by Constance Hernandez
“Have It Your Way.” That slogan grills up memories of low-def TV commercials and soft cardboard crowns I used to fight over with my little sister. But in the foodie era of 2017, that tactic is obligatory on a menu. Holding down a smidgen of un-decidedly un-prime real estate in a small shopping center at the corner of West Park and Ohio Drive is Dugg Burger. I know; West Plano needed another burger joint. But hold the groans and unroll those eyes, because what West Plano didn’t have was a charming little spot that is just as enticing to the foodie set as it is to families. And that, burger buffs, is where Dugg Burger lets you ‘have it your way.’
I don’t know if it was because I was snapping pics in the parking lot like a crime scene technician, or maybe he just always greets his customers with a hearty “Hello, welcome to Dugg Burger!” but Head of Operations guru Greg Watson immediately put a smile on my face and a twinge in my appetite. His sincere, concentrated southern demeanor almost clashed against the industrial-chic, alt-rock vibe that Dugg Burger emits. Once I got over the predictable let down that he was A Greg, and not The Doug, it wasn’t ‘charred’ to love this place.
The bucket of chalk at the door for scribbling on the wall draws even the eldest burger aficionado back into childhood, creating a playful dining experience. Once you’ve poblano-Picasso’ed their interior brick ways, you’re met at the register with another amiable staff member– only this one has a magic marker filled with endless possibilities of tasty, gastronomic burger combinations! Although the menu is directly uncomplicated, the technique of the Dugg Burger compilation is what sets this concept apart from the competition.
There are three primary choices for the “pick your protein” game: beef, chicken breast, or a portabella mushroom cap. Then you blanket that protein with your choice of cheese: American, Cheddar, Pepper Jack, or Swiss. After using a highly-classified, top-secret special tool to hollow out the top lid of your buttery brioche, your Dugg artist then hoards topping after topping of the “Lucky 13” onto your burger extravaganza (all included!) The “Dugg Dozen” is a fairly basic, traditional selection: ketchup, mustard, mayo, ranch, a secret-recipe Thousand Island-based “Dugg Sauce”, house-made bbq sauce, mixed greens, grape tomatoes, dill pickles, raw onions, one-hour griddled caramelized onions, crispy onions straws, sautéed mushrooms, fire-roasted jalapenos, and hickory-smoked bacon.
But then the magic happens: A 13th ingredient makes its way into the rotation daily. It could be as decadent as man n’ cheese or as flamboyant as habanero fried bananas! The Dugg website even encourages visitors to submit their own ideas for toppings, and if they “digg it, they’ll use it.”
Every burger is cooked to med-well by default, although the kitchen will cook the patty to your specs if asked. I went with a Dugg burger, featuring bacon, cheddar, crispy onion strings, lettuce, tomato, mustard, and ketchup. I punched my CraveDFW glutton-perk card, and ordered the grilled chicken and portabella mushroom cap burger as well. (I know, shame on me!) Greg personally hand tossed the mixed greens and grape tomatoes in a bowl with a shake of vinegar before stacking my topping selections train-wreck style onto my bun. Many of the fast-casual burgers proliferating around West Plano put a premium on the meat, and Dugg is no exception.
The patty was seasoned well, and granted, I’m a med-rare girl, the maze of toppings enhanced, rather than masked the beefy flavor. The portabella cap burger definitely gave me something to shiitake ‘bout with my husband, who isn’t a fan of “rabbit food.” And as much as I hate the word ‘moist’ (sorry, occupational hazard!) the grilled chicken sandwich was just that—a juicy, moist bird slathered with Dugg sauce, fit for a king and for my plate.
But, Constance! Where do all those hollowed out brioche bun pieces go? Come closer. Closer… Shhhh…they use them for their life-saving bread pudding!! And I didn’t even miss the raisins because their warm caramel drizzle made me lose my mind temporarily. I don’t even know if they have another dessert on their menu (I just checked, they don’t.) But this euphoric “mother’s recipe” bread pudding does share the stage with a locally sourced ice cream shake. In fact, the entire Dugg menu uses local, sustainable ingredients, supporting small/local businesses in the process.
It was a gloomy Sunday afternoon this past weekend. Although a few, seldom rays of sunshine may have shone down through the glass panes onto favored tables in Dugg, I never saw anybody left out in the cold by Plano Head of Operations, Greg Watson. With all the Dugg staff treating everyone like long-lost burger pal, it brightened even the gloomiest February day. It’s what elevates Dugg Burger above its competition, and it’s what allows you to still “Have It Your Way.”