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Mighty Fine Burgers - Arbor Walk

amysuehere Dec 10, 2007 10:19 AM

Ventured in today for lunch, as the choices in this neck of the woods is pretty miserable.

First off, you can tell this is a Rudy's sister store from the decor, to the way you order, to the staff behind the counter. I will also say that Mighty Fine is to burgers what Rudy's is to bbq.

Let me also say this place was PACKED!

You line up like you do at Rudy's with the switchback and folks behind the counter holler for you to come up. You have a choice of a regular (1/2 pound) or a junior (1/4 pound) with or without cheese. Then pick "yellow" "white" "red" or a combination of condiments. Lettuce, pickles (which are crinkle, but then sliced into strips), onion, tomato are all complimentary with a small fee for jalapeños or bacon. In-store, hand cut crinkle fries are the only side option.

I opted for the junior, cheese, loaded, yellow and crinkle fries. My order was written on a bag and then went through a circular assembly line of workers. They have a large refrigerated room where two men were forming the fresh-ground patties.

Took it to go, but ambiance is that of Rudy's with large picnic tables and instead of bbq bottles they decorate with ketchup, mustard and mayo jars. There is Tabasco, sea salt and Lawry’s season salt on the tables.

Plump (but just a little dry) burger was well made and, although a little on the bland side, (would have easily been fixed had I stayed and put a smidge of Lawry’s on it) came with very fresh veggies (haven't seen a tomato that red in a while), better than average American cheese, and a lovely toasted bun.

Crinkle fries were very good (I did season those before I left) and were very thin, which made them crisp on the outside and tender in. Lovely fresh flavor, not too greasy and more than enough to share with two other office workers.

Although I didn't have one due to the cold weather, the fresh squeezed lemonade (in a clear container at the front of the line) smelled wonderful as I passed and I saw more than a few homemade chocolate shakes coming out.

Total for my meal was the typical $5 rule and for the price was certainly worth what I got.

Will I go back? Absolutely, considering I'm basically across the street. Will it beat out Casino el Camino or Fran’s? No, but I now can trade off between Top Notch and Mighty Fine for a burger option in this area.

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  1. s
    ssouth RE: amysuehere Dec 10, 2007 03:14 PM

    Thanks for the detailed report. I've been waiting for this place to open and I'm looking forward to trying the fries.

    1. r
      Rene RE: amysuehere Dec 10, 2007 05:50 PM

      Very good review, AmySue. My only question is if they will cook to other than medium or well done. Most places won't but some do.

      1. s
        singlemalt RE: amysuehere Dec 11, 2007 05:16 AM

        ASH, thanks for your report. My son was talking about the place yesterday. He likes it and he is cranky. Liked your comment about swapping off btwn Top Notch, right at my front door, and this place. Your comment about MF burgers being to burgers what Rudy's is to BBQ sort of threw me though. I think Rudy's is the pits, and not in the culinary way, of BBQ joints, excepting PoKeJo's. For me you are always pretty much on target.

        3 Replies
        1. re: singlemalt
          amysuehere RE: singlemalt Dec 11, 2007 06:23 AM

          I like Rudy's for what it is to me - a place to pick up some chicken and some (crappy) sides on the way to the lake. Rudy's wouldn't be a destination place for me, but it's better than eating fast food, per say, and I find the chicken and the sirloin to be just fine for lunch. However, I really don't like any of the sides. It's just a place for meat, onion, pickles, sauce and white trash bread. Again, it's not bbq proper, but it's good for what it is.

          1. re: amysuehere
            b
            beercoop RE: amysuehere Dec 12, 2007 01:46 PM

            What exactly is "bbq proper" and why doesn't Rudy's fit the definition?

            1. re: beercoop
              amysuehere RE: beercoop Dec 13, 2007 05:42 AM

              bbq proper would be Coopers. Rudy's was proper bbq when it was just the one place in Leon Springs. Like I said, I enjoy the chicken and it's all fine, just not a destination place when I'm thinking "I want bbq". Feel the same way about County Line (and it's within walking distance). It's okay, but just not what I'd call "real" bbq.

        2. c
          Carter B. RE: amysuehere Dec 11, 2007 09:44 AM

          I popped over during lunch today. You are right, the place was packed even at 11:30 am. Still, don't let that deter you as they crank the burgers out. However, my visit was more disappointing than yours. My burger was pretty dry and as mentioned bland and I thought the fries were over fried so that I couldn't taste the potato at all--obviously could just be my batch. More than anything the place reminds me of P. Terry's and that's not a compliment. Also note, the menu is very limited. Burgers, Chili Dogs, Fries and Milkshakes.

          I've done one burger across the parking lot at Specs and that burger is far superior to the Mighty Fine one--though my Specs burger had so much guac. on it, I had to shove it to the side. The Spec's burger was juicy and had a nice beefy flavor.

          Speaking of across the parking lot, it looks like a bakery has opened called Just Desserts, and Tino's Greek Cafe and a pizza place are opening soon.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Carter B.
            amysuehere RE: Carter B. Dec 11, 2007 11:28 AM

            You know, I never even thought of spec's for food. I don't know why that place flies under the radar for me. Thanks, Carter! I'm sure you're right about the burger being much better there (although more costly). With the sheer volume of people in Mighty Fine, I still don't see them having any trouble surviving.

            I completely agree with you about PTerry's. I had the worst burger I've ever had there, but people seem to LOVE that place. Go figure.

            No, I actually did enjoy the fries. They were done perfectly. However, because they're so micro-waffled, I can see how just a few seconds long in the grease could make a world of difference from soggy, to perfect, to blech.

            Nice to know a Tino's is opening closer (although it would be a toss up from my office if the Bacones one might be faster due to the horrible planning on getting out of Arbor)

            Hope the pizza place offers toasted subs and such...and ISN'T California Pizza Kitchen (double-blech)

            1. re: amysuehere
              c
              Carter B. RE: amysuehere Dec 11, 2007 12:09 PM

              There's another thread on the board talking about which sandwiches to order at Specs. I've only done the burger, though. Eating inside grocery stores seems to be something Austin does well: Whole Foods, Central Market, Grapevine, Specs, Asia Market...

              I didn't catch the name of the pizza place, just briefly saw I sign as I drove out.

              1. re: Carter B.
                amysuehere RE: Carter B. Dec 11, 2007 01:00 PM

                I had the pork cubano a few months ago and liked it okay. Didn't blow my socks off, but I can see how it would someone with different tastes. They are on the high side, but the sandwiches didn't look skimpy.

                When I was there, it was right before Thanksgiving and after I'd ordered, a lady asked to invent her own with what was in the counter and they agreed. I was jealous of her turkey, cream cheese, stuffing, cranberry on lightly toasted sourdough...

          2. m
            Mike B RE: amysuehere Dec 12, 2007 09:22 PM

            Checked out Mighty Fine Burgers for lunch today and came away unimpressed.

            It definitely is an attempt to clone In N' Out in a Texas-sized way (bigger burger, bigger fries, bigger prices). Unfortunately, as others stated, the meat is bland and if you get the normal size there is way too much bland meat.

            I suggest getting the junior burger and dressing it up with as much stuff as possible -- bacon? jalapenos? Yes, yes. Red, yellow, and white (ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise) will all help out a bit as well.

            The crinkly fries were good for the first few bites but wore out there welcome after they quickly got cold which brought the greasiness factor out too much so I just stopped eating them.

            As others mentioned, the army of workers there is overwhelming. They easily outnumbered the customers. That and the cool hand sanitizing machine were the biggest impressions this place made on me.

            I won't be back until summer to give the milkshake a try. Maybe they'll make the burger more interesting in the meantime.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Mike B
              v
              verily RE: Mike B Dec 16, 2007 08:20 AM

              I have to completely agree with your assessment. I found Mighty Fine to be Mighty Bland. My first impression upon biting into my burger was "lettuce". All I tasted was the veggies on my burger. I added some seasoning salt to improve the taste a bit, but it seemed like all I was doing was salvaging a bad, blah burger.

              I didn't like the fries at all. They were too skinny, like shoestring fries. Nice when they are piping hot, but terrible when cold. And they're just a pain to eat when they're that small and skinny. You either grab a small handful to eat at once or else have to tediously dip them one by one.

              The army of workers wound up angering me. My cashier kept having to say "What? Huh?" because he couldn't hear me over the din of noise created by the 5 or 6 workers standing to the left of him chatting loudly.

              I think I'll stick to Top Notch for my out of the way burger joint and Riata Bar and Grill for my workplace lunch hour.

              1. re: verily
                r
                Rene RE: verily Mar 22, 2008 05:05 PM

                My experience mirrors Verily's almost exactly at 1:30 today. Only thing worse, it was over-run with kiddos who were allowed to run freely. I acknowledge that the "fixings" seemed very fresh but, other than that, absolutely no reason to ever go back again. I'm sorry, but $17 + for a junior, regular, fries, and soft drinks? Whataburger or Wendy's is better... as is Top Notch and Waterloo... and none of those save for Top Notch is particularly distinctive. No thanks to Mighty Fine on this end.

            2. c
              crippstom RE: amysuehere Dec 15, 2007 07:32 PM

              I don't know if I'm inclined to try Mighty Fine although I take exception with PTerry's.
              It's one of my favorites for the alternative fast food burger. Granted it's not your crusty tavern burger. I'd like to hear some examples from anti-PTerry's folks about where they consider their ultimate burger. I've had Dan's,Fran's,El Camino and Poodies. I've not heard great things about Huts. I'd heard PTerry's had some problems in the beginning but I've had consistent results and I think their fries rule. And friendly,upbeat service always wins.

              1 Reply
              1. re: crippstom
                MPH RE: crippstom Dec 15, 2007 10:08 PM

                Hi crippstom,

                Here are links to two older discussions on burgers in town:

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/409353

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/323720

                Some posts on this thread from the Texas board cover Austin burger joints:

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/382777

                Lastly, this thread on onion rings in Austin also touches on burgers:

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/373316

                I'm afraid that I don't like the burgers at P. Terry's (and I haven't found the service to be particularly friendly, either), but I hope these past discussions prove helpful to you. They go into detail about what makes a burger truly delicious, according to different chowhounds.

              2. o
                orb RE: amysuehere Dec 15, 2007 11:40 PM

                I suppose it's silly to think they would, but do they do a veggie burger?

                2 Replies
                1. re: orb
                  c
                  Carter B. RE: orb Dec 16, 2007 06:44 AM

                  Nope, other than the fries and shakes, nothing non-meat on the menu (unless they take off menu requests)

                  1. re: orb
                    b
                    bcombee RE: orb Apr 6, 2008 01:28 PM

                    I mailed them about this -- they've got two non-menu options. For $1.69, you can get the "veggie burger" which is everything but no meat patty. I really like their toppings, so this is a good deal. You can double that price and get a "potato burger", which has a layer of their crinkle-cut fries added. I had one of these on Friday, and it was nice -- the fries are small enough to not feel out of place, and it really added a crunch.

                  2. c
                    cstrombe RE: amysuehere Dec 18, 2007 08:40 AM

                    Gave it a try and am disappointed mostly by the lost opportunity to have a great burger joint doing things right. They seem to do almost everything right...but screw up (in my opinion of course) on the burger-cooking front. They should have opted for grills instead of griddles. I think that would have made a huge difference in burger flavor. My burger was dry and bland. Obviously overcooked, but I think that even perfectly cooked, a griddle burger can only be so good. On the other hand, even an overcooked flame-kissed burger is going to be tastier. The view from inside the men's room is pretty cool though!

                    Pix here, including one of dry burger, and one from inside men's room:
                    http://auslunch.com/restaurants/Might...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cstrombe
                      a
                      Ashforth RE: cstrombe Dec 20, 2007 04:38 PM

                      Wow, did you order that burger well done? It looked burned.

                      And I for one am grossed out by the bathroom window overlooking the dining area. Can't really tell you why.

                    2. amysuehere RE: amysuehere Dec 20, 2007 10:50 AM

                      Gave them a second try, seeing as how close to work they are. Nope. Terrible. Same as all below only more bland (is that possible?) and fries were dark and greasy. I'm done with Mighty Fine.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: amysuehere
                        MPH RE: amysuehere Dec 20, 2007 03:41 PM

                        Thanks for the warts-and-all reports, chowhounds. I was going to try Mighty Fine today but instead stuffed myself at Top Notch. Next time I find myself in the area, maybe I'll try the burger at Spec's? From what I've read here, it sounds like it might be pretty good.

                        Amysuehere, I think one of these threads might be the one that Carter B. mentioned above:

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/448030

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/41254...

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/39294...

                        1. re: MPH
                          amysuehere RE: MPH Dec 21, 2007 08:03 AM

                          Thanks, MPH. The second thread was what made me try the Specs at Airport with dissapointing results.

                          I did try the Cubano at the North store and agree that it's pretty darn good. Now that I know you can make up your own with whatever ingrediants they have, I'm sure it'll be a regular stop for lunch...just wish the mall itself wasn't so difficult to get in and out of.

                          1. re: amysuehere
                            g
                            GMT53 RE: amysuehere Dec 21, 2007 10:10 PM

                            Two thumbs up Mighty Fine. All-natural ground chuck and fresh crinkle-cut fries...who else does that? It seems that they have successfully attempted to bring quality to the burger scene here in Austin. Thank you for that!

                            I also appreciate the "Keep it Simple" menu. My choice is the "White" junior cheeseburger, onions only (it's been juicy and consistent each time). The generous portion of fries are nice add on, if you have the appetite. I can't say that I have had a bad experience with the food or the establishment. Oh and did I mention how clean it is in this place? Impressive.

                            I have a new “guilty pleasure”….the chocolate milkshake. It's truly irresistible.

                            BTW, Orb and Carter B., it wasn't on the menu but my friend ordered a grilled cheese sandwich for her son. They apparently do take off menu requests, just couldn’t tell you to what extent.

                            1. re: GMT53
                              rudeboy RE: GMT53 Jan 7, 2008 08:07 AM

                              Do you think that the burgers define the new gold standard for the Austin burger scene? Are there any other places that come close or surpass Mighty Fine?

                              1. re: rudeboy
                                amysuehere RE: rudeboy Jan 7, 2008 10:53 AM

                                I realize you weren't asking me/us, but GMT53, but I must wholeheartedly exclaim: There are several burgers in this town that far excede Mighty Fine! Namely (and just to name the ones of the top of my head) Casino el Camino, Jackalope, Dirty's, Fran's...

                      2. a
                        a1texn RE: amysuehere Jan 7, 2008 06:46 AM

                        I eagerly anticipated the opening of this place. This placed was opened by the local franchise owner of Rudy's, not corporate Rudy's... an important distinction. Irregardless I was mostly disappointed, especially for the price. I ordered a cheeseburger, regular fries, and a bottle (8oz) of Dr. Pepper... $9.40!

                        Now I don't mind paying extra for a really good burger, but this one was pretty normal. Not bad, but certainly not "mighty fine". On the positive, it was all-natural, fresh-ground chuck. But aside from that pretty boring.

                        The fries were good but way too many! For chrissake... there are people starving in Ethiopia! I bet there were enough fries for three people in that regular order. Maybe they up-sized me without asking, which would account for the high-price, but that's unethical. Maybe some employee is trying to win a toaster for the most up-sales.

                        The decor was too sterile for a place that has red checkered tablecloths and spells Yellow "Yeller"... but then again you go there for a good burger not the ambiance, but Mighty Fine fell short on both for me.

                        1. l
                          Luki RE: amysuehere Mar 11, 2008 09:19 AM

                          I am from Los Angeles and moved here 5 years ago. I have been DYING for an In-N-Out burger!!! I just vistited Mighty Fine burger for the first time over the weekend and it was FANTASTIC!!! It totally squashed my cravings for In-N-Out... my hamburger was ANYTHING but dry! It was so moist and juicy it was dripping everywhere. I think maybe you have to go back and try eating it there, right away, fresh off the grill. The fryies were tasty... and I wasn't going to have the shake.... but I couldn't help myself. This shake was AWESOME!!! TRUE chocolate flavor. It was so yummy, I am defintley going back as often as I can.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Luki
                            c
                            cstrombe RE: Luki Mar 11, 2008 11:39 AM

                            There is no grill at Mighty Fine. I think that's the root of the problem with their burgers.

                            1. re: Luki
                              thebodytx RE: Luki Mar 12, 2008 02:17 PM

                              I've been there twice; had the 8-oz hamburger both times. The first time the burger was almost too dry to eat. The second time it wasn't dry, but had little flavor.

                              One reason for lack of flavor may be the way the meat is handled. I sat there for ten minutes and watch one of the prep guys take balls of obviously very chilled hamburger and massage them into patties (yes, he was wearing gloves). It took him about one minute per patty; all of that handling can't be good for flavor.

                              1. re: thebodytx
                                amysuehere RE: thebodytx Mar 13, 2008 06:05 AM

                                I thought the exact same thing when I was there. Everyone knows the best patty is one that's ground fresh and barely touched.

                            2. angthefoodie RE: amysuehere Mar 12, 2008 10:56 AM

                              Has anyone tried the lemonade? I am a sucker for fresh-squeezed, but have yet to find any acceptable choices in the area. Chain or not, I love the lemonade at Hot Dog on a Stick (they squeeze it throughout the day, not just all-at-once in the morning), but the place at Lakeline closed up long ago. I did actually get some at the one in Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas (yes-I made the trip over there mainly for that, and perhaps a purse or two...)
                              If anyone has had it at Mighty Fine, let me know. I am not above going just for the lemonade, if it's worth it.

                              1. a
                                angelfoodmaker RE: amysuehere Mar 28, 2008 10:14 AM

                                Was it Char Grilled or basic fry grill burger??

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: angelfoodmaker
                                  amysuehere RE: angelfoodmaker Mar 28, 2008 11:41 AM

                                  Basic fry.

                                2. t
                                  txbighair RE: amysuehere Apr 23, 2008 02:17 PM

                                  We went to Mighty Fine today for lunch from South Austin...we were not really impressed. The meat had NO flavor. The fries were really good, the diet coke with ice was even better. We will not drive across town for this again.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: txbighair
                                    amysuehere RE: txbighair Apr 24, 2008 05:55 AM

                                    Wow. the "diet coke with ice was even better"...wow. Guess that sums it up there.

                                    1. re: amysuehere
                                      t
                                      txbighair RE: amysuehere Apr 27, 2008 07:09 PM

                                      It was awesome! :)

                                  2. d
                                    duckpluck RE: amysuehere Apr 20, 2009 06:38 AM

                                    I ate there on Sunday because I have heard a lot about this place. After the meal, this place is very over rated in my opinion.
                                    Paid $6 for the burger which is much smaller than other top burgers from other places. The fries were good and the fountain drink was awesome.
                                    Flavor of the burger was good but for the money I expected a bigger burger.
                                    A cheeseburger, fries, and drink was over $10.
                                    I will not go back since there are other options everywhere for a burger.

                                    1. g
                                      GenieinTX RE: amysuehere Apr 23, 2009 02:49 PM

                                      I love this place and it may be because it's not grilled. I am not a fan of grilled taste to my food. My burgers are always juicy and I think they taste great. It's too expensive, yes, but when I want a good burger, it's top of my list.

                                      1. l
                                        LakeLBJ RE: amysuehere Apr 23, 2009 07:55 PM

                                        I just don't get this place. I want it to fail because I don't like the concept, but I shouldn't be selfish, so I hope it lasts I guess. I have a relative who absolutely adores this place, we went to the grand opening of the new 1431/IKEA location. All I can say is PLAIN, PLAIN, PLAIN. No interesting toppings, just white, yellar, and red. YUCK. Just a big ball of meat with a little salt and pepper. You have to wonder why they put seasoned salt on the table?

                                        The fries remind me of the ones you ate at the elementary school cafeteria. The lemonade is good (though expense, and no free refills) and my wife said her shake was fine. Thankfully, my family paid for this because for $10, I can think of a crapload of other food that is better. I live down the street from this place and I'd rather drive 20 miles downtown to eat at Casino.

                                        Speaking of a better hamburger, Chris Madrid's Macho Tostada burger with a big helping of fries with malt vinegar. That is hamburger heaven, but you have to drive to San Antonio for that....

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: LakeLBJ
                                          i
                                          ianmarks RE: LakeLBJ Apr 30, 2009 10:02 AM

                                          I have been to the one at the arbor walk, and was not impressed.

                                          Everything seemed fresh, but the meat was bland and looked better than it tasted. I hate yellow mustard, and only like ketchup on fries. I have made burgers at home with just salt pepper and mayo that have way more flavor than these. I would assume it is the fat content. I am not claiming to be burger master or anything, but I know a burger can taste damn good with the most simple ingredients.

                                          The taste of the burger is so meh, especially with how nice it looks. Oh well.

                                          1. re: ianmarks
                                            b
                                            bloody hammer RE: ianmarks Apr 30, 2009 05:20 PM

                                            have you been to Fuego's yet to try the "fat burger"?

                                            1. re: ianmarks
                                              TheBadWolf RE: ianmarks May 1, 2009 01:33 PM

                                              I'm not understanding the criticism of yellow mustard and ketchup. You can get your burger with just mayo if that's what you like. Could you expand on that?

                                          2. r
                                            rusty_s RE: amysuehere May 25, 2009 09:03 AM

                                            Mighty Fine burgers taste just like what you'd get at a friend's house, if your friend was not really into food. Why? The low-quality bun, the American cheese, the lack of seasoning. But on the good side, the patty is not overworked and sort of falls apart (just like homemade).
                                            But the fries, OH THE FRIES. The perfectly crispy crinkle-cut fries with sea salt will keep me coming back to eat the mediocre burgers.

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