SandBurgs, which occupies a former Burger Box in Burleson, gets its name from a simple concept: It's part sandwich shop, part burger joint.
And SandBurgs has enough of a dual personality to justify the name.
The brainchild of Daniel Hill -- who had more than 15 years of experience working as a regional director for Saltgrass Steakhouse and worked for the Pappa's chain before that -- SandBurgs is fast-foody enough to have a drive-through, but its interior feels more like a diner. It serves breakfast all day, and the friendly staff and fast-casual ordering style (i.e., food is brought to your table rather than announcing it is ready on a public-address system) set it apart from chainy places.
And for a place that had been open less than a month, it seems to be running with unusual smoothness.
On our first visit, I dared to try the signature item, the "world-famous" SandBurg ($8); I didn't want to be left out, y'know? What came to the table was a large sandwich-burger hybrid: beef patty plus a slice of ham, a couple of slices of turkey, chicken-fried bacon and American and Swiss cheeses along with veggies and SandBurgs' "come back" sauce, all served on sweet sourdough bread.
This is a pretty nutty combo, but it worked: All the meats complemented one another without losing their own personalities and flavors, and the sourdough bun was soft and doughy and sweetly delicious. The veggies -- lettuce, tomato, onion -- were fresh and crisp, and the buns held up to all the mess. The "come back" sauce -- mayonnaise-based, with tomato, chili sauce and more than a dozen other ingredients -- was less of an inducement to come back than the meat and bun.
My dining companion went the more traditional route, with the "classic" burger: a half-pound of juicy beef that didn't overdo any of the condiments (ketchup-mustard-mayo), accompanied by red onions. He also had high praise for the sweet bun, which reminded us of the sweet-roll-style buns at Fort Worth's Dutch's Legendary Hamburgers. (Hill says he gets the buns from a Houston-based supplier and doesn't know whether Dutch's uses the same company). My companion also pointed out that the bottomless tea and soft-drink refills are a pretty good bargain at 99 cents for any size drink.
Onion rings ($4) were a hit, crisply breaded on the outside with a sweet but not too aggressive onion flavor inside. Fries ($4 for a large order) were the only miss on our first visit: inconsistently cooked, mushy and overly crispy fries shared the same space in the large basket.
On a second visit, I went for the "Sands" side of the menu, with a pretty straightforward grilled chicken ($6). The breast of chicken was perfectly cooked -- golden-brown outside, white and flaky without being too dry inside -- the veggies were once again crisp, the bread was soft and fresh (and more prone to falling apart this time).
For an extra dollar, you can upgrade to "specialty" fries: bacon-ranch, nacho, chili-cheese or, my choice, Buffalo style. This was a bit of a disappointment, too: a few squirts of a fairly bland Buffalo-wing sauce and crumbles of industrial-seeming blue cheese atop a small order of fries. But the fries were more evenly cooked this time: crisp on the outside without being so brittle that they lost the tenderness inside.
SandBurgs' busily designed menu also includes breakfast options such as burritos, omelets and melts, as well as a number of other side items and basic shakes and malts. The place is a bit of a drive for people who don't live in Johnson County or southern Tarrant, but it's worth a trip for the burger-curious.
Robert Philpot, (817) 390-7872