Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Best Bar Burger and Beer Bets in Big “D”

Alright, even though my task is to handle bars and nightclubs for Lit Monthly, I just had to write something about Dallas hamburgers. So, I decided to tackle some of the best "bar" burgers in Big "D" and here is what I came up with...

Best Bar Burger and Beer Bets in Big “D”

As summer approaches, there’s not much that’s more appealing than an ice cold beer and a hot juicy cheese burger, other than perhaps the cut of the new swimwear fashions. And while the food reviews in Lit Monthly are more than ably handled by our staff gourmand, Bill Tate, many of you who know me know that I’m somewhat of a hamburger aficionado/snob, so I felt the need to list some of my favorite Dallas area “Burger and Beer” bars to you help beat the heat and eat some red meat!

Hamburgers are a mighty touchy and personal subject here in Big “D”, so first let me qualify my hamburger standards. When I’m reviewing a burger joint, I try to order the burger “as served” with the house cheese, because after all, that’s how the creator decided to make it originally, and it’s a good across-the-board base-line to use. Plus, a hamburger without cheese is like a day without sunshine! I also resist adding chili, bacon, fried eggs, avocado, or any other extraneous burger topping. If you add specialty ingredients, you might as well be comparing burgers to hot dogs. As the short-order cooks say, “Burn one, take it through the garden, and pin a rose on it!” (a Hamburger with lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion).

Other things that I look for in a burger is if the patty hand-formed and what’s the pre-cooked weight? In what order are the ingredients stacked? How good is the bun and is it buttered and toasted? How much of the burger do you end up wearing (i.e. the “Mess Factor”)? And finally, how much moolah am I gonna have to fork over for this baby?

As for beer, I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis… Just kidding! I always drink beer, and I like my brewskis wet and polar cold (preferably with ice crystals floating in them). “Stay thirsty my friend.”

Now, so as not to infringe upon Bill Tate’s restaurant territory, and to separate these places from all of the other great burger joints in town, I consider these burger bastions to be more bar than restaurant.

Adair’s – 2624 Commerce St. Dallas, TX 75226 (214) 939-9900 http://adairssaloon.com/
A large juicy burger, served with a jalapeno. Try yours with an ice cold Lone Star. The atmosphere in this true Texas honky-tonk is as great as the jukebox selection. I do typically have to season the meat here, but the experience of the place alone is certainly worth checking it out.

Angry Dog – 2726 Commerce St. Dallas, TX 75226 (214) 741-4406 http://www.angrydog.com/
A nice sized patty (albeit not hand-formed me thinks) that’s fairly well-seasoned on a crispy grilled, buttered bun. Some minor assembly is required. This place has stacked up 17 “Best of Dallas” awards since 1992. The hot dogs and hot wings also rock. Try your burger with chili on the side.

Lakewood Landing – 5818 Live Oak St. Dallas, TX 75214 (214) 823-2410 http://www.lakewood-landing.com/

Winner of no less than nine “Best of the Observer” awards, including “best dive bar,” the Landing presents a smaller (6 oz.), but very tasty burger on a buttery, toasted bun, with a high “mess factor.” Both the Philly steak sandwich and the BLT (with tons of thick cut bacon) have big followings here (thanks Lon and Heather!).

Lee Harvey’s – 1807 Gould St. Dallas, TX (214) 428-1555 http://leeharveys.com/pages/about.html

L. H.’s produces a truly inspired burger that won’t disappoint. A big, well seasoned patty sits atop a crispy, toasted bun. The onion rings and tacos kick some ass too. And sitting at a picnic bench, drinkin’ some frosty suds, while watching a live band jam on the front porch, is a real kick.

The Loon – 3531 McKinney Ave. Dallas, TX 75204 (214) 559-3059 http://www.loonmtn.com/

Known primarily for the strength of their drinks, the Loon produces an above average burger and some of the best pizza in Dallas. The burger toppings are serve “chop-style,” meaning that the onion, pickles, tomato, and lettuce are all chopped into small bits and placed on the burger, like a chopped salad, so you get a little bit of everything in every bite.

Midway Point – 12801 Midway Rd. Dallas, TX 75244 (972) 484-3470
Many of the “Point” locations have either gone by the wayside or have detoured from the original burger recipe that made this small local chain such a success. The Midway Point has stayed true to its roots and still produces one of the best and most overlooked burgers in town. A huge patty made with real quality meat. Get the cottage fries (cooked crispy). The nachos are always spot-on too.

Snookie’s – 3 locations – Oak Lawn, Keller Springs, and Ft. Worth http://www.snookiesbar.com/ASP/PageObjects/mainObj.asp?p=3&t=1
Another Street Brothers (Gene and Dace) concept, this local chain is frequented by restaurant and bar industry people, which right there should tell you something about their prices, service, and the strength of their drinks! Being from the “Street,” they also serve up a very respectable burger and a pretty decent chicken fried steak. The cheese fries are the bomb!

Uptown Bar and Grill – 2523 McKinney Ave. Dallas, TX 75201 (214) 969-9433 http://www.uptownbarandgrill.com/

Uptown’s burger has won the Observers “Best Burger in Dallas” award, and while it may not have been in the running for the last year or two, their ½ lb. hand-formed patties still stand the taste of time! Try the chili, the French dip, or ham and cheese sandwich for a nice change of pace. Team Trivia Wednesdays are fun. They also host karaoke on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Burgers and Beer are, to quote King Crimson, “Two of a Perfect Pair.” Now, who could disagree with that? Hamburgers hold a dear place in my heart, as my cardiologist can tell you, and I’m always on the lookout for the best new burger in town. Drop me a line if you know of an off-the-beaten-path burger joint, and check out my blog for a much more in-depth list of DFW hamburger havens.