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Refinery: A Burger-centric Icehouse

Dallas Street joint a work in progress, but with great potential.

The Refinery's mission statement is simple. It's plainly stated on the back of each menu, beginning with two questions: "Remember the day your dad took you to his favorite hole in the wall burger joint? You watched as he tossed his tie over his shoulder as to not drip grease on it?" I do; for my father and me, it was the original Christian's Tailgate and Bellaire Broiler Burger. I wonder if future generations will one day boast of dining at The Refinery with their own dads.

It's certainly a possibility, as lunchtime features huge, migratory flocks of suited-up office workers that walk over/under I-45 from downtown to flood The Refinery's patio, ties tossed back in triumph as they attack their burgers or build-your-own hot dogs. (Some men tuck their ties in, but they're usually eating salads.) What's keeping them from bringing their own kids here someday?

I've already seen that The Refinery is capable of hosting families and businessmen with equal aplomb. And true to another part of its mission statement — to be "a place where blue collar and white collar gathered under one American banner that of 'Hand Packed Beef Patties'" — you'll see people of all stripes here at all hours of the day. In the evenings, it's Snap-On salesmen and young office workers relaxing over beers. On the weekends, it's families with well-minded children eating grilled cheese sandwiches or football fans watching the game on one of The Refinery's dozen or so flat-screen TVs with a well full of iced beers in each wooden picnic table outside.

Crusty strips of jalapeño-smoked bacon top the Red Adair burger.
Troy Fields
Crusty strips of jalapeño-smoked bacon top the Red Adair burger.

Location Info

Map

The Refinery Burgers & Whiskey

702 W. Dallas St.
Houston, TX 77019

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: River Oaks

Details

Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday
Fried bologna: $4.95
Chicken wings: $4.95
Grilled cheese: $5.95
Fried pickles: $6.95
Nachos: $8.95
Wild Hog burger: $8.95
Texamex burger: $9.95

READ MORE
SLIDESHOW: Burgers and Craft Beer at The Refinery
BLOG POST: A Patio and a Postcard View at The Refinery

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In an effort to reverse the roles a bit, I even took my own father here recently. True to form, he tossed back his tie and rolled up his sleeves before digging into a Texamex burger topped with guacamole and pepper jack cheese. We ate with typical abandon — inhaling the well-battered onion rings, draining Mason jar after Mason jar of iced tea — but were in no rush to leave after the meal was torn apart. And that's the loveliest thing about The Refinery: Watching the bloom of color from a Texas sunset on the patio, I always feel the urge to linger for as long as they'll let me.

katharine.shilcutt@houstonpress.com

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5 comments
cosmosurfer
cosmosurfer

place sucks, none more to say. went once and didnt come back.

easybeartx
easybeartx

"Work in progress" is a nice way of saying the restaurant isn't together. Sometimes seems that Ms. Shilcutt never eats anything she doesn't like, or if she does, she knows it will be better the next time. Guess what? I just put down 15 bucks for a dry, tough burger on a bun that tastes like a Mexican sweet roll and limp, greasy fries. It doesn't help me that they might improve it in the future.

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Yeah not impressed either, and I live down the street. Mediocre is the word that comes to mind.

Erin494
Erin494

My friends & I were not impressed by the fried pickles. They tasted more like they were made with butter pickles instead of dill, which we thought would go better with the style of batter. I did, however, really enjoy their spicy black bean veggie "burger" & sweet potato fries. And who doesn't love a little queso with their grilled cheese?

blackjackdavid
blackjackdavid

Had lunch there earlier this week and couldn't have been more disappointed in the burger. Small, tasteless, overcooked patty, bland lettuce and tomato, a single squirt of mayo & mustard. There was just no effort in it at all. I liked the sweet bun and pickles and that's about it. Onion rings were lifeless and previously frozen. I agree that the beer/whisky selection is solid, but if you can't get a basic burger right in this town I'm afraid there isn't much hope for you — especially with Lankford Grocery just a few blocks away.

 
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