Rising from the ashes of the late Gelato Pazzo on Oak Street off of Carrollton Avenue, Tru Burger (8115 Oak St, 504.218.5416) opened to the public last week, serving up hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, and milkshakes from 11 am to 10 pm. Tiled walls, counter seats, booths, and and a few tables give tru burger a diner/hamburger-stand vibe; customers order at the counter and pickup food once order numbers are called.
(Here’s Tru Burger’s Facebook page. I’m noticing a trend as of late: new restaurants are opting for a FB page rather than a stand-alone website. I guess it’s easier to maintain, but the FB pages don’t always make it to the top of search engine results. So I question the marketing wisdom of not creating a stand-alone site. It’s a shame that potentially unreliable UrbanSpoon and Yelp opinions are the first things that pop up when a potential patron conducts a name search, rather than the restaurant’s own site. I do like Cowbell’s use of the FB page to promote specials, while a stand-alone website contains hours, location/map, and background info on the restaurant.)
Back to the burgers: ample, flattened patties hang off soft, flour-dusted buns, topped with a choice of sauces, lettuce/tomatoes/pickles/onions, cheese, and chili. Or try an optional upgrade of jalapenos, grilled onions, sauteed mushrooms, applewood bacon, fried egg, or avocado; hot dog toppings include onions, sauerkraut, relish, and jalapenos.
Riding shotgun in the burger basket are sides of slaw, chili, or fresh, thin-cut fries. Those fries were easily my favorite part of the tru burger experience. I’m a fan of thin-cut fries, and shoestring fries are almost an endangered species locally–in quick-service joints, I mean. Loads of good, thin-cut fries abound in our city’s better restaurants, but just try getting a cup of Herbsaint’s fries to go. I promise that the staff will give you funny looks.
Try topping the fries with tru’s thin, meaty chili (and cheese, if your tastes run that way), and it’s a recipe for undergraduate heaven, which is why I suggest you try out Tru Burger before Labor Day. I think the modest prices ($4.50 burgers, $1.99 fries) and quality food will attract hordes of Tulane and Loyola students once the fall semester begins.
Tru Burger’s opening means that the business-district stretch of Oak Street is now book-ended by excellent burgers and, strangely enough, competing chili-cheese fries. Down at the river end of the street, Cowbell’s two-fisted, organic beef masterpiece (try it with the zinfandel/bacon/onion compote) is a worthy counterbalance to Tru’s elevated fast food. Let’s hope the neighborhood is big enough for both…