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Burger Hunt: Radial Cafe, Grand Prairie, TX

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First off, having a burger joint in a municipal airport is cool. Second, it’s clean with TVs and even a small lounge area. This is presumably for airport folks, however it’s right next to the food area, so I feel like this could be a welcome lunch break location. Third, the fries are awesome. Hand cut and I like the seasoning. Very tasty.

Lastly, the burgers are fresh, grill top, 7 oz. patties. Next time I’ll ask for it Medium, but it was still a decent flavor, although a little juicer for me would’ve been preferred. Buttered grill top buns with everything on it. Veggies were fresh as well. You add whatever condiments you choose. I liked it. I’ll try something else next time just because I want to go back, but the burger was good enough for a repeat trip. I’d normally classify this as a place I would go back to, “if I was in the neighborhood,” but it’s 5 minutes from work, so I’ll be back.

It’s not the best you’ve ever had, but it’s better than fast food, and certainly better than the place that was there before.

Sean Martin: My Friend and Contributor!

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There is a lot of thought that goes into making a successful blog/website etc., however; it takes real people and true friends that care about what you do and have the same passion that you do.

I’m lucky as I have reconnected over the last couple of years with a friend of mine from high school named Sean Martin.

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He and I try to get together when we can and enjoy a good burger.  While we have known each other since 7th grade, we have only recently reconnected and become closer.  I’m posting this because the fun and enjoyment that I get from maintaining this site is due to the people I get to hang out with and have a common bond with.

The first and primary burger hunter in my life, is my wife Nicole, as she went on the first journey with me, helped me formulate the name and ultimately loves burgers as much as I do; however throughout the last few years Sean and I have had a similar bond and I just wanted to say, “Thank you!”

Here’s to 2014 and a lot more fun and good food to keep us busy blogging about burgers!

Chance

Burger Hunt: Fork in the Road – Arlington, TX, February 2014

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Let me start by saying, I love local, unique and sometimes hard to find places that have great food.  With that said, have I got a place for you!  Burgers may be on the menu, however this place is a gem in the heart of Arlington that has an assortment of flavorful fare that will appeal to just about anyone looking for a great place to eat.  While the restaurant suggests that there is a choice to be made on the street it lays on, the proverbial “fork” is all about the decisions you have to make on the menu.  Hello Fork in the Road!

Chef Josh Hopkins describes his restaurant as “Freestyle off the hip food from specialty sandwiches to hand formed Burgers and salads with a twist.”  I couldn’t agree more.  Before we get to the food, I do have to say a couple of things.  One, expect to wait if you’re there during a rush, as the restaurant only has about 12-13 tables.  I like the quaintness, but I’d question how long I’d wait if I didn’t live just a few blocks away.

Second, they have a very eclectic choice of beverages that if you aren’t specific in what you ask for; you may end up with something you don’t like.  My example is that I asked for a Diet Coke and was given the option for Coke Zero.  The semantics here are in question, and while I don’t think I was unclear about what I wanted, I got a Stevia sweetened cola from a brand I wasn’t familiar with in a bottle that about made me want to gag.  This isn’t about the cola, and I’ll get tea or water next time, however I thought it was worth mentioning.  Funny thing is that I saw Diet Coke sitting in the back and left wondering why that wasn’t offered.

So, what’s the deal with the food?

The Hedberg sandwich (Ham, Turkey & Bacon on Sourdough) and a build my own burger (Sharp Cheddar & Bacon) with fries was what we chose for lunch.  All of the reviews I’ve read prior to going suggested that I needed to try the house favorite “Crackeroni” which is a 3 cheese truffle blended mac n’ cheese, but I’ll save that for next time.  The food is all fresh, locally grown and the meat used for the burgers was some of the best I’ve tasted.

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The sandwich was simplistic but very tasty and I’ll leave it that, however the burger was the star of the show.  Roughly a  1/2 patty, flattop grilled, full of flavor served on a ciabatta bun.  The veggies were crisp and complimented the juices that combined from the meat.  I opted to get a roasted jalapeno on the burger as well, and while it was tasty it was hot, as it was basically a whole jalapeno grilled and sliced whole, so be careful if you can’t handle the heat.  The fries that came with the meal were just enough to satisfy the palette, and I’m pretty sure are double blanched so they retain the crispiness and soft interior that makes an awesome fry.

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We finished feeling very satisfied and will definitely make a trip back for something different, but no matter what you pick, I’m sure you’ll enjoy not only the vibe of the place, but the food as well.

We were offered a slice of their red velvet chocolate fudge pie, but I think that might be a bit much and will require a dessert only run if we ever have a hankerin’ for something sweet.

Overall, I think this a great burger, and I think that there are a few burger joints in the area that should be on the look out for a changing of the guard.  You won’t be disappointed with whatever you get, but the burger is up there with one of the best I’ve had in a while.  Enjoy!

Burger Hunt: Christie’s Extreme Burgers – CLOSED?

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Hey Everyone,

I ran across this review I had done a while back but never posted it cause it just wasn’t all that good.  They are closed now and the location is now a Dickey’s BBQ… Maybe there’s a reason. I try not to bash on anyone especially because there are so many degrees of what people think is good or not, but this wasn’t the best of burgers I had ever had that’s for sure.

Really I thought you might find it interesting how it is I capture the notes on our Burger Hunt and then adapt it later to the review, so here’s the notes taken verbatim from my iPhone after we finished eating.

 

Christie’s Extreme Burgers – Notes 

9.99 1/2 burger fries included
5.99 1/3 Jr. Burger with regular fries
 
Feels like a Carrows or a former cheap steak house like Sizzler… Booths covered in sports team seat coverings.
 
Coffee smells throughout and it seems like we should be eating breakfast.
 
Pounded out burger dry and rather tasteless… It’s not disgusting it just taste like something I’d get at a place that’s not known for burgers like IHOP.
 
Fries were ok but they tasted like last nights shrimp fry and they don’t serve shrimp!
 
Bun was toasted and crispy edges from the flat top like I like but it was average at best.
 
Overall the experience was just below average, but the only thing extreme going on about this place was the extreme cold as they either forgot to pay the electric bill or the heater was broken.
 
It a converted 70’s restaurant that they’ve tried to dummy up with some track lighting and the overall feel is not that memorable.
 
It smells like last nights regret… Or just finished drinking all night walking into the bathroom that’s next to the bar.
Till next time everyone… keep on the hunt!
Chance

Burger Hunt: 2012 Year In Review!

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The Year In Review! Burger Hunt’s choices for top picks in 2012! This is based off the reviews we completed last year, and there are plenty more to come for 2013, so if we missed your favorite, let us know and we’ll check it out soon!

1. Maple & Motor – Dallas, TX
2. Fred’s Texas Cafe – Fort Worth, TX
3. Bottlecap Alley – Grapevine, TX
4. Kincaid’s – Southlake, TX
5. Peace Burger – Grapevine, TX
6. Off Site Kitchen – Dallas, TX
7. Shaw’s Burgers – Fort Worth, TX
8. Chop House Burgers, Arlington, TX
9. Dutch’s – Fort Worth, TX
10. Twisted Root – Deep Ellum (Dallas), TX

Alternates too hard to pick but certainly worth a mention and a must try…

– The Grease Monkey – Arlington, TX
– Mr. B’s Burger Palace, Pantego, TX
– Tom’s Burgers – Arlington, TX
– Snuffer’s – Dallas, TX

Burger Hunt – Maple and Motor: Dallas, TX

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Before I start this review I want to comment on all the negative comments I’ve read on various food apps and or websites about owner Jack Perkins, and I want to especially address the “house rule” of waiting in line to order before you grab a seat, commonly known as seat poaching.

First of all, this is a classic example of if you don’t like something you don’t have to continue to go, and everyone is certainly entitled to his or her opinions.  I have had nothing but great experiences at Maple & Motor, interacted with Jack on the occasions I’ve been and he’s been nothing but great to my wife and I.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As far as the “house rule” of waiting in line before you grab a table, you should have some common sense walking in even if you don’t see the sign on the door or have the inability to read.  The parking lot is bigger than the restaurant, and they have had a huge following well before Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives ever decided to show up.  If you walk into a restaurant and decide that you want to skip ahead of everyone in line, clearly in a place with limited seating just so you can get what you want, then you are the selfish one, and have no respect for the other twenty people waiting patiently before you.

If you don’t like the way you are handled because of this, and feel like the rules don’t apply to you, then that’s the owner’s prerogative and I respect the hell out of him for not wanting your business, as he clearly doesn’t need it.  So here’s to the 1% out there who feels like you deserve something in life.  Get over yourselves and understand that you walked into a burger and beer joint, not a white table clothed, jacket required establishment that kisses your ass because you want to feel important for a couple of hours.

With that said, Jack asked me how the burger was while we were sitting at the bar and I told him that it was the best burger I’ve had so far in North Texas.  He said and I quote, “Thank you very much and I appreciate you being here.  If it’s not, that’s ok, but it’s not for the lack of work trying to make it one.” I agree.

This burger could very well be the one I compare all others to. Which burger joint is going to step up, cause this may be the best burger I’ve ever had.  While I have only been doing the Burger Hunt for just a little over a year now, I have tried a lot of burgers, and I have had a lot of great burgers.  As a matter of fact I have given 90% of the burgers I’ve tried at least 3 ½ to 4 stars, because I tend to research places I go first before I try them out.  I have had a lot of recommendations and while most have been good, I have had my share of burgers I have not liked, including, well documented and very popular burger joints.  The one that comes to mind is 5 Guys, and I don’t mind the fact that people have openly criticized me for my review of their burgers, but just like people that have a problem with wanting to cut in line and grab a seat in front of everyone else, it’s my opinion and that’s the end of it.  With that said, I’m going to skip ahead and let you know that this is my 5 star review.  Intrigued? You should be.

A burger at Maple & Motor is not just an experience in waiting in line to get your food; it’s a well oiled machine that turns out some fantastic food.  I’ve only tried one burger there, but it’s the signature burger for me at most of the places I’ve reviewed. Bacon cheeseburger please! The wait for the food once you sit is not terribly long considering everything is made to order and fresh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bun is semi sweet and fluffy, flat top grilled with butter and the edges are perfectly crisp.  It reminds me of a perfect grilled cheese with the edge that gives that hint of crispy while the rest melts in your mouth.

Here’s a word to the wise, once you pick up this beast of a burger, you’ll need a few napkins.  The one I usually feast on is a 1/2 lb. patty with bacon, cheese, mayo, lettuce and fresh onions.  Make no mistake, the napkins are a must, but don’t think this is a sloppy and wet burger. It’s juicy, tender and the juices make all of the veggies explode with flavor.  The seasoning on the patty is simple and really let’s the meat stand on its own, plus they ask you if you want it pink in the middle, which is very important. You can get it cooked more than that, but honestly I can’t think of why you would if you’re a true burger aficionado.

The meat wasn’t a pressed burger but wasn’t a house burger either.  It landed somewhere in between, but there is more bun than burger at the end of the day, which isn’t bad.  Bacon for me could have been crispier, but my friend Billy, who went with me on one of the occasions said, he could have gone a little less, so I know that it’s just a preference.  Bottom line is, the flavor was great, and I’m not judging the burger on whether or not is should have bacon on it.  The burger by itself is what we’re here for people.  The condiments provided were proportional to the sandwich, which really can make a difference, so get it anyway you like to eat it and I promise, you’ll have an out of body experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To round out the experience, let me say that the fries are awesome. Salt, pepper, double blanched crisp and served hot and fresh. Add, bacon and cheese if your feeling daring, but we saw an order of them come out and it might as well have been a meal, not a side, it was so big.  The beer battered onion rings had a perfect almost corn dog like crust, and the tots were perfect.  They were crisp and not at all greasy.  Now I can review these multiple side items here all at once, as I’ve been a few times, and tried them at different intervals.  After all, if I’m going to put myself out there and say this is the “Holy Grail” of burgers, it probably requires a few sessions, just to make sure. Right?

Lots of burger joints have tried to find a way to dress up the burger with a bunch of extras that really don’t add up to much.  They even try to throw in a theme or two, to make the dining experience more pleasurable, but if you don’t have a rock solid piece of meat that can stand on it’s own, there isn’t anything you can do about it.  It’ll be just another burger.  Jack Perkins has decided that the K.I.S.S. approach (Keep It Simple Stupid,) really may be the best and only approach to something so fanatical as burgers in America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As far as the wait, the atmosphere, and anything else the naysayers may want to complain about, it really doesn’t matter, as the burger makes it all worth it.  So stop all the fuss, and stop telling all your friends about how you’re life was ruined, and you were embarrassed, or whatever else you want to rant about on your favorite local food App.  It’s a burger for crying out loud, and I happen to like the fact you won’t be coming back, as it just means I’ll be one step closer to burger glory.

Maple & Motor has earned Burger Hunt’s official title of, “The Burger To Compare All Other’s To Award of Excellence,” or simply, “Damn! That was good burger!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let the debate begin.

For more information about Maple & Motor check them out on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/mapleandmotor

Burger Hunt – Theo’s Drive In: Grand Prairie, TX

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If your looking for a good old fashion burger stand, that has the look and feel of the 1950’s, then you need to take a ride East on 180 (Division) into the heart of Grand Prairie, TX. If your not looking for it, you could miss it, but as you roll up on Theo’s Drive In, you immediately get transported into a time when going to the car hop was in, and crusin’ was a way of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we got there, we didn’t know if we should stay in the car or go in, but you can do it either way.  We parked under the rustic canopy and was immediately greeted by a waitress who was ready to take our order, but we opted to go inside and have a seat.  The inside of the restaurant feels more like late 1970, but it was a family friendly atmosphere and you could tell that the people who eat here, have been eating here for years.  There was even a game of cards going on next to the kitchen, and when the cook wasn’t busy, he would sit down and watch the guys playing and they were talking about the news of the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The menu is simple; Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Fries and Shakes.

The staff was friendly and eager to help.  We went during lunchtime and it wasn’t very crowded at all, so we got our food within minutes fresh off the grill. I got the usual for myself whenever I get a burger just about anywhere, the bacon cheeseburger. My wife got the regular hamburger and we split some fries, with a couple of sodas.

One of the first things we noticed as we got our food was they brought out the plastic squeezable ketchup bottle and it was ice cold.  It’s a nice touch to go with the thick cut fries.  I never can remember what the name of these fries are actually called, but they are basically crinkle cuts, without the crinkle.  They were hot, crispy and pretty tasty.  Definitely something you would expect from a 50’s burger joint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The burgers are large for the price and you can tell that the ingredients are fresh.  The bun was nothing special, but it had that signature flat top grilled crisp on the edge that really completes the burger.  The meat patty was thin (1/4 lb. roughly) and had the crispy edges you would expect from a griddle.  Sadly, I always forget to ask for the patty a little less than well done, and as most places in Arlington and Grand Prairie, city code requires them to cook them medium well, but besides the fact it was overcooked for my liking, it was a tasty burger.  The bacon was a little overdone as well, but it had a good flavor and it’s really nothing to complain about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, it’s a cool place to go if you want a little nostalgia and you feel like getting out of hustle of the city.  It’s just far enough into Grand Prairie heading towards Loop 12, which gives you the feel of a small town.  Here are a couple of things to note, if you go, take cash, as that’s all they accept.  We were lucky we had some cash; otherwise it would’ve been the walk of shame with one of us left behind to get to the closest ATM.  Also, don’t be confused by the restaurant Theo’s Bar & Grill about 2 miles up the road if your looking online for directions.  They are more than likely related somehow, but Theo’s Drive In, is past Belt Line Rd. going East and is about the last thing you’ll see before you get to Loop 12.

As far as the food goes, don’t expect the best burger you’ve ever eaten, but it’s a cheap good-sized meal that’s pretty tasty.  We both ate for $14.50 with tip, and they gave us a couple of sodas to go.  If I were in the area I’d go back, and maybe try a milkshake next time too, as I hear that’s a highlight for Theo’s.  For those of you who live in the area, it actually reminds me of Burger Box in Arlington, but that’s not a knock at all, as I like Burger Box and go occasionally when there is one close.  If I had to give a rating I’d say it’s a 3 out of 5 for the food and atmosphere.  This is the type of burger joint that I hope gets continued support, as it’s a landmark of what used to be the place to go on a Friday night and just hang out with your friends.  Theo’s has been around since 1958, and we’ve seen a few recessions since then, so they must be doing something right.

September 18 is National Cheeseburger Day!

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The Palm Dallas celebrates National Cheeseburger Day all week long with a killer lunch special!

The Palm Dallas Cheeseburger

Best Cities For Burgers??? Where’s Dallas/Fort Worth At???

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Well of course I will respectfully disagree since Dallas isn’t listed, but whatever…

Check this out!

http://travel.yahoo.com/ideas/america-s-best-burger-cities.html

Burger Hunt: Liberty Burger – Dallas, TX

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Liberty Burger is a place that opened last November at Forest Ln and Inwood. I don’t get by that corner frequently, so I just noticed it this week. It was receiving high praise on Yelp, so I decided it needed a visit. I talked a couple of my co-workers into joining me and they were glad they did.
Walking in the place, we were greeted by friendly staff that asked if we had been there before. Being open about being newbies, they told us how things worked and gave us a table number. The decor had an almost ’60s feel combined with a modern flare. I liked it. The way it works is fast casual, much like a Pei Wei. I had decided what I wanted before hand via the gorgeous website. I was sticking with the Liberty Burger and adding Applewood Bacon and Cheddar cheese. The menu is all on vertical digital menu boards and they have a wide variety of unusual toppings on their burgers. Even more so than many burger restaurants I have tried. One of my co-workers ordered the chicken fried burger. That is where they take a burger patty and fry it in a chicken fried steak type breading. There is also the choice of pink or no pink on your burger. I went with some pink. I also ordered the sweet potato fries, though it was a tough call between that and the fat onion rings. $14 out the door for me, which is pricey for a work lunch. It would have been cheaper with just the regular fries. They had Bison meat available for $4 extra. I really like Bison, but not $4 more like it. They also have a variety of adult beverages and concoctions available, but we did not partake on this work day.

In addition to the usual sodas, they have iced tea and sweet tea. I went with the regular iced tea after sugaring up on donuts in the morning. We sat down and got our food after 5 minutes or so, which was about right.

Our food came out and was impeccably displayed on nice plates. The fries were served in cool metal containers. You know how a lot of places have these great pictures of pretty food, but it looks like it fell off a truck when you get it? That was not the case here, as somebody obviously took care in choosing the ingredients, cooking the food, and putting it together. It looked just as good as in the photos.

I cut my burger in half and the meat was cooked perfectly with a line of pink across the width of the patty. The toppings were fresh, and the very soft bun was great. The patty was a good size, but not massive. I would call it just right. The flavor was excellent and it was a eye closing good with every bite. I enjoyed the sweet potato fries, which had just a hint of cinnamon to them. I tried the regular fries, which are of the skinny variety. My co-worker loved his chicken fried burger. That is not my favorite style, but they were cooked perfectly. I will definitely be trying the onion rings next time, and I may venture out into some of the wilder varieties. In case you have not guessed it, I would definitely go back and recommend everybody check it out. FYI, they are reportedly opening a location at Keller Springs and Tollway in the old Snookies location.

 

Sean Martin

Burger Hunter & EBT for Hamburger America

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