100 Austin Burgers: Billie Jean’s Burger Pub

Billie Jean’s Burger Pub
6501 S. Congress Ave., Austin (map), 512-445-7484, www.billiejeansaustin.com
Hours: 11am-9pm Mon-Thu; 11am-10pm Fri; noon-10pm Sat; noon to 5 pm Sun
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 04.18.16
AUGUST 2016 UPDATE: Billie Jean's has closed. A note from their Facebook page: "Hey guys, we have some sad news. Unfortunately a year and some change of road construction and being surrounded by empty units in a big shopping center has caught up to us and we can't pay our rent this month. We will miss serving all of you!"
It’s a testament to Austin’s multitasking creative class when a business can go from a food truck to a franchise-ready restaurant in the blink of an eye. That’s what Billie Jean’s did, moving from its trailer at the Red Shed Tavern to this brand new suburban-style space of limestone, glass, polished concrete and market-ready graphics. From the congenial staff to Douglas Brown’s saturated fresco of Rosie the Riveter rescuing chickens from a burning barn, Billie Jean’s has a welcoming feminine energy (femininergy?) that’s a nice change from the everyday bro-mance of a 100 Burger series. Credit that to Meranda Tillmon and Christie White, who started the trailer in 2011 and moved into their South Congress location last May.
 Billie Burger: You won’t see many chili cheeseburgers in this series, because chili tends to take a backseat in the kitchen. And nobody wants chili in the backseat. But chili is an event at Billie Jean’s, a true Texian mélange of lean brisket and high, dry red spice that’s juicy without going sloppy. The welcome smoky heat weaves its way down through thick cheddar and into a half-pound of fresh Angus beef grilled with a blush of pink left at the core. It’s finished with red onions and thick grain mustard on a New World Bakery kolache-style bun that’s thick, chewy and a little bit sweet. ($13.49)
 On the side: Trust a shop with 50-pound potato boxes by the front door to have good hand-cut fries with big starchy fluff and plenty of skin in the game ($1.99). Thirsty Goat Amber turns smooth, beer-battered onion rings ($6.99) into an event, sturdy enough to forge a chain. A crunchy chain with spicy sriracha ketchup and sweet, piquant red pepper aioli. (An off-menu mix of fries and rings is $5.99.) A member of the staff makes her own hot sauces, bristling with pepper, vinegar and sweet heat. Ask for both.
 Wash it down: There’s a full bar here, with top-shelf liquors, local draft beers, cocktails, even Wonka-fied infusions like strawberry vodka and banana-pecan Jameson’s. All that’s missing is the pretense. This Mexican Cucumber Martini would be at home in any upscale cocktail bar, shaken ice cold with chile-cucumber tequila, Cointreau and fresh lime with a house chile-salt rim. ($8/$6 at happy hour 4-7pm)
100 Austin Burgers
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)