Hopdoddy Burger Bar’s fries are like crack. On my way home from work yesterday, I found myself driving with my left hand and digging into my doggy bag of cold fries with my right. An equally cold cup of green chile queso sat snuggly between my thighs for some french fry dipping action. It’s not safe to eat and drive, kids, but sometimes it can’t be helped. Not when you’re a Hopdoddy fries addict.
The addiction started with a quick trip to the Austin-to-Dallas burger chain. Hopdoddy Burger Bar opened in Preston Center yesterday, and it still has its signature lime green chairs and efficient service that makes the South Congress location always buzzing at max capacity. The burgers here are the same ones I’ve eaten at the Austin Hopdoddy: Buns are made fresh every day in-house and baked to buttery perfection. The meat is cooked to a pink medium rare unless the customer notes otherwise. And despite all the toppings that go into these burgers, they won’t fall apart and make you look like an idiot in front of your fellow burger companions. Awesome.
Here at Hopdoddy, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. If you’re having a hard time choosing, close your eyes and point. That’s basically how I ended up with my Primetime burger, which came with Akaushi beef, melted brie, truffle aioli, arugula, caramelized onions, and steak sauce. The two of us got along extremely well, I must say. The sweet peppery steak sauce brought out rich salty flavors in the meat.
My burger date, Lesley, ordered the Greek burger with lamb, feta cheese, arugula, pickled red onions, tomato, cucumber, and tzatziki sauce. Lesley has rave reviews about it. Hear her roar:
“It was a power punch of Mediterranean flavor: lamb, feta, Tzatziki, and onion. What really set it apart for me was the bun. In my opinion, the best burger bun is one that melts in your mouth, which this one did. A burger needs some carb, but not an overpowering amount of chewy bread (God forbid chewy, dry bread). Their bun was a perfect frame for a stellar burger.”
As scary as the ahi tuna burger sounds, it isn’t. In fact, it’s a great alternative to heavy red meat if you enjoy the fresh taste of sushi-grade tuna.
Enough about the burgers. Remember how I said Hopdoddy fries are like crack? Without meaning to, I finished off an entire order of large fries with green chile queso ($6 total). Of course Lesley helped, but I devoured most of them.
“These are like McDonald’s fries,” I told Lesley, as we both sat there dipping and eating, dipping and eating. “They’re more like a cross between McDonald’s fries and the pre-natural cut Wendy’s fries,” Lesley pointed out. She’s exactly right, except these fries are more potato-flavor heavy. They’re made from Kennebec potatoes, and most of the fries still have their skins attached. Dipping Hopdoddy fries into the green chile queso is really what seals the deal. The queso, mixed with pieces of green chiles, is good even when it’s cold and stiff. That, my friends, is the mark of good queso.
Do be careful if you’re a first timer. Hopdoddy has two sides to its menu. On the backside is a list of craft beverages (“Sips for Grown Folks”) where you can find everything from local beer, margaritas, to organic coffee. I’m still kicking myself in the foot for not turning my menu over while I was ordering my burgers at the Preston Center location. The natural vanilla bean milkshake sounds too good to be true. At least I remembered to order the fries.
*The only problem I have with Hopdoddy is its doggy bag system. It sucks. All you get is a piece of tissue paper and brown bag for your leftovers. If you ask for a box, they don’t have one. I’m all for saving the environment, but I’m not in favor of getting burger grease everywhere.