Burgers in the 'Desert'

Acclaimed Houston-area barbecue spot set to spin off a new burger joint

Acclaimed Houston-area barbecue spot will spin off a new burger joint

Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue smoked cheeseburger
The Smokehouse Burger will have a dedicated home. Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue/Facebook

By any measure, the Smokehouse Burger at Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue has been a hit. Even though it’s only been available for seven weeks as a Wednesday-only special, it’s become one of the Tomball barbecue joint’s most popular dishes.

“It was always traditionally our slowest day of the week,” co-owner Scott Moore, Jr tells CultureMap. “Now Wednesday is our busiest day of the week other than Saturday.”

The burger’s success prompted Moore and his business partners, his wife Michelle Holland and his brother Greg Moore, to contemplate not just making the dish a permanent menu item but spinning it off into a dedicated restaurant. When Moore found a shuttered restaurant space on Main Street in Tomball that happened to share a landlord with Tejas Chocolate, he and his partners quickly decided to pull the trigger.

“It all happened suddenly,” Moore says. “[This week] will be our seventh week to make burgers. Six weeks in we decided, hey, let’s open a burger joint.”

They struck a deal. Tejas Burger Joint will open at 214 W. Main St. If all goes well, the new restaurant will open by the end of the summer.

“The permitting for the city is all done. It’s a fairly easy way to go into a second-gen building and start a burger joint,” Moore says.

Moore says that he, his brother, and Tejas Chocolate general manager Dan Davidson will develop the menu. Currently, their plans are to make the Smokehouse Burger just one of the offerings, alongside an expanded menu of traditional burgers, fries, and shakes (both regular and boozy).

Expect a hefty, half-pound burger that’s cooked on a griddle. In a nod to the ethos that helped Tejas earn sixth place on Texas Monthly’s prestigious list of the state’s top 50 barbecue joints, the restaurant will cure its own bacon and utilize a custom Prime brisket patty with a luscious 65/35 meat-to-fat ratio.

Count Houston Chronicle barbecue columnist J.C. Reid as a fan. In a recent article, he described the Smokehouse Burger as “a delicious shock-and-awe flood of flavor and texture on the taste buds.”

“We feel like part of the enthusiasm was the quality of the burger we’re making is really good,” Moore says. "Somebody said to me, in Tomball, they live in a burger desert."

In other words, the right restaurant will be something of an oasis for burger hounds in Tomball and beyond. Judging by the enthusiasm for its first efforts, Tejas Burger Joint may earn just as much attention as its big brother.