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Patty melts forever.
Patty melts forever.
Whataburger

8 Places to Eat a Patty Melt, the Burger's Underrated Cousin

Is it a burger or a sandwich? Whatever, it's delicious.

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Patty melts forever.
| Whataburger

[Photo: Whataburger]

Once upon a time, Sandwich Adam (meat) and Sandwich Eve (bread) conceived two sons: the burger, and the patty melt. To this day burger gets all the accolades while the patty melt toils in relative obscurity. Burgers you can find in a gastropub or even a brasserie; patty melts prefer to hang in dingy diners.

Whether a patty melt ought to be defined as a burger or a sandwich is up for debate (and do weigh in via the poll below) but regardless of its taxonomy, it's a beautiful thing. A patty melt is somehow more than the sum of its parts — juicy beef patties and buttery toast, typically of the rye variety — sutured together with melted cheese and grilled onions as the needle and thread. Burger or not a burger, here's where to find a damn good one in Dallas.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Norma's Cafe

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1123 W Davis St
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 946-4711
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Of course the godmother of Dallas diners griddles up a melt that's unmatched. It's only natural. And because they've been cookin' country breakfast and lunch since the '50s, Norma's unsurprisingly nails the gooey-to-crunchy-to-buttery ratio that defines a spectacular patty melt. Eat this with a cup of coffee and a slice of pie and experience such powerful food euphoria that you're transported back to a time when regular aw-shucks everyday hard-workin' folk like you and me didn't know the meaning of the phrase "clogged arteries."

2. Hunky's

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321 N Bishop Ave
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 941-3322
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Hunky's doesn't lack of options — there are upwards of 20 different burgers, plus they routinely offer specials and one-offs — so even spying the patty melt on the menu could be a challenge. It's one I recommend meeting. The patty melt here ain't trying to impress anybody, but that's exactly what it ends up doing. It's wonderfully straightforward and simple — patty, rye, Swiss, grilled onions — and, when paired with a Blue Bell milkshake and homemade onion rings, will comfort the cockles of your against-all-odds-it's-still-somehow-beating heart.

3. Anvil Pub

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2638 Elm St
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 741-1271
While Anvil's menu is incongruously thoughtful and vegan-friendly for just a little unassuming bar in Deep Ellum, on the flipside, they still know how to do a down-and-dirty, old-school, four-pints-in preposterously tasty patty melt. They don't skimp on the meat, and the rye bread is sturdy and sharp. Scarfing down this beauty, along with a little Hammertime, is about as good as drunk eating gets.

4. Off-Site Kitchen

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2226 Irving Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75207
(214) 741-2226
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Purists will scoff, but at OSK they eschew rye for white toast and throw pickles into the cheese-and-onion mix. No matter; it's awesome. They execute every part with aplomb, and the pickles in particular add an acidic kick that really makes one rethink the power of a patty melt. This is hands down the king of the patty melt scene. They often offer their melt as a special — it's not on the everyday menu — so if you happen to be there when they do, order it immediately. If not, you can always request one; sometimes they'll make it for you right on the spot, because the people who work at this magical meat wonderland are as incredible as the food.

5. Jonathon's Oak Cliff

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1111 N Beckley Ave
Dallas, TX 75203
(214) 946-2221
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Yes, Jonathon's offers a patty melt for lunch, and yes, it's absolutely as good as you already thought it was going to be. They also play with the patty melt formula a bit, adding sauteed mushrooms and slathering their crunchy, buttery toast with a roasted garlic aioli. Yes, it is massive, and yes, it is decadent, and yes, it pairs very well with their tangy greens. After all, it's Jonathon's. If you really loathe your cardiologist, come on a Wednesday — Cheeseburger Soup day.

6. NHS Bar & Grill

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10720 Preston Rd
Dallas, TX 75230
(214) 368-1101
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The old Neighborhood Services Tavern used to serve a Reuben of absurd proportions, and here, with this patty melt, the NHS guys have created a worthy successor. You can only get this guy on Thursdays, for lunch. And as mentioned, it's gigantic, and not in the generic "you won't believe how big burgers have gotten nowadays y'all" sense. It's gigantic in the "this patty melt weighs more than my grandmother" sense. What's more, the grilled onions that traditionally occupy patty melt sandwich space are instead cooked down in a riff on the kind of bacon jams that are so popular these days. And for this sweet-and-savory accompaniment, we are all better.

7. Dallas Grilled Cheese Co.

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310 W 7th St
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 944-5515
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The rye bread here is thick and delicious, the Swiss cheese perfectly melted and stringy, the patty thick and piping hot and bursting with juices. But all that couldn't compare to their immaculately caramelized onions: sweet, rich, and melt-in-your-mouth, cooked low for so long that they coagulate into one glorious onion glob, smeared from end to end like a compote. The patty melt here is like if French onion soup were a sandwich with meat in it, and yes, that is one hell of a compliment.

8. Fred's Texas Cafe

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915 Currie St
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 332-0083
Visit Website
Like Off-Site Kitchen, Fort Worth institution Fred's foregoes rye in favor of what you and I and every other self-respecting Southern drawler knows and reveres and cherishes: Texas toast. And the good people at Fred's are toast savants; every bite of their melt is equal parts crunchy and creamy and meaty and cheesy. It's remarkably well-crafted.

1. Norma's Cafe

1123 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75208
Of course the godmother of Dallas diners griddles up a melt that's unmatched. It's only natural. And because they've been cookin' country breakfast and lunch since the '50s, Norma's unsurprisingly nails the gooey-to-crunchy-to-buttery ratio that defines a spectacular patty melt. Eat this with a cup of coffee and a slice of pie and experience such powerful food euphoria that you're transported back to a time when regular aw-shucks everyday hard-workin' folk like you and me didn't know the meaning of the phrase "clogged arteries."
1123 W Davis St
Dallas, TX 75208

2. Hunky's

321 N Bishop Ave, Dallas, TX 75208
Hunky's doesn't lack of options — there are upwards of 20 different burgers, plus they routinely offer specials and one-offs — so even spying the patty melt on the menu could be a challenge. It's one I recommend meeting. The patty melt here ain't trying to impress anybody, but that's exactly what it ends up doing. It's wonderfully straightforward and simple — patty, rye, Swiss, grilled onions — and, when paired with a Blue Bell milkshake and homemade onion rings, will comfort the cockles of your against-all-odds-it's-still-somehow-beating heart.
321 N Bishop Ave
Dallas, TX 75208

3. Anvil Pub

2638 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75226
While Anvil's menu is incongruously thoughtful and vegan-friendly for just a little unassuming bar in Deep Ellum, on the flipside, they still know how to do a down-and-dirty, old-school, four-pints-in preposterously tasty patty melt. They don't skimp on the meat, and the rye bread is sturdy and sharp. Scarfing down this beauty, along with a little Hammertime, is about as good as drunk eating gets.
2638 Elm St
Dallas, TX 75226

4. Off-Site Kitchen

2226 Irving Blvd., Dallas, TX 75207
Purists will scoff, but at OSK they eschew rye for white toast and throw pickles into the cheese-and-onion mix. No matter; it's awesome. They execute every part with aplomb, and the pickles in particular add an acidic kick that really makes one rethink the power of a patty melt. This is hands down the king of the patty melt scene. They often offer their melt as a special — it's not on the everyday menu — so if you happen to be there when they do, order it immediately. If not, you can always request one; sometimes they'll make it for you right on the spot, because the people who work at this magical meat wonderland are as incredible as the food.
2226 Irving Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75207

5. Jonathon's Oak Cliff

1111 N Beckley Ave, Dallas, TX 75203
Yes, Jonathon's offers a patty melt for lunch, and yes, it's absolutely as good as you already thought it was going to be. They also play with the patty melt formula a bit, adding sauteed mushrooms and slathering their crunchy, buttery toast with a roasted garlic aioli. Yes, it is massive, and yes, it is decadent, and yes, it pairs very well with their tangy greens. After all, it's Jonathon's. If you really loathe your cardiologist, come on a Wednesday — Cheeseburger Soup day.
1111 N Beckley Ave
Dallas, TX 75203

6. NHS Bar & Grill

10720 Preston Rd, Dallas, TX 75230
The old Neighborhood Services Tavern used to serve a Reuben of absurd proportions, and here, with this patty melt, the NHS guys have created a worthy successor. You can only get this guy on Thursdays, for lunch. And as mentioned, it's gigantic, and not in the generic "you won't believe how big burgers have gotten nowadays y'all" sense. It's gigantic in the "this patty melt weighs more than my grandmother" sense. What's more, the grilled onions that traditionally occupy patty melt sandwich space are instead cooked down in a riff on the kind of bacon jams that are so popular these days. And for this sweet-and-savory accompaniment, we are all better.
10720 Preston Rd
Dallas, TX 75230

7. Dallas Grilled Cheese Co.

310 W 7th St, Dallas, TX 75208
The rye bread here is thick and delicious, the Swiss cheese perfectly melted and stringy, the patty thick and piping hot and bursting with juices. But all that couldn't compare to their immaculately caramelized onions: sweet, rich, and melt-in-your-mouth, cooked low for so long that they coagulate into one glorious onion glob, smeared from end to end like a compote. The patty melt here is like if French onion soup were a sandwich with meat in it, and yes, that is one hell of a compliment.
310 W 7th St
Dallas, TX 75208

8. Fred's Texas Cafe

915 Currie St, Fort Worth, TX 76107
Like Off-Site Kitchen, Fort Worth institution Fred's foregoes rye in favor of what you and I and every other self-respecting Southern drawler knows and reveres and cherishes: Texas toast. And the good people at Fred's are toast savants; every bite of their melt is equal parts crunchy and creamy and meaty and cheesy. It's remarkably well-crafted.
915 Currie St
Fort Worth, TX 76107

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