Best Burger Joints 2015
Apr 28, 2015 10:09PM
● By Dia
With a whopping 73 percent of our readers admitting to eating at a dedicated hamburger joint multiple times per month, it only seemed fitting that our roundup of the area’s best burgers come directly from you.
Our condolences to the mega-conglomerate, special sauce slingers whose global brethren may call this area home—by our definition, a burger joint must primarily serve hamburgers and commit to do so at a cost somewhere above that of a fountain soda. Also by definition, a burger joint could not condone the use of a cloth napkin at any point during the dining experience.
Everyone in between was added to our list and therefore up for your approval of their burgers, fries, shakes and service.
John "Johnny B" Finlayson on Simplicity, Service and making the Hometown CheeseburgerIn 2003 when John Finlayson, better known as “Johnny B,” opened his namesake burger joint there were less than 30 restaurants in Southlake. A rare occurrence in a city now home to more than 150 eateries, Johnny B’s Burgers & Shakes is not a chain, but a single family-owned and operated restaurant. After a dozen years and dozens of competitors, Finlayson and Johnny B’s have proven that simplicity still reigns supreme, at least when it comes to our reader’s choice for the area’s top burger joint.
“It’s been a fun, family experience for us,” says Finlayson of his restaurant, “all three of my kids worked here when they went to Carroll. My wife Sandi was the point person, and she absolutely loved it, and I put some time in as well.”
When the Finlaysons started Johnny B’s more than 12 years ago they set out with the simple motto to be the hometown cheeseburger place. As told to us through our reader’s choice survey, it was time well spent. Johnny B’s Burgers & Shakes not only took home the honors for Best Burger, but also Best Customer Service.
At Johnny B’s, simplicity starts with the delivery of the day’s fresh ingredients. You would expect nothing less from the boy who grew up behind the counter of his father’s diner or from the man whose executive experience with Ryder Systems, the multi-billion dollar logistics company, taught him plenty about inventory management.
Even with a lifetime of experience, Finlayson aims to keep both his menu and his inventory modest. Tenured cooks who have been part of the family for more than a decade expertly prepare the old-fashioned, thin patties, which are stacked as many as three high on fresh baked sourdough buns and adorned with traditional toppings of fresh lettuce, tomatoes and onions.
“We don’t look at ourselves as a gourmet cheeseburger place,” says Finlayson. “We don’t follow the latest crazes. The old-fashioned cheeseburger is still a staple in the U.S.” Despite the admission, Finlayson’s community pride does allow for one themed burger. For those who like a kick of heat, the aptly named Dragon Burger serves it up and then some on their triple cheeseburger topped with jalapeños and a heaping helping of Big John’s Championship Chile.
“Everything is fresh,” says Finlayson, “we don’t even own a freezer. We get our meat and produce fresh daily, and you can taste the difference. Our French fries are hand-peeled, hand-cut and cooked to order. It doesn’t get better than that.”
Customers agree, and Finlayson knows so first hand, but not because of social media or integrated market research. “I like the buzz of the place. It’s a different day every day. There are so many regulars that I’m personal friends with that it’s almost like inviting them into my house.”
When it comes to customer service Finlayson doesn’t do it alone. He relies on the hard working kids who come from the very families he serves day in and day out. Johnny B’s makes it their goal to employ up to 20 area high school students at any given time. Generally responsible with greeting customers, working the registers and making milkshakes, Johnny B’s employees are trained in two simple responsibilities: take care of the customers and have fun doing it.
Of the one hundred or more Carroll students Johnny B’s has employed over the years Finlayson admits, “I’m real proud of all the kids. They work hard, and learn social skills, math skills and how to interact with customers.” Finlayson is also quick to admit how many come back from their college breaks to work extra shifts or even just enjoy a burger. A further testament to the fun environment enjoyed in front of and behind the counter.
Consistently superior in its fresh and never frozen menu offerings, Johnny B’s also enjoys a consistent level of community support from his employees, and loyal customers to the recent kudos in our survey. Finlayson admits, “I’m flattered and appreciative of all the feedback. I hope we can continue to serve the community the way we always have.”
Johnny B’s Burgers & Shakes Best Burger, Best Customer Service
2704 E. Southlake Blvd. Southlake, TX
MOOYAH Best ShakeIn the world of the better burger it’s all about the freshness and the experience. At Mooyah in outhlake, they add their own spin to both. As to be expected of today’s fast casual burger joints there are no freezers. In order to take freshness up a notch, each Mooyah location bakes their buns fresh on premises. As for the experience, the fun Ben & Jerry’s meets Austin weird vibe takes hold the moment you walk through the front door. A giant Mooyah Southlake mural takes center stage letting you know this particular location is a proud member of the community.
To better serve families with a wide variety of tastes and those looking for healthier fare, Mooyah offers turkey burgers, veggie burgers and salads as part of their menu options as well as whole-wheat buns and sweet potato fries. Although not as extreme as other area restaurants, Mooyah burgers have garnered an enthusiastic following. Fresh buns and a wide selection of burger toppings aside, what sets this establishment apart, according to our survey, is the quality and variety of their fresh made ice cream shakes. Sure they have vanilla, chocolate and strawberry down cold, but with ten flavors to choose from, the Plano-based franchise has made the most of the mix-in. Mooyah serves your sweet tooth famously by one-upping the traditional shake with iconic names like Hershey’s, Oreo, M&M’s and Reese’s. Come for the burger, but definitely save room for dessert.
2225 W. Southlake Blvd. Southlake, TX
Twisted Root Burger Company Best Menu Variety
With so many great burger joints to chose from so close to home, it’s nice to see readers getting out of town to get their burger fix. Our survey respondents had nothing but good things to say about Roanoke’s Twisted Root Burger Company. Getting plenty of comments for its quirky order recognition system and its variety of milkshakes—both of which are best enjoyed by adults, Twisted Root Burger Co. has proven they are more than hype and well worth the drive.
Chosen by this year’s survey respondents as having the best menu variety, Twisted Root serves up gourmet ingredients atop beef, turkey or vegan burgers. Like those adult milkshakes, the kids probably aren’t going to enjoy the nuanced flavors of such upscale additions like Glenview Farms goat cheese, Danish Blue Cheese, portabello mushrooms or fresh Hatch green chile peppers. These toppings and many others become famous with names as special as their flavor profiles. Case in point, the Ranch Hand gets its giddy-up from lavish amounts of aged Swiss cheese, bacon and a loving spoonful of house-made peppercorn ranch dressing. The Sexy Hawaiian is a well-balanced spicy sweet mouthful crowned with pineapple salsa, teriyaki sauce, prosciutto and Jalapeño Jack cheese. But if there is a defining burger in both name and plate presence it just may be the Kevin Bacon. There are more than three degrees separating this star from any other bacon burger. The credits on this production roll with three pieces of the finest smoked pork and the aforementioned Danish Blue Cheese that will leave you dancing in your seat.
101 S. Oak St. Roanoke, TX
Kincaid’s Area Tradition
Like any self-respecting burger joint, Kincaid’s prides itself on using the freshest ingredients possible, starting with their meat which is cut and ground fresh daily at every one of their six locations. The process for burger greatness started in 1946 with the establishment of the Kincaid Grocery and Market. Twenty years later the store’s butcher, O.R. Gentry, began selling hamburgers to maximize the sales from excess beef, which he was grinding up daily. The plan worked well and a year later Gentry purchased Kincaid’s, and what started with one small grill on Fort Worth’s Camp Bowie Boulevard grew to five including the alwaysbusy Southlake location.
Green walls and communal seating gives a feeling of grade-school nostalgia not lost on patrons or their soon-to-be nostalgic children. Checkerboard tablecloths and loads of local photos and paper clippings only add to an environment that is as close to the family picnic as you can get without holding a spatula yourself.
Kincaid’s only uses natural vegetarian-fed beef resulting in burgers that are hormone, antibiotic, and preservative free. Unless you order otherwise, these tried and true burgers come with mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion. For something special, try the signature Cowtown Burger—pimento cheese, grilled onions and grilled jalapeños.