Fort Worth has so many good locally based burger joints that we usually look askance at interlopers — those chains that come in from other cities to take on our Rodeo Goat, Fred’s Texas Cafe, Dutch’s Legendary Hamburgers or Kincaid’s, just to name a few.
But we’ve learned — via a Facebook post from our pal Meda Kessler at 360 West — that a Hopdoddy Burger Bar is coming to Fort Worth. And we welcome it with open arms and salivating mouths.
In fact, for serious fans of the gourmet burger, this could be a gamechanger.
Reps still aren’t ready to give us anything official, but a sign on a door at the growing Left Bank development on West Seventh Street says a Hopdoddy is “coming soon.”
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UPDATE: Reps made it official Tuesday morning, with a press release saying that the target opening is fall 2017. The release also points out that the Austin original, founded in 2010, made Business Insider’s list of the 50 best burger joints in America. It is, in fact, No. 1 on that list, and the only Texas burger joint, making us think that Business Insider needs to get to Fort Worth, Dallas and other Texas cities more. Hopdoddy has locations in Arizona, California and Colorado as well as Texas.
The Austin-based burger joint first expanded to Dallas in 2012 with a location on Luther Lane in Preston Center. That was in time for our 2013 DFW.com Battle of the Burgers, during which Hopdoddy did very well, making it all the way to the final four before being unseated by ultimate Burger Battle champ Rodeo Goat in a dead heat.
In fact, there was a heated debate among the judges about the Magic Shroom burger at Hopdoddy being the best burger they’d eaten in the entire battle, but ultimately Rodeo Goat prevailed with its creativity and consistency.
As it turns out, Rodeo Goat, which opened in Fort Worth in 2012 (and is now working on its third location in Plano), took some inspiration from Hopdoddy. The original concept for Goat was a taco joint, but by the time the owners found their location, there were so many taco spots open that they opted for burgers instead, grinding their own meat and finding the perfect patty blend, then concocting a menu with “gourmet” toppings.
“No one was doing anything like this here,” Shannon Wynne, one of the Goat’s co-owners, told DFW.com in 2013. “We’d been to Hopdoddy in Austin and knew other restaurants elsewhere were doing similar things. But we wanted to come about this honestly. We didn’t want to just rip off someone else’s idea. We put a chef in charge of the kitchen and the menu, but if you want a straightforward, down and dirty burger, you can get a straightforward, down and dirty burger.”
The notion that Hopdoddy and Rodeo Goat (not to mention Fred’s) will all exist within a few miles of each other in Fort Worth — well, it’s burger nirvana. M&O Station Grill and In-N-Out are also players in that West 7th-area burger bonanza.
As we mentioned above, one of our favorite burgers at Hopdoddy is the Magic Shroom (field mushrooms, pesto and Texas goat cheese are the star toppings). But there’s also the Llano Poblano (seared poblanos, chipotle mayo, bacon, pepperjack) and the Primetime, which raises the game with Texas Akaushi beef and brie. Vegetarian and turkey patties are available, and there are bison, lamb and ahi tuna burgers as well.
Buns are made in-house, fries are good, and there is an impressive shake and bar menu.
Fort Worth has always been a great burger town, but in 2017 it’s about to get even better.