A Taste of Dallas: A Love Letter to Chip’s from Up North

If Dallas were on a bun...
If Dallas were on a bun... courtesy of Chip's Old Fashioned Burger
Chip’s Old Fashioned Hamburger, please accept this humble love letter from a Texas kid dumb enough to move to Seattle: I miss you, big guy.

Living in Seattle, there are a few things I’ve come to realize. I won’t bore you with details on what the Mexican food is like, that’ll come another time if the Dallas Observer folks want to keep me around (preview: you have to pay for chips and salsa everywhere).

No, today is a day to sing the praises of Chip’s Old Fashioned Hamburger. Let’s get one thing straight: Chip’s is grade-A Dallas magic. They deserve your love, your appreciation and a little bit of your hard-earned cash.

Now, I don’t just love Chip’s because it’s a glorious burger, a burger that sprints up the steps of the cathedral of Burgeropolis and rings the bell like Quasimodo’s drunk fraternity brother, a burger that doesn’t so much “open” doors as it “kicks them off the hinges,” a burger that’s the food equivalent of Van Halen’s Eruption. All of those things are true, but that ain’t the point.

I love Chip’s most of all because it tastes like Dallas. Every time I eat there, I am keenly aware of two things:
  1. This is how you make a cheeseburger.
  2. This tastes like my childhood.
As a kid, I remember sitting with mom and dad in one of the wooden booths at Snuffers’ on Lower Greenville many times, coloring on the kids’ menu placemat (the kids’ meal options were placed in each corner of the menu, if I recall correctly) and hanging around watching the bright CRT televisions.

Back then, Mom and Dad drank Coors Light, like regular working class folks at a working class restaurant eating the best food ever for a 5 year old. To this day, I remember the exact booth by the window where we used to sit. I love that booth.

Fast forward a decade and change, I ended up working at Snuffers’ intermittently throughout high school and college, and deeply loved their burgers — enough to eat one nearly every night after work. Half price for the staff, y’all.

Sadly, Snuffers’ hasn’t felt the same over the last few years after they changed hands, like watching Manny Pacquiao fight nowadays — once an incredible titan, but one step slower in the present day.

That’s why Chip’s still floors me. Because it, right down to the poppy seed bun, is the purest distillation of that “burger of Dallas childhood yore” I lovingly remember.

The beef is fabulous — they’ve got the right amount of fat. Seattle burgers on their best day could never dream of aspiring to the heights that Chip’s beef inhabits on any random Tuesday. The bacon, of course, is great. The wildcards, like grilled onions or fresh griddled jalapeños, they’re perfect. The tater tots are made of potatoes that were once serenaded by an angel playing a harp, and their ranch dressing is so tasty, it would shatter the glass of the satirical vending machine I’ve heard about at Cane Rosso. The vanilla milkshake is what Truett Cathy and the fine folks at Chicken Filet (y’all know what I mean) were aiming for all along, but couldn’t quite master.

Damn, dude. Chip’s tastes so good. And if you’re nice, they’ll serve you a beer on tap, too.

So, please: If you enjoy a cheeseburger that completely rips off the doorknob, makes mermaids sing and inspires longing forehead-pressed-against-the-window furtive sighs from a 31-year-old adult each time I drive by on Lovers Lane, you should trek your happy butt down there and get you some.

Lastly: I’d like to thank my fabulous girlfriend for taking me to Chip’s. Without her, I might never have known how high a young Dallas dude could fly after eating a really good cheeseburger that makes him feel like a kid again.

And for those of you who might be interested, I believe I’ve summited the mountain and identified the single most fabulous combination of ingredients one can possibly combine on a Chip’s burger. It might not be for everyone, and that’s fine — I won’t judge what you put on your Chip’s burger, but you are welcome to judge me on mine — I’m the man in the arena, and frankly I’m having a ball in here. You made it this far, are you not entertained?

My Burger at Chip’s:
Half-pound burger. Do it.
American cheese. It’s the right call.
Lettuce + tomato.
Grilled onions, grilled jalapeños. You’re sizzlin’ now.
Bacon. Get on with it, you bad thing.
Whatever condiments you choose.

Have it with tater tots, an order of crispy onions and a vanilla milkshake. Get ranch dressing so you can dip your tots and onions, and maybe drizzle some ranch on your burger, too.

I’m done. Go there, be their patron, bask in their glory. They are feeding the city. And for that, Chip’s Old Fashioned Hamburger: I thank you, I miss you, and I can’t wait to visit your restaurant again someday soon.

Chip's Old Fashioned Hamburger, locations in North Dallas, East Dallas and Plano.
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