By Caodan Tran, Dallas Food Blogger
Burger culture has evolved from backyards to urban storefronts. The standard issue, backyard burger – beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, and American cheese – is in fierce competition with hybrid meat patties, micro greens, customizable options, and specialty sauces. The obsession with finding the “best” burger has become a quest. The burgers of Texas, and especially Dallas, feel like an exclusive community.
Farnatchi Gourmet Oven
3001 Knox Street # 108
Dallas, TX 75205-5592
The Farnatchi burger is lost on the menu, which is mainly comprised of pizza and pasta. But when you find it, the Farnatchi burger is 80 percent beef and 20 percent lamb. A pinch of red pepper flakes, diced onions, and mozzarella cheese are the secrets behind the burger. The built burger includes: arugula (instead of lettuce), red onions, tomatoes, and chili aioli sauce served on a Kaiser roll. The burger is anything but ordinary or predictable and the choice of sides – salad, rosemary roasted potatoes, lentil soup – live up to their promise.
9661 Denton Drive
Dallas, TX 75220
The character of 65-year-old Club Schmitz is difficult to miss. The walls are lined with signs of various ages and most are askew. Behind the bar, Free Beer Tomorrow is posted, but the barkeep jokes that tomorrow may never come. Burgers are made fresh daily, though not in house. Burger buns are the norm, but if Club Schmitz is over populated for dinner, buttered white toast is substituted. The ground beef patties are paper thin, and the available addition of bacon, egg, and/or chili is a perfect match for the Schmitz burger. The patty and toast can stand alone, but why let it?
Maple and Motor
4810 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219
With less than 50 seats in the house, Maple and Motor fills up quickly. Order at the counter first, then claim your seat. It’s hard to not stare at the gigantic burgers being devoured by everyone in the place, plus, the kitchen is easily visible while standing in line. The burger and cheeseburger only come in one size, but have a few customizable options. For 75 cents, choose from grilled onions, grilled jalapenos, fresh jalapenos, or chili to decorate your medium-cooked patty. Maple and Motor’s burger is simple, but far from ordinary.
2808 Greenville Aveue
Dallas, TX 75206
The infamous Grape burger is only served on Sundays and Monday. As such, the burger is good enough to be eaten for all meals on these two days. The beef burger patty is cooked to your desired temperature, and topped off with Vermont white cheddar cheese. The bacon is cured in house, and the buns are from a bakery in Garland. Bibb lettuce, red onions, and tomato are left off of the burger for the discretion of the guest. The Grape’s burger has done what no other burger in Dallas has done – earning numerous awards year after year– and it always lives up to its reputation.
Caodan Tran runs the Dallas food blog Foodventures, works at a restaurant in North Dallas and attends culinary school.