A perfect fry stands and deserves your attention. Photos by Nancy Nichols.

Reviews

French Fry-Day: JG’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers

This 30-year-old Northeast Dallas joint rocks.

See that staunch fry standing at attention in the middle of the picture above? That is a perfect French fry. It is, like me, firm on the outside and fluffy in the center. Unlike me, you can hold it horizontally, and it will not bend. There is a lovely line of potato skin down the side which adds texture and flavor. This French fry tastes like a fried potato.

I’ve been a fan of JG’s for a while. The family run business has been open for more than 30 years. We discovered the joint off LBJ and Greenville way back in 2002. Before texting. Before Twitter. Before the city was filled with great burger joints. Not many people had joined the word “gourmet” with “burger.” JG’s is a no-frill burger joint. In our Burger Madness 2002 tournament, JG’s made it to the finals. They were narrowly defeated by Uptown Bar and Grill. (Read the original story here. Sorry, the format is wonky.)

JG’s also made a strong showing in Burger Madness 2006. They made it to the semi-finals, where they were trounced by new find Wingfield’s!

After last week’s edition of French Fry-day, I received an email from an old friend. He used to be in the burger business. He has eaten a lot of fries. He’s really proud of that fact and continually reminds people that he knows more about fries in Dallas than anyone else alive. His note was short and to the point: “Nancy revisit JG’s. Still the best frys [sic] .” He may know about fries, but he certainly can’t spell.

Brilliant idea! I was overjoyed to go back and visit JG’s. I even got there early. By 11 a.m., the dining room was over half-full. I put in my order and walked around watching the kitchen and the cooks. There was no pre-cooking, every order of burgers and fries was cooked to order. I waited about 10 minutes. It’s a jolly environment, and you can tell the diners are regulars. Everyone is cool and content. The nice lady at the counter greeted some customers by their first name.

Once I got in the car, I started my test. Oh, the first fry was ever so hot and ever so—what?—undercooked. Oh no, this had to be a mistake. I tore open the yellow paper and dove to the bottom of the pile. All undercooked! If you’ve ever munched on raw potatoes you will understand me when I say I could taste a faint flavor of chlorophyll. I pulled the bag apart and reached for the second order. That is when I discovered that staunch soldier in the picture above surrounded by a pile of toastier fries.

JG’s fries are thick and hand cut. I got lucky because I had two orders. I’m learning that if you want to make sure your fat fries are crisp, you need to order them that way. Do that here, and you’ll be more than satisfied. And grab a burger while you’re at it. It’s worth a drive.

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