(5) Pop's Burgers & Grill, 4400 U.S. 377 S., Fort Worth vs. (4) Red Robin, 820 North East Mall Blvd., Hurst
Generally, the script goes something like this: Chain cranks out subpar product, while mom-and-pop joint delivers mouthwatering quality at eye-popping prices. Yet Red Robin missed the memo: This casual chain eatery, with six locations in North Texas, delivered a burger that very nearly outclassed one of Fort Worth's best. The Red Robin gourmet cheeseburger is a half-pound of meat, topped classically with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and mayo and cheese. Our burger was cooked to medium-well perfection, slightly juicy and blending beautifully with the toppings. Pop's, tucked away in a strip mall a few miles off Camp Bowie Boulevard, is as far from a slick chain restaurant as you can get. But that doesn't mean it skimps on the burger goodness. The straightforward cheeseburger, which includes pickles, lettuce, tomato and your choice of mustard or mayo, is succulent, aided by a pliable bun that holds onto all that juice and grease. The decision was as close as could be, but Pop's sent us spinning back to childhood backyard cookouts - and finally emerged victorious.
The winner: Pop's