In keeping with the culinary trend I set with the last entry,* in this exciting episode I’m going to sing the praises of one of my favorite local restaurant chains. If you like burgers you can’t do much better than Scotty P’s, and I know I’m not the only one with that opinion. They regularly win rewards for the best burgers in town, whichever town a particular restaurant happens to be in.
Scotty P’s named for Scotty Pontikes, the gentleman who launched his first restaurant in Plano in the 1990s. Since then, the chain has spread to Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Dallas, and Garland. While they’ve opened only seven stores so far, they’re well worth seeking out. The burgers are just that good, and so is the service.
Before I get down to the menu, I want to discuss the décor. I wish I could just show you some pictures, but as I mentioned last time, restaurateurs tend to frown on spur-of-the-moment interior photography. Not that Scotty’s has anything to be ashamed of; the place is always clean enough to eat off the floor. The décor itself is slightly rustic, though not so much as, say, a stereotypical barbecue place, and goes a classy step beyond the calculated old-timey kitsch that you get in places like Cracker Barrel. See, the walls are covered with large, framed historic photos, which they actually change from time to time. The kicker is that, with the exception of the historic Pontikes family photos (which are well marked), the photos are all from the local areas. You get to see the students of various local schools, the interiors of stores, delis, and restaurants, old goat carts complete with kids, aged Grand Marshals of unspecified parades, and the like. Occasionally you’ll see a date included in the photo, and it’s not unlikely to be 100 years in the past.
The photos are a big part of Scotty P’s charm; their motto is “That’s One Historic Hamburger.” And really, it is — these are burgers like the ones you used to get at old drive-throughs, with toasted buns and lots of flavor. They’re a far cry from fast-food burgers, and for me at least, they bring back fond memories of the old days. But otherwise, Scotty’s is a thoroughly modern enterprise. If you go in the men’s room for a little visit, you’re likely to find a TV above the toilet to keep you company. Also, they use state-of-the-art computer systems to move the orders right along, and you get one of those neat little handheld devices that lights up and sets off a little chime to tell you when your order’s ready. To me, it looks like one of those handheld stun guns. Sadly, though, it never works that way. I keep trying.
I have to admit that the burgers are a little pricy, and you have to get your fries or rings a la carte, just another reminder that this ain’t McDonald’s. My family’s standard Scotty P’s order is three Number One burgers (the standard quarter-pound type), along with a full order of onion rings, a half order of fries, and three drinks. This all costs about $25. But then again, that’s what one burger costs at N9NE Steakhouse. The great thing about Scotty P’s is that they’ll happily make your burger exactly how you want it without batting an eye. Plus, I’ve yet to have one of their counter people screw up an order, which is something that happens with absurd regularity at most restaurants — and I eat at Scotty P’s several times a week. They’re always polite, too, and I get the impression it’s a fun place to work.
Plus, you get a free take-home plastic cup with your drink. Score! Sure, that’s not a big fat hairy deal, but I’d rather have one of those than a paper (or worse, Styrofoam) cup cluttering up the landscape. I’ll cheerfully admit that a good proportion of my drinkware comes from Scotty P’s. I probably have enough Scotty P’s cups to start my own franchise, actually. I keep asking if I can redeem them, like old soda bottles, but nobody’s taken me up on that yet.
A warning about ordering fries, onion rings, and the like at Scotty P’s — unless you’re really hungry or there are multiple people in your party, get a half-order (also known as a junior order). You’ll still get about twice the amount you’ll get anywhere else, and you’ll save a buck or two. As for the rest of the menu, I’m not familiar with it, because I stick with the burgers. However, they not only have a wide variety of burgers, they also offer hotdogs, salads, chicken, soup, and chili, and there’s always the cheesecake for dessert, assuming you’re still hungry (not likely). Here, check it out. To top it all off, they make everything after you order it, from fresh ingredients they prepare themselves. No microwaves or heating lamps here; they pride themselves on that. So it takes a little while to get your order, but I don’t think we’ve ever waited for more than ten minutes or so. Like I said, the service is great!
As for drinks, soda, tea, wine and beer are all offered, along with chocolate milk, coffee, and bottled water. Now, if you’re really feeling fancy, try their ultimate meal deal: Two burgers, an order of fries, and a bottle of Dom Perignon. That’ll be $320, please. This isn’t a joke: they really do have the Dom on hand — I’ve seen it — and they do occasionally sell some, especially on special occasions.
For more information on locations, the menu, and everything else, check out Scotty P’s website. I strongly urge you to visit when you’re in town. The flavor may not be uniquely DFW — yet — but it’s definitely one of the best burgers around, and the prices are good.
*Hey, one in a row is a trend, right?