The burger that made Arlington famous has come home.
Chef Kenny Mills’ The Original Chop House Burgers, where the brisket burger landed Arlington on TV’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” has reopened in its original location, 1700 W. Park Row Drive.
Chop House first opened in 2010, with a brisket-blend bacon-cheddar burger that was so revolutionary it bumped local favorites such as Charley’s, Dutch’s, Fred’s and Fuego Burger down the “best” lists.
Back before burger grills everywhere served “artisan” or “gourmet” burgers, Chop House also wowed us with a blackened-blue cheese burger, a blended jalapeno-cilantro “Texican” pepper Jack burger and a beef-pork blend “Carolina” barbecue burger.
But that was 12 years ago. Burger cafes have come and gone, serving tricked-out peanut-butter burgers, peaches-and-honey burgers, burn-your-mouth burgers and one memorable flop, banana burgers.
The Chop House Burger is still one of our best, based on a visit last week.
“I was very fortunate to open when we did with the burger joints at the pinnacle,” former Dallas steakhouse chef Kenny Mills said via online message.
He grew up in Arlington going to venerable Al’s Hamburgers and now-gone favorites like the old Rockyfeller Hamburgers diners and Jim’s Burgers, once a top-two in Tarrant County.
Now, the local burger grills have competition from chains such as California-based Lazy Dog and Fatburger.
“The most common thing we hear is that everyone is glad we re back in the neighborhood,” Mills said.
Chop House wandered to four other locations across three cities before coming home. A new landlord wanted Mills back, he said.
“it’s really a time warp walking around the restaurant and remembering all the things we did here ... ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,’ nonstop lines down the block ... it’s really cool.”
The original location looks almost the same as it did in 2010, but larger.
The 2021 rendition of the Chop House Burger ($9.75) almost seemed to have even more bacon and cheese than when Guy Fieri featured it.
Burgers start at $7.75. There’s also a turkey burger ($8.75).
The larger menu now features salads. chili and gumbo, along with chocolate chess pie or coconut-pecan-graham “sawdust” pie.
Hamburgers used to be the No. 1 order, Mills said, but now Chop House sells a lot of bunless burgers and lettuce-wrapped burgers.
Chop House’s most recent location, 2502 Little Road, is now Mills Made BBQ. It’s run by Mills’ son Travis, a former pit hand at Heim Barbecue.
The Original Chop House Burgers is open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays, lunch Sundays;
The location is off Fielder Road near the UT Arlington baseball stadium, 3 miles south of Interstate 30 or 1 mile north of Spur 303; 682-213-2253, theoriginalchophouseburgers.com.
(The restaurant is not related to Chop House Burger, a Dallas-based concept operating in Fort Worth, or to the Mercury Chophouse and Keller Chophouse steakhouses.)
▪ Mills Made BBQ serves brisket, pulled pork, half chickens, ribs and jalapeno or black-pepper sausage. Platters start at only $8 with sides.
It’s open Tuesdays through Sundays until sold out. The location is a former neighborhood grocery on Little Road south of Arkansas Lane, 2 miles north of Interstate 20; 817-343-0741, millsmadebarbecue.com.