A vegetarian gives her two cents about the world of local hamburger restaurants to see if there is equality amongst burger connoisseurs.
Charley’s Old Fashioned
Charley’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers lacks formality and vegetarian options. It is a token dive, with a hole-in-the-wall atmosphere. When I went, the staff was limited to two people, but they were friendly. While the restaurant could use some decorating tips, the purple doors and TCU banners would make any Horned Frog swell with pride. The fries were the highlight of Charley’s: greasy and homemade, as they should be.
This Fort Worth gem first started as a grocery store in 1946 but became a hamburger success in 1966. The service is rushed and the restaurant is overly crowded. The ’50’s diner feel combined with summer camp cafeteria create a community-like atmosphere. The vegetarian options at Kincaid’s are rather disappointing. It is pretty much summed up to grilled cheese or fried okra. So while the restaurant provides a fun, frantic atmosphere, I wouldn’t suggest to an herbivore to go there to satisfy their appetite.
The newest installment of the Pappas chain, Pappas Burger, is built for entertainment and provides a fun setting. But it feels too much like a sports bar and the servers seem scattered and unfocused. The restaurant is two months old, but even the food was not totally up to par for the prices. The vegetarian options were scarce but thankfully, there was a plentiful Greek salad on the menu.
Love Shack, a creation of celebrity chef Tim Love, is very much just a shack. It is basically tables between two buildings in the Stockyards. They had no vegetarian options besides fries or a milkshake, but service was fairly good and the option of live music enhanced my fry-based meal. Even though there was nothing I could eat at Love Shack, I still give the restaurant points for creativity and ingenuity.
Fred’s Texas Cafe
I was skeptical about Fred’s Texas Cafe when I pulled up. It seemed like just another greasy spoon with meat-only options. The exterior of the restaurant screamed “red-neck cowboy” with large Texas murals painted on the outside walls. The parking was limited to a dusty lot and it felt reminiscent of an old Western set. Once inside, Fred’s is dimly lit, with a late-night bar aura. The deer heads and antlers adorning a room in the back appeal to the game-prone. But a fantastic menu with some very enticing vegetarian options was a pleasant surprise. The Portobello mushroom burger was extremely fresh and tasted just how I would imagine a hamburger would taste, but better. If you were looking for a place that is distinctively Fort Worth, Fred’s would be the place to go.
Tommy’s Hamburger Grill
Another Cowtown favorite, Tommy’s Hamburger Grill, is one of the more convenient burger joints to visit. With three different locations, Tommy’s provides diversity in its service and menu. With more than just burgers and fries, it expands to American favorites like chicken fried steak, BLTs and some veggie side options. The best thing about Tommy’s is its veggie burgers. The patties are crisp and they are topped with fresh ingredients and caramelized onions. The fries and homemade chips are also top-notch. Tommy’s is an all around enjoyable eating experience for vegetarians alike.