I found myself in San Antonio on business with a number of visits to make but no particular schedule when a friend mentioned Texas Monthly’s recently released list of the 50 Greatest Burgers in the Lone Star State. Already past the noon hour, I whipped my car around and headed for the Olmos Park neighborhood, where I found a 45 minute wait even approaching 2:00. It’s an admittedly small space, with a modern, industrial-chic interior, but with such limited seating it still feels intimate, rather than a cold, drafty loft. And obviously the notoriety has caught up with them, as evidenced not only by the wait times, but management having to step in and throw a wet blanket on the smoldering burger mania.
See, FOLC didn’t start as a “burger joint” nor do they aim to be one. Their mission is mindfully sourced and plated modern American fare, and they want to remain true to their roots. Apparently in response to some petulant social media users (say what? complaints on the internet?!) they’ve had to limit the number of daily burgers in order to maintain quality and probably Chef Luis Colon’s sanity. Patrons would be best served calling ahead to reserve a table and a burger, similar to what Chef Linton Hopkins has done at Atlanta’s Holeman & Finch.
I didn’t have that much time, but as luck would have it, there was a single available stool at FOLC’s sister bar next door, Park Social, where the same level of care is taken with the drinks. The simple lunch menu featured just 4 items, the $11 brisket burger, a chicken sandwich and some salads – but that’s all I was after. The best burger as identified by Texas Monthly is actually the brisket burger with pork belly added, bringing the tally to $18. I understand the specialty ingredients, but part of me felt like Vincent Vega – I had to know what an $18 burger tasted like.
Pork belly might seem like gilding the lily on an already decadent 70/30 ratio brisket burger, but the parts come together into such a harmoniously juicy whole that one can forgive the sheer savory hubris. What’s that you say? There’s a fried egg on it too? Jiminy Christmas, yes there is. All piled on with cheese and secret sauce – a house made 1000 islandesque – I have to say, pretty amazing. One drawback, perhaps it was just the lunch rush, but it appeared I was served a regular Mrs Baird’s shelf bun, rather than the buttery artisan bun you see in publication photos. C’est la vie. Juicy as the burger was though, the bun still served its absorbent duties.
Many of these burger lists receive their share of irate comments saying “X-Burgers from Y-ville should be on this list!” And maybe so, but Texas Monthly certainly found a top notch burger at FOLC, perhaps a diamond in the rough, since it’s not really a classic “burger joint” – but all the best to Chef Colon and their newfound burger notoriety.Share this: