My boyfriend and I had noticed this place mid-June while in Austin with my family, but the line extended for a block outside the restaurant and we couldn't put my mother through the wait. A few weeks later, back in Austin, the line was even longer, the sun was making me even dizzier, and we were even hungrier.
But we went for it anyway. Best risk I've ever taken. (Well, other than maybe studying abroad and taking out tons of loans and... but I digress.) While we stood in line, we got an icy margarita, an alcoholic milkshake, and an umbrella to keep us from becoming burger meat.
Once inside (after a surprisingly short wait), the gourmet chic ambience was as cool as the air—and so were the snappy sayings on the waiters' t-shirts.
But the food was the coolest. Nori chips gave my ahi tuna burger a perfect crunch and I've never tasted a bleu cheese and hot sauce balance as amazing as the one in my boyfriend's bison burger.
The parmesan fries with truffle butter put it over the top. Especially when we asked for extra truffle butter (some of which we ate with our fingers—shh) and got it!
Who gives out free truffle butter? Only the coolest place in Austin.
Note: The free parking and the location smack in the middle of SoCo Avenue didn't suck either.
Look. I’ll admit it. I’m generally a sucker for any place whose marketing campaign prominently displays words like “craft” and “artisanal” and “scratch” and “local” and paints their sign on a cinderblock wall.
So when Hopdoddy’s marketing gurus designed their website, I’m pretty much the customer base they had in mind.
Minus the loafers and dreadlocks, that is.
The line outside the door can look intimidating, but don't be fazed - it moves pretty quickly and by the time you reach the counter to place your order, they have a bussed and reserved table waiting for you. Once you're inside the building, grab a drink as the line passes the bar - brilliant! But don't fill up - THEY HAVE MILKSHAKES AT THE END.
My Akaushi beef burger with brie cheese, truffle aoli, arugula, caramelized onion, & steak sauce was absolutely decadent and served up medium rare. There's a vegetarian burger option, too.
When you're done, work off the calories on a stroll through "SoCo" - the eclectic neighborhood along South Congress Avenue where specialty shops and antique stores abound. Parking is difficult and the line is long, but Hopdoddy Burger Bar is one of those rare places that is well -- WELL -- worth the wait.
Argue all you want... No other burger in town comes close to those at Hopdoddy.
According to the menu, "Hopdoddy" celebrates the "perfect union of burgers and beer: handcrafted beer (hop) + (doddy), the nickname given to the native cow in Aberdeen, Scotland."
And the burger here is a thing of beauty. Though there are several types to choose from, the success of them all is tied directly to the simplicity and the quality of what goes in it...
Buns freshly baked in-house; hand-crafted patties of freshly ground beef (or bison, tuna, or veggies); name-brand and/or local cheeses; apple-smoked bacon; garden-fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and onions; and homemade condiments.
My favorite is the Llano Poblano ($8), a juicy patty enrobed in pepper jack cheese, strips of roasted poblano chiles, and crisp strips of apple-smoked bacon. Which, would not be complete without an order of truffle fries ($5).
Add a luxurious Maine Root root beer float ($4) made with house-churned ice cream, or a local craft beer (try the 512), and you've got yourself a $20 meal that is nothing short of burger paradise.