In an effort to promote local products and places, The Complete Package and I ventured out last Sunday in search of the perfect hamburger. There’s an urban myth in the Houston area that Stomp’s Burger Joint in Bacliff, Texas has not only developed near perfect hamburgers, but has also mastered the art of onion rings. We knew it would be a sacrifice, but we were willing to take one for the team to find out if the rumors were true. With our stretchy pants on and our camera in hand, we set out on the hour-long drive to Bacliff on Highway 146 along Galveston Bay, a few minutes south of Kemah.
We knew we had arrived when we saw a brown wooden structure with STOMP’S painted on the roof. As expected, the place was crowded and we found ourselves pulling into an over-flow parking lot adjacent to the restaurant. When you get there, it’s “seat yourself” and be forewarned, inside tables are hard to come by. If you insist on air-conditioning you may very well have to wait, but if you’re willing to brave the heat, Stomp’s has a screened patio with extra outdoor seating. Once you find a table, a busy waitress will greet you promptly and get to work on your drink order. Choices include tea (sweet & unsweetened), soft drinks and beer. We went for a Dr Pepper and a Shiner. This is Texas, after all.
When it comes to burgers, there is something for everyone at Stomp’s. Like them plain? Got it. Prefer your burger with double meat, gooey cheese and chopped jalapenos? Done. Marinated in wine? Yep. Marinated in ranch? You betcha. Smothered in chili, salsa, mushrooms or refried beans? They do that, too. I chose the Hog Wild burger, which featured a single, hand-packed meat patty with smokey bacon mixed in. I topped mine with cheese, tomatoes, onion and avocado with a little mayo. TCP ordered the Yippee Ki Yay burger that included a single meat patty marinated in ranch and topped with BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, and all the fixin’s. Both burgers were tasty. The meat is freshly ground and hand shaped, so there’s no fear of getting a frozen, pre-shaped patty. No mass-produced burgers here, folks. These things were fresh and homemade and lovely. They were crisp and smokey on the outside, and juicy on the inside.
Our next choice was fries or onion rings. Reviews we’d seen on the internet warned that the fries were of the generic frozen variety and should be skipped. Instead, we went for the hand-battered rings. We ordered one batch of rings the regular way and one “double dipped”, as suggested in one review. When they arrived, however, both orders came out double-dipped. Once we tried them, we were thankful for the mix-up. The double-dipped onion rings came out so thick and crunchy, they were hard to resist. We were also thankful we’d each ordered a plate, since both of us decided we didn’t want to share. A standard order of onion rings comes with 5-7 thick sliced rings. We agree with other reviewers: skip the fries and order the onion rings; double-dipped is the way to go.
Overall, we consumed two juicy, flavor-packed burgers, two orders of double-dipped onion rings, a big glass of Dr. Pepper and a frosty Shiner beer. Our total bill was $28 including the tip. So now the big question is, “Was it worth it?” Yes. I wouldn’t say it was worth driving 2 hours round-trip just to visit Stomp’s, but if we’re ever in the Galveston Bay area and we’re craving a burger & rings, we would definitely stop in again. So, it appears the rumors are mostly true. Stomp’s does make a great burger and they have definitely mastered the art of onion rings, especially if you go for double-dipped deliciousness. But best burger ever? I’m not willing to make that leap. I’d put them in our Top 5 in the Houston area. Maybe even Top 3, and that’s not bad. Not bad at all.
The Stomp’s website is sparse, with only a restaurant logo and a scanned copy of the menu to choose from, but thanks to YELP, you can get a map and read reviews posted by those who’ve gone before you. There are also a few photos to browse. I’ll admit, I read the reviews before we went and it paid off. We would never have known that you could order your onion rings “double dipped” without those reviews. Now, if only Stomp’s would switch to hand-cut fries…
For what it’s worth, you can find the Stomp’s website at: http://www.stompsburgerjoint.com/
To read what others are saying about Stomp’s, try YELP.com at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/stomps-burger-joint-bacliff