Friday, August 19, 2011

Austin "big burger" scene

The search for a good burger in Austin is never ending.  Yes, there are the always dependable old-fashioned greasy flat top burgers from Dan/Frans and Sandys, but Austin has no go-to big, tasty, juicy, and cravable burger like Chris Madrid's in San Antonio.

Austin was once home to some really great burgers at places like The G/M Steakhouse on the Drag and Mad Dog and Beans in West Campus.  Unfortunately both closed in the mid-90s before I could fully appreciate them (I ate at GM three times and Mad Dog and Beans twice).  I still miss G/M Steakhouse to this day.

Some people might point you to the perennial Austin Chronicle "Best Burger" winner Huts, but those people are dead wrong.  My burger at Hut's tasted like it was full of lighter fluid.  Clearly overrated and just plain bad food overall.  Its Austin Chronicle wins are inexplicable (unless the explanation is that people in Austin keep voting for the same old shtuff year after year).  The other burgers many would point you to are over-rated burgers at Casino El Camino.  Food Network and word of mouth built up the mystique of an unwelcoming atmosphere and rude counter help to mythical proportions.

Graphical representation of Casino El Camino's reputation

The burgers were built up just as much, but what you got was a half pound lump of tasteless meat who's only flavor was char and whatever else was on the burger (bleu cheese and buffalo sauce were popular choices).  Casino El Camino goes down as another over-hyped Austin eatery.

Here's the good news, within the last year a new restaurant has opened that, while not reaching a Chris Madrid level of food enjoyment, is pretty damn good and definitely holds the top spot for Austin.  In my next post I'll review this new(ish) place, Hopdoddy Burger Bar.

and now, here's something else that's "neverending":


  1. I think I am one of the few who was not that impressed with Chris Madrid's. I also enjoyed Casino el Camino when I had it.

  2. Not impressed with Chris Madrid's? That's culinary blasphemy.

    Say five Our Rick Baylesses and ten Hail Padmas.

  3. Yup and I hate to break it to you, but I'm not the only one.