Culture / Restaurants

Who’s Your Doddy?

An Honest Look at Houston’s Most Hyped New Burger Restaurant

BY // 06.30.16

The first thing you notice is the line. It snakes around the side of the building in River Oaks District, 45 or so individuals sporting eager countenances, some browsing on their phones, others chatting with companions. You’d be forgiven for thinking they were queuing for the latest Tom Ford or Cartier creation — but you’d be wrong.

These eager souls are braving the heat and humidity for a hamburger from Hopdoddy, Houston’s most recent Austin-based culinary import. A perennial fixture on national “best burger” lists, the chain (15 locations distributed among Texas, Arizona, Colorado, and California) prides itself on using beef from humanely raised cows (the “doddy,” a term for a cow or bull devoid of horns) and offering beers and wines that are local to each of its restaurants (the “Hop”).

Once inside, orders are placed at the counter or take a seat at the full-service bar (wines, spirits and the aforementioned beer, including Karbach and Saint Arnold).

It’s an inviting space, with high ceilings, abundant natural light shining through the large windows. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more welcoming place in which to enjoy a burger and a drink. We liked the Doble Fina Margarita and the $3 cans of Deep Ellum Rye Pils.

Though we wished the patties of our Primetime burgers had a touch more flavor, a follow-up visit and a Classic Burger, with its fine salt-and-pepper char, filled the proper-seasoning bill. Of course, Hopdoddy also serves salads and fries; the Hail Caesar (fried chickpeas!) is a good pick, as are the Kennebec frites.

The lines will probably lessen in the next few weeks, and Hopdoddy will have the burger buzz all to itself — at least until Shake Shack opens in the Galleria later this year.

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