N32°48’54.7” W 96°49′ 37.397”
We were the first to arrive on a Saturday morning. At 10.55am, there were no other customers except us. This is Albert’s favorite burger joint, and I’m going to see just how good the place is. You can read on the internet about history of the place, and here’s the quick version – Maple and Motor was named after the streets this place is located at and is owned by a local teacher turned restaurant owner (Jack) who also have other restaurants around the Dallas area. The place is kind of cozy and I can see it being packed most of the time. The walls are full of memorabilia and many of them are either pictures of Jack with celebrities or awards won by him. Even Guy Fieri left a mark on one of the walls.
Orders are taken at the front counter before you proceed to find yourself a table. However, you neither clean up after yourself nor have to go get your order – It’s kind of a partial service. Since it was that early, our cashier happened to be who I think is the shift manager. She was happy to explain the two menus to me (they have the standards and the specials) while I pondered over which was a better choice. I opted to a similar burger that Albert got – American cheese burger with lettuce, pickle, grilled onion and mayo. Moreove, cheese tator tots with bacon and jalapenos on the side. They have a wide selection of beers but I got sweet tea. I’m allowed to because this is Texas.
Seeing that I was taking photos and that I wasn’t sure what to order, our cashier walked over and chatted with us while waiting for our orders. This is the second time in Dallas that someone initiated to talk to me, which reminded me of the saying that people are warmer in the South, and I hadn’t even been in town for more than 12 hours. All we were talking about were some of the caps that were hanging on the ceiling, some of which are from prominent people and one from a fellow marathon runner who wore the “Maple & Motor” caps throughout her races.
Our orders arrived as a bunch of high schoolers came into the store. After that silence was broken, the line continue to extend and never ceased even as we left the place later. This place is indeed popular with the locals. To the main event – my burger looked flawless. A smooth-looking toasted bun with mayo spread filled underneath with fried onions, melted cheese, a slice of tomato, shredded lettuce (this is kind of rare) and a “pink centered” half pound beef patty. You get two choices when it comes to doneness – either well done or pink in the middle, which makes life easy for everybody except for those hardcore raw meat eater.
The rude awakening was still the patty. I found out later that the patty press hard with an iron on the grill, which resulted in a very crispy and crunchy crust which made this burger very unique. I had heard of this style of cooking, which the same technique was used in brick chicken. The soft squishy bun and everything else just melt away as I land a bite, allowing the patty to shine with its special texture. Who needs either special sauces or crazy chocolate coated bacon? In fact, who needs bacon when you can substitute that crunch with such a patty? It also helped that the burger is still juicy in the inside, and that the cooking technique probably locked in even more moisture when the patty was cooked. This is more than just a fine burger – this is the definition of marvelous. I’m beginning to be jealous of my friend who eats here often.
The tater totes became an afterthought. I don’t know how fresh these potatoes are but they taste unprocessed and made in-house. I would had preferred the usual version of chopped up jalapenos sprinkled with melted cheese all over the tater totes because most of the cheese were stuck to the aluminum foil and the tater totes are no different from the plain version.
Overall, the tater totes are okay, but come here for the burger. If you have room in the stomach, get two burgers. Maple and Motor serves world-class burgers and Dallas is very fortunate to have them to call their own. You might have a harder time enjoying the great service if the place is busy, but we had a blast here. To all burger fans out there, remember to put this on your to eat list.
Visited: May 30th 2015, Lunch-ish (1045am)
Address: 4810 Maple Ave, Dallas TX 75219.