Beefy bites from Austin's newest joints
Hat Creek Burger Co.600-B W. Sixth, 535-8711
Monday-Thursday, 11am-9pm; Friday-Saturday, 11am-12mid; Sunday, closed
Native Austinite and UT graduate Drew Gressett had a simple, twofold mission when he opened Hat Creek – good cheeseburgers and good fellowship. The young entrepreneur has achieved both. We first discovered Hat Creek's retro trailer on the north end of the patio behind Star Bar a few months back, and it quickly earned a regular spot in our burger-joint rotation. We're now eagerly awaiting the second outlet he hopes to open in the campus area by the end of summer. Hat Creek's menu is every bit as simple as Gressett's original mission: single or double patty burgers ($2.99/$4.79) or cheeseburgers ($3.79/$5.49) with a choice of American, cheddar, pepper-jack, or Swiss cheese; fresh-cut fries; a selection of free toppings (bacon is 75 cents); sodas over crushed ice, cherry limeade, sweet tea, and vanilla and chocolate Blue Bell shakes.
Crowds from nearby businesses fill up the shady patio at lunch, and there's a growing late-night crowd as well. I prefer to drop by midafternoon for my favorite meal here: a single patty burger with pepper-jack cheese and bacon ($4.54) and a large cherry limeade ($1.89) with plenty of crushed ice. The cooked-to-order, all-natural Angus beef patty is hot and juicy under a mantle of crisp bacon and spicy melting cheese, the perfect counterpoint to cool leaf lettuce, tomatoes, and tangy pickles encased in a bun just substantial enough to hold the whole thing together. Simple, satisfying, everything a cheeseburger should be. Mission accomplished. – V.B.W.