Sunday, November 7, 2010


Dan's Hamburgers. © Ryan Schierling
Dan's Hamburgers is legendary in Austin. Fran's Hamburgers is legendary in Austin. 

A long time ago, there used to be Dan and Fran's Hamburgers, when they were married. But, Dan and Fran split up. Now there are separate restaurants serving exactly the same menus. I'm not one to choose sides where matters of the heart are concerned. However, choosing sides when it comes to the southern staple of "meat and two," matters of the heart are cast aside, obviously. Fry it, and put gravy on all of it. Please. 

The breakfast menu at Dan's (and Fran's, since they're eerily, matrimonially, exactly similar) is pretty utilitarian and mostly meat-heavy. No one would look at you sideways if you ordered an omelet stuffed with bacon, ham and sausage, with bacon bits on top. But ask for a fruit cup and you'd be out of luck. 

Actually, they were ridiculously accommodating. Chicken-fried steak is not on the breakfast menu, so it went sort of like this: 

Me: "Can I get a chicken-fried steak, with two eggs over easy, two biscuits and hash browns?"
Our waitress: "#6 (2 Eggs of Your Choice w/ 2 Sides) plus CFS, you got it."
Me: "I am very excited."
Our waitress: (smirk)
Julie: "Okay, I don't mean to be difficult...but, what I'm craving this morning is a grilled cheese sandwich with two eggs and hash browns."
Our waitress, smiling and shaking her head a little: "Okay. We can do that." 

The coffee was as expected – and turned out to be – best-case truck stop, worst-case all-night diner. But it kept coming fresh and hot well after we'd completely decimated our plates and were sitting there badgering about whether or not it was too late to put more tomato plants into the garden. The hash browns and eggs made me want to kiss whoever did, or didn't, clean the well-seasoned flat-top every night. Fluffy – not flaky – biscuits were nicely buttered and salty and too large for me to finish both. 

Salt of the earth joint
Beefy anticipation
drowning in gravy

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