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!