110 E. Exchange Ave.
Dude Factor: 9, or Duke Washburn, on a scale of 1 (Ira and Barry Shalowitz) to 10 (Curly Washburn)
Last Friday I found myself in the Fort Worth Stockyards with several of my compatriots, stumbling along the brick-lined streets and looking for a bite to eat. Crunched for time, we passed on several steakhouses and sit-down joints in favor of quicker options--a strategy that led us to the open air Love Shack, where a middle-aged songster was playing a cover of Bruce Springsteen's 'The River" at the end of a long brick courtyard.
"At least it's not 'Margaritaville'," I thought to myself as he murdered the Springsteen classic.
At the time I can't say I knew just how renowned the Love Shack actually is. Geez: Conde Nast Traveler even named it one of the 105 best new restaurants in the world in 2008...a fact which easily escaped me because I don't read travel magazines without the word "Texas" in the title. Considering the Love Shack only serves burgers, dogs, fries, beer and shakes (and the fact that the most expensive menu item rings in at $7.39), I gather it's a pretty impressive honor though.
Having gorged myself on an Angry Dog bacon cheeseburger earlier that day, I made the mistake of ordering light and ended up with a hot dog, fries and a large Root Beer--at which point the middle-aged songster launched into "Last Dance With Mary Jane."
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The dog was just fine, but my ego took a bruising after I was massively out-ordered by several of my associates, at least two of whom went for the Dirty Love Burger: bacon, lettuce, tomato, "love sauce" (hehehehehe), American cheese and a fried quail egg. The guy on the Atkins diet ordered it sans-bun, however, which I think technically transforms it from a burger into some sort of hamburger steak breakfast.
The fries topped almost everything. Handcut, flavorful and perfectly salty, they put most fast food fare to shame. They were so good, in fact, that I was able to tolerate the songster's obligatory run-through of Hank Williams, Jr.'s "Family Tradition," just so I could finish the entire order.
We enjoyed our grub at a large picnic table on a balcony two stories above street level, allowing us unparalleled views of cool historic buildings and the street below, where guys that looked like Yosemite Sam appeared with amazing frequency. When the songsmith brought up a second middle-aged guitarist and launched into Tracy Chapman's "Gimme One Reason," however, we knew it was time to hit the trail.
But we'll be back, pardner.