach to the Texas Panhandle.

“We didn’t just want a restaurant,” Bryan says. “We wanted a beach. We wanted a place kids could come out, families could come out, you had some room.” In other words, they didn’t want people to just grab a burger, eat it, and go home. They wanted people to stay. They wanted to create a destination.

The family trucked in 46 semi-trailer loads of sand. “Which is almost a thousand tons,” Bryan says. “We have a lot of sand. But we lose about three semis’ [worth] a year” because of the wind.”

With the beach in place—plus a lot of outdoor seating, picnic tables, mannequins, old vehicles, surfboards, a lifeguard stand, and other eclectic decor—they prioritized live music during the summer months. “There’s so much local talent, music-wise, it’s mind-blowing,” says Bryan, who says Shark Beach has hosted more than 80 free concerts this year, along with a dozen paid concerts with touring tribute bands. 

“We’re pretty basic,” Brenda says. “We aimed it at what we enjoy. This is just Mom and Pop and a couple of kids.” (And a lot of sand.)

1505 East FM 1151