Arlington is undergoing a burger renaissance, with Chop House Burgers, Grease Monkey and Dallas-based import Twisted Root Burger Co. all making an impact the past couple of years. The latest arrival, Jimmy's Jungle Burger, is a modest, somewhat out-of-the-way place that lets its burgers do the talking.
Jimmy's is on South Collins Street just south of Mayfield Road, in a strip center that's easy to drive by -- even if Jimmy's is your destination. During two lunchtime visits, it wasn't very crowded. But Jimmy's deserves more attention; its burgers are good.
And the place has a lot of options: more than a dozen burgers, including ones with turkey or veggie patties. It's a good idea to study the menu on the website before you visit; the chalkboard menu is crowded with choices but doesn't have any descriptions.
The specialty is the Jungle Burger ($6.45 for a 6-ounce patty), a mouthwatering mess with American and Swiss cheese, sauteed onions, mushrooms, jalapeños, bell peppers, mayo, ketchup, hickory sauce, mustard, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and pickles. Inevitably, some of the milder flavors (such as the mushrooms) got lost in the jungle, but the bun was perfectly toasted, the patty juicy and the cheese blend delectably gooey. The hickory sauce provided a nice smoky flavor, and the jalapeños gave it a kick. The burger is also available in a 9-ounce version (and a special-order 1.5-pound version), but the 6-ounce will be plenty for most people.
More offbeat was the Hawaiian cheeseburger ($6.45), a patty topped with two pineapple slices as well as ham, Swiss cheese, veggies and mayo. The patty was a little dry, but the cheese, ham and pineapples made up for that, and the sweet and salty flavors worked well together.
The menu includes several catfish and chicken sandwiches, including a chicken-fried-chicken sandwich ($5.99). The patty was decent, with a crispy crust and tender meat, but compared with the burgers, the sandwich was a little forgettable.
Sides were also less impressive than the burgers. Seasoned fries ($2.45) had nice texture and flavor, but were light on, well, seasoning. "Texas toothpicks" ($6.75) -- fried onion and jalapeño -- were crunchy and pleasingly salty, but lacked the kick we were hoping for. The chili on the chili-cheese fries ($4.95) reminded us of ballpark hot dog chili but got a boost from chunks of hamburger patty; the fries could have used more cheese, but they were still the only side we finished.
Service at this order-at-the-counter place was quick and friendly on both visits, and employees steadily checked on us in the dining area without being intrusive.
For now, Jimmy's (which is BYOB, beer only) feels like an underdog, even with mostly positive social-media buzz. It's a little off the beaten path, but for burger junkies, Jimmy's is worth an expedition.
Robert Philpot, 817-390-7872