A Bite of Burger Heaven 

“0h, God above, if heaven has a taste it must be an egg with butter and salt,” rhapsodized a hungry Frank McCourt in Angela’s Ashes — a sentiment I agreed with until recently. Now I would say that if there were a heaven, and it didn’t mind carnivores, it would taste like a Big’z Famous #1 burger topped with Applewood-smoked bacon and a sunny-side-up huevo: When you squeeze the 1/2-pound Angus patty between the soft, slightly sweet buns, the rich yolk runs down into the perfectly ground beef and binds the salty bacon to the meat. “Unctuous” comes to mind and believe me I try not to use that word too often. It costs $1 to “make it dirty,” and this modification now tops my list of favorite foods crowned with a fried egg — besting previous gold- and silver-medal-winners prosciutto pizza (from Austin’s Vespaio) and Chalupa Robert (from El Milagrito).

You can add cheddar or pepper-jack cheese, beer-braised onions, pineapple even, without breaking $7 (unless you go for a double or triple patty) but this northern 1604 outpost of the Weissman family (Andrew is the chef and proprietor of downtown’s Le Rêve, Sandbar, and Sip) keeps the burger-joint concept close to its malts-and-fries soul. The Northside upwardly mobile concessions include a nice little wine selection and several indie and Euro-style brews such as bottled Guinness and Stella on tap.

You’ll want a sharp ale to wash down the fries, which are crisp and fluffy but don’t achieve the sainthood of La Frite’s double-dipped taters. If you’re seeking deep-fried perfection, try a basket of the house-made potato chips with the chipotle mayo — and hat’s off to you if you can refrain from scarfing the entire thing.

All of this culinarily virtuous activity can be carried out inside the giant red-and-corrugated-metal barn that houses the kitchen and several long picnic tables or, in Texas’s divine winter weather, on the outside patio where you can watch your children play kickball in the large fenced yard and ignore the assertive yellow sign that instructs them to stay out of the trees and off the drainage grate. On a recent Saturday-afternoon visit, our boys were occupied for a luxurious, relaxing 30 minutes trying to help a birthday party shake their football loose of some very clingy branches by throwing another object at it. Eventually a dad clambered up the trunk, prompting intervention by the management. All the while, we enjoyed our separate peace, sipping pints of Stella, and nibbling at the remains of our burgers — heaven and eggs again.

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March 25, 2020


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