Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series (“The Quick Bite”) of Hill Country restaurant reviews featuring simple, affordable, and tasty food.
Located down a fun alleyway covered in bright metal signs and yard art just off Fredericksburg’s main drag sits a cozy little eatery well worth a visit.
Known for their simple menu, Jennie’s Smoked Burgers and Tornado Fries is the kind of Texas Hill Country lunch joint you visit when everyone in your party craves a burger and little else. In fact the drink options outnumber the entrees and sides. No matter, the restaurant’s made-to-order burgers, beef hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and homemade tornado fries are plenty to satisfy most folks.
Amazingly, the famous all-beef burgers are actually made of brisket, and the meat does indeed have a splendid smoky taste evoking Hill Country barbecue. For the Paleo crowd, they’ll make your burger and fixings in a lettuce wrap, and the fries (sans spices, for extra caution) are gluten-free. Whether you go with a bun or a crispy green wrap, you can opt to top your burger with cheese, onions, lettuce, pickles, and a delicious secret sauce. Or keep it simple go plain and dry. Because each meal is made to order, the call is yours.
Let’s talk a bit more about those “tornado fries” for a moment, shall we?
The fries at Jennie’s have serious foodie panache. Imagine a long wooden skewer filled with thin slices of potato sprinkled with Jennie’s house seasoning. More crispy than tender, the potatoes push the limits on “fries” while playing with our ideas about how the most famous burger side is to be presented.
“Are these chips or fries?” wondered my tween-age companion. “Or are they are the Schrödinger’s cat of fried things?” Of course, then he ate more than half of our order–all in the name of science, I’m sure.
Like the menu, the restaurant itself is small, and it can be a tad noisy during peak hours. The front patio is a great option, however, when the weather is nice. Service is reliable and friendly, even during a rush.
Most importantly, Jennie’s food is so good that I built time into the schedule to visit when we had to make an October run to F’burg to meet a story source.
Yup, we were pleased enough with our Jennie’s experience to make repeat visits this year and then to tell you, Wildflowers, all about it.
Story by Pamela Price
Jennie’s Smoked Burgers and Tornado Fries
319 E. Main St.