Late Night at The Burger Joint

Fun times on the patio.
Fun times on the patio. Photo by Mai Pham
Airy vanilla soft serve swirled with savory caramel moves quickly from the straw to the bloodstream. It isn’t customary to begin a meal with dessert, but The Salted Caramel shake at The Burger Joint makes a “whoa” exception. One sip, two sip— only serves to beg for a burger and onion rings to follow.

Open until 4 a.m. on the weekends, this brick and mortar born of a food truck is one of a few restaurants to embrace the very late night dining category. When owner Matthew Pak (Koagie Hots, Golden Grille, Coreano’s),  who grew up on the East Coast, arrived in Houston, he saw a need in the market. “I’m a night owl, I grew up eating at late night places.” In March, Pak and team plan to open their second installment in the Heights.

A breezy patio space nestled under a net of lighting makes a great commune to throw back America’s favorite sandwich sidecarred with fries and a shake. Whatever the weather, heat lamps and fans are available on stand-by while flat screen TV’s play sports ‘round the clock.

Handcrafted Angus patties bookended by toasty buns can be ordered a multitude of ways. The Burger Joint takes popular profiles like BBQ, Greek, and Korean and instead of stopping at “good,” push the bar to “unforgettable” with the addition of toppings like onion rings, mac & cheese and pulled pork. Other than Angus, the lamb and vegetarian friendly red bean and mushroom patty are available. Embracing your inner snowflake is easy to do with a healthy selection of add-ons like kimchi, fried egg, and other standards.

Or maybe a meal made entirely of fries is in the cards tonight? When has that ever been a bad idea? Bacon-parm, Queso, and CHILI Queso are all memorable, and ordering classic hand cut with a few different dipping sauces will get the job done too. Honey Dijon, Garlic herb, Tzatziki, Chipotle; all authentic and freshly made. At 50 cents each, ordering a couple is recommended. The Fire sauce was particularly delicious; a combination of garlic aioli mixed with serrano peppers. Oh, the burn.

Choosing to forgo the bun? The “bowls” menu section offers breadless options like “Cheeseburger,” “Fiesta,” and “Caesar.” The last two are served with grilled chicken.

Back to dessert; all ingredients for the shakes are made in house and spun to order. Chocolate ganache, strawberry puree; they do taste homemade. A close second to the Salted Caramel shake, is the Not Your Father’s Root Beer “Float.” Combining a hoppy root beer with the traditional float setup makes for a fun upgrade.

The Burger Joint
2703 Montrose
The Burger Joint is open Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight, and Friday to Saturday until 4 a.m.

click to enlarge It's burger time. - PHOTO BY KATE MCLEAN
It's burger time.
Photo by Kate McLean
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