Novemburger: Shady Grove

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 26: Shady Grove
1624 Barton Springs Road. 474-9991,
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 11.26.11
If this patio could talk, it would say, “Dude, don’t you have anywhere else to go?” I’ve been to Shady Grove in all kinds of weather, inside and out, professionally and personally. I've reviewed Airstream Chili in the dining room that looks like a Buffalo Bob kid’s room from the ‘50s. I sat 15 feet away from Darden Smith for a show at the bandshell when it was 109 degrees. I've waited on a metal lawn chair with a baby in tow among the madding crowds waiting for a table. Every time I’m here, it seems like everybody else had the same idea at the same time.
The burger: Shady Grove worships the Hatch green chile, and a thick sauce checkered with red and green chile skins works as well on this burger as it does on a chicken-fried steak or a burrito. The end result ($7.49) is solid but not memorable like the CFS, with a chewy grilled patty, a thin layer of jack cheese, a tough, sweet bun and throwaway shredded lettuce. So many more reasons to come to the Grove than this.
Fries or rings? The fries have the same earth-tone palette as the restaurant’s fieldstone walls and main building, with skins on and the industry standard thickness of a pinkie finger. They’re $1.50 with a burger plate or $3.79 a basket. The onion rings break apart like antique veneer, thin and ordinary by higher o-ring standards for $3.99 a basket. A mixed basket of fries and rings is $3.79.
Something extra: A journalism professor of mine taught me how to make a no-fault frozen margarita: a 6-ounce can of frozen limeade, 6 ounces of tequila, 6 ounces of triple sec, all poured in a blender and topped with ice and blended ultra-fine. It’s sweet and intoxicating and tastes exactly like the frozen margarita at Shady Grove. Except at the Grove, I can get it swirled with strawberry in a schooner glass ($5.50).
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
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