It broke my heart when I got back to Texas after being overseas for two years and discovering Johnny Rockets in The Woodlands had closed. Small chain, but great burgers.
By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Minh T Truong
By Molly Dunn
By Brooke Viggiano
By Kaitlin Steinberg
By Molly Dunn
By Molly Dunn
By Eating Our Words
5. Lankford Grocery
Lankford has been making magnificently messy burgers for three-quarters of a century now, and while some say the quality has suffered in recent years, I say that if the current burger incarnations are somehow lesser in quality than they used to be, I can't even imagine what they were like in Lankford's glory days. Offerings range from the Grim Burger topped with bacon, jalapeños, a fried egg, and macaroni and cheese, to my preferred burger, the pineapple wasabi burger, a newer addition to Lankford's menu. It features a hearty burger topped with Swiss cheese, red onions, wasabi mayo and a big slice of grilled pineapple. The sweet and tart pineapple adds another bright, fresh dimension to a meal that's usually very rich and savory. Keep up the good work, Lankford.
4. The Hay Merchant/Underbelly
Originally "UB Double Double," the double-patty, double-cheese burger's name had to be changed after chef Chris Shepherd received a cease and desist letter from In-N-Out Burger claiming that "Double Double" was trademarked. Shepherd complied, and the Cease and Desist Burger was born. It's the closest thing you'll get to an In-N-Out burger here in Houston, but it's also just about as far from fast food as you're going to get, because the top-notch beef is butchered in-house, the pickles are homemade and the heirloom tomatoes are locally sourced. And the tasty challah bun is from local baker Slow Dough. It's simple, and in spite of the double meat and cheese, not over the top. Everything a burger should be.
3. Hubcap Grill
It's difficult to go wrong with anything you order at Hubcap, but my personal favorites are the Greek burger and the muffuletta burger. I love the Greek burger because Greek salad items like feta cheese and bell peppers pair well with grilled beef and because I can fool myself into thinking it's healthy. My favorite is the muffuletta burger, though, because why did no one think of burgers and olives before?! The combination of the zesty, pickle-y olives with Swiss cheese and a freshly ground beef patty is so simple yet so genius. Other, more ballsy menu options include the Frito pie burger, which, yes, has an actual Frito pie on top of the patty, and the sticky burger, which boasts a generous helping of peanut butter and cheese. But I'm still all about the muffuletta, which is a brilliant feat of burgerdom.
When I first read that Plonk! Beer & Wine Bistro made a great burger, I was skeptical. It's a wine bar, you guys. Wine bars are supposed to have delicate finger food to munch on while sipping rosé, right? Well, not Plonk!. The cozy wine bar offers up a Guanciale burger, which is essentially a bacon cheeseburger featuring guanciale (unsmoked jowl or cheek meat, most often pork) instead of traditional bacon. Swiss cheese is melted straight onto the onion bun, which allows it to hold in the juices from the ground beef and ground pork patty. Together with caramelized onions, this creates a sweet, smoky, rich burger experience that will make you say, "Oh, did they have booze here? I forgot."
1. Brooklyn Athletic Club
The Clubhouse Burger at BAC sounds like something fancy one might nibble on while sipping a mimosa at Sunday brunch. But get ready. This is one heckuva burger. It comes with "LTO" (lettuce, tomatoes and onions) as well as green tomato and jalapeño jam, but you can add bacon and a fried egg for a little something extra, and I strongly recommend you do so. BAC invariably cooks the fried eggs just right so that the yolk oozes all over the slightly charred burger patty. The chefs will add some American cheese or Texas Veldhuizen Redneck Cheddar to the mix if you want, which takes this (now giant) burger to a whole other level. It's like a build-a-burger. But really, it's great even in its simplest form, thanks to the almost-too-sweet-but-just-right tomato and jalapeño jam and the grilled Hereford beef patty. Whatever else you want on this beaut is up to you.
On the Menu
Monica Pope Creates Dateworthy Hot Dog
The Chefs and Show Dogs series continues at James Coney Island.
It's Monica Pope's turn in the James Coney Island Houston Chefs and Show Dog series. The Sparrow Bar + Cookshop chef has created one heck of a gourmet hot dog that you will definitely want to make a date to try. Throughout the month of October, James Coney Island locations will serveher "Date with a Dog" creation.
If you've kept up with the other hot dogs created by Houston chefs, you know that there are no limits when it comes to crafting a gourmet version; take the July hot dog, from chef Hori of Kata Robata, the "Kata Ro-Dog-a," complete with a panko-crusted, deep-fried Hebrew National all-beef dog stuffed into a Slow Dough bun and topped with soft-scrambled eggs, Japanese curry sauce, pickled cucumber, picked red onions, Yuzo Kosho QP Mayo and micro greens.
Just like Hori and the other chefs in the series, Pope didn't hold back on creating her masterpiece.