It was early into the second semester of my junior year of college, a day when Murphy’s Law seemed to have struck and nothing was going my way. I emailed my friend Matt, expressing my frustration like a whiny little child. Matt, the good friend he has always been, responded simply with “sorry you’re bummed, man. The Green has half-price pitchers tonight. Let’s head that way and you can tell me all about it.”Having celebrated my twenty-first birthday in a foreign country the previous semester, I had yet to visit the oft-mentioned Green Lantern Tavern in Walla Walla, Washington. It was that night that Matt and The Green introduced me to my Death Row meal: a burger and a beer.
We arrived and Matt ordered us a pitcher of Black Butte Porter and chose one of the burgers from the chalkboard, then turned to me. I glanced at my options, not realizing we’d be eating. “I’ll have the Jalapeño C-Burger,” I said.
The bartender filled up a pitcher with our dark-as-night beer and handed it to us so we could sit down and express our twenty-something angst over beer and peanuts while waiting for burgers. The main dishes arrived and my life was different from the moment I took a bite and sipped my brew. I had tasted relief in its purest form, something special and unique. The Green became a monthly stop for my burger and beer from that point onward.
Alas, college has its endpoint, and I soon found myself in Dallas, wondering where I might taste relief as I did in Walla Walla. I discovered a challenge in finding the same equation that made the Green so special for me. A place where I could walk if I wanted, that had burgers both basic but considered compositions. A place where I would hardly worry about running out of beer while waiting for food with a pitcher in front of me. And then of course, hand-cut fries, a good quality slab of beef with a fluffy, moist, toasted bun. A place worth starving myself throughout the day to make that meal special, a meal where there was little need for thought.
Here the trend seems to be build-your-own, and no pitchers of beer, not to mention the challenge of finding a place in close proximity.
I have sought out Capitol Pub, Twisted Root, Lee Harvey’s, The Grape, The Porch, and The Cock n’ Bull, in hopes that I might find my new haunt. All seem to fall short in my eyes. Is it the need to build my own burger at Lee Harvey’s that makes me nostalgic for not having to think too much? Maybe I feel disenchanted by the gimmick of Twisted Root, as if they are trying a little too hard. Whatever the case, I still crave more than the ideal fat-to-protein ratio to achieve the perfect burger. While Maple & Motor comes the closest with their flawless execution of unpretentiousness, it is hard for me to make the drive over there enough. Thus, I am still searching for my burger haven in Dallas, and hope to find it sooner rather than later.
When Adam Sachs isn’t daydreaming of a burger lost he is the General Manager of Salum Resataurant in Dallas, a sommelier, a seasoned traveler and a contributor to craveDFW.