Burgers Off the Beaten Path: Tornado Burger
The first thing you should know about the new Tornado Burger location on Long Point and Campbell is that it isn't air conditioned. It's entirely situated within a semi-enclosed patio that offers a bit of shade, but not too much. So go now before it gets face-meltingly hot.
Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
The second thing you should know is that the patties here are ground fresh and hand formed, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your personal patty preferences. My father wasn't a huge fan of his own burger (although he still ate the whole thing, ahem) because of the fine grind used on the beef. It can render the patty somewhat rubbery. And underneath the slippery cheese and thick spread of mayonnaise that Tornado whips across each bun, it can all come across as a bit unpalatable.
So here's my suggestion:
Get the signature Spicyburger instead, which former Houston Press food critic Robb Walsh once knighted as "the best fast-food burger I have eaten in Texas."
The burgers are all served with excellent, hand-cut fries.
The Spicyburger isn't really all that spicy, but it's delicious. The combination of onions, jalapeños, garlic and other peppers that Tornado Burger throws into the meat grinder with the beef give that finely textured patty the extra oomph it needs to really take off. You don't notice the odd texture with so many moisture-heavy vegetables involved.
This is the way it's also done at the flagship Tornado Burger location in Stafford, where the burger joint is equally famous for its breakfast tacos. I didn't get to try the breakfast tacos (or burritos) at the new location, but noted with interest the fact that you can buy them in bulk ("for the office," the menu instructs) at crazy prices: Three dozen assorted tacos are only $68.04, or $1.89 each. Kind of makes me want to get married again just so I can serve Tornado Burger breakfast tacos at the wedding.
But back to the burgers. In addition to breakfast taco offerings, Tornado Burger also has a cheeky "After Church Brunchburger" topped with bacon, ham, grilled onions, cheese and a fried egg. I feel disgusting even thinking this, but I'd like to see some hashbrowns on top, and maybe even some skillet gravy too. I tried to encourage my parents to order the Brunchburger -- as we were eating there after church on a Sunday and all -- but they wouldn't go for it. I'll have to take less pious diners with me next time.
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