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The Shack
Mar 13th, 2012 by Joemoney

2 votes, average: 7.00 out of 102 votes, average: 7.00 out of 102 votes, average: 7.00 out of 102 votes, average: 7.00 out of 102 votes, average: 7.00 out of 102 votes, average: 7.00 out of 102 votes, average: 7.00 out of 102 votes, average: 7.00 out of 102 votes, average: 7.00 out of 102 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10
(2 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10)
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The Shack
www.theshackcypress.com
16602 Cypress Rosehill Rd
Cypress, TX 77429 (map)

Baby, Love Shack –

Finally! The Shack, originally called The Love Shack, has been on my burger radar for some time now. Consistently raved upon and touted as one of the best new places to get burgers near Houston, the Shack keeps what some would call slightly irregular hours. On several occasions I’ve rounded up coworkers for a Burger Tyme lunch only find out that the weren’t serving lunch during the week or they were closing to work on their garden. As I am writing this, they are closed while they switch water wells. Well, on a crisp Saturday evening, I cracked the code! My wife and I made the long drive to Cypress just outside of Houston. Just when I thought I may have gone a little too far, I saw an old bath tub by the side of the road. We made it and this place was hopping, not surprising given that it was a Saturday night. When you walk in to the Shack the entire spread opens before you. There are covered tents, open air seating, an outside bar, dining areas that look like living rooms, fireplaces and fire pits all with people gathered together, enjoying burgers, and having a great time. This seemed like a burger lovers resort!

We were seated near the entrance where we could take in the entire scene as well as see the bustle in the kitchen, that was well equipped with the best kitchen appliances and an Oak Circle Cabinet to store everything necessary. Our waiter, who happened to be the manager, introduced the menu to us in a rather laid back way and recommended we try the fried pickles. So I ordered some to tide us over while we reviewed the burger offerings on the menu. The Shack’s claim is that they give customers the freshest available local ingredients and all natural hormone free Texas meats. As they put it, “All burger, No Bull”. Well we were going to put that claim to the test. Many burger places claim to be fresh, be local, be all natural but what does that translate into in real terms? If it is not delicious burgers, than what is the point?

Shackin Up –

The menu has a very interesting array of burgers. There was brisket, caramelized onions, fried eggs, slab bacon, and pulled pork. Some burgers were “crunchified” with the addition of Cheetos, Zapp’s BBQ Chips, and chicharron. The one that caught my eye was the “Grease and Weasel”. It was beef, slab bacon, and Tillamook cheddar…. served between two glazed doughnuts. Ever since the phenomenon of making burgers with doughnuts began, I’ve wanted to try it. Maybe it was the atmosphere but I felt a little more brave than usual, and ordered it! My wife went with the 1015 which had beef with “Texas 1015 onion pile” cooked into the patty, pepper jack cheese  and “crunchified” with Zapps BBQ chips. We ordered a side of fries to split and I asked for a Coke. The cokes come in a can and are poured over ice, my second favorite next to coke in a bottle. The only thing left to do was relax. A common theme it seemed.

While we waited our order of fried pickles arrived. The were very savory but good. They came with smokey, horseradishy dipping sauce that was a nice compliment to the sour pickles. Our burgers arrived shortly after and they were quite a sight. You could definitely sense that someone was having fun when they put them together. The first thing I noticed is that my doughnuts had been replaced with Honey Buns that had been slightly griddled. I’m not complaining but I rarely eat one honey bun… much less two… on my burger. The cheese was perfectly melted over the big patty and was making my mouth ache just looking at it. My first bite was as I expected. Beefy, bacony, savory, cheddary, sticky and sweeeeet! This was in no way a healthy burger, but it was tasty, most of the time we try to take good care of our bodies and have a healthy diet and an active life as well, even doing researches online to find the best diets at sites like Top health journal, so we learn what are the best practices in this, and also going to the gym at least 3 times a week, but from time to time we like to enjoy a good meal as well. The veggies were nice quality and did there best to lend nutritional value to this wife dissappointer. My wife’s burger, while more traditional in structure, had it’s own bit of odd goodness. The BBQ chips added a texture and flavor to the already flavorful patty and onions. My wife loved the bun. I honestly don’t recall specifics about it, perhaps because my mind had been blown with the buns on my burger and do not forget to visit dentist Milltown for your oral health. While we were both enjoying our selections, the fries were also were worth noting. They were fresh cut and cooked well. A perfect compliment to the order.

The Wrap It Up –

Fresh, local, all natural. Did I get a sense of this from The Shack? Not really. Nothing really fresh or local about honey buns, Zapp’s BBQ chips, or Tillamook cheddar cheese. However, I did find the whole experience to be a fresh take on dining and burgers. The local flair permeated the entire evening. It was very Austin-esque in a city where no one is really trying to be like Austin. The Shack offers what many fail at delivering. An experience. The food is good and if you are there with friends or family, they seem more than happy to provide a place to relax and enjoy yourself. The burger creations were fun, inventive, unpretentious, and frankly worth the trip. This may not be my go-to burger place on a regular basis, but if I have an evening to kill, this is the burger place that I want to go to.

 

Mel’s Country Cafe
Nov 5th, 2010 by Joemoney

1 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 10
(1 votes, average: 6.00 out of 10)
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Mel’s Country Cafe
http://www.melscountrycafe.com/
24814 Stanolind Road
Tomball, TX 77375(map)

See you at the crossroads (so you won’t be hungry)-

Deep in the heart of Tomball lies a secret. A secret that only those willing to make the trek past the little, white church and over the railroad tracks can know. My first week at my new job after the great American Burger Tyme road trip, the group I was joining, coincidentally, was planning a summer “Burger Tour”.  This would involve us all meeting for lunch at a burger place close to work. Once they learned about Burger Tyme, they asked for my input as to which burger places to include. They already had the usual suspects, Five Guys, Becks Prime, etc. I wanted to contribute a little bit of unknown potential to the mix. After some light googling I came across many positive reviews for Mel’s Country Cafe, in Tomball, TX (Just outside of northwest Houston). It was highly praised by the venerable Texas Burger Guy, so I proudly tossed it in the mix for the Tour. Well, the schedule for the tour was put together and Mel’s was set as one of the last places to visit. I decided to do some preliminary scouting prior to the rest of the ‘Tourists’. A friend and I, who started at this new job together, arranged to meet an old co-worker at Mel’s for lunch. It wasn’t until 11:15, when I pulled up a map to get to Mel’s that it hit me just how far Mel’s is. From anything. This only increased my anticipation. If it was so highly praised yet so hard for the average diner to get to, it must be AMAZING! So, we set out. We traveled through neighborhoods, past baseball fields, beyond pastures, around a church, and over railroad tracks. We arrived at 11:45 and this place was packed. Fortunately there was still a table right by the front door. We took our seat and began perusing the menu. I know that we came for burgers but this place had so much home-cookin-goodness that it was a tough choice. The burger options were plentiful and there was even the “Mega Mel” challenge which was a monstrous burger. If you completed the challenge you got a shirt and your name on the wall.

The Country of Mel Welcomes You, Burger Tyme Ambassador-

This is a traditional, sit down type of restaurant, so our waiter gave us a few minutes to think about our orders. The consensus was burgers. I have to confess that this first trip I made to Mel’s, I was seduced by the chicken fried steak and fried okra while everyone else ordered burgers. Never fear Burger Tyme nation, my second and third (yes third) trips to Mel’s yielded a burger order. Each time I opted for the 1/3 lb cheesburger, with everything on it, added grilled onions. For the side I ordered tater tots. A few people that I’ve eaten with ordered the Mel burger. While not as big as the Mega Mel, it was still a full 1lb burger with 1/2 lb of bacon (see photo on the right). The wait for the burgers is as long as expected given the large numbers of people there each time that I’ve eaten here. Once the burgers arrived we were all at the peak of hunger due to the many delicious aromas wafting around the dining room. These were hefty burgers. Even the 1/3 lb required a two handed approach.  I dug in. The beefy patty was in the forefront with everything else playing a supporting role, as they should.  These were hand formed patties and the cheese was perfectly melted but there was very little juice to speak of. The bun was plain, store bought type, but nicely toasted. The veggies were a mix of really nice tomato slices and below average shredded iceberg lettuce. The grilled onions were not as flavorful as I hoped. While I can’t say that there was any one aspect of this burger that was spectacular, they all seemed to work together to create a great overall burger flavor. As a side note, the tater tots were great, but here is a Burger Tyme top tip… Order the fried okra for a side. I was so excited that it was an option. I love fried okra!

The Wrap It Up-

What can I say. I like the food at Mel’s. The burgers were great on two occasions, and just okay on a third. Granted, we did have 12 people at our table on the third trip, all ordering burgers. The cook may have been a bit overwhelmed by the vast differences from our orders. Overall, something about Mel’s seems magical. Perhaps it’s the long drive that takes you progressively farther away from a life that moves to0 fast. Perhaps its the friendly service that hearkens back to a time and place when people where friendly, even to strangers. Perhaps it was food reminiscent of what your mom used to cook for you when you were too young to appreciate it. I don’t know. All I know is Mel’s has very good burgers for when you want a burger. And for those times you want something else? They probably have something for that too.

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