For for Thought: Country Burger

This past August, I moved into a house with some friends in the Great North, a new land, the frontier — Plano. It’s only about a 10 minute drive to campus, but we used to live 10 minutes SOUTH of campus, so most of the restaurants my boy and I got comfortable with are now at least 20 minutes away. Fortunately, there are plenty of new places in our neighborhood to try, and I know some of you readers live in Plano as well, or maybe just want to expand your knowledge of DFW eateries. Either way, this one’s for you.

Located on the corner of Parker and Independence, Country Burger is only a few minutes from my place. I’ve wanted to go since we moved in because the other burger place across the street, Scotty P’s, left us less than impressed. I have a somewhat high standard for burgers. One, because they’ve always been my go-to meal when all else fails. And two, because the cooks in my family make a good burger. If it isn’t as good as my mother’s, why am I paying $8 for it? And what’s more, ever since moving to Dallas, I compare everything to Steak ‘n Shake because I’m addicted to it — so if your $8+ burger isn’t at least as good as Steak ‘n Shake, I’m never coming back.

My first impression upon walking into Country Burger was that it smelled good. They have several burger options, including double burgers and things with jalapeños and bacon, but I always order a generic burger when I first try a place. On their window signs, Country Burger also boasts their chicken fried steak and other homestyle cooking. I’m not much of a chicken fried steak girl myself, but I was delighted to see that they have cheese fries, fried pickles, fried green beans, and sweet potato fries. Obviously, we ended up getting cheese fries (they come with homemade ranch) but I’d still like to try the fried pickles since it’s a family favorite. Unfortunately, the one order of cheese fries was a bit expensive in my opinion, but you do get a large portion perfect for sharing.

The guy at the counter took our order and wrote it on a brown paper bag. We also received the food in a big brown paper bag with the burgers wrapped up and labeled. Which is kind of a waste of paper, but it’s nice that you don’t have to go through the awkward motions of answering “for here or to go?” or have to ask for a to-go box later. This comes in handy especially if you don’t want to sit in the ugly wood paneling and listen to country music.

So the food it good. If you just want a good burger dangit — none of this weird, bougie, Plano, too-many-choices, smashed, dug-out, whatever crap — then Country Burger is what you want. Places like Mooyah, Twisted Root, or artisan burger bars are trying to gentrify burgers. That can be a good thing, but sometimes you just want a burger. You don’t want to look at a list of a million toppings and choose between a potato bun or a just a pile of lettuce (looking at you, Mooyah). I just ordered the regular cheeseburger (comes with mustard but I added mayo), and I was overall really impressed. First of all, it passed the first burger test: it was drippy. If a burger doesn’t make a mess — if you can eat it without like 4 napkins in your lap — then it’s not a good burger. That’s just the truth.

It looked just like a Whataburger burger, but it actually tasted good. Regular plain hamburger bun, chopped onions, tomato, lettuce, pickle, and actually flavorful, seasoned meat. The only thing I would change is the bun; I’d make it more buttery like Fuddruckers buns. (I had a Fuddruckers down the street growing up, sorry.)

Next, we come to the cheese fries. The fries themselves were good, and there was real melted cheese poured on top (not like nacho cheese sauce). They come with two big containers of ranch for sharing purposes. And while they aren’t as good Cafe Brazil’s loaded cheese fries, they’re better than Sonic’s cheesy tots or the cheese fries I had at Six Flags one time.

Overall, the place has comfort food and a homegrown feel, a beacon of comfort in the impersonal abyss that is Plano. The decor looks a bit like a Dairy Queen in a backwoods small Texas town, but even that’s kind of cozy for me. They aren’t trying too hard, and there are no surprises. If you like burgers and don’t want anything fancy, if you want a place to share a big snack with friends, or if your parents are coming to visit and refuse to go to your favorite sushi place, Country Burger is the place to be.