Ketchup region results below. Click Pickle, Bacon and Mustard for those Round 2 results in the judges' bracket.
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Tommys vs. Chop House
(4) Tommys, 5228 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth vs. (1) Chop House Burgers , 1700 W. Park Row Drive, Arlington
Tommys Junkyard Burger has a whole lot going on. Two kinds of cheese, bacon, jalapeños, grilled mushrooms, and the usual lettuce, tomato, etc. The mushrooms, sliced extra thick but patiently grilled through, added a nice hit of flavor. As befits its name, the Junkyard was messy to eat (the tomato slice shot out like a red missile when we squeezed down to get a grip on it). Our only beef with this burger was that wed requested the patty be cooked medium rare and it came to us cooked medium well. A good burger, we thought, till Chop House turned our head, with its namesake sandwich. The thick patty, a combination of ground beef and brisket, was cooked so it had a nice char on the outside but remained juicy on the inside. The seasoning and flavor of the beef eclipsed Tommys. Applewood bacon, layered on generously, a smoky cheddar and housemade steak sauce gave the Chop House burger a deep, romantic nuance, intensely burger-ish yet somehow different. Butter had apparently just been waved over the toasted bun, but the dryish bun was a small quibble with this smoky delight. Victory lap for Chop House.
Winner: Chop House
Goodfriend vs. Maple & Motor
(6) Goodfriend, 1154 Peavy Road, Dallas vs. (2) Maple & Motor, 4810 Maple Ave., Dallas
Dolly Parton famously said, It costs a lot of money to look this cheap. That one-liner was floating around in our heads as we traveled to these two bastions of burgerdom, each with a studiously lo-fi vibe. Goodfriend, tucked away in East Dallas, is a neighborhood joint with a chef-driven soul. Its burgers, topped with all manner of exotic extras (onion-bacon jam; fried pickles and house-made harissa), cruised to victory in the first round. On this return visit, it didnt disappoint. We tore into the Loretta, a patty topped with pungent blue cheese and the aforementioned onion-bacon jam. The slight sweetness of the onion-bacon jam was cut by the stout cheese, but our focus, as always, is on the meat. Our burger, cooked to medium, had a nice pink center, pleasantly crispy edges, and a savory juiciness that never compromised the toasted buns. Across town, at Maple & Motor (with its motto of a grease-stained tribute to low class cool), we were greeted with a very solid bacon cheeseburger, which looked like a small mountain in the basket, as it was piled high with lettuce, tomato and onion (we held the pickle). For grins, we added grilled jalapeños, which made our first few bites lip-scorchingly hot. Once the heat subsided, we were able to discern the pattys great beefy flavor cooked to a medium well which was augmented by the melted cheddar cheese. The butter-kissed bun held up well, although the bottom half almost didnt make it to the finish line. Both Goodfriend and Maple & Motor offered up respectable burgers, but Goodfriends beef was slightly more flavorful (and its buns more sturdy), giving the East Dallas eatery a win, by a french fry-thin margin.