Maple & Motor

February 16, 2011

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When I wrote about the hamburgers at Kincaid’s in Fort Worth recently, I was slammed with comments about other burger joints in the area – most notably, Dallas’ newest, Maple & Motor. Open just a year, in an old taqueria on Maple Ave. across from Elliott’s Hardware,  M&M’s brisket/chuck half-pounders had already achieved legendary status among the Dallas burgerati, and lines out the door into the parking lot were common, I’d heard.

Y’all know how I love burgers, so I made a mental note to swing by next time I was in Dallas, which turns out was sooner than I thought.

After rescuing my 20-year-old fringed cowgirl jacket from the storage unit in East Dallas – how did I manage to leave this behind? — I called my friend A., who, besides being the perhaps the best traveling buddy ever (we have taken road trips, plane trips, and even trips on tacky cruise ships together), is always up  for a burger.

So at 1 p.m. on a recent Saturday afternoon, we pulled in.

Outside, lots of trucks and SUVs.

Inside, a mixed-up crowd. A familiar-looking man with shoulder-length dreadlocks. A table of high school boys. Couples from the Park Cities swallowed up by the booths along the wall. College guys in the back, near the jukebox, waiting for an order of cheese fries with bacon. A banker in his weekend jeans and crisp pink button-down.

And us. The girls with the boots.

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We stood in line. Ordered our cheeseburgers, fries, tots, and onion rings, too, and grabbed a couple of DDPs and slid into the only open booth, near the bright afternoon sun and the front door. Somebody played Queen’s “We Are The Champions.”

The burgers were indeed wonderful. Perfect in their pinkness. Fluffy bun domes with that unmistakable — and highly desirable — greasy shine (see napkin cast-offs below). And in my case, a couple of fat, thick strips of bacon, because, why not?

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Jack Perkin’s the front man behind this decidedly un-slick burger joint, who teamed up with his neighbor to make burgers the old fashioned way – simply served up “pink” or “not pink” – with a 40-year-old grill from Vernon, Texas. They pooled their money, opened the place, and after six months, the initial investment was recouped, and the business was operating at a profit.

He’s now looking at opening a second location in Waxahachie.

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Not bad for an ex-high school English teacher/former Navy officer/short story and screenplay writer with a reputation for being cantankerous.

“People will call and say, ‘Is there anything on your menu for a vegan to eat?’” said Perkins, who by now had joined us in our comfy booth.

He laughed.

“No. Go somewhere else.”

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Jack et moi

(Yes. Terribly cranky.)

Maple & Motor
4810 Maple Ave.
Dallas, TX 75235
(214) 522-4400

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie February 16, 2011 at 4:48 AM

Love the line: “No. Go somewhere else.”
So what does the name Maple and Motor mean?

Lynette DeBose February 16, 2011 at 9:39 AM

The joint is located at the corner of Maple and Motor. I love this review! You’re right; Jack can be a little cantankerous, but that’s part of his wonderful charm. I think these are some of the best burgers in Dallas. And, it’s a great place to hang out after you’ve eaten, if you can outlast the crowd!

rob February 16, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Maple and Motor is the cross streets where the restaurant is located.

Great writeup

David Huff February 16, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Folks may think Jack’s “cantankerous,” but what’s really going on is that he cares a great deal about doing things right at his place. And everything on the menu reflects that – simple, high quality ingredients that’re prepared properly.

(BTW, here’s a tip: Y’all stop by for breakfast sometime. Best breakfast tacos in Dallas)

epierce February 16, 2011 at 10:26 AM

David: Agreed. Love breakfast tacos – thanks for the tip!

steph chambers February 16, 2011 at 10:31 AM

It’s great to see you via the blog. We have to stop meeting like this and visit in person. It’s breakfast time and these burgers STILL look yummy to me!

Diana Merrell February 16, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Let me start off by saying what a delicious looking burger. I ‘m so pleased to hear this. I from and live in Waxahachie and let me tell you, we need a awesome burger joint! Can’t wait!!

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