100 Austin Burgers: Walton’s Fancy & Staple
Walton’s Fancy & Staple
Hours: 7am-7pm Mon-Sat; 8am-4pm Sun
Burgers available Wednesdays only, from 11am-2pm
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 09.21.16
It wasn’t that long ago I stood in the empty shell of Walton’s and interviewed Sandra Bullock in person. We talked for an hour, just the movie star and me. And the movie star’s lawyer, who only ever referred to her as “my client.” Good interview, very polite and businesslike, but I was just as intrigued by the artifacts and rusted-shut plumbing that surfaced during the century-old building’s renovation. This was 2009, in the weeks leading up to the opening of Walton’s, little brother to Bess Bistro across the street. Bullock was staking her claim to Austin citizenship by getting into the city’s restaurant game. Bess closed earlier this year, and the citizenship question is as gauzily debatable as ever, but Walton’s is still doing its thing, selling coffee, giant cookies, flowers, French toast, deli sandwiches — and, on Wednesdays only, a burger that might help make an honorary Austinite case for “my client.”
► Staple Burger: I could do with 75 percent less of the hype that surrounds Hatch green chile season. But give Walton’s credit for grabbing the moment by using the roasted peppers where they count: next to a big slab of ground beef held in place by melted cheese. The composition of the burger and the side dish change from Wednesday to Wednesday — the only day it’s around — but the bones are solid. Beef so fresh and lean it barely cleaves together under its volcanic sear. A resilient half-sweet brioche bun so shiny you can check your mustache wax in the reflection. Leaf lettuce, herbal dijon and the season’s best tomatoes. And from a place that serves breakfast worth parking downtown for, you know the bacon’s right. ($13 with a side)
► On the side: I count a big salted oatmeal raisin cookie ($3) as a side dish. But in case you don’t, the burger blue plate in this report included a radiation-grade white ramekin of shells and cheese with a baked crust and the lava-lamp interplay of tender pasta and powerful dairy to back it up.
► Wash it down: Ever the reliable place for a topiary Cuvee cappuccino, Walton’s has branched out into wine, beer and cocktails, including the Smokin’ Sunset with mezcal ($8) and a spicy Staple Mary with Deep Eddy vodka ($8).
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(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)