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Chance

Chance

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Posts by Chance

Burger Hunt – Maple and Motor: Dallas

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Maple and Motor is a burger place I had heard about for a while. I went there while my parents were in town a little while back. The place is definitely hole in the wall, in a cool way. The outside of the place has kind of a cool design and there was a range of cars and clientele, from average Joe to businessmen in ties. That’s a good sign. We went during the middle of lunch on a Friday and the line was to the door, with all tables full. The line was not atrocious and they were good at getting tables cleared out. We had no problems getting a table by the time we ordered.

The burger can be cooked either “pink” (medium rare), or well done. The burgers I saw from a distance looked a bit too pink for me, but I would have gotten that after seeing my father’s burger. I got a bacon cheeseburger, and tater tots. My parents got fries and onion rings so we could try all 3 sides. We did not have to wait too long for our food. The burger was excellent. The bun was falling apart, but very good and the meat was amazing. What a joy to eat! The fries were definitely solid and above average, but not the best I’ve had The onion rings were not bad, but were decidedly average. The tater tots were as perfect as I could imagine and I plan on getting those the next time I go. Give the tots a shot, even if that is not your usual thing.

There is apparently an egg on the burger option, which I did not try. My co-workers rave about that, so I may look into it. They are not the only place to offer something like that, but I am a fan of eggs. This is just something to think about if you’re checking this place out (and you should).

A friend of mine said I should say hi to the owner, Jack. Jack was very friendly and truly interested to know if I had a great experience there. I wish this place was closer, but it’s definitely worth going across town to eat at! I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

~ Sean Martin
Burger Hunt Corespondent
Dallas, TX

Burger Hunt – Molankis Burger: N. Dallas

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I met my buddy and old classmate, Chance, at Molankis Burger around the Christmas holiday. The place is in a little strip center in far north Dallas. It’s your basic build-out, without much decor to speak of on the walls. That’s okay; we’re here for the food. They have a wide variety of burgers available, but I wanted to try the basics. I went with a bacon cheeseburger and sweet potato fries. Chance got the regular fries, so I got to experience those. The place is apparently under new ownership, but the menu looks to be unchanged. They did not have their replacement fountain machine after the ownership change, but each drink order got us 2 sodas instead of just one.

The burger was cooked to order and was of the 1/2-lb. variety. The bacon was nice and thick, as was the patty. It was more along the medium well line, with just a touch of pink. It was very juicy and a pretty solid burger over all. The sweet potato fries were of the probably frozen, crinkled variety. I definitely enjoyed the regular fries more and that is what I would recommend you do too. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. I don’t know if I would go across town for this burger, but it’s definitely a place to try if you’re in far northwest Dallas.

~ Sean Martin
Burger Hunt Corespondent
Dallas, TX

Burger Hunt – Carl’s Jr.: Richardson

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I had tried Carl’s Jr. in Phoenix about 8 years ago and recall not being overly impressed. In contrast, I had In-N-Out on that same trip and really enjoyed that experience. Carl’s Jr. has come to the Dallas area in the last few months and I tried the one in Richardson on Campbell, near highway 75 (Central). I went with the Steakhouse Six Dollar Burger. It comes with A1 steak sauce, mayo, crumbled blue cheese, crispy onion strings, Swiss cheese, lettuce, and tomato. I was sorely disappointed in the results. Just a heads up: this burger is charbroiled, which naturally reminded me of Burger King (not a good thing). This sandwich was DROWNED in mayo. Keep in mind that I could not even tell it had mayo from the picture on the menu and the fact that I do not even like mayo. I scraped off as much as I could, but it was infused in everything. Between the charbroiled “burned” taste and mayo, I was reminded of my negative experience all afternoon. The fries were also decidedly mediocre, but at least not soggy, nor burned. Aside from the mayo, the ingredients sounded like a win. The combination and reality, however, was a fail. I am unlikely to go back, unless it is for something other than a burger. I give it 1 out of 5 stars.

~ Sean Martin
Burger Hunt Corespondent
Dallas, TX

Burger Hunt – Judy’s Burgers and Shakes: N. Dallas

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Judy’s Burgers is in the location formerly occupied by 12 Burgers, which I never got a chance to try before it closed. I ordered my usual bacon cheeseburger, fries, and drink. A couple of misspellings on the menu caused me to raise an eyebrow, but I’ll overlook that in my rating. That cost about $8. The patty reminded me of something that was possibly frozen before it was cooked for me. The toppings were fresh enough, but this was decidedly not what I was expecting for an $8 meal. The fries were crinkle fries were just okay. I am giving this 2 out of 5 stars. It was better than Carl’s Jr., but 2 is not something I would recommend to friends. If you’re in the area, head a couple hundred yards over to Burger Island instead.

~ Sean Martin
Burger Hunt Corespondent
Dallas, TX

Burger Hunt – Griff’s of America: Garland

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Griff’s is one of those unassuming local burger restaurants that most people would not notice. It is stand alone and looks about like it probably did when it opened. My guess is several decades ago. That is not a knock, just a fact. This is your fast food variety of burger, but it’s not fast food quality.

Be warned, if you want to dine in, they are REALLY old school by allowing smoking. I have been several times and the one time I was going to dine in, I quickly changed my mind after smelling the smoke. They did have some old school arcade machines in there, which was cool.

I typically get my usual – bacon cheeseburger, fries, and drink. That costs in the $6 range, around what one would pay at Whataburger. If you’re expecting something fancy, this is not the place. The burger itself is well done, but not dry. The bacon is nice and crisp and the fries are good enough to eat all of them. Definitely give this place a try if you’re in the area. They also have a drive-thru for those that are in a hurry. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars, considering it’s a fast food and not a gourmet burger. There is some great value for the money.

~ Sean Martin
Burger Hunt Corespondent
Dallas, TX

Burger Hunt – Champps Americana Kobe Burger: Addison

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I saw the Kobe Burger on the menu while dining at Champps in Addison last month. I had to try it! For those that have not been to Champps, they are a grill/sports bar type atmosphere. Pricing is a bit higher than say your average Chili’s, but not too bad. The food is generally pretty solid.

The Kobe burger came with cheddar cheese and was just under $12 for the just burger. I know, a bit pricey. Bonus: work paid for it. I wish I had a comparison against their normal burger, but this thing was very good. It was nice and juicy and everything on it was of good quality. There was not a lot of seasoning, as I guess they wanted the meat to stand on its own. I can’t say that it’s the best burger I’ve had. Heck, I’d probably be happier with a cheaper burger from Maple and Motor. Being a few weeks back, I do not remember a lot about the fries. For just the burger, I would rate this at 3.5 stars. If you’re there, give this a try.

~ Sean Martin
Burger Hunt Corespondent
Dallas, TX

Burger Hunt – Burger Island: Dallas

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I ordered my usual. I walked in and the place is somewhere between basic and swank, more toward the low end. It is not your basic white with plain tables. There is a mild island theme, with dark furniture and walls. All and all, it’s relaxing. Bacon Cheeseburger, lettuce, tomato, and mustard is my favorite order. Throw in a side of sweet potato fries and drink and we’re all set.

The woman at the counter was very friendly and the whole order process went smoothly. Sweet potato fries generally cost extra, though my out the door price was still under $10. My burger was brought to my table in less than 5 minutes. The burger is huge in diameter, though the patty is not that thick. It was a bit intimidating at first glance. It is probably a 1/2lb burger in total. All toppings and the bun were very fresh. The meat was very seasoned and well done. My preference is medium, so the burger was a bit dry for my taste, but still not bad. The sweet potato fries were excellent. They have just the right crispness on the outside and tender on the inside. They were clearly made there and not of the pre-made/frozen variety. Overall, I would recommend checking this place out. I would give it 3 out of 5 stars. It probably would have gotten 4 if the burger was thicker/less well done. If that is your preferred style, you are all set! Get there now.

~ Sean Martin
Burger Hunt Corespondent
Dallas, TX

This Can’t Be Good For Business…

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Here’s the latest in burger news!

Heart Attack at the Heart Attack Grill!

Burger Hunt – Chop House Burgers: Arlington, TX

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They say, “Never judge a book by its cover,” and in our continuous hunt for the best burgers around, this statement certainly comes to mind.  Don’t let the strip center location and somewhat of an office break room motif spoil your appetite.  Here, it’s all about the food, and Chef Kenny Mills aims to make you all believers. Located in the heart of Arlington, right across the corner from the University of Texas at Arlington Baseball Complex is where it all happens.  This is Chop House Burgers.

When I first heard about Chop House Burgers I was intrigued to know its owners history, and how he came about opening up a burger joint.  Chef Kenny Mills has done it all.  Working his way up from the bottom as a busboy when he was a teenager, to eventually being named in the 2004 a “Who’s Who of International Chefs” for his work at The Capital Grille in Dallas, TX.  Another local burger joint in Arlington boasts three chefs trying to make a better burger, and I have to say it’s one of my favorites; so coming here was definitely a must.

I had heard that if you go during the lunch rush, depending on the number of customers, it could be a bit of a wait, but we risked it anyway and was pleasantly surprised to see it not too busy for a Monday around Noon.  Walking in the restaurant, it is split into two sections.  The one on the right is basically just tables and chairs with white walls and a few pictures on the walls.  The left side is where you order and has a different feel like this where it all started, and then rented the space next door to accommodate the extra customers when needed.  Make no mistake, there’s nothing fancy about the décor, but the question remains does that really matter?

The signature burger is the “Chop House” burger.  It’s a mix of char grilled beef and brisket with homemade steak sauce, topped with bacon and cheddar cheese.  While this particular burger sounded pretty good, I usually keep to the same kind of burger I get at all the places I try in order to have a baseline of comparison, so I ended up with a regular cheeseburger with bacon of course!  My wife and I heard the onion rings were fantastic so we got a basket and they split it for us with fries and onion rings so we could have both.

After only about a 10-minute wait and calling to the name “Cheech” (not a new concept but still kind of fun), we received our food in a traditional basket lined with paper.  The smell was amazing and I could tell that the char grilled flavor we were about to enjoy had a hint of smoke to it as well.  After dressing the burgers to our liking, we tried the sides first.  First off, the onion rings were as great as we had heard and they were cut thick with a crispy seasoned batter that flaked off with perfection.  The fries on the other hand were a little greasy and slightly soggy.  Now we all know this isn’t why you come to a burger joint, but it is an important side dish.  They were hand cut and seasoned well, I just would have preferred them a little crisper.

After working on the sides for a minute, we both hunched over and got into the burgers.  There was good meat to bun ratio with the bun being toasted and buttered with that slightly crisp edge everyone loves.  The toppings were all fresh and crisp.  After ordering, I saw a sign that stated all burgers will be cooked medium well, “unless otherwise stated,” per the Arlington health code, so I knew we were probably going to get something overcooked to our liking, but surprisingly enough even medium well, the patty itself was still pretty juicy and had a great char grilled taste.

Overall if I was to rate the total experience, and this was just an average burger, I’d probably give this burger joint 2 ½ to 3 out of 5 (stars, patties, widgets, etc.), but I have to say this might be the best “flame grilled” burger I’ve had in Dallas/Fort Worth.  As soon as I bit into the burger, it reminded me of grilling outside with my friends on the patio, and having a good ol’ fashioned backyard BBQ.  For that memory and taste, Chop House Burgers is worth every bit of 4 out 5 whatever you want to call them.  Work on crisping up the fries a bit and I’ll rewrite the review, and that’s a promise, because fries or not I’ll be back.

Be on the look out as well for Chop House Burgers on a future episode of Diners, Drive-In’s & Dives with Guy Fieri in 2012.  Guy was recently in town to check the place out, and it will be great to see and hear what he has to say!  For more information, check your local listings or go to http://www.foodnetwork.com/diners-drive-ins-and-dives/index.html to see all the upcoming show listings.

You can also check out Chop House Burgers on the web at http://www.chophouseburgers.com/

And as always, if you have a place in your crosshairs for great burgers and more, add them to the list and we’ll see you on the hunt!

~ Chance

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