When talking about burgers with other people who like them, it would be totally appropriate to yell, "Dallas is a burger destination!" Shout it with confidence. If we weren't a destination for great burgers before, we're one now. Make the claim, and I'll back you. There is a lot of burger art in Dallas, and much of it was created this year. In my year of burger-eating, I had a number of burgers, some of them brand new, that would blow other cities' clean out of the water. There were some missteps -- one "burger" was as heavy as a bag of cans and splayed over a potato -- but others were damn classics. I also ate a burger inside of a taco, and that was good.
If you're still wondering what makes Dallas a burger destination, here are the best new burgers of 2014. They'll answer your question.
The Cuban Burger at ¡C. Señor!, $7.50 Comes with beef and chorizo patty, spiced ketchup, diced onion, potato strings and pepperjack cheese.
Fifty-five steps from Stock and Barrel's Gladiator-good burger is the little food hut, ¡C. Señor!. It's close enough to pre-game Stock and Barrel's burger with Senor's Cuban version. Use the words "flavor profile" a lot when describing this burger because it has a strong one: Slightly sweet, spiced ketchup meets a rich chorizo-beef patty, plus the crunch of the potato strings and the melted cheese. It's something special. Get those yucca fries, too.
The Cheeseburger at Proof and Pantry, $15.00 Comes with caramelized onions, American Cheese, and a house-blend of sirloin, kobe and short rib. This burger sticks with you. It packed in more unexpected flavors than any burger I had this year, and had a Kraft Single unapologetically melted on top. The patty is the Marvel Avengers of meat blends, with kobe, short rib and sirloin. The blend's sidekick of acid comes from dijon mustard and sharp capers. The buttery caramelized onions strangely complement that melted Kraft Single. It's like dark, elvish magic.
The Ozersky at Knife, $12 It comes with American cheese, thin red onion and two house-made pickles
There's before Knife's burger (BKB) and after Knife's burger (AKB). AKB, things glow. I hugged a stranger on the street. I called up a friend I'd lost touch with, and said, "Let's meet for coffee." It's a stupidly-correct burger. It's got a big ol' slab of American Cheese, a winter coat of salt and pepper, and the best burger quality ever -- a crunchy, grilled burger crust. Order it medium-rare, and juices will become your friend.
The Burger at Clark Food & Wine Co., $12 It comes with white cheddar, crispy speck, "sloppy sauce" and LTO.
Crispy speck > bacon. After eating this one, you'll want crispy speck on everything, including your morning oatmeal, your toothpaste and your pillow. I'm wearing crispy speck now, as a hat. If you add the house jardinera, which gives off pops of vinegar, it'll taste like you sunk your teeth into Bobby Flay's mind.
Hey, Vagabond is a burger carnival! You can add beef tongue pastrami (2 tickets) or basil pesto (1 ticket) to your patty, which is also customizable. You can ask them to bring your burger on an edible tray made of other restaurants' shitty burgers. Just kidding! But seriously, all of the options are good. Take your people to eat burgers here when they can't decide what kind they want. Remember: Bone marrow mayo.
The Tavern Burger at Front Room Tavern, $14 It comes with applewood bacon, white cheddar and fries.
Front Room's burger bacon was the best I had this year. Bacon's not a trend, it's a way of life. Bacon is and has been life, dammit. (I just shouted that, and so should you.) Anyway, if you add the pile of sharp, pickled onions and lettuce, it's creates a perfect harmony with the white cheddar. Sit at the bar with a cold beer and dig into this great burger.
This burger comes with a slathering of bacon shallot aioli, which is what I'm going to name my new dog. It also had one of the most spot-on medium rare executions of any burger I had this year. Three things happened on the first bite. 1) salty crunch 2) smoke 3) juice. It's dependable, and it's great.
The Burger at Cold Beer Company, $7.50 (for a single) It comes with pickles, LTO and a pile of crunchy chips. It's only available on Tuesday right now.
Cold Beer Company's one-day-a-week burger is a beef model. This is the burger that you wrap up and take on the Oregon Trail with you. Vikings actually ordered this burger after they carved things into their teeth. There are no substitutions, no fries. The patty is all Wagyu. On the Jean-Claude Van Damme scale of awesome beefiness, this burger is Bloodsport. Add the onions for some crunch and acid (I like to press those crunchy chips on mine).
The Bacon Mutt at Mutts Cantina, $6.95 for a single / $8.95 for a double It comes with American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickle and "bow wow sauce."
One of the best under-10-bucks burgers in Dallas is also one you can eat in front of a horde of cute animals. It's simple and it's great and it has bacon. There are no fancy bitter greens or mushrooms foraged by a pig named Larry, which is all just fine for $6.95. Mutts is newish -- it opened late in 2013, but it's worth a stop. Take or leave the fries.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The Brisket Burger at Stock & Barrel, $14 (above) It comes with bacon, cheddar and red onion.
If I was forced to pick my favorite of the year, in some sort of Deerhunter-style burger Russian roulette, I'd pick Stock & Barrel's. The cheese was so perfectly melted that I had to poke it to make sure it wasn't a still-life painting. It's big. It's juicy. You'll want to pour the velvety sauce into your pockets and take it home. Any Dallas burger list is lackluster without Stock & Barrel's. Reward yourself with this one. It's been a long, tough year.