Novemburger: Pappy's Bar & Grill

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 28: Pappy’s Bar & Grill
5800 Burnet Road. 291-2241,
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Closed Sunday.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 11.28.11
Over the weekend, I saw a report on KXAN about a guy who vowed to stay on the roof of his restaurant through the end of the year to generate a little publicity. His name is Jack Allen, and he was there on top of Pappy’s Bar & Grill on Tuesday, bundled against the cold, strumming an electric guitar. Business has been slow since he opened the place in September, Allen told KXAN, and he’s afraid he won’t make it to the new year. Even though I drive past Pappy’s a couple times a week on the way to work, I hadn’t given a second thought to the corner of this H-E-B shopping complex, the same spot where Romeo’s rose and fell. It took a stunt to turn my head, and as I taste through a big bacon cheeseburger, I’m all right with that.
The burger: The primary business model at Pappy’s is an express line (11-2 for lunch, 5-9 for dinner) where they serve lunch and dinner cafeteria-style, with barbecue and meatloaf and King Ranch casserole among 10 or more rotating entrees. The list of 15-20 sides might include squash casserole or stewed okra or buttered carrots. It’s $7.39 for an entree and one side, on up to $8.31 with three sides.  A 10-ounce smoked burger is a daily guest star on that list, and when Pappy’s says “smoked,” believe it. This ground beef carries the same salty barbecue notes as a brisket, augmented at your request with bacon and cheese and a jalapeño-cheese bun. Dressed with sliced Roma tomatoes and green leaf lettuce from a condiment bar, Pappy’s burger carries a plate fairly well by itself. Between the express hours, the burger is $5.99 with chips.
Fries or rings? You’re at the mercy of the express line for sides. But it’s a tender kind of mercy, one that won’t leave you any room to miss french fries or onion rings. In their place, you’ll find twirls of cavatappi pasta smothered in rich cheddar sauce, Southern-style green beans cooked forever with bacon and thick potato chips with a liberal dust of red spice, fried in-house to a robust crunch.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
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