Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another great Austin!

We had a new burger joint open up here in Austin a few weeks ago, and of course I had to check it out. Hopdoddy is so slick and so well-presented that it almost seems like a chain, but it's not. I had high hopes for the place since they get the basics right: they grind their own meat, bake their own buns, cut their own fries and even churn their own ice cream. I'm happy to say that Hopdoddy, which gets its name from a native Scottish cow, delivers on all counts.

For a mere $7.50, I got a big, juicy and delicious bacon cheeseburger that was full of flavor and tasted truly fresh, the mark of a great burger. First of all, the meat is ground coarsely so it doesn't look like the normal gooshy ground beef you find in a supermarket. After biting into the burger, you'll notice that it looks--and tastes--more like chopped steak. This is fresh meat that has never seen the inside of a freezer. And when I was done, the wax paper on my plate was literally covered with burger juice. Not grease, but juice.

What I liked the most about Hopdoddy was the little details that distinguished from run-of-the-mill burgers. First of all, you order your burger at the counter, and one of the dining room staff immediately goes out into the restaurant and reserves your table. Considering that the place was packed, it was nice to not have to wait for a table to clear. Second, none of the condiments were ordinary. The ketchup for the fries, for instance, had a pinch of chipotle in it, giving it a great little kick. The lettuce was of the greenleaf variety, instead of boring old iceberg. And the bun was chewy and substantial and beyond fresh.

The Mexican vanilla shake was out of this world. I'm normally not that crazy about vanilla shakes, but this one was rich and full of flavor. The generous helping of fries were lightly seasoned with herbs, and were crisp and not at all greasy.

All in all, this burger is a welcome addition to my SoCo (South Congress) rounds which include Home Slice Pizza, the best New York thin-crust pizza in Texas, and the Continental Club, my favorite Austin hangout for live music. I think I still have to rate The Alamo Springs Cafe as my favorite Texas burger, but Hopdoddy is a close second. It's located at 1400 S. Congress Street. You can check out their website at

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