Al's Hamburgers -- Burgers With a Side
of Home

Carhops and cows shared real estate when this former drive-in was opened in 1957 by "Big" Al Mathews. The hops and bovines might be gone, but Al's Hamburgers still serves juicy burgers (try the cheeseburger or mushroom burger). What's more, Al can be seen at a cocktail table near the open kitchen shaking hands and chatting with toddlers.

This Arlington institution, where regulars don't order but are served their favorites shortly after seating themselves and where families are treated with the same affability as regulars, is five minutes drive from River Legacy Park. At the park, bobcat sightings are normal and the public welcome to enjoy the Trinity River. After kayaking the Trinity or riding the extensive trail system, folks can sit down for a delivered-fresh-daily burger and fries. The latter come to the table wrapped in paper, like they did when the hops delivered them to your Chevy. These are things rare in interstate highway-framed Dallas/Fort Worth.

During the last of my family's stops at Al's, we ordered a mushroom burger, bacon cheeseburger and a cheeseburger with a couple of sodas, fries and milk for the kid. All this came to $20.41 -- a hard-to-beat homey-meal price. That same day, the restaurant was hosting a Classic Cruisers feast. Everyone was praising the grease-marked wrappers. Note: For those with a genteel disposition, plates are available.

Even if you're not seated at their table, the waitresses will swing by for a hello, especially when a child is present. Cheeks will be pinched. Cooing will be heard. Lollipops will be offered.

If all this seems too good to be true, a dining excursion to Al's Hamburgers will change your mind. Skip the overpriced, heart-clogging fare at Cowboys Stadium or Rangers Ballpark, where the nachos taste the same as the corn dogs. Drive 15 minutes to Al's. You won't be disappointed. I'll go so far as to claim the best burgers in the metroplex can be found at Al's.

Al's Hamburgers 1001 NE Green Oaks Blvd, Ste. 103, Arlington 817-275-8918

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