At first, I thought, "Oh great, just what we need, another friggin' burger joint." But I was assigned the place, so in I went. The place was packed and everyone looked happy. I grabbed a menu while waiting to order and started reading what amounted to a mission statement. They promise to use only Angus beef from cows that have been fed a 100% vegetarian diet with no artificial growth hormones or antibiotics. The burgers and other sandwiches go on preservative-free buns baked daily in Central Texas. "We support local farms and vendors in our search for the freshest, healthiest possible ingredients," they say, though that is a trendy statement with lots of wiggle room. They proudly serve American wine and beer, though they were light on Texas wines. The shakes are made from hand-dipped Blue Bell Creameries Ice Cream. But all these promises wouldn't mean much if you couldn't trust the owners. That's when I saw the fellow slaving over the milkshakes – Shane Street.
Anyone who's ever eaten out in Dallas will know the Street family. Shane's uncle, Gene, owned Prufrocks, the Black-eyed Pea, Dixie House, Good Eats Cafe, Lucky's, Cantina Laredo, III Forks, and Cool River Cafe. Shane's cousins are spread out around the restaurant business in Dallas, as well. In the meantime, Shane's been making a career here in Austin, managing Cool River, the Grille at Rough Hollow, and Steiner Ranch Steakhouse. All Star Burger is his first foray into the entrepreneurial side of the food business and judging from our food, he's got it figured very nicely.
His burger menu is especially inventive. My favorite is the West ($8), which has cheddar, roasted jalapeños, and garlic-cilantro infused cream cheese. Though it was plenty, my only wish was that it was even bigger. The beef patty was tender, juicy, thick, and hand-formed. The flavors and textures demonstrated that someone had spent some time experimenting. We also loved the Pacific Coast ($8), a burger stuffed with Monterey Jack and topped with avocado slices and tart, creamy mustard. I was tempted by the Make My Day burger ($8.50). When I used to live in Portland, one of the great bar burgers was called the Garbage Grinder – a burger topped with a slice of ham, a fried egg, three strips of bacon, and a slab of cheese. It would be illegal in New York. Well, the Make My Day is much the same, except they've substituted skillet hash browns for the ham. Whew! A chocolate shake ($4) rounded out the day's festivities and all I can say is it was so rich and thick, we wondered if they forgot to put milk in it. This place is going to be giving other burger joints nightmares.
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