There are few things more likely to convert an atheist than the God-given deliciousness of burgers, especially those produced in the Lone Star State. They’re cheap, juicy, and endow you with excuses to lay on your couch watching Netflix instead of going out with obnoxious friends. If you find yourself in Dallas, here’s an incomplete list of the best burgers around (that we’ve eaten so far).
The backstory of founder Jack Perkins tells you everything you need to know about this small Dallas eatery nestled just outside of Love Field. A former Navy man who wanted to be a novelist, Perkins became a bartender to make ends meat (!) and eventually opened Maple & Motor. The restaurant is grouchy, crusty, and possesses a soul that screams dingy dive-bar far more than world-renowned burger. It’s the ultimate leveled playing field, and you’ll find everyone from construction workers to stock brokers and anyone in between jostling for a spot in the lengthy line. Maple and Motor’s cheeseburger, which you can get either pink or brown (but nothing else and don’t you dare try), erupts with a Niagara Falls of grease as soon as you bite down and doesn’t let up until you’ve completed your 15,000 calorie expedition. It is, hands down, the best burger I’ve had in my entire life, and I would move to Dallas just to be yelled at by Jack Perkins and eventually die of a heart-attack because I ate at Maple & Motor every day.
Off-Site’s website is bare-bones, offering their menu and imploring guests to “eat with their hands.” This is the perfect representation of the restaurant and its burgers. A decidedly blue-collar affair, Off-Site has damn fine burgers and the tidiest rows of canned beer (local and import) ever assembled.
Though they offer sandwiches, their burgers are hall-of-fame worthy, and the Do It Murph-Style is the MPV of a stellar lineup. Adorned in jalapeño and bacon relish, American cheese, and a secret sauce, the burger is juicy and the perfect combination of sweet and smoky. The jalapeños don’t overwhelm the burger with heat, but provide a hint of tangy smoke that brings the whole burger together and leaves you wanting more. At the price of just $6.19, it’s hard not to go back for seconds, thirds, and “I’ll divorce you if you have another burger.”
One of these is not like the other. Housed in the Bishop Arts District, Stock & Barrel is the only place on this list that takes reservations, but don’t hold that against it. At $15, the Wagyu Brisket Bacon BBQ Burger (whew, that’s a lot of Bs) is one of the pricier burgers to be found, but it’s worth every penny. I typically find bacon on burgers distracting, but it was perfectly paired with the beef and BBQ sauce and the whole burger meshed well. The fries were also solid additions, as were the expertly crafted cocktails, though be careful because indulging too much can take quite the toll on lines both waist and bottom.
A personal favorite of mine and always a request when we’re in the area. So obscure it doesn’t even have a website, Watsonburger was the king of local burger chains for a long time, though it suffered tremendously during the recession and is now down to just its original location in Denison, Texas, about 70 miles north of Dallas. The real star of the burger is their grilled homemade buns (which I’m always a sucker for), but accompany it with some onion rings and a root beer for the full local experience. If you find yourself in the Denison area, check out Lake Texoma and the birthplace of President Eisenhower.
The quintessential Texas staple, Whataburger has become a legend among non-Texans for its reputation as one of the best fast food burgers around. Though it’s trumped by local burger joints throughout Texas (and rivaled by burgers at Braums), there’s no better grab-and-go, Texas road-trip burger than the original Whataburger with cheese. It’s a bit heavy on mustard for some, so be sure to ask for light mustard if that’s your fancy. Otherwise, put your foot on the gas, blast some Texas country, and enjoy the drive while chowing down.
This is an incomplete and rudimentary list of the best burgers in Dallas. In reality, you probably won’t find a bad one in DFW. If you do, let us know!
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