Mark Stuertz’s quest for Collin County’s top eateries continues with this round-up of his favorite burger places. Come take a look and plan your next meal with his list.
Butchering and grinding since 1974, Ye Ole Butcher Shop Meat Market-Burger Joint resembles an old-fashioned meat dispensary. Its modest refrigerator case is packed with steaks, briskets, roasts, chops even sides of beef. But the on-premises/to go action is centered around its freshly ground burgers. We opted for the “All the Way Buffalo Burger with Cheese” served on a brioche bun: rich, hearty and immensely satisfying. They also serve 12-Point Buck Burgers (Tuesdays), Elk Burgers (Wednesday) and Wild Hog Burgers (Thursdays). Beef, too. For the veg heads, they have veggie burgers, but truth be told, vegetarians are a hunted species in these parts: There’s a trophy vegan torso — allegedly collected at a Dallas salad bar — mounted on the wall. So watch your six if you run exclusively on celery and arugula.
Wulf Burger is the eye candy of the Collin County burger bunch. It hits the peepers with its loud, red bun hued with natural beet extract, which lends nothing to taste, texture or freshness (there are green buns, too, reserved for veggie patties, but the extracts behind these are unclear). The chef-crafted burgers, however, go beyond bun fluff. All Wulf examples are composed with grass-fed beef. The Wulf Special slaps two of these turf-fortified patties between the buns and tops them with American cheese, grilled onions, pickles and Wulf’s housemade garlic mustard aioli. Yum. Each rendition has vegan versions too, featuring “Impossible” patties. Previously only in the Los Angeles and New York markets, Wulf Burger and its red buns plunged into the North Texas burger fray with its Frisco location in December 2020, and a subsequent location opened in Dallas.
It’s out in the middle of nowhere. But these burgers dazzle with destination flavors: juicy, hearty, spill-outin-your-hands kind of goodness. Kelly Family Farms dispenses their grass-fed beef burgers from an old-fashioned camper on the side of the road. All beef is from homegrown, genuine Collin County cattle. You can even get a side of your favorite cuts of grass-fed beef to take home with you. So, grab a seat at one of the picnic tables outfitted with umbrellas, make your mess in the front seat of your ride, or take your Kelly burgers home and do it there. But do it!
Above all else, a Kenny’s burger is a big, bold, beautifully garish monstrosity of flavor. Kenny’s signature steer grind is cooked to order over a hickory wood-burning grill, adding a strain of East Texas Q to the ensemble. Kenny’s patties are also infinitely customizable. Burger fetishists can choose their own wood-grilled protein (beef, turkey, veggie and chicken breast); bun (regular or gluten-free), and cheese (American, cheddar, Swiss, or pepper jack). Kenny’s Burger Joint is the creation of local celebrity chef Kenny Bowers, who was the culinary force behind the defunct Daddy Jack’s Lobster & Chowder House in Dallas, and Lefty’s Lobster and Chowder House in Addison. Today, he’s the spatula maestro powering Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill in Addison, Kenny’s Italian Kitchen in Dallas and Kenny’s Authentic East Coast Pizza in Plano. Grab a fistful of burger and punch your bad self with beastly savor.
Call your mortician and your last rites administrator, because these burgers will give your ticker a licking, stopping it cold in mid-bite. BAR-Ranch is a knockout craft butcher shop proffering both dry (a process that incorporates Himalayan salt) and wet-aged steaks displayed in their unique glassed-in aging room for viewing from the street. Think of it as the foodie version of watching paint dry. BAR-Ranch burgers are a blend of dry-aged chuck, brisket, short rib and eye of round from American wagyu and full blood wagyu. And the taste is devastatingly dense, rich and sweet with an appealing layer of gaminess. Frame your meat opus with truffle fries snow-blown in grated parmesan. Happy are those who are called to this supper.
This spartan-but-captivating drivein just south of historic downtown McKinney has allegedly been serving cheeseburgers since 1954. Via roller skates? Maybe. Baker’s serves what they deem are old-fashioned hamburgers and cheeseburgers. We modernized ours with a slice of pepper jack cheese. And bacon. Sauteed jalapenos? Throw ’em on. These are basic burgers that fill your mouth with flavor, the kind that would waterworks your chops if it weren’t for those freshly baked organic and gluten-free buns to sop it all up. You can double or triple your meat, too. We highly suggest trying the chili cheese fries, corny dogs, turkey burgers, homemade fried pies, malts and even the fresh salads. Bring your own roller skates, though.
These burgers are big and bold flavor eruptions. And judging by the lines that build up at the service window at this Mo’s Exxon service station, contagious. Our Tony’s Burger hit like a full-throated savor monster with blackened spices, sauteed onions and jalapenos, cheese, fresh herb mayo and bacon topped with a fried egg. It’s all slipped within a fresh-baked bun and served with seasoned roughcut fries. These masterpieces are available in ⅓, ½ and full 1-pound (double) burger versions. Mexico City street tacos are available, too. You can enjoy your burger to go or take a seat at the gas station diner ensemble with counter stools and tables (get there early, because they fill up and stay filled).
BAR-Ranch Steak Company features a house cheese board and pecorino truffle gnocchi, while Ye Ole Butcher Shop has a veggie burger and tater tots (if you’re not intimidated by the mounted vegan on the wall). Baker’s Drive-in offers a Monty mushroom Swiss burger and a grilled cheese sandwich. You can even get a Southwest black bean Burger with queso and guac at Kenny’s Burger Joint.
But probably Wulf Burger is veggie friendliest; it has Impossible veggie versions of all their burgers, with the special burger and the special burger combo getting those green (instead of red) buns. It’s tough — but not impossible — to be a vegetarian in a Texas burger and BBQ world.