The “LSA” in LSA Burger Co.’s name stands for Lone Star attitude , which is also the title of a song by Jon Christopher Davis, a Texas musician who co-founded the restaurant with Denton businessman John “Sparky” Pearson. But maybe the name should be LSMA — Lone Star music attitude.
The Texas music theme greets you before you walk in, especially at night, when the red and blue neon of the restaurant’s guitar logo lights up the south side of Denton’s Courthouse Square. As you enter, you’ll pass The Great Texas Supper, an irreverent riff on Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper featuring a laughing Jesus breaking bread — hamburger buns, actually — with such Texas music legends as Latina superstar Selena, blues man T-Bone Walker and, of course, Willie Nelson.
Texas music is all over the place here, from the concert posters that line the walls to Texas Instruments, a large Texas map sculpture made up of musical instruments and equipment the owners collected from pawnshops. The burgers have names like “Georgie Boy” and “Stevie,” as in George Strait and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
But would the burgers back up all this Texas attitude?
Chef Jason Hoffman, whose background includes such notable Dallas restaurants as the Porch and Hibiscus, created the burger menu at LSA. And the emphasis is on local: The patties — near half-pounders made from a two-piece chuck blend ground daily in McKinney — are the star here, with a rich, slightly salty flavor that leaves a pleasant aftertaste. The sweetish buns are also made daily, by Garland’s La Française Bakery. Desserts, except for a house-made cobbler, come from next door at Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and from Ravelin Bakery, just down the street.
The patties and buns are so good they outshine most of the other ingredients. Of the burgers we tried, the Waylon ($5.50; $6 with cheese), fared best. It’s the basic mayo/mustard/lettuce/tomato/onion/pickles burger, although the toppings were mostly indistinguishable from one another and the dressings were spread with such a light hand that we tended to forget they were there. The patty’s flavor, however, made up for any other shortcomings.
We had to work hard to notice the flavor of the green chiles on the Los Lonely ($6.50), the burger named for San Angelo’s Los Lonely Boys. Both the chiles and the pepperjack cheese were on the mild side, and were upstaged by the powerful patty rather than working in harmony with it. Contrary to the Waylon, this one was slathered in mayo; scraping was required.
Our party of four also dove into the Not Burger side of the menu. The Janis ($9) is a crab-cake sandwich with tomato, arugula and a small overdose of pickled red onions. The crab cake was flavorful, although it could have used a little more seasoning; its slightly crunchy exterior and moist, flaky interior had perfect texture.
The vegetarian in our party was pleased with the Bohemian ($6.50), which features a spicy house-made glazed patty consisting of brown rice, oat bran, black beans, diced onions, parsley and jalapeños. The oat bran worked well as a binding agent for the burger, and the jalapeños and pepperjack cheese topping gave it a nice kick.
Instead of fries ($2.50), go for the $4 garlic-parm herb fries, an addictive starter that was enough for all four people at the table and was possibly our favorite thing at LSA. The Southern-style coleslaw ($2.50) also earned raves; it featured thick, crunchy pieces of Napa cabbage and wasn’t drowning in dressing.
We also tried the Miss Tucker cocktail ($7) — essentially a mojito that was a bit heavy-handed on the mint — and the Blind Lemon ($7), sweet tea with a vodka punch. The price was right on the cocktails, but next time we’ll steer toward the beer menu, which features more than a half-dozen Texas-made craft beers.
The rooftop bar features live music Thursday through Saturday, but even on quieter nights, it’s worth a detour up there for the marvelous view of the Denton County Courthouse. LSA has only been open two months, and it’s just getting rolling.
Co-owner Pearson says they’ll be adding to the walls, too — even with all the music paraphernalia, they hear from customers about musicians that they missed. Denton is, after all, a music town. When you pass over someone’s favorite artist, they’re going to give you some attitude back.
LSA BURGER CO.
113 W. Hickory St., Denton
Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday