Early November 2011, Tomball, Texas - looking for a place to grab a late lunch and there it was: "Burger Fresh". The name was friendly enough and sounded appetizing. Soon enough the blinker was blinking followed by putting the transmission into park and I had arrived. That not-so-recent trip to sample one of the "Best Burgers by Texas Monthly" in Tomball was enough to keep me away from this burger joint and as well as any other Burger Fresh locations for quite some time... But that's another story.
Present Day - enough time has passed and we are in Conroe Texas. The Burger Fresh in town has been in business for at least three years now based on a single review by vivalarue1. Vivalure1 has only posted a single review and it was on this very store, "Restaurant needs a good cleaning." Well, apparently some things never change,
not really anyway. I'm not saying the place was filthy but had I not planned on eating at Burger Fresh today, I would have passed and gone somewhere else based on the exterior alone. The interior is an outdated, hodgepodge of tables and seating that you could likely find at your nearest auction house. Yes, Burger Fresh Conroe is one of those 'hole in the wall' type burger joints where the food is "supposed to be fantastic".
Proudly displayed throughout the store is the fact that Burger Fresh came in at #13 of 50 in 2009's "Best Burgers" by Texas Monthly. But 3 years later without another placing is a bit telling, don't you think? So on to the burgers...
Curious to know what the fuss was about, and because it was the day's special, I ordered "The Award Burger," a 1/2 pound certified Angus beef burger on their famous jalapeño bun, with pepper-jack cheese, grilled onions, grilled peppers, bacon and avocado served with bottomless tots, fries or onion rings - I opted for the onion rings ($11.72). The jalapeño bun in a word, was perfect. Soft and fresh with just the right amount of jalapeño flavor - a bun I would like to have again and again on a variety of burgers. The Angus beef tasted like it was cooked by someone who knows their way around a grill, coming out moist and tender. The remaining toppings were decent enough but were no longer cold - I know that they had to be cold at some recent point in time, but the crispness and snap just wasn't there. The guacamole was in a lump, so I only enjoyed the full flavor for just a few bites which was disappointing.
I was only served three onion rings, but they were large - with one of them being rather huge; similar to what I remember getting years ago at a local burger joint. Not only were they super size, they had a great flavor and excellent beer-battering. I could have had more but honestly, just eating those satisfied my hunger better than a huge pile of smaller (and frequently greasy ones) you might get elsewhere. As you can see in the picture these onion rings were fried up to exacting standards, and I'm not exaggerating on the size.
I love me a good burger, but I try to eat them in moderation. To that end, "The Bag" sounded perfect to me, as it was described as a junior burger, fries, and a drink. And yes, it is served up in a bag ($6.00). I also wanted to stick with the authentic Burger Fresh experience, so I tried not to modify it at all, opting only to leave the onions off of mine. I hate onions on a burger.
I had mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, Everything was fresh; the fries were hot on arrival, the bun soft and tender, the veggies in decent shape (though unfortunately the slice of tomato I had was a little under-ripe). I know the guy manning the counter and grill made it all fresh, because we watched him do it. And yet the patty itself, at least in my burger, was bland and lifeless, like it was a frozen, pre-formed patty with no recognizable seasonings. I think maybe the only way to give this one a fair shake would be to go back and order a different burger; perhaps a larger one as his burger didn't have that same flavor (or lack thereof) that mine did.
Since we've had reason to go up to Conroe once a week now, we thought you'd like to know if you're missing anything just outside The Woodlands - in this case it's a 50/50 shot. But since we do have to head that way at least once a week for the foreseeable future, Burger Fresh will probably stay on our list of places worth stopping in at while we're there.
Think we got it wrong? Or did we hit the nail on the head? Let us know in the comments below. And remember, you don't have to take our word for it - give them a try for yourself and decide! Burger Fresh is located at 804 Gladstell Road, Conroe 77304 - 936 756-4414
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