Chef Kenny Mills reopened his famed Chop House Burgers earlier this year in a small, low-key spot at 2502 Little Road in southwest Arlington. Mills cut his teeth in Dallas steakhouses — Capital Grille, Sullivan's and Dallas Chop House — before launching Chop House Burgers in 2011 near UTA. A year after opening, Guy Fieri and Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives included the burgers on their show. Things got busy quickly.
But because restaurant real estate is a complicated business, in 2013 Mills scooped up his shop and moved one mile west, along Park Row, to the small town of Pantego (yeah, that place where you got that ticket that time). Seems like no-biggie, right? Less than a one-minute drive from the original space.
It was a big biggie. Different city, different clients, different vibe and very different water. (Pantego is on a well system.)
In 2017, after an emergency surgery and the resulting fatigue, which made a really hard job even harder, Mills sold the restaurant. About a year later, under the new ownership, Chop House Burgers closed its doors in what seemed like the end of a really good run in the burger game.
In the meantime, after a bit of rest and recovery, Mills went back to work for other people in Dallas, including a high-end burger restaurant, and a butcher.
That was until he started to grow a bit antsy again, particularly with working in other peoples’ kitchens. In a bit of fate in his own eyes, an old convenience store/burger stand became available; it was the perfect place to reopen. Not too big, not too small, not too pricey; the Goldilocks belt of burger spots. And, he’d have his own kitchen again.
“Look, I tried for two years to work with other people and it’s not working,” Mills finally told his wife one day. “So either I open my own restaurant or sit here at the house and pet my dog and drive you crazy.”
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Back to work it was.
The menu at The Original Chop House Burgers is 90% the same as the original, including the namesake Chop House Burger with ground beef and brisket, topped with a housemade steak sauce, applewood bacon and cheese. The regular cheeseburger is made with a ground beef patty stuffed between two grilled cheese sandwiches. If you fancy onion rings, it’d be a shame not to imbibe. There are salads, chili and gumbo too.
Call-in orders alone are hopping; he recently ran out of to-go boxes when they got 160 orders in one night.
The Original Chop House Burgers, 2502 Little Road, Arlington. Open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday - Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.