Like chefs who strive for consistency across each dish that leaves their kitchen, big time restaurateurs try to achieve consistency across multiple locations of their restaurants. They're trying to create brand consistency in the hopes that customers who have fallen in love with one location will eagerly charge into the next. Empires have been built on the principle, and a lot of money too.
So you might have thought that Brent Gamster would keep the new Chip's he recently opened on La Vista Drive in East Dallas a carbon copy of the business he bought a few years ago on Lovers Lane. And he did, for the most part. But there's one glaring difference.
"We did focus a little more on the bar business," he said when I asked about the wide selection of beer he's pouring at his second location. The original Chip's sports six taps that offer beers from big brewers like Blue Moon and Bud Light. At the new Chip's, Gamster is trying to get his customers to branch out, with 16 taps that pour local beers exclusively.
If you want a Budweiser or a Fireman's you can still get those, you'll just have to sip from a bottle or can. Otherwise, Gamster says the new location is true to the Chip's brand that's been serving Dallas for more than 30 years. It's an interesting combination
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The other night I sat at the bar with a friend and ordered a half-pound burger with onion rings, an order of chicken wings and two beers. One was a standard 16-ounce glass, and the other was a massive 25-ounce mug. The big guy set me back just $8.25, which may make Chip's the cheapest place around to drink local beer.
The food's affordable, too. Burgers run $4.99-$6.99, and those wings were $6.99 for 10. They aren't buffalo style, but they're fried to a crisp, and the meat beneath the thin breaded coating pulls neatly from the bone.
It's a stark difference from the burger chains cropping up all over town that offer high-end burgers that only sometimes deliver. Chip's is focusing on affordable, consistent food meant to appeal to families and neighborhood locals. And it doesn't hurt that you can drink great local beer on the cheap while you're at it.
Chip's Old Fashioned Hamburgers, 6115 La Vista Dr., 469-334-0785, chips-hamburgers.com