When Daddio’s Burger opens next week on the corner of Calder and West Lucas in Beaumont, it will be at least the seventh restaurant at that location. Considering the building was erected more than 50 years ago, that is not a bad track record – and a lot of good food has come out of the various kitchens there.
For years, it was a short-order mecca under the Toddle House and Steak & Egg banner. Then in 1983 it became the original Novrozsky’s, the hamburger restaurant Dave Jones has grown to seven locations throughout Southeast Texas with a full menu that includes – in addition to gourmet burgers – wraps, spuds, chicken, seafood and a signature chicken-fried steak the size of a hubcap. Not content to rest on his laurels, Jones began to look for new culinary worlds to conquer. Then Mother Nature and the city of Beaumont stepped in.
The restaurant on Calder was badly damaged in Hurricane Rita and again in Ike. By that time, the city had undertaken an ambitious road and sewer project that would result in the street being closed for the better part of two years. Jones was tinkering with a new giant burrito concept originally called N-Fuego’s, but when people weren’t sure exactly what that was, he changed the name to Geo Burrito. It worked – so much so that when national burrito chain Freebird’s was looking to move into this market, he sold his Geo Burrito outlets to them – except the Calder location, which he kept along with the name. Jones has no Geo Burritos at this time but retains the rights.
Then along came Sol, a concept serving food rarely seen in Beaumont outside the St. Michael Mediterranean Festival.
“Most people around here aren’t used to eating lamb,” explained Jones. He is adding a lamb gyro to the menu at the Novrozsky’s on Dowlen Road, perhaps in an attempt at cultivating local palates — and satisfying the lamb cravings of the cognoscenti.
Sol Mediterranean Grill lasted about a year before closing its doors, clearing the way for Jones to try another concept he has been looking at for at least a couple of years. Enter Daddio’s Burger.
A stripped-down burger joint offering burgers, fries and shakes doesn’t sound all that revolutionary, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The burgers are made from never-frozen Nolan Ryan beef; the shakes are hand-dipped from Blue Bell ice cream. And the fries … fresh cut french fries are a rarity in Beaumont, understandable because taking actual potatoes and turning them into french fries is a two-day process. Tibideaux’s, The Grill and Floyd’s are three that do, but for most eateries in our town, no potatoes were harmed in the production of their fries – at least not recently. Daddio’s will serve nothing but fresh-cut fries.
The menu is reminiscent of Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which started in the Washington, D.C. area in 1986 and has since grown to more than a thousand units nationwide. There are 14 Five Guys in the Greater Houston area alone.
Like Five Guys, Daddio’s will concentrate on burgers – and those fresh-cut fries. Burger trimmings including bacon, sautéed mushrooms and grilled onions are available along with a grilled chicken sandwiches and salads.
Jones has his fingers on the pulse of the local restaurant market, and he’d better. Opening a hamburger restaurant when you already own a string of hamburger restaurants in the same market is an unusual move, but he’s betting there is room for both types of burgers in this town. Of course, the final decision rests with the burger-eating public. Stop by and tell us what you think.
James Shannon can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 249, or by e-mail at james [at] beaumontbusinessjournal [dot] com.