Our burger blogging crew hit up this south-side staple back in late October, but due to my procrastination I'm just getting the post up now. Am I sorry? No- good things come to those who wait.
Everyone we talked to about TJ's raved about it, and it seems to be the consensus king of south San Antonio burger joints. With expectations high, we ventured out to see for ourselves.
TJ's physical structure is very...unassuming, to put it mildly. I'm a transplant and not up on south-side history, but it looks to me that TJ's, or its predecessor, may have been a drive in at some point. At the very least, it can now boast that it offers its patrons semi-covered parking in case one of those rare hail storms ever rolls in.
Upon entering TJ's one will find a pretty standard menu, with burger options ranging from the $1.45 Junior Burger to the $5.17 triple meat. That's about as creative as the menu gets- you sure as heck won't find a lamb or caprese burger at this joint. TJ himself was working during our visit, and it is always nice to see an owner take pride in his product.
Burger: 8 out of 10
TJ's burger came out piping hot. I know the phrase "piping hot" is used in food reviews as much as "unbelievable" is thrown around a Monday Night Football broadcast, but in this case, the burgers were literally steaming when we unwrapped them. TJ's patties are clearly hand-formed and perfectly seasoned. Here's what some of my fellow bloggers had to say:
Hamburglar: "A piping hot burger, complimented by just the right amount of seasoning and grease on the bun. Delicious."
Fry Daddy: "The deliciousness of this hot and juicy monster of a burger caught me by surprise...I would have preferred a large single patty to the two quarter-pound patties on my double meat burger, but overall my hat goes off to this unassuming little burger joint for creating a fine piece of burger craftsmanship."
That's a picture of the less formidable quarter pounder. As you can tell from the pictures, the buttery sheen of the burgers had all of our mouths watering, and TJ did not disappoint.
Sides: 6 out of 10
The sides were somewhat forgettable. The lack of more side options didn't sit well with some of our bloggers. Here are our collective thoughts:
Fry Daddy: "I found the thickly breaded, dark brown onion rings quite tasty. The thin fries were good but fairly ordinary."
Hamburglar: "The rings were pretty good, but ordinary fries and a lack of tater-tots on the menu brings this rating down."
Burger Boy: "Nothing special here, come for the burger."
If memory serves me correctly, I ordered a vanilla shake and was pretty satisfied with the result. Burger Boy hits the nail on the head with his take on TJ's sides.
Ambiance: 5 out of 10
Ah, the WOAI Kitchen Cop Blue Plate Award. I don't know about you, but when I see one of these I generally feel pretty good about the establishment I am about to eat in. TJ's allegedly won this prestigious award in July 2007.
The blue plate's reassurance was quickly dashed, however, once a swarm of flies descended on our table. The good news is that the flies were only around while we were waiting for our food. They somewhat nonsensically disappeared once our burgers arrived. Maybe the steam from the patties drove them off. Whatever the case, if you are bothered by little winged creatures you should consider getting your burger to go.
While annoying, I personally will not let a few flies stop me from snagging a TJ's double meat burger if I happen to be in that part of town. This south-side staple has withstood the test of time, and should definitely be a stop for any serious burger lover.
Happy New Year from all of us at the San Antonio Burger Blog!