Burgers

Eat This: The Thunderburger at Thunderbird Pies Is a Smash

Thunderburger and fries, washed down with a cold Yuengling. Don't hate us because our life is dope and we eat dope things.
Thunderburger and fries, washed down with a cold Yuengling. Don't hate us because our life is dope and we eat dope things. Chris Wolfgang
Right off the bat, there are several things that don't make sense about the new Thunderbird Pies in Lakewood. First of all, only from the crackpot mind of pizzaiolo Jay Jerrier could we expect a new pizza restaurant right next door to another pizza restaurant, much less Jerrier's own widely successful Cane Rosso. But as Jerrier explained to our own Angie Quebedeaux, "Detroit-style pizza is so different from the soggy pizza tortillas we make at Cane Rosso, we didn’t think we’d be competing with ourselves too much."

OK, he's got a point. But why is Thunderbird Pies quietly serving a kick-ass burger alongside those glorious deep-crusted pies? You know, perhaps we should stop questioning what Jerrier, along with culinary cohorts Jeff Bekavac and Lee Hunzinger, crank out of any of Jerrier's trio of pizzerias. Have we so quickly forgotten the Neapolitan brilliance of anything from Cane Rosso's ovens or gems like the Pizza Hut Hot Dog knockoff or the hot chicken and waffle cannoli from Zoli's?

(And hey, while we're reminiscing, what if Thunderbird did a new take on either of these things? We wouldn't be mad. Nope. Not one bit.)

But back to this burger, the aptly named Thunderburger ($14), is 1/3 pound of smash burger goodness that lives with little fanfare on the Thunderbird menu. Smashed beef patties get that crispy crunch of seared goodness along the edges, much like the crusts of a Detroit-style pie (imagine the coincidence!). The Thunderburger is dressed with iceberg lettuce, tomato, plenty of cheese and a dousing of "double stamp sauce" of Bekavac's own creation.


Amateurs will order a Thunderbird as is, but you're no rookie, are you? No, you are not. Ask for your Thunderburger to be a "big 'ern", and Thunderbird/Cane Rosso's bacon marmalade gets slathered on top. For just $2 more, it should almost be considered mandatory.
click to enlarge You know what goes great with a Thunderburger? A Detroit- style pie like the Thunder Mifflin. - ANGIE QUEBEDEAUX
You know what goes great with a Thunderburger? A Detroit- style pie like the Thunder Mifflin.
Angie Quebedeaux
As good as this burger is (and trust us, it's quite good), the fries it comes with may be better. At first glance, they look like potato wedges that this author ranks near the bottom of fried potato styles. Potato wedges get too soggy in the middle and end up tasting like a baked potato. No, these "dipping fries" are unlike any other we've seen — thicker than a house cut potato chip, but not so thick as a potato wedge. The extra surface area gets nice and crispy in the fryer, while the inside is perfectly light and fluffy, all seasoned to perfection.

Naturally, washing down a burger and fries with a pint and a half of Yeungling in a chilled glass seems like the perfect meal, but if you don't top off this glorious dinner with something from Cow Tipping Creamery, you might not be living your best life. The great thing about Thunderburger is how well it pairs with any of the Thunderbird pies. Two people can split a small pie and a burger and hit all of the Thunderbird high points, no social media ranting required.

Thunderbird Pies, 7328 Gaston Ave. #110 (East Dallas). Open 4 to 10 p.m. Monday - Sunday.
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Chris Wolfgang has been a contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2015. Originally from Florida, Chris moved to Dallas in 1997 and has carried on a secret affair with the Oxford comma for over 20 years.
Contact: Chris Wolfgang