100 Austin Burgers: Haymaker

2310 Manor Road, Austin (map), 512-243-6702, www.haymakeraustin.com
Hours: 11am-midnight Sun-Fri; 11am-1am Sat
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 03.07.16
The Black Sheep Lodge makes a pretty good burger, so it follows that its sister restaurant Haymaker would do the same. Self-identifying as the model of a modern Midwestern bar and grill with 40 beer taps, Haymaker joined the second wave of Manor Road’s resurgence in 2013, adding to a restaurant row that includes Hoover’s, Mi Madre’s, Eastside Cafe, Salty Sow, Dai Due, El Chile, El Sapo, El Chilito, School House Pub, Unit D Pizzeria and Patrizi’s.
 Pecan Street Blues Burger: I promise I won’t lean too hard on patty melts or blue cheese in this series. Both good, but each their own thing — and hard to classify with more traditional burgers. This one, though, brings together the pungent impact of a pecan-infused blue cheese sauce with the guilty pleasure of greasy Texas toast for a patty melt that goes beyond its humble diner roots. The sauce adds adventure to an otherwise sedate third-pound Angus patty, cooked gray to the core, with an assist from overlapping slabs of thick, peppered bacon. It’s up to you to decide whether mixed greens are effete interlopers or a welcome change from iceberg lettuce. It’s exactly the kind of burger the brain allows the body to have on a boilermaker buzz. ($9.99 with a side)
 On the side: Haymaker includes chips, fries or slaw in the deal, the best of which are sturdy, house-fried chips. The slaw works well with hearty sandwiches like the Italian beef. And the fries are best as part of an upper Midwest and Canadian bar staple called poutine ($7.49), wherein they’re smothered with salty brown gravy and cheese curds as lumpy as your Michigan in-laws.
 Wash it down: I have foggy memories of boilermakers, dropping dirty shotglasses of crappy whiskey into mugs of equally crappy beer. Haymaker brings those memories into fonder focus with a new-collar boilermaker: a shot of T.W. Samuels, which is still cheap whiskey, but with a half-pint of good draft beer of your choice to ease the sting ($5.50). The Plowman’s Lunch is one of those top-heavy Bloody Marys, mounted with cheese and a Slim Jim. But for just $5.50, it doesn’t pretend to be anything more.
100 Austin Burgers
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)