Hopdoddy Burger Bar derives its name from “Hop” (read: beer) and “doddy” (read: native Scottish cow). The Austin-based company recently opened its first location in October of 2012 in PrestonCenter. (Carol Shih referred to the fries as “crack.”) Recently they opened second location on McKinney Avenue. I was invited to drop by to sample the fare, and I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised as to their interpretation of the trendy, yet socially conscious burger and beer joint.
Hopdoddy pays particularly close attention to detail, especially when it comes to their handcrafted cocktails. I started by sampling the Sangrita, which ultimately became my favorite libation of the evening. Comprised of top-shelf gold tequila, freshly squeezed orange and lime juices, and pomegranate grenadine, I found the Sangrita to be a quintessential thirst quencher on a hot summer evening. Other notables include the Soco Sweet Tea, featuring locally Deep Eddy Sweet Tea vodka, raspberry puree, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and gin-based Black Cherry Hard Limeade.
I sampled a variety of burgers (consisting of beef, lamb, chicken, and fish) and was able to narrow my favorites down to two – allowing for a tie only on the premise that these burgers fall under completely different genres. The Terlingua personified Texas, nearly a Frito pie on a burger. Constructed upon Texas-bred Angus beef cooked medium rare, the Terlingua consists of chili con carne, corn Fritos, Tillamook cheddar, and “sassy sauce,” essentially a horseradish-based white sauce. The burger paired perfectly with the Sangrita or a Rahr & Sons Texas Red Amber Lager.
I also found the Greek to be quite refreshing, which is an unusual experience when enjoying a burger. Consisting of hand-ground lamb, feta, peppery arugula, pickled red onion, tomato, cucumber and tzatziki sauce, the burger was relatively light (as compared to its brethren). The proportions were well balanced, leading to a bite that was clean and crisp, rather than being overwhelmed by powerful ingredients.
For those trying to steer clear of cattle (sorry, bad joke), Hopdoddy also serves a delightful spinach and arugula salad, accompanied by seared sushi-grade tuna, seasonal beets, Texas goat cheese, toasted pecans, couscous, sugar snap peas and a Gala apple and sherry cane vinaigrette. Light and revitalizing, I found the vinaigrette to be the an ideal selection, allowing the components of the dish to shine but, more importantly, showcasing the quality of the tuna. Pair with a Doble Fina Margarita or a glass of Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc.
At Hopdoddy, “local” is not a trend but rather a corporate ideologue, ensuring patrons of fresh, local meats and produce, in addition to craft beers and cocktails stemming from the neighborhood (in our case, DFW). Buns are baked fresh in-house twice per day. Shakes are crafted from antibiotic and hormone-free whole dairy milk. Partnerships are established with over twenty local producers for beef, buffalo, turkey, cheese, eggs and produce. Combine these positives with an up-tempo establishment with great music and you’ve got yourself a fun (and ethical) burger experience.