Restaurants / Closings

Controversial Burger Joint Closes After Less Than Two Years in The Heights

Irreverent Restaurant With High-Profile Owner Never Caught On

BY // 04.04.19

It looks like a particularly peculiarly named burger joint in The Heights has dropped the ball. The irreverent Balls Out Burger at 1603 Durham has shuttered after less than two years.

Call the name what you want to — tongue-in-cheek, indecent — but it’s over now. Mostly. The Balls Out Burger truck will continue to roam Houston roads from Uptown to Downtown and many spots in between.

When the restaurant first opened back in June of 2017, its moniker was a real head turner. That head was often accompanied by a frown or a grimace.

Some critics took to twitter, like @saracress who posted “I reject the burger place called Balls Out opening in my neighborhood. Get on Washington Ave with that trash,” or @samawesome, who tweeted “Ugh me too. Did they let a 13 year old boy name it?”

Still, things aren’t all that grim for owner Ian Tucker, the mastermind behind Poitin, the popular Sawyer Yards restaurant with the prodigious patio.

It seems that while foodies flock to Poitin, they didn’t do much in the way of patronizing Balls Out Burger.

“The restaurant business is mysterious and fickle, plain and simple, and I can only theorize as to why we didn’t draw the consistent crowds needed for long-time survival, including the fact that we were a bit of a pioneer in that particular section of The Heights,” Tucker notes in a statement.

The Irishman turned Houstonian didn’t exactly make hearty Texas burgers — except for sourcing his beef from locovore favorite 44 Farms.

It was a decidedly New York-style eats operation, patties formed into unassuming, no-frills burgers.

Think diner-style patties topped with the most basic of ingredients, like cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes and onions. That’s it.

That means nothing too fancy — nothing exotic like a bean-based veggie patty — or even closer to home, but a definite extra, like bacon.

It’s quite the departure from Houston’s proven burger styles heavy on the out-there toppings, such as Bernie’s Burger Bus with its sun-dried tomato guacamole and slow-roasted tomatoes.

Balls Out Burger was thrown a curveball, and now it’s out.

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