Opinion: Eight burger joints to try in Fort Worth

In a testament to Fort Worth’s burger scene, the first restaurant that was ever recommended to me was West 7th staple Rodeo Goat. Travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler agrees, calling Fort Worth a top 15 burger city in America.

Fort Worth has a mix of high profile venues and joints even a long-time local may have never heard of or considered. Here are eight places to visit if you’re craving a burger.

Rodeo Goat

The Chaca Oaxaca from Rodeo Goat. (Photo by Ryan Myers)

As mentioned above, this was the first restaurant that was ever recommended to me in Fort Worth. Rodeo Goat has been serving a creative combination of burgers since it opened in 2012. My personal favorite, the Chaca Oaxaca, features a beef and chorizo patty, pico, queso fresco, avocado, tabasco mayo and a fried egg. Other burgers include the Sugar Burger, a burger that features candied bacon and grilled peaches; and the Terlingua — basically a Frito pie between two buns. For the vegetarians out there, Rodeo Goat has two vegetarian burgers and will change any patty on request. The restaurant also holds a Battle of the Burger against two limited-run burgers. This round’s contenders are The Padre, a bacon chipotle BBQ and cheddar packed patty with fried mushrooms, tomato, spinach, Fresno aioli and a tangy chive sour cream sauce; and the Chupacabra, a beef and chorizo patty topped with a smoked lime aioli, roasted hatch chilies, queso asadero, jalapeno croutons and guacamole. 

Of the eight places I visited, Rodeo Goat had the best fries. They keep it simple but have a satisfying crunch and a soft inside, a perfect combo for any fry. Also be sure to get some dessert. The shakes can be hit or miss, but the Goat Balls are a must. If you don’t know what Goat Balls are, you need to go get some. I’ll wait.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar

The Llano Poblano and Stout Chocolate shake from Hopdoddy. (Photo by Ryan Myers)

The newest addition to Fort Worth’s burger scene, this Austin based restaurant opened a location in August. It’s the fourth location in DFW, joining the two Dallas and Addison locations. Hopdoddy’s arrival came with a lot of hype, and deservedly so. I went for the first time for this story and I walked away impressed and full. I ordered the Llano Poblano, a beef burger topped with pepper jack, bacon, seared poblano peppers, chipotle mayo, and lettuce on a wheat bun. The burger was very good and I fell in love with the wheat bun. It was toasted well and still warm from the oven. The most interesting burger on the menu is The Impossible. It’s a vegetarian burger that actually bleeds.

For my fries, I ordered the parmesan truffle fries. The seasoning was great, but the fries disappointed. I found them to have the texture of cardboard, much like those at In-N-Out. The only dessert offered here are shakes and they are amazing. I ordered a chocolate shake and my only complaint was that there was no strawberry flavor on the menu. I’m still shaking my head in confusion.

Fred’s Texas Cafe

Bacon and Cheese Fredburger with fries from Fred’s. (Photo by Ryan Myers)

If you want to watch the game or listen to some live country music, Fred’s is the place for you. Burgers are the name of the game, but Fred’s also serves other Texas favorites like tacos, quesadillas and chicken fried steak. I ordered the classic Fredburger with bacon and cheese. I’ve always found the bun to be a little dry and the toppings are thrown on without much care unless you get a specialty burger, but the flavor is always there and that’s what really matters. As for the specialty burgers, try the Diablo or Serrano Burger if you really want to turn up the heat.

The fries are quite good and can be loaded with cheese and bacon for a filling bar appetizer. No desserts here, but you may not want one if you eat too much. 

Dutch’s

Patty Melt with onion rings from Dutch’s. (Photo by Ryan Myers)

A TCU favorite, Dutch’s has been serving burgers since 2007 and is currently expanding into the building next door. The burgers are the star here and there’s quite a variety, from the original Dutch to my favorites: the Vaquero Burger, a burger that features fried onion and jalapeño strings and the Bacon Bleu Cheese. The one thing that all of these burgers share is the wonderful bun. It’s slightly sweet, buttery and always well toasted. Be sure to look at the other menu options as well, the bar food is quite good and Dutch’s serves a couple of mean melts. My personal favorite item on the menu is the steak finger basket. The gravy is divine and goes well with the fries.

Speaking of fries, they are very good and always come in a heaping pile. Be sure to check out the tater tots as well. The shakes have always been a little thick, but they are flavorful and have strawberry so there’s not much else I can ask for.

Swiss Pastry Shop

Green Chile Bacon Burger from the Swiss Pastry Shop. (Photo by Ryan Myers)

Known for its black forest cake and breakfast, the Swiss Pastry Shop has recently added burgers to their arsenal. Rather than using normal beef, they use Texas Akaushi beef, a form of Japanese beef known for its tenderness. This makes the burgers the Swiss Pastry Shop puts out a little different from the rest. The burgers are creative but don’t get too wild. I ordered the Green Chile Bacon Burger and the chilies added a nice hint of heat without being overpowering. The bun is also great. It’s a sesame bun that is light and buttery and holds firm even with all of the juices from the meat and cheese.

There are no fries to be found here, but I’d recommend the potato salad or the sauerkraut. For dessert, you have a whole bakery to choose from. In fact, it’s the first thing you see when walking in. They have a number of pies and cakes to select as well as pastries and bread. They are only open for lunch Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., so don’t try to go for dinner.

Kincaid’s Hamburgers

The Cattleman and a strawberry shake from Kincaid’s. (Photo by Ryan Myers)

In business since 1946, this iconic Fort Worth burger joint sits in a long-abandoned grocery store that decided to start making burgers and has yet to stop. Kincaid’s now has six locations, but the original still serves up fresh burgers on Camp Bowie. In a testament to its heritage, every order comes to-go with the order markings in sharpie on the outside. Most of the burgers are pretty simple and the wildest they get is putting pimento cheese or an onion ring on top. I ordered a Junior Cowtown, a burger with grilled onions and jalapeños. You may laugh at the size, but this burger was plenty large enough.

The fries come crinkle cut and go well in their shakes. The shakes are exquisite and stay creamy from the first to last sip. I would also recommend the banana pudding. It is thick and creamy and full of banana chunks.

Good Food Co.

Bacon Cheeseburger with fries from Good Food Co. (Photo by Ryan Myers)

A little out of the way from the TCU area, this Race Street diner is serving up good food at better prices. There’s nothing fancy here, each burger is a homage to the past when things were simple and you could pronounce the toppings. The Bacon Cheeseburger ($6) was very good. The patty was well seasoned and the vegetables were fresh and crisp. They also toasted both sides of the bun, which was interesting but enjoyable. Be warned, if you want to eat here keep in mind they are only open 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday-Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m..

The fries here were a little different with more of a homestyle feel. They were wider than I was expecting and still crisp on the outside. The seasoning on top was also good. If you are in need for midday dessert after your meal you won’t find it here. I would recommend walking right next door to Gypsy Scoops.

The Bearded Lady

The Bearded L.U.S.T Burger and fries at The Bearded Lady. (Photo by Ryan Myers)

This Magnolia gastropub is serving up a large variety of craft brews and a select menu of bar food favorites like burgers, wings and corn dogs. The main attraction is the Bearded L.U.S.T, a burger stuffed with roasted poblano and feta with gouda, avocado and caramelized onions on top. The flavors go well together and the brioche bun was fluffy and buttery. I would also recommend the pulled pork sandwich. The pork is very tender and the guacamole added creaminess in lieu of a BBQ sauce.

The fries are very good and well seasoned, but the best side I’ve had here is the bacon mac and cheese. It has plenty of cheese and the bacon cuts right through and adds just enough salt. They will tell you the desserts on request, but I’ve never had their dessert because I always find myself walking down the street to Melt.