Monday, August 22, 2011

Hopdoddy Burger Bar - Austin, TX

In my last post I discussed the Austin "big burger" scene and pronounced Hopdoddy to be tops in town.  Even though Hopdoddy is very far from where I live it's good enough that I agreed to go one weekend afternoon with the wife (and I try not to go anywhere on weekend afternoons).  Hopdoddy has 11 different burgers to choose from, but I don't find any of the specialty burgers to be quite right so I always go for a "Classic burger" - Beef, Red Leaf Lettuce, White Onion, Ripe Beef Steak Tomato with mayo and mustard (taken directly from their menu).

Hopdoddy Classic Burger with pepperjack

One thing I loved about Hopdoddy right off the bat was the default inclusion of mayo and mustard on the burger, exactly like I make at home.  I knew I wouldn't be waiting another 15 minutes after I got my burger because the waitress didn't remember my side condiments.

Firstly, the Hopdoddy bun, which they make in house, is a thing of beauty.  I don't care for hamburger buns very much.  I grew up eating burgers on plain wheat bread and have always found that better than cheap white buns most places offer, or even the sickeningly sweet Sheila Parlin buns from the dreadful Phil's Icehouse.  Hopdoddy buns aren't sweet or spongy, and have the right amount of wheaty sweetness to not overpower the whole burger.  They arrive with that perfect sheen from the griddle that says "I will be tasty".

The beef is well seasoned and not so thick that the middle part of the patty is tasteless.  The tomatoes are juicy and the onions add a nice crunchy sweetness.  Luckily for people like me who hate dry foods there is plenty of extra mayo and mustard available at the table.  I'm not a potato guy, but their fries are good enough that I'll order them, and I don't always order fries.  I'm sorry, but that's my only fry criteria.

Hopdoddy Classic Burger with cheddar
My wife ordered the Classic Burger with cheddar cheese and hers was the superior burger (and the picture of hers shows better evidence of caramelization from the flat top).  This is not a problem not relegated to Hopdoddy, but to all burger places.  Ordering a burger with pepper jack is a losing bet right from the start.  No place puts on a thick enough slice of pepper jack in order to get enough of the pepper jack flavor, and unlike cheddar, jack cheese isn't salty enough to add flavor to the burger on its own.  I'll be sticking to cheddar when eating out from now on, and saving pepper jack for home.

Hopdoddy has a strange seating set up where you get in line, then are given a table number based on how many are in your party.  You have to remember the table number (which you get before you order), and then search the restaurant for the correct table (huh?).  I have not had a problem with it, but I could see that it might rub some people the wrong way.  They must have a reason behind this style of seating, but I would think there's an easier, workable method of seating.

Now that I have declared Hopdoddy Austin's best "Big Burger", I eagerly await an opening of a Hopdoddy in  NW (Arboretum) area Austin so that I can go more often.

Two more views of my pepper jack burger:
Picture 1, Picture 2


  1. I finally got to try this place. The seating was really really weird but we got their early enough that it wasn't a problem for us - just those standing around our table towards the end of the meal. The burger I got (the goodnight?) was good. I don't like that you have to request the pickles - but they are good pickles. Also, their chipotle ketchup was delicious. I think if SoCo parking weren't so bad and if the seating weren't so weird, I'd go here often - but because of those things, I'll probably only once in awhile. Hooray good burgers!

  2. Do you know what else is strange besides the seating? The pickles used to be available at the drink and condiment bar, but now they are by request only. Maybe someone was stealing pickles? Weird.

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