By Steven Doyle
Once a year we assess one of the finest culinary wonders of modern times. The hamburger truly is the perfect food, wrapped in a warm and toasty bun that firmly secures the precious cargo of seared meat and any number of vegetables. A really good cheese is an added bonus; a sunny-side up egg a treasure for a delicious self-saucing effect.
One of the most common questions ever asked of a food writer is where exactly do you find the perfect burger? The answer is far more difficult than you may think. Dallas plays host to many fine burgers; some more obvious than others. There are two schools of burgers available. The chef-driven burger, which will most likely be made of the superior grass-fed beef, house-made bun and many other clever tricks that only a fine chef can produce such as their own pickles and mustard. The chef burger can set you back a few bucks, often chipping away at the better part of a $20 bill. These are amazing and well worth the expense, but best left for special occasions.
The every day burger can be quite tasty as well. These often are made in rundown shanties or bars, but not limited to those spaces. A good burger find at a bargain price is a gem, and well worth sharing as a claim to victory.
We will share a few of our favorite burgers from both categories. There have been many new players in the past year, and this useful guide might prove a useful road map to your next lunch.
Six Napkins Required
One of the relative new players in the burger world is Off-Site Kitchen owned by Nick Badovinus who also owns the new Tried and True on Henderson, and the smattering of Neighborhood Services restaurants. The burger spot is located on Irving Boulevard, just on the edge of the Design District. The restaurant serves up incredible burgers with hand ground beef, sturdy and delicious buns, and a plethora of garnish options. Add smoked bacon relish and an egg for an extra holy experience. The fries are an elite house-made option.
Maple and Motor is one of our favorite burger places in Dallas, and after a recent visit a tear was struck. Not because we were so damned happy, we were, but because of the added fresh grilled jalapenos and spicy brisket laden chili that we had topped on the burger. For an extra ethereal experience ask for a thick slice of fried bologna to go with your huge beef patty.
In Oak Cliff look to legendary Wingfield’s Breakfast and Burgers located on Beckley. The experience of ordering and a search for where to dine also will add to the adventure of this massive burger that weighs nearly a pound for a single with all the accoutrements. The fries are the frozen crinkle cut variety, but are kicked up with the essence of bacon grease for another reason to visit your cardiologist.
Another Dallas-area institution located in Richardson is Del’s Charcoal Burger. The trip to the wrong side of Richardson will pay dividends in burger magic. Order a burger with crispy bacon and jalapenos with a side of fat and crispy fries and a mug of root beer for this hometown favorite.
Traveling east also nets some great burger finds. Look no further than to the 55-year old Dairy-Ette at Ferguson and Oates for a great greasy burger, serviceable fries and house-made root beer. The burgers are not the massive variety you might find at the newer generation burger palaces, but instead a regulation-sized meat sandwich grilled properly, and thoroughly.
A Cold Beer and a Burger Please
The newest burger in town is located in Preston Center just off Northwest Highway. Here you will find the Austin transplant, Hopdoddy. These folks promise house-ground beef, freshly baked buns, and a fantastic burger that is value priced. These burgers are righteous, and come replete with a fine selection of local brews such as Deep Ellum or the best beer for your buck, the 9.1% ABV Peticolas Velvet Hammer.
The best burger in Dallas that comes with a side of beer is none other than the elusive Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House. Found just off Garland Road at Peavy, Goodfriend has one of the finest beer selections in the city. It also serves up a fantastic burger, but you will have to wait until 5 p.m. each night before being granted a bite. Look for a new burger on the menu that is also topped with velvety rich smoked brisket. Heavenly in its brilliance.
Tell Me A Few Fast and Cool Burgers
In Rockwall seek out a spot called Boots Burgers which has been serving since 1968. This really oddball burger joint is located in a house where next door neighbors are mowing their lawns and enjoying front yard slip and slides. The burgers are cheap, delicious and undeniably the strangest place to find a burger. Order the jalapeno relish. We also like Square Burger in McKinney, Club Schmitz near Harry Hines, the Grape (sold only on Sunday and Monday), Ten Bells Tavern in Oak Cliff, and Liberty Burger with its few locations in Dallas.
You have your marching orders, now go and eat a few burgers. If you have your favorite burger you wish for us to try, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.