It was around May when the shortage hit Liberty Burger. The demand for plant-based patties at the local burger chain skyrocketed and their cooler of Impossible-brand “meat” was bone dry. The 2.0 Impossible patty, a new formula for the burger that made it not taste like it had been fished out of a lake (seriously: the “2.0” is delicious), was an instant smash hit after debuting around the country. The few joints that had it in Dallas sold out faster than you can say “Baby Yoda.”
It was in such high demand that Liberty Burger owner Mariel Street had entertained back-channel deals with fellow restaurants’ remaining Impossible 2.0 stock like the owner of a speakeasy wheeling in boxes of off-brand “seltzer” in 1921. By June, the Impossible prohibition was over — she had replenished enough bulk 2.0 “meat” to survive the drought. It’s back and available — for now.
So, there are two things on Mariel Street’s mind — and, it’s a safe bet, all owners of comparable burger joints like Hopdoddy (above) — as the Impossible patties continue to sail out the door in astonishing numbers: the shift in the tides of delivery and the oncoming wave of new plant-based alternatives. Impossible, for example, is targeting fish and chicken next.
“It’s still a little bit scary,” she says of the surging popularity of plant-based sandwiches. They do a great, griddle-encrusted Impossible burger — and an even better salty, beautifully seared bison burger.
“We’re not going to change things,” Street says. To be honest, it’s a comforting proclamation to hear. Liberty’s been a beacon in the churning sea of trends coming and going in the past decade: It’s one reason an Impossible burger at Liberty is one of the best burgers of the year. Another reason is subbing a plant-based patty will get you a damn delicious burger: The Impossible version of the “Wild West,” for example, with smoked bacon, barbecue sauce and cheddar, is a pristine sandwich.
There are a handful of other new burgers that are just as important at the close of the decade.
The Patty Melt at Hillside Tavern6465 E. Mockingbird Lane, Suite 386 (Hillside)
“We initially started with the classic ingredients, but I’m huge on acid,” chef Nathan Tate says.
He spreads French’s yellow mustard over the beef patty before smashing it into the flat top. It fuses to the beef. Onions soften on the griddle next to fire truck-red cherry peppers. The “secret sauce” is just as bright red, amperaged-up by Sambal chili sauce and creole mustard. The ending secret sauce is creamy, hot and crackling with mustard and pepper seeds that counters a salty sea of molten American cheese.
The Trompo Burger Slider at Trompo407 W. 10th St., Suite 14 (North Oak Cliff)
“It’s nothing fancy,” owner Luis Olvera says.
It's one of the best sentences you could hear about a burger: Nothing fancy is usually code for "simple ingredients used with care." The best cheeseburgers need fewer toppings; the most interesting ones have a disc of crispy salami.
“Beef patty. Trompo meat. Salami. Mozzarella. Avocado,” Olvera says.
That's all that's needed. Turns out, trompo meat, twirling in front of roaring heat and getting crisp edges, is brilliant when it's scooped over a fresh black Angus beef patty. It melds into the mozzarella, which is another thing we're happy to report. For $4.50, the slider is a perfect balance of salty juices and creamy cheese and the huge flavor of trompo.
The Dominicana Burger at Miriam Cocina Latina2015 Woodall Rodgers Freeway (Uptown)
It’s a cheese-free patty at Miriam, which is just fine. You'll find a crown of ribboned slaw that clings effortlessly to a creamy, Arizona-desert-orange sauce. You won’t find a burger around that’s similar. Slice it down the center and let that rust-orange sauce go — a yolky lava runs over everything. It’s the good stuff: The bun is soft, and the hamburger is charred and smoky. This is one of Dallas' best new sandwiches, easily one of the best new burgers for under 12 bucks. Order it medium-rare.
The Double Bacon-Cheeseburger at Foxyco921 N. Riverfront Blvd., Suite 300 (Design District)
Chef Jon Stevens isn’t apologizing for the idea of paying a few bucks more for the good stuff. They grind Bar N Ranch wagyu-style with brisket and chuck in-house, and smash it into a wood-burning griddle — separated only by a cradle of white onion. The result is salty juices, charred-sweet by onion, housed in a mega beefy flavor. Foxyco layers two slices of aged white cheddar, melts them until it drips, and drops it onto a plate with garlicky, chive-loaded fries. Yes, you’re paying more for good beef and mountainous flavors. No, it’s not pretentious.
The Chorizo Burger at Bo-Leo's Taco Shack4300 Parry Ave. (South Dallas)
This is a burger that knows the superpowers of a molten-hot griddle. There are a lot of good sensations here: It forms a salty-crunchy crust, nearly blackening the chorizo at the surface. The roll is soft beneath a crackly layer, the bread breaks into shards like a fresh baguette when you slice it in half. Pickled onions and thinly sliced jalapeños break up the cloud cover of heavy-spiced, rich chorizo. Chipotle aioli is smoky, cooling. Cheese is molten, flowing over the patty.
The Billy Burger at Billy Can Can2386 Victory Park Lane (Victory Park)
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Chef Matt Ford’s blend of 44 Farms — a grind of shoulder clod and belly — has sky-reaching beef flavor. It’s as clear cut as that: The best patties taste like fire, salt and good ol’ lounging cows. It doesn’t need to be more complicated: It’s a campfire burger, the kind you imagine when fire graces beef. You’ll find it's evenly seasoned with salt and pepper, and Longhorn cheddar drapes over pickly-sharp toppings to hold everything in place.
The Full Moon Burger at Porky’s Burgers and Wings4612 Gus Thomasson Road, Mesquite
The burger has a cap of crust that you could nearly crack open with the hit of a spoon. The patty is salted and peppered generously. On the Full Moon option, the herby-greenery jalapeños, lettuce, tomato, pickle mingles with mushrooms. All that is laced with molten American cheese, which, it turns out, is a great way to get vegetables together. This burger, and more, are two-handed diner gems. No needless complications — just good cheeseburgers and toppings here.