Are Novelty Burgers Ever Good?

What would the world do without novelty burgers? They pop up all the time in Dallas. Earlier in the year, the Dallas Mavericks introduced the “Just-in Time” burger in honor of Justin Anderson, and it featured Old Bay-doused Texas Toast and a burger patty that’s easily the worst I’ve had all year. It had the consistency of a frozen burrito that’d been run over, very slowly, by a Zamboni.

This summer, Del Frisco’s Grill had a Trump burger “on a gold leaf bun” (it came in a gold-ish wrapper). It was fine. Over St. Patrick’s Day, Hopdoddy had a burger with a Slimer-green bun and green sauce, which looked mostly terrifying. Now, Snuffer’s is jumping into the sports-themed novelty burger: The “Dakburger,” a play on Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott with smoked bacon, barbecue sauce, cheddar and red onions, for some reason. So, what would we do without novelty burgers? We’d continue to eat good burgers. We’d be at peace, knowing we can stick with the burgers we love because our soul isn’t being issued a challenge from restaurants, like waffles as buns or gold leaf. 

I’m at Snuffer’s on Greenville, with the Dakburger in front of me (no fries) for $7.79. At first glance, there’s enough barbecue sauce on the burger to surf it to shore. Cheddar drapes over the patty and soft, cooked-down red onions are underneath. The bun is typical Snuffer’s, floppy and pressed with pesky poppy seeds that will always find the hard-to-reach spots in your teeth and gums regardless of what you do. The bacon is brittle-crisp, near burnt. The burger is bland, even under that ocean of BBQ, but sits at a nice medium rare.

I get the PR fun behind novelty burgers. Some of them go viral, which could be great for local business, especially if they have Darth Vader-black buns. Of course, we don't have to eat them. We can ignore novelty burgers, but they will continue to exist. Here’s my argument: Let’s leave them to fast food. The local novelty burgers are rarely good or better than the tried-and-true menu staples, and are so concerned with being Instagrammable that taste is overlooked — and the fun quickly dwindles after bite one. I’ve never seen anyone pump their fist in the air from sheer joy after taking a bite of a novelty burger. Actually, that’s not true: Anytime Pizza Hut puts mini cheeseburgers around a pizza, an angel gets its wings.

The best, most reliable burgers are the ones we already, without provocation, want to share on social media. I’d actually like a painting in my bedroom, right above my bed, of the Offsite Kitchen burger. Those are the burgers that bring unending life happiness and sharing. Let fast food giants go crazy with buns made of pizzas or a patty seasoned with the tears of Tony Romo. 

Snuffer's Greenville location is at 3526 Greenville Ave., Dallas

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