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May 25, 2007 10:41 AM

The Mysterious Dad's Backyard Burgers, Merrifield..

will probably never open -- at least at this location on Gallows Rd.

Also, a bit of sleuthing has disclosed that whatever this place is, it's most likely not part of the Backyard Burgers chain, which I suspect is not yet aware of this "name's the same" interloper.

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  1. This place has been discussed a few times (usually between Meg and me) and it indeed has been a long time coming. I just drove past there today and I noticed that the "coming soon" sign was different than the last time I noticed, so there's some signs of life.

    The traffic on the section of Gallows Road between Arlington Boulevard and Lee Highway is such a horror show these days that I avoid the area whenever I can.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MikeR

      Well, glancing at the report Bob W provided a link to above, it sounds like an attempt to solve that traffic horror is going to be displacing the would-potentially-have-been Dad's and many of the other businesses in that any signs of life are most likely temporary

    2. Dad's Backyard Burgers opens on Monday! We live down the street from it, and have been anxiously awaiting it for 3 years since we moved here. Sign out front says they open on Monday. Has to be the world's most anticipated burger ever.

      9 Replies
      1. re: pdm

        I, too, have been waiting years for Dad's Backyard Burgers to open up. The original "Beware- Dad is Coming" sign started flapping maybe a year after the RV/trailer dealership closed up shop, and it took another 1-2 years before it was revealed that this was going to be a burger place. Unfortunately, when we stopped by there this afternoon, they had taken down the "we open 9/10" sign and it appears that we will be waiting a bit longer for Dad to get his act in gear.

        1. re: cjstuff

          We went by there for dinner today to find them closed. The owner came out and talked to us, he said they ran into some last minute issues with the bathrooms and ADA or something. He said they hope to be open on Wednesday. However, it didn't look like it was ready to be opened inside to me. The drink machine was on the floor for example.

          1. re: pdm

            after all this time they still don't have stuff like that approved? something is fishy here and it's probably not the burgers.

            1. re: Bob W

              I don't understand why these things take so long. New houses go up in a couple of weeks. Bamian was nearly two years in progress. The former Joe's that's becoming Le Coco Rico has been in progress for months. The Bailey's Crossroads Trader Joe's built a spiffy new sample prep counter months ago and they're still just serving sliced fruit, salads, and bakery products, no cooked food. When I teased the lady behind the counter about it, she said (about two months ago now) "We just got an appointment for our inspection."

              But I think Dad's Backyard Burgers has had the longest gestation period of any newly built restaurant that I can recall.

              1. re: MikeR

                Well, they are open as of today. I walked over and got a burger and hot dog. (way too much food, but I wanted to try both items). Was quite good. Certainly tasted more like from backyard and better than Five Guys to me (which I am a bit burned out on). Had a really good grilled and smoked flavor to it. They were quite busy but it didn't take too long to get my piping hot burger. 8oz burger is $8 and comes with fries and a driink, 5oz burger is $6.50 and comes with same. Fries were a little soggy, but maybe the fried will improve.

                1. re: pdm

                  Whew! I feel like I've been waiting forever! I can't do Five Guys anymore, last time I ate a hot dog there I felt ill for days....I guess that is what I get for eating a hot dog at a burger place! :)

                  Can't wait to try Dad's.........anyone know the hours of operation?

                  1. re: red_one

                    Stopped by on 9/2/2007, banner hanging which announced grand opening on 9/10 with 1/2 price burgers on Tuesday's following a Redskin win. Redskins won on 9/9. Monday at noon, banner is down, store is not open. Manager says bathroom too small, also reports burgers will be made by chef that worked at Sweetwaters and store will open soon. Tuesday - not open. Wednesday - not open. Thursday - not open. Not sure if this place will ever open.......

                    1. re: dean2ks

                      Guess I'll have to start looking at the Sports section of the paper on Tuesdays to see if there was a Redskins win. Normally I don't care, but with burgers prices at $6.50-$8.00, half price is good.

                      What's gotten so expensive about burgers? Ground beef at the supermarket hasn't changed much in price in the past couple of years, but the $8 burger isn't the outlier any more. Maybe they do because they can.

                      1. re: MikeR

                        We ate at Dad's this afternoon. It was a thoroughly whelming experience--not awful, but far from great. I, too, had initial sticker shock at the burger prices until I realized that you're also buying a medium/large drink and a reasonable order of fries. Deduct $3 from the price, and you're looking at a "right around 5 Guys" priced burger.

                        Our experience, though, wasn't great. They screwed up our order and had to re-make a burger. The bathrooms were BOTH out of order (which should, incidentally, close the restaurant to sit-down service, though not take-out). They were making burgers to order, but they had about 8-10 burgers keeping warm on the grill, and would dress one up as ordered. Fries were limp but tasty. The oddest part was the hamburger patty itself. Dad's mixes in a _lot_ of either parsley or green onion into the meat--my kids rebelled against a hamburger that "had stuff in it." Second, our burgers had an unusual amount of gristle in them. Maybe I was crunching on green onions, but I don't like that much resistance in my burger.

                        We plan to give Dad's a few weeks to settle down before we try it again. The wood-fired grills smell great, and the char on the outside o the burgers was nicely done. Counter service will improve as folks figure their jobs out. And hopefully, they'll do better on timing their production so that everyone gets a nice fresh burger. Still--there's a lot of green stuff in them thar burger patties.

      2. Was there today and it was an experience from hell. First the place is very small. Second why are they passing out forms for you to fill out, and then you still have to tell the guy what you want. My burger was wrong and they had to fix it and what the hell is that green stuff in there. This was the worst burger ever. I rather go to five guys.

        1. Went to Dads today for lunch with a coworker of mine. I tried the 5oz. Dads Original The burger had chopped onion and some green spice I couldn't identify in it. I could really taste the onions in my burger. Overall I thought it tasted ok but not great. It definitely wasn't better than Five Guys.

          Now I have seen a few posts where people describe the fries as soggy. I wouldn't say they are soggy. They aren't crispy like Five Guys. They are soft. I have had fries like this before at other places. Me personally I like them crispy so I wasn't all that impressed.

          My coworker thought the burger tasted bland. Like me he was not that impressed and thought Five Guys is better.

          The one thing I do think they need to change is the fact you can't just order a burger by itself. They only sell meal combos that come with fries and a drink. So even if you only want a burger you will get stuck with fires and a drink.

          As a whole Dads will need to improve the flavor of their burgers and fries before I go back. For now it is still going to be Five Guys for a good fast food burger.

          3 Replies
          1. re: odubum

            Our first reporter (BobW?) reported that burgers were half price the day after a Redsckins win. I think they won this Monday. Any specials? Or doesn't that start until the start of the official season.

            Everybody seems to have commented about the +fries+drink pricing (it's keeping me away, too) but has anyone specifically asked for just a burger and been turned down? Are they so busy that they can let you walk away? Don't just give us the message, give Dad the message.

            1. re: MikeR

              I was there on the discount day, and they only give the discount on the burger and not the fries and drink. So it wasn't exactly half price from the menu. This implies to me that you might be able to order it without those items.

              The burger I got on their opening day was really good, the burger the 2nd time was just ok, third time was pretty tasteless. The first day they also didn't have this useless ordering slip. I hope they stop doing that. They makeyou fill it out with nothing to write on, the guy still asks you all the same questions, there is no way to represent more than one person's order on the list if they want the same burger, and, they have you put you rname on the ticket and they never use it. Something that sounded good on paper before they opened obviously isn't working out in practice. I suggested to the young lady who is handing out the forms that this was quite annoying and she claimed that most people like it. I think if htey just put a menu board up over the cashiers head people could figure it and go more smoothly, and she wouldn't need to stand there by the door.

              We're going to wait a few weeks to give them time to sort it all otu and try again. I hope they do because a good burger place walking distance from our house would be nice.

              1. re: pdm

                Thanks for persevering. I wouldn't mind filling out a paper order blank, and it wouldn't bother me if the cashier reviewed it with me. I don't see what the big deal is, but maybe however they do it is annoying. Clearly they have figured out the price of a burger alone, so I'll bet you can get one if you insist on it, but you might not be able to get a burger and fries if you just don't want the soda. Sounds like 5 Guys across the highway is still the best place to get your fries fix anyway.

                Too bad about the taste of the burger going downhill. Maybe they'll get a recipe worked out over the next few weeks.

          2. Ok, I am one of the people who have been driving by this place for a long time. Wondering if it would ever open. Will it be like Mark Moselys burgers in Herndon. gonna open for a long time, then it opens, just to close soon there after.

            I love hamburgers and was happy to see it finally open. I happened to be in Merrifield for lunch and decided to stop by there.

            My reaction. I dont know. It was not bad. But, it... well, was different, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I was not crazy about the onion and cilantro in the burger. I am a purist when it comes to hambugers. I like to put my toppings on my burger, not mixe in. I also thought the patty was a little dense, I like lightly packed hand made bugers, that crumble slightly to the bite. I also wish they would ask how you want it cooked. Mine was cooked well, which may be the reason for the dense texture. I prefer mine Medium. I had the burger about an hour and a half ago and I still have the onion/cilantro taste in my mouth, which I am not crazy about. My wife or kid wont kiss me tonight... lol

            I liked the fries. Think they could have been cooked about 30 seconds longer, but very good fries. I like how you an get a 5oz or 8oz burger.

            I will definately give it a try again. I got the bacon cheese burger, will try something different next time. It was a nice bun, I got tomoato and onion on it ( d9dnt know the onion would be inside the burger too! lol ) and the toppings were fresh and tasty and really nice roll. I love the root beer they have as well.

            I did love the smoky taste of the burger, cooking over wood makes a big difference.

            I think the place has promise, I hope they will give you the option in the future to get the burger without the onion/cilantro. With having a 2 year old daughter, I know she would take one bite of the burger and say "UCKY!!!!" She might like the hot dog though... She would tear up the french fries though.

            I hope the owner is the type that will listen to feedback and make some adjustments and changes, if he does. This place could give five guys a running..

            1 Reply
            1. re: jtalbert

              Ah, Mosely's, what a waste of some great signage.

              For those who never saw it, the sign featured (in Burgundy and Gold, of course) a goalpost with a football sailing over the crossbar, with the words, "Mosely's Burgers -- It's Good!"