Jerry Built Homegrown Burgers opened with much fanfare in Bellaire. I remember each house on my street got a "free burger" coupon... and we were lucky to catch a few that lay atop recycling bins by week's end. So my first burger at Jerry Built was on them. And it was fair. Not bad, mind you, but it didn't blow my socks off. The atmosphere was good - a step between fast food and gourmet burger - an area on the burger spectrum ruled by Beck's Prime and Pappa's Burger. The buns were really good - notably provided by Houston's own Three Brother's Bakery. But the burgers... meh. Not one to be discouraged by one failed journey to Burger Nirvana, I was OK with giving them another try.
The weather gets cold in Houston for a short while and one of my favorite winter-burger treats is a chili cheeseburger. Preferably meaty chili (beans, are you kidding?), and sharp cheddar cheese. The best chili cheeseburger for me is at Barnaby's, where it's a total knife-and-fork experience. Lots of chili, white onions, and shredded cheddar. (Oh, and their fries rule, but that's another post!) I decided to try Jerry Built's version to see how it stacked up.
I feel a bad posting a non-flattering review. I don't mean to speak poorly of a burger establishment, I really don't. So instead I'll simply post suggestions for Jerry Built in the hopes that they somehow, at some point, read this.
1) Make the burger bigger. Is it a quarter pound? It tastes less than a third, which is really the bare minimum in this market. I'm not saying every burger has to be half a pound, but don't skimp.
2) The buns are still great. Three Brothers is your savior here, so stick with 'em. And the fries aren't bad either.
3) The whole package is still relatively unremarkable. My burger was light on chili (even with an extra cup for $1), and the chili flavor was a little weak. There's something... off about the burger - the flavors didn't meld properly or something. This is the same thing I thought after my first visit that I just couldn't put my finger on.
4) Last but not least, the chicken patty burger is just awful. Please please please take it off the menu or just serve a chicken breast sandwich like everybody else.
To this day my higher hopes for Jerry Built remain. The burgers are really not bad, but that's not enough to earn repeat business in this crowded Houston Burger Town. Even with the strange hand-washing machine that's a notable plus for this mildly OCD reviewer. :-)
Cheers to Eating More Burgers!