Friday, February 17, 2012

Event: Jerry Built Burger's Grand Opening Sat. Feb 18th

Houston was named America's Best City for Burgers by Travel and Leisure Magazine in 2011.  And in many ways Houston has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to restaurants and food in general.  Thanks to gourmet places like The Burger Guys and The Burger Palace, Speciality Places like Little Bigs and The Hubcap Grill, and high end chains with awesome burgers like Five Guys, Red Robin, The Counter and Yard House, you can literally find any kind of burger with any kind of toppings, bread, patty or cheese you want here in Houston.  So with that, some might ask:  Why another burger joint in Houston?  Read more and you'll see this is not just another burger joint in Houston.

Jerry Glauser (left) and Brooksy Smith (right)
the Masterminds behind Jerry Built Burgers
JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers, the brainchild of Jerry Glauser and Brooksy Smith, is like an old episode of Seinfeld--the one where George does the opposite of everything he'd normally do--and then he becomes successful.  Both of them were greeting visitors and were very engaging throughout the event, and I appreciate their being available for comment and to answer questions.

Per a recent article in the Bellaire Examiner:
“What we’ve tried to do, and this was Jerry (Glauser), whatever they do at typical fast food, let’s do the opposite,” Smith said. At JerryBuilt, the idea is to make everything visible for the customers starting from the moment you enter. Unlike other burger restaurants, you’ll see your food being prepared when you first walk in and not cash registers.
The concept is a good one, and in today's world where we are concerned about the content of our food, an important one.  Per their website:
Forget antibiotics and growth hormones. Our meat, whether chicken, pork or beef, comes from animals that are exclusively fed a vegetarian diet and never ever given hormones or antibiotics. (Note:  Sourced from Niman Ranch and Meyer Natural Angus) We strive to obtain locally grown and organic iceberg lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes and Bermuda onions for your burger. From produce to condiments, our menu features daily and seasonal items that are organic and locally sourced.
The Spatula as artwork and a mural by Mike Guillory
The location on West Holcombe is a converted Washington Mutual Bank building.  It is very spacious, has very modern furniture and it is also warm (thanks to all the wood accents) and homey touches (i.e. the lighting, the chalkboard style menu board and signage).  The Spatula is a major symbol of Jerry Built and is featured prominently in its decor and accenting.  The entrance to the restaurant has fresh produce on the path to where you order and of note the cash registers are NOT VISIBLE at the counter.  The feel is like a fusion of some Ikea family home mixed with Whole Foods and a touch of Fuddrucker's and In-N-Out Burger.  I like it quite well.  I would also add that a major attribute of this location that Jerry and his son Chaud Glauser told me was that the size and space was designed to be family friendly--large families and groups can come with minimal issues.  The Spatula is a major artwork motif, as is a mural by local artist Mike Guillory.

No Matter Where you are in Jerry Built Burgers, you can see what they're
doing!  Talk about full disclosure!!!
I personally liked the large open windows and open view of the kitchen.  Anyone can see their burger made and the quality of the meat and potatoes in these various areas for viewing.  I also very much liked the Mike Guillory mural depicting attributes of the Houston area.  My kids really liked the state of the art handwashing station near the Coca-cola Freestyle machines at the beverage station.  My son Jason said "OMG!  It's like a Jacuzzi for your hands!"  Major win on the interior design to Brooksy and Jerry!
Dining area, Coca-Cola Freestyle, and high tech Handwashing Station
at JerryBuilt Burgers
 Their menu is fairly straightforward--beautiful in its simplicity.  I was extended an invitation to their grand opening preview.  I brought my kids with me because the description of their two step traditional French fries sounded like something they'd like and both my kids love a good burger, just like their dad.  So without further ado, here are what we sampled during the event:

My Double Bacon Cheeseburger
with Ernie's Sauce
Jerry Built Burgers:
-Organic Beef Patty (kids had singles, I had a double)
-Kids had American Cheese and Heinz Organic Ketchup
-I had Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles (from Wickle's Pickles), 
Bacon, American Cheese and Ernie's Sauce (recommend this sauce highly!)
On a fresh, toasted Three Brothers Bakery Bun

Jerry's Fries:
We tried both Regular and Sweet Potato Fries
which we saw hand made and crinkled, and were cooked
in a traditional 2 step frying method

My son took one bite of his burger and had a huge smile!  I asked how he liked it and said "It'd be three thumbs up if I had a 3rd arm, dad!"  My daughter gobbled up her burger without saying much of anything.  My first bite yielded a sweet and meaty taste with a texture that was softer than the usual sirloin or lean ground beef, but chewier than Wagyu (American Kobe) beef.  The seasoning was mainly salt, black pepper and paprika, with something else that was hard to identify.  Brooksy Smith told me it was turmeric--a spice that is related to Ginger.  It had a savoury twang that melded well with the sweetness of the beef and the salt and pepper.  The Three Brothers bun was fluffy and soaked up the juices of the meat and sauce very well.  I personally liked the Ernie's sauce, which is a mixture of Duke's Mayonnaise, Wickle's Pickles and other fresh organic ingredients.  This burger was much like the Guy's Meat Market Burger I tried last year, and it left me with that satisfied feeling much like Marshall Eriksen had after eating at the Green Door Burger joint: very satisfied but also looking forward to eating one again.

Jason and Helena thoroughly loved the food at Jerry Built Burgers
While I cannot give Jerry Built Burgers a full review/grade until it's in normal operational mode, I will award their burger, fries and overall business model an A+ from the Foodie Professor, pending further review.

I would like to give Jerry Built Burgers several props on working to do things in a good way--ethically right, sustainable and working to support local businesses, as well as be environmentally friendly and community minded.  This kind of sustainable business model is succeeding despite economic hard times and it's one of those concepts that has to be pursued by entrepreneurs as well as supported by customers.  I was very impressed at how all the partners I met were engaged with the customers and stakeholders.  My gut instinct as a food lover and an economist is that this location is going to be very busy, wildly successful and will lead to more locations in the future.  I urge you readers to support this business not only because they are socially responsible, morally ethical and sustainable, but also because they have produced a DAMN GOOD BURGER that you will crave, as I am craving one right now at this writing.
It's not Green Door Burger, but it's how JerryBuilt Burgers will make you feel
after you eat one!
Jerry Built Burgers has two locations.  The Grand Opening was Sat. Feb 18th in their location at:

3501W. Holcombe Blvd.
Houston, Texas 77025

Hours of operation are
Sunday - Thursday 11:00AM – 9:00PM
Friday - Saturday 11:00AM – 10:00PM

I will be paying them another visit after a month of operation to give them a proper Hank on Food Review.

And remember:
Eat Happy!!!
Zao an, Y'all!!!


Sunny said...

Alas but no In-n-Out

Professor Hank said...


True, but I say Jerry Built is better than In-N-Out on a few levels:

1. Bacon, Fried Egg and Guacamole toppings available. Not at In-N-Out.

2. Seasoning mix is better.

Just my $2.00 worth.

Hank on Food

Daniel Anthony said...

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