Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tim Love's Love Shack

I made my first trip to Fort Worth, Texas this week, joining friends and family for my brother-in-law's impending nuptials. On a hot, windy day, when my husband was otherwise engaged with Best Man duties, I set out to take in the local sights with our mutual friend, Andy. We flagged a cab and landed in the heart of Cowtown- Fort Worth Stockyards. The former livestock market is now a historic district boasting an expanse of saloons, restaurants, and shopping venues.

After a tour of the strip, including cattle, cowboys clad in chaps and Stetson hats, and a quick turn in the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, we ended the afternoon with burgers and beers at Tim Love's Love Shack. The idea for the lively 140 sq foot 3 tiered Love Shack was born when the Iron Chef America winner was brainstorming ways to utilize leftover trim from the garlic-stuffed beef tenderloin at his nearby Lonesome Dove restaurant and also provide a quick bite to patrons of his White Elephant Saloon (a popular watering hole that sits adjacent to Love Shack). All patties are 50% prime brisket and 50% prime tenderloin, ground fresh daily and cooked medium. The classic Love Burger is topped with lettuce, tomato, American cheese, house made pickles and is smothered with "Love Sauce"- the combination of Serrano chile, house made pickles, mayo, ketchup, white vinegar, and a blend of spices including chili powder, cumin, rosemary, thyme, and garlic powder is exceptional and adds a welcome kick to each bite. The Dirty Love is anything but classic, adding wild boar bacon and a quail egg. For the meatless crowd, Love Shack's menu includes the Boom Boom, a battered and fried portobello mushroom with all the fixings of a standard Love Burger, as well as a daily milkshake and sides like nachos, Love Shack fresh cut fries (small, thin and super crispy), crazy good onion rings (I didn't partake, but I hear they are indeed crazy good), and chile parmesan chips. Food and drinks (including iced Texas sun tea, fresh lemonade, and root beer on tap) are ordered from a street side booth. Customers are handed a wooden heart, painted red with an order number in the middle, and told to grab any available seating while the wait begins. Waitresses make the rounds to deliver orders in exchange for wooden hearts.

Andy and I grabbed a shaded seat on the third floor, above the crowded picnic tables and overlooking the Stockyards, and commenced waiting nearly 40 minutes for our food. The live music was a welcome distraction, but it didn't stop Andy from offering up his new and improved Love Shack business plan about 30 minutes into the wait- guaranteed to double burger output in a few short hours. If only Tim Love were on location, he would have picked up a new, eager business partner. When our food finally arrived (a reasonably priced $4.85 Love Burger, $4.47 Boom Boom burger, and $2.31 side of chile parmesan chips) bagged in Love Shack take-away paper bags, we tossed the wrapping to the side and devoured the sandwiches and chips. Bite after bite, delicious juices running down our faces and dirtying our hands, we soon forgot about the wait.

A bustling Love Shack on a hot afternoon
Signage out front helps confused tourists like us- order at the counter, seat yourself, get your burger, have fun
The restaurant is cash only, and in my opinion, very reasonably priced
One shiner, brewed in the heart of Texas, and our wooden heart with order number 54
A view of Love Shack's interior from up top
The chile parmesan chips were extra crunchy and covered with salty parmesan
The Boom Boom burger- possibly the best portobello sandwich I've ever tasted
The Love Burger- it is easy to see why it's a crowd favorite
Love Shack also sells beers to passersby- it's legal to walk with open containers


  1. That place sounds awesome

  2. yummy---I'll take a chocolate shake with that.