Twisted Root Burger Co.
A friend of mine can't help but laugh every time he walks into this place--and you can't blame him, really.
Unlike Jennifer Aniston's character in Office Space, Twisted Root has maxed out its kitsch. There are old signs, burlap bags, metal buckets and catchy slogans. If you eat well and exercise, you're still gonna die, one of these reminds people as they leave...and it's nothing I can put in quotation marks because I can't remember if they substituted "u" for "you" in both cases, although I know they drop one n from "gonna."
Instead of taking a number, you assume the identity of someone famous. There's a constant patter over the speaker system as orders come up: "Marilyn Monroe." "Bond, James Bond." "The Lone Ranger."
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It would be so easy for this to slip into some annoyingly cutesy recess, but it doesn't. For some reason, the clutter of memorabilia and folksy wit fades into the background. Staff members make the whole thing work, which may be a first in the annals of pre-fab 'character.' You don't even mind the bit of bluster painted on wall space near the bathroom proclaiming this the best burger place in...Texas, I think. There was a bucket of cold beer blocking part of my view.
Sorry, Twisted Root is not the best burger in the state. Probably not even in Dallas, although I couldn't really say what is--simply that the honor can't fall to a thin-ish patty prone to a greater depth of cooking than necessary.
That being said, it's one damn good burger. They layer it with warm seasoning and smart toppings, the kind that complement the meat near perfectly. In the "western" iteration, for example, bacon and fried onions throw smoky, mellow and bittersweet flavors over the heartier burger. And you can count on just about the same quality, every single time you drop by. No wonder the place can be packed on a Saturday afternoon while the rest of Deep Ellum slumbers.
Or maybe it's those adult shakes...