In an area with Five Guys, Kincaid’s and Snuffer’s within a short drive of one another, Johnny B’s has staked its claim as the hometown burger joint, with Southlake Carroll memorabilia among the wall decorations. Johnny B’s also honors the high school with its Dragonburger, a name that also refers to the jalapeño/chili-with-an-i topping on the triple-decker cheeseburger. An architectural marvel in presentation, it toppled into a forkburger on first bite after the patties proved to be too much for the sourdough bun. But that first bite revealed that the trio of thin patties and the cheese stood out, thanks in part to a delicate hand with the chili and the jalapeños, which provided spice without turning this into a fire-breather. Among the other ingredients — lettuce, tomato, onion and Thousand Island sauce — only the julienned raw onions didn’t get lost.
But the patties’ beefy flavor was enough to give Johnny B’s the edge over Pappas’ peppercorn ranch burger, which was greasy and showed pink even though the menu says its burgers are prepared medium well. Except for the peppercorns, which provided a hint of heat, everything about this burger — the ranch dressing, the steak sauce, the onion-ring topping — tasted less impressive than it looked. The menu says this burger comes with pepper-jack cheese. But we couldn’t find it. And we couldn’t believe that Pappas, once a Final Four competitor, was slain this easily by the Dragonburger.
Winner: Johnny B’s