Decemburger: Cindy's Gone Hog Wild
First came 50 Burgers, 50 Days. Then Novemburger. 2011 wraps up with a burger a day for Decemburger.
Day 19: Cindy’s Gone Hog Wild
5496 Texas 71 E., Cedar Creek. 512-247-4600, www.cghw.com.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 12.19.11
The people who own Cindy’s Gone Hog Wild have a real stake in southeast Central Texas, not just with Hog Wild along Highway 71, but with the renovated Cindy’s and its upscale adjacent big brother Hasler Brothers Steakhouse in downtown Bastrop.
Hog Wild is a titan-sized warehouse that opened in September, with glass garage doors along four of the walls for a kind of top-down effect when the weather’s nice. The concrete floor is spotless and the bar looks like it came from a winery tasting room, with a bleached, knotty wooden top and black high-back stools with cherrywood seats. But this is a beer bar, a beer bar tailored to and branded around bikers, and if you’re wondering what’s on tap, just look to the back of the bar, where 12 kegs lie on their sides in racks of four, with end covers like drumheads proclaiming the brands: The big domestics, plus Shiner Bock, Independence Amber and Boulevard lager for around $3 a pint.
The burger: For its name alone, the Ape Hanger ($7 with fries) is worth a go. Ape hangers are those chopper handlebars that force your shoulders around your ears as you reach both hands to the sky, your knees bent like you were frozen in a long-jumper’s arc. Somehow those riders stay in control. So does this burger, no small trick considering it’s piled with bacon, cheese, jalapeños and serrano sauce on top of mustard, mayo and a chop of lettuce and tomato. Sloppy? Sure, but all the elements taste right, especially a floury kaiser roll that should be a model for some of the burgers that lean on sweet rolls to do their work. I’d ask Cindy’s to ease up on the grill throttle, though, and leave me less carbon buildup and more juice to work with.
Fries or rings? You’ve seen these fries at a dozen paces, medium-size sticks with a shaly golden armor that guarantees a solid crackle every time. I was drawn more to a basket of “onion chips,” vertically cut onion petals with a stay-puffed beer batter and a little red-pepper spice ($3). Think of them as rebellious onion rings, fingerless gloves and all.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)