Novemburger: Freddie's Place

Because 50 Burgers, 50 Days wasn’t enough, I’ll write about a new burger every day this month. And next. We’ll call that Decemburger.
Day 23: Freddie’s Place
1703 S. First St. 445-9197,
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 11.23.11
From the Know Before You Go Department: Freddie’s Place — especially the rambling outdoor patio, where most of the action is — is a place for Dog People. And Ping Pong People. And Washers People. And Children People. And when margaritas and frozen Jack-and-Lemonades are just $2 (from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, all day Monday), it’s also a place for Inebriated People. I guess you could say Freddie’s is a People Place.
The burger: Because this is South Austin, I will order a burger with pineapple and bacon if I want. I won’t wonder why it’s called the Eskimo Joe ($8.69). Nor will I blink that it’s smothered with cheddar cheese and served on a jalapeño cheese bun. Because it’s almost too pretty to eat, with bright green leaf lettuce curled at the edges and bright red tomato playing off the sunset-orange glow of melted cheese. And because it tastes good, especially the way the tropical sugar of the pineapple bounces off that salty, smoky bacon. Now if we could work on more tender beef and a subtler hand at the flat-top grill, this could be more than just one of the best burgers in South Austin.
Fries or rings? Blessed is Freddie’s for putting a mixed basket of fries and rings right on the menu for $3.99. Enough for two, it combines hand-cut, skin-on fries with big salt crystals like subterranean pretzels and onion rings that rival Hut’s in sheer circumference. But I like these even better, because they’re crusted like chicken-fried steak, with whorls of batter like golden fingerprints left by the lords of the onion rings.
About those $2 Jack slushies: Maybe Lynchburg lemonade doesn’t translate well to the frozen form. Upfront, it’s sweet like a lime-locked frozen margarita. But when the whiskey’s sour twang floats up through the mix, it tastes the way a shot-bar bathroom smells.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)