(4) Johnny B's Burgers, 2704 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake vs. (1) Fred's Texas Cafe, 915 Currie St., Fort Worth
Oh Johnny B's, what can we say? Sometimes it comes down to the (bad) luck of the draw. Your signature Dragonburger was a glorious mess: Three nicely juicy thin patties, topped with lusciously gooey cheese, fresh jalapeños and healthy smear of smoky-spicy beef chili. We didn't even care that the bun instantly fell apart. This was a burger with energy and spirit, and instead of overwhelming the other components, the chili proved their perfect complement. We would have preferred a bit more heat - this Dragon is more mild-medium than fiery hot -- but we left your Southlake establishment convinced an upset was in the making. Until, that is, we arrived at Fred's, the defending Battle of the Burgers champion, and with just one single bite, the underdog went down. Figuring that we are overly partial to Fred's own fiery concoction, the Diablo burger, we instead tried the Bacon Mushroom burger. Ah, those sliced portabella mushrooms, perfectly smoky and buttery; the grilled onions, caramelized to sweet perfection; the bacon, salty and not too crunchy; the thick slice of Swiss, creamy and elegant; and, of course, the 1/2-pound patty, impossibly juicy and flavorful. All of it came together with such flavorful force -- a champion always makes things look so easy. Lesser burgers survive in this bracket, Johnny B's. No, it's not fair. But in the Battle of the Burgers, that's the way the bacon crumbles.
The winner: Fred's Texas Cafe