LITTLE ROCK David’s Burgers, a family-owned restaurant now boasting three locations in central Arkansas, doesn’t try to be all things to all people. Instead, it strives to do one thing. But it does that extraordinarily well.
The menu here can’t get much more one-dimensional, recalling that vintage recurring Saturday Night Live sketch of the bustling big-city diner where only cheeseburgers (no hamburgers) and Pepsi (no Coke) were sold. Fries? No way.
But the fries are plentiful at David’s, which is a burger joint, plain and simple. Except that the burgers aren’t plain. Instead, they are crafted of high-quality meat. They are well-seasoned, and so are the heaping helpings of skin-on fries.
The first David’s Burgers opened in Conway in late 2010 and then followed a west Little Rock location in summer 2011. Recently, a third locale debuted in North Little Rock on Landers Road, off U.S. 67/167 in the long-vacant Roadhouse Grill.
Visiting the North Little Rock restaurant on a recent Saturday, we arrived about 6 p.m. to a full parking lot and diners milling around by the front door with others in larger dining parties waiting inside. But our smaller group of three was seated immediately. Unlike the Little Rock location, where diners order at the counter, those visiting the North Little Rock outletare seated and orders taken at their tables.
The restaurant, decorated in red, black and white, features red-glitter vinyl booths and chairs and a retro diner feel. Adding to the old-school decor are a (nonworking) reproduction of a vintage jukebox and poster-size vintage black and white photos gracing the walls. Other touches, like glass Coke glasses, heavy glass salt and pepper shakers, chrome napkin dispensers, and red plastic classic-styled ketchup bottles, complete the ambience.
On this night, the place was bustling with servers scurrying back and forth. A loud din was created by scores of diners’ conversations, the oldies music playing through speakers and the continuous sizzle of the hamburger grill and waiters singing a birthday serenade. Only a waist-high brick wall separates cooks from the diners, so patrons can watch the burgers being prepared.
The menu - laminated, single-sided and the size of a place mat - is as simple as 1, 2, 3.
No. 1 is a single burger, fries and a drink for $7.68, while a No. 2 is a double-patty burger, fries and a drink for $8.99.The No. 3 is a kid’s burger, fries and a drink for $5.99 (less 10 percent for children 10 and younger).
For kids or those who want to eat sans meat, there is also a No. 4 - a grilled cheese, fries and drink for $3.99. There are also garden salads on the menu (basic $3.79), one made with a burger patty ($5.94), another featuring a cheese patty ($6.28) and a third one featuring grilled chicken ($6.28).
Free toppings for the burgers include mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickles and raw onion. Toppings that may be added for additional charges ranging from 20 to 89 cents include jalapenos, grilled onions or mushrooms, bacon, and cheese. The burgers, fries and drinks may also be boughta la carte.
In our party, we ordered three different combos - the single burger, the double-patty combo and a kid’s meal.
The diner choosing the double-patty added grilled mushrooms, onions and American cheese to it while jalapenos spiced up the single burger.
We arrived hungry but didn’t stay that way long as one of the owners, David Allan Bubbas, made several passes around the room with a large stainless steel bowl filled with fries, doling them out on napkins to those awaiting their meals.
When the meals arrived on stylish white square plates, they didn’t disappoint.
“Good burger!” proclaimed the 8-year-old in our group. And his dad agreed.
“This is like a steak dinner inside of a bun,” he said of his double burger. “It’s the real deal.”
Indeed. The burgers were cooked well, tasty and perfectly seasoned, and the toppings were fresh and plentiful. So were those fries; in retrospect three of us could have shared one order of them.
We couldn’t resist dessert and each ordered a small frozen custard ($1.99; $2.99 for a large). Flavors included chocolate banana, Butterfinger, cookie-dough, peanut butter, blueberry cheesecake, and vanilla. These servings were generous,too.
We left feeling as though we’d experienced a quality meal.
The restaurant’s website, which features a photo of three generations of Davids - co-owners David Bubbas, 67, and his son David Allan, 32, holding his 2-year-old son David - says the owners buy only boneless grade A USDA choice beef chuck that has never been frozen. They then hand-cut the meat into the steaks on display in the restaurant’s meat case. The chuck steaks are then ground into hamburger with no trimmings, fillers or added fat.
The restaurant’s slogan emblazoned on the back of wait-staff ’s T-shirts - “Pleased to Meet You and Meat to Please You!” - underscores that David’s focus is friendliness and first-class food. From our experience, David’s delivers, serving up both.
Address: 3510 Landers
Road, North Little Rock
Hours:11 a.m.-9 p.m., Mon
day-Thursday; 11 a.m.-9:30
Cuisine: Burgers, fries
Credit cards: AE, D, MC, V
Alcoholic beverages: No
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Weekend, Pages 31 on 02/28/2013
Print Headline: David’s Burgers menu short, but meaty