Home-Style Burgers at Chapps Cafe

18 Oct

If you find yourself sitting at Mooyah wondering why someone halved your hamburger patty into two thinner patties and stuck a slice of cheese in between, you’re probably the kind of person that prefers a home-style burger, like the ones at Chapps Cafe.  Chapps Hamburger Cafe is a local chain that got its start in Arlington in 1984.  The chain has grown to nine locations in the DFW area, but the growth has been primarily westward.  I visited the Arkansas Lane location of Chapps Cafe in Arlington for a Saturday lunch.

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The strip mall location is typical of the Chapps Cafe chain.  At 11:30 am this Saturday, this Arlington location was completely empty.  It was just plain tables and booths, my dining companion and myself, and the lady at the counter awaiting our order.  I grew a bit concerned, but dismissed the lack of business due to the early hour of this weekend lunch. 

Chapps’ menu is comprised of 8 different kinds of burgers (mostly of the 1/2 pound variety with one “Baby Chapps” 1/4 pound option), a handful of grilled chicken sandwich varieties, chicken strips and chicken fried steak both in the form of dinner platters as well as sandwiches, “Big Dogs” (with cheese, chili, or neither), and a long list of sides including fries (with cheese, chili, or neither), onion rings, fried mushrooms, fried okra, cheesesticks, stuffed jalapenos, and hot wings (are wings really a side?).  If the artery-clogging items on this list don’t fit into your diet plan, then try one of Chapps’ four entree sized salads, though I am inclined to infer that salads at a place that is so fried food oriented tend to be of the iceburg lettuce, a couple slices of tomato, and a small packet of crouton kind.  The menu variety is an overwhelming contrast from Mooyah’s mantra of “just burgers, just fries.”   

I ordered a jalapeno cheeseburger with grilled onions and my companion (again) ordered a bacon cheeseburger plain with no additional toppings.  We also split a side order of onion rings.

Onion Rings and Jalapeno Cheeseburger:

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A thick, 1/2 pound patty convincingly places Chapps’ burgers on the home-style side of the home-style versus fast food style burger patty divide.  Well seasoned and reasonably tender, even this diner, who normally prefers her burger patties on the thinner side, scarfed down this greasy heaven of sharp cheddar intertwined with soft grilled onions atop a substantial chunk of ground beef with a kick of jalapeno all on a buttered toasted soft bun in no time.  Yes, I believe I ate the burger in about the same amount of time it took for you to process that last sentence.  The burger was greasy in a guilty pleasure kind of way, but not to the point of dissolving the structural integrity of the bun.  My partner happily reported that his bacon cheeseburger had thick slices of bacon cooked to a semi-crisp texture.  At Chapps’, they don’t cheat you on the bacon, and that’s crucial information for any self-proclaimed bacon lover.

I am always excited to see onion rings on a menu as an option in addition to fries.  But I regrettably report that Chapps’ onion rings were suspiciously Ore-Ida-ish.  The limp, thin onion slice pulled through the batter on the first bite, leaving a sad, hollow tube of lonely batter to be consumed by itself.  Limp onion slices pulling through the batter shell with no resistance definitely points the accusing finger to frozen onion rings.  It’s too bad.  A local joint like Chapps can seal its hometown burger cafe charm by perfecting the details (like the onion rings) in addition to simply serving up a great burger.  But such was not the case, and I was left to stare at the onion-less voids in the golden batter in utter disappointment.

At $13 for two burgers and an order of onion rings, Chapps is an excellent deal with its substantial burgers.  I would visit Chapps again when I find myself on the FW side of DFW craving a burger, but will be passing on the onion rings.  Perhaps the other sides are better, or perhaps Chapps is just a burger only kind of place?  That would just be ultimate irony considering its ambitiously vast menu.

Rating: 3 / 5

Chapps Hamburger Cafe
2596 E. Arkansas Ln
Arlington, TX 76014

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3 Responses to “Home-Style Burgers at Chapps Cafe”

  1. foodczar 10/19/2007 at 5:40 pm #

    I first sampled Chapps excellent burgers many years ago when you were probably still in diapers, Miss D. (I grew up in Arlington.) Glad to hear they’re still keeping up the standard. I also love Al’s Hamburgers and actually dined at both their “new” location and at the original drive in. (I told you I am Older Than Dirt!!!)

  2. Michael 06/18/2008 at 1:29 pm #

    I just ate there today and the Onion Rings were fine. Perhaps they received enough complaints to realize they can’t get away with frozen rings or perhaps you were there on a bad day but the food was great as was the service.

    I was a bit annoyed that they charged an extra .15 for the wheat bun. It’s not like the production costs are higher. They are obviously just trying to make an extra bit of profit off of people who believe they are being health conscious.

  3. Christi 11/09/2009 at 10:27 am #

    The Keller location is not an allergy sensitive location. We went there with my daughter’s team on Saturday. It was recommended because they have hot dogs for my daughter who has a very severe allergy to dairy. (she has an uncommon reaction to dairy) We asked that they not put butter on the grill for her hot dog. They were unwilling to do this. We have NEVER had a restaurant unwilling to do this for our three year old. We eat out once a week. This definately put a damper on our meal time because my daughter could not eat there while the rest of her teammates could. We will never go back to this restaurant.

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