Big Al's Burger Hut
3211 S. Hampton Rd. (recently moved from 4950 W. Illinois)
The first thing you see walking into Big Al's Burger Hut is a sign with an illustration of a revolver and the slogan "Warning - I don't dial 911."
The sign is, of course, intended to caution to would-be holdup artists. But in its own way, it also serves as a warning to vegetarians, dieters and food snobs. You'll never see such a sentiment gracing the doorway of an organic, vegan cafe--unless it threatens to unleash a volley of vicious sarcasm against burly trespassers. Verily, Big Al's Burger Hut is about as far from health food as grub can get and still be marginally fit for human consumption.
Big Al's specializes in burgers, natch, with a few other short-order dude staples like chicken-fried steak and chicken sandwiches (for dudes on a diet). Baked potatoes are about as fancy as it gets. The one thing that caught my eye was BIG AL'S MONSTER BURGER.
Here's how the sign by the register describes it:
Ohh yah the BIG AL'S MONSTER BURGER
With 3 chunky juicy layers of meat. Covered with melted American and Pepper Jack cheese, toped with lots of bad for you bacon, crispy lettuce, well grown tomatoes, and flaming hot jalapenos.
We are NOT RESPONSIBLE for any stomach or bodily injury that is cost by the consumption of this burger, if we get your clothing dirty and you are a Drama Queen, don't start any problems. This message has been approve by Big Al's Burger Hut.™
The thing was more than half the circumference of a dinner plate and the height of an iced tea tumbler. While the front door's "911" sign may have been partially in jest (or not - this is South Oak Cliff we're talking about), I think the stomach-injury disclaimer might some day be tested in a court of law--if it hasn't already.
The Monster could probably feed a family of three. But according to our waitress, the place has a few regulars who have polished off the burger unassisted. I considered, for a moment, the brave dudes who accomplished this feat--heroes, yes; role models, certainly; better men than the rest of us, without doubt. I decided to start with a less menacing bacon cheeseburger...with nachos and chicken nuggets on the side.
The nachos--gooey yellow cheese product and taco meat on tostada-sized chips--were a big hit. The battered onion rings and fries were decent, although the chicken nuggets were just fast-food quality. To my great disappointment, the burger was nothing special. It wasn't bad, just kind of plain. The perfectly round patty hinted that it might have been pre-formed or, worse yet, frozen. The salt-heavy seasoning left no chance for mild pepper jack cheese and chewy bacon to salvage the sandwich.
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The regular burger...not dude-worthy.
But I'll be back. There is the promise of cojones on the menu--figuratively speaking. But I'm not sure I even want tot vanquish the Monster Burger.
Dude Factor: 5 (Al Bundy) on a scale of 1 (Al Gore) to 10 (Al Capone).