Burger-Mania, Part One
Dirty Martin's Place2808 Guadalupe, 477-3173
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 HouseW. Sixth & Lamar, 472-5400
Daily, 11am-10pm (later for music on Friday & Saturday)
1106 W. 38th, 451-5245
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 Drug1115 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 House2425 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 Tex5240 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 Deli618 W. Sixth, 472-2037
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's3303 N. Lamar, 452-2317
Monday-Friday, 7am-10pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10am-10pm
5340 Cameron Rd., 371-3717
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.
Fuddruckers4024 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.