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Maple & Motor

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.

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?

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.

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.”

(Yes. Terribly cranky.)

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