Although the original Love Shack burger joint in the Stockyards is closer to my house, I was pretty much a regular customer at the Love Shack at So7, and I've missed it since Tim Love closed it in May. Parking was easier, the patio more comfortable. And the burgers were good.
That's a matter of taste, of course, but for my tastes, the Dirty Love Burger -- a cheeseburger with bacon, a fried quail egg and "Love Sauce" along with lettuce, tomato and pickle -- was a winner in a town filled with winning burgers. The ingredients combine well, the patty has an unusual flavor (the taste vaguely reminds me of coffee, which I mean as a compliment), and I like that you can order it in single- or double-patty versions. The single is enough for me, substantive without being overfilling. My wife, a vegetarian, has called the Boom Boom burger the best portobello-mushroom burger in town -- she likes the battered, fried mushroom patty not just for the crispiness the batter gives the portobello, but for how the batter keeps from slipping off the bun as it does on other portobello burgers.
So I'm happy to report that at Love's new Love Shack at the Oui on Bluebonnet Circle, the burgers were as good as they were at So7, as were the chile Parmesan chips that make up the rest of our standard order. But the atmosphere, which was part of the appeal of the So7 Love Shack, isn't the same.
I'd share some pictures but, well ... the place is dark. Love is known for his patios -- the outdoor space at Woodshed Smokehouse is one of the best in town, and the earlier Love Shacks had plenty of outdoor space -- but this space (the old Caro's) is almost all interior, with dark floors and dark walls that do get some bright spots from a few colorful paintings and, mostly, the wall TVs that make this new location (next to the Oui Lounge, in which Love is a partner) feel more sports bar than burger joint.
Which isn't necessarily a bad thing -- Love is trying to attract a TCU crowd, and we were there on Saturday, where purple shirts were filling the space hours before the TCU-Kansas State game started. But I miss the airiness of the So7 space, especially when the most light here comes from the windows that face out on Bluebonnet Circle. It's early yet, so Love could find ways to brighten things up some more. For now, it's a place to go for a good burger, a beer and TV sports. And if I want sunshine, there's always the Woodshed or the Love Shack Stockyards.
Love Shack at the Oui is currently open 4 p.m.-midnight Monday-Wednesday; 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday-Friday; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday, according to its Facebook page.