When life gets tough, the tough eat burgers. Wait. Maybe that's just me :). I forget sometimes the incredible power of food. Whether it's evoking fond memories, providing comfort during a difficult time or delivering life-sustaining nutrients, food has no parallel. And although not the healthiest choice out there, burgers are what I crave during the trying times of life. Ok, ok. I crave them all the time, but even more so when I'm feeling stressed. So when I saw that Phil's Icehouse, "the happiest burger joint in Texas", opened a new location just 10 minutes from our house...yup, you got it. Time for another burger adventure!!
Phil's is no stranger to the best-burger-in-Austin conversations and has been on my list of must-try burgers for some time now. On our visit to the icehouse, we had the distinct pleasure of meeting with the DO, Christian. He was more than willing to answer all our questions and gave us the ins and outs of the extensive menu. It was rather impressive to see him in the trenches with the rest of the staff putting away boxes of food and even getting on the line to cook up some burgers.
I was almost certain that MJ was going to go with a veggie or turkey burger, but she switched it up on me and ordered the customer favorite 78704 burger with a side of sweet potato fries. Dressed with Monterey Jack cheese, jalapeños, grilled onions, guacamole, chipotle mayo and served on a jalapeño cheese bun, this burger was the embodiment of everything good about Tex-Mex cuisine. Spicy, tangy, rich...even a little sweet. MJ had planned on only eating half the burger, but before I knew it (and I think she even surprised herself) I found myself staring at nothing but a pile of soggy bun pieces, casualties of the moisture from the burger toppings. If you've been following us a while now, I'm sure you know that sweet potatoes aren't exactly very high on my preferences list. But these fries...I could definitely see myself ordering these fries.
Whenever I go to a burger joint for the first time, I'm always torn... Go with the classic cheeseburger? Or go for the option with all the bells and whistles? As tempting as the Chicken Fried Steak Burger and the Jollyville Burger (imagine burger meets breakfast) were, I opted for something right in the middle. I ordered the 78750 burger with a basket of fries & rings - Swiss cheese, fried onion rings, BACON, mayo, lettuce, and tomato masterfully arranged on a sourdough bun. At this point, you may be wondering about the names on the menu. Phil's burgers are named after different neighborhoods/landmarks and zip codes around town. My burger was a beast! I could barely open my mouth wide enough to take the first bite, but I managed ;). I'll be honest. I was hoping for a bigger meat patty with a little more juice to balance out the formidable bun, but this burger did NOT lack flavor. The seasoned griddle imparted a luscious, charry goodness on the meat that sat nestled inside a lightly toasted bun. And the well seasoned and perfectly crisp onion rings in combination with some of the best bacon that I've ever had on a burger made for a special experience. It was evident that considerable thought and experimentation had gone into these burgers to get just the right balance of flavors in the finished product.
As stuffed as I was from the meal, I couldn't resist indulging in some ice cream from Amy's. Coffee Amaretto, Fuzzy Naval (with real alcohol), and the seasonal Pumpkin caught my eye, but I couldn't stop myself from ordering my usual. Mexican vanilla with fresh strawberries, anyone? Thank goodness for cheat days!
And if tasty burgers weren't enough, Phil's just creates an atmosphere you want to be in. Established in honor of Amy's business partner whose life was tragically taken too early, Amy and Steve Simmons sought to open a business that would complement the ice cream shop and properly pay tribute to their dear friend. They wanted a fun environment conducive to gatherings of friends and family. Even though the location we visited is the newest of the trio, it seems like they've got things going just right. Parents enjoying a meal with their kids, friends grabbing a bite to eat before the big game, couples doting over one another as they enjoy a lazy Saturday morning together...just makes you smile. Phil's also strives to be involved in the community and on occasion will partner up with other local businesses to come up with special burgers. And I personally love how they've kept things small and focus on doing the little things right in order to provide an exceptional experience to their customers. Party on, Phil's!
Phil's Icehouse, 13265 US Hwy 183 N, Austin TX 78750