Second Helpings

Burger-Mania, Part One

The weekly Chronicle feature "Second Helpings" offers readers the opportunity to sample tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were updated by Chronicle Food Editor Virginia B. Wood. When you need quick, reliable information about Austin eateries, check here.

Dirty Martin's Place

2808 Guadalupe, 477-3173

Daily, 11am-11pm

Juicy, simple, and perfect, Dirty's defines the Austin dive burger. Generations of UT students know the white frame drive-in for its simple menu of griddled burgers, Russet fries, and hand-breaded onion rings. Any seat at the counter gives you a perfect view of the burgers frying and buns grilling alongside -- the basic recipe for burger perfection.

Waterloo Ice House

W. Sixth & Lamar, 472-5400

Daily, 11am-10pm (later for music on Friday & Saturday)

1106 W. 38th, 451-5245

Daily, 6:30am-10pm

8600 Burnet Rd., 458-6544

Monday-Saturday, 7am-10pm; Sunday, 8am-9pm

Waterloo has been our burger destination for many years because the burgers are fresh, juicy, and kinda messy to eat, just the way we like them. We're also exceedingly partial to the Waterloo onion rings, delicious, hand-breaded wonders that they are. Both the Burnet Road and 38th Street stores serve a stick-to-your-ribs country breakfast, as well.

Naus Enfield Drug

1115 West Lynn, 476-1221

Monday-Friday, 7:30am-4:15pm; Saturday, 8:00am-2:30pm

Belly up to the authentic vintage soda fountain and choose either a small ($1.95) or large ($2.75) burger, cooked on the griddle and dressed with lettuce, tomato, and white onion. Each is sweet with mayo and sticky with a single piece of cheese and all are wondrously juicy. Don't go here with anyone you need to impress; trying to stay clean during the drippy splendor of a Naus burger simply wouldn't be worth it.

Holiday House

2425 Exposition, 478-2652

Monday-Saturday, 6:30am-9pm; Sun, 7am-9pm

Flame-kissed and floppy, Holiday House's signature cheeseburger stands up to its reputation as an old-fashioned burger of the drugstore variety. The patty comes topped with a mound of grated cheese, a slew of diced white onions, and the requisite tomato and pickle rounds wedged between frisbee-sized soft buns. This outlet is the last of the original Holiday House line and we're keeping our fingers crossed that the beloved Tarrytown neighborhood hangout doesn't lose its lease to an animal-rights activist when it comes up for renewal in a few years.

Burger Tex
Burger Tex (Photo By John Anderson)

Burger Tex

5240 Airport Blvd., 453-8772

Daily, 6am-10am; 10:40am-9pm

Burger Tex keeps its priorities squarely on the griddle where they belong. Patties are substantial and not overcooked, and buns are baked fresh on the premises every day. The condiment bar can be hit-or-miss, but the quality of the burger itself stands on its own. The only place in town we know where you can get a bulgoki burger as well as a good old American cheeseburger.

Katz's Deli

618 W. Sixth, 472-2037

Never Kloses

All flavors, even that of the salty, savory half-pound burger, yield to the blast of caraway seed in the lightly buttered rye toast holding this patty-melt together. Ordinary condiments prove superfluous -- the flavor is already big enough and the slices of American cheese on each side of the meat ensure moisture. A dill pickle wedge, some spicy grilled onions, and fries round out the $5.95 platter.

Hill-Bert's

3303 N. Lamar, 452-2317

Monday-Friday, 7am-10pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10am-10pm

5340 Cameron Rd., 371-3717

Daily, 10am-10pm

The burgers at the Maldonado family joints are consistently superior and popularly priced. Whole grain buns hold thick, juicy beef patties, the leaf lettuce is fresh, the cheese is melted just right, and the bacon is crisp: burger heaven. Fresh-cut fries, lacy, hand-breaded onion rings, and killer milkshakes will remind you of what burger joints were like before Big Macs.

Fuddruckers

4024 S. Lamar, 444-8202

Sunday-Thursday, 11am-10pm; Friday & Saturday, 11am-11pm

2700 W. Anderson Ln., 458-6268

Sunday-Thursday, 10:30am-10pm, Friday & Saturday, 10:30am-11pm

The atmosphere may be a little bright and sterile, but the important items like buns and fresh-ground, hand-formed patties are made fresh daily. Burgers are cooked precisely to order, and the condiment bar has every manner of fixin' imaginable ready to go: lettuce, tomatoes, dill pickles, sweet relish, chopped onions, sliced onions, pico de gallo, hot sauce, melted cheese, jalapeño cheese, and barbecue sauce. You really can have it your own way.

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