For all of my wholesome weeknight cooking, I can never turn down a good burger. It has to have the perfect ratio of hamburger patty and melted cheese to the bun. Of course, I eat burgers with toppings (I'm no heathen) but if those three things are wrong, there's no saving your burger with however many layers of lettuce and mustard. The final thing I'm looking for is consistency. To be a good burger, it has to be good every single time I order it.
How many good burgers fill that gap for you? If you think about it, there probably aren't that many because even fast food restaurants like the beloved Whataburger experience a lack of consistency. So about the best burger I've had in Texas so far. Welcome to Dan's Hamburgers.
Dan Junk founded Dan's Hamburgers in January 1973 with his wife Frances by his side. The first location was on South Congress. In the years that followed, Dan's would grow its menu from burgers to breakfast and gain a loyal following of regular customers.
Now, Dan's has four locations in the Austin metropolitan area and I haven't had a bad burger at any of the locations. Remember when we talked about consistency? John Junk, son of founder Dan, told Eater Austin in 2013 that the Junk family secret is "consistency and quality."
What makes Dan's burgers so good?
The menu at Dan's really hasn't changed since 1973. Sure, they added biscuits and a breakfast menu, but as for their burgers, everything has remained the same. A Dan's hamburger is served with mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and onions. You can (and should) add Hickory Sauce to any burger.
Every Certified Angus beef patty is made to order and seasoned with seasoning salt; it's the first burger I've ever craved based on the taste of the meat alone. And as John told Eater Austin, it's all so fresh. "The meat comes in; they grind it three days out of the week for us."
Grilled the old-fashioned way, Dan's uses a coconut oil in place of butter because it makes the buns taste better when toasted. And it's true, the inside edge of a Dan's bun is so good, it melts in your mouth. The cheese is Kraft, and the mustard is French's. Dan's kicks it old-school with Heinz ketchup. The French fries are cut in the diner that day. Maybe that's why Dan's tastes so delicious overall, because they make it with ingredients you use at home.
Besides burgers, what does Dan's do best?
The burgers are damn fine, but there's so much more this menu than those coveted curly fries and a Double Meat Cheeseburger. The hamburger steak dinner is a winner, and the refried beans have such flavor, it's kind of wild you didn't make them yourself.
The homemade onion rings are incredible and usually, I don't find onion rings worth ordering. This diner fries up the perfect ratio of batter to onion ring and every bite is sweet and tangy, just as it should be. It's the kind of onion ring that makes you never want to try cooking them at home because yours will never taste as good as Dan's. Or mine won't, anyways.
The chicken-fried steak sandwich, the chicken-fried steak dinner with Texas gravy, the breakfast tacos, and the hot biscuits are Dan's staples. The grilled cheese sandwich is tasty, served on Texas toast and buttered like a burger bun.
If you're ordering breakfast at Dan's, you must get half order biscuits, no matter what. The homemade biscuits are worth the breakfast trip to Dan's any day of the year. Huevos rancheros with homemade ranchero sauce is another beloved Austin favorite. Top it all off with an iced tea or a cool Coca-Cola.
My Dan's Order
What do I regularly order at Dan's? Well, here it goes. A medium Cheeseburger without fresh sliced tomatoes but Dan's way otherwise, a large Homemade Onion Rings, and a medium Strawberry Milkshake.