Tucker’s Onion Burgers: simple and delicious
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As the first fast-casual dining experience from the popular and well-respected A Good Egg Dining Group (the people behind Cheever’s Cafe, Iron Starr Urban BBQ, Red Primesteak and RePUBlic Gastropub), Tucker’s has understandably garnered a lot of attention. Much has been written about Tucker’s already, but I still wanted to offer my thoughts on this new staple of Oklahoma City dining.
Tucker’s menu pays homage to the kind of simplicity that made In-N-Out Burger famous. Tucker’s offers a single onion burger (4.99, $5.49 w/cheese), a double onion burger ($6.99, $7.99 w/cheese), a triple onion burger (the “Mother Tucker” – $8.99, $9.99 w/cheese), a turkey burger ($4.99, $5.49 w/cheese) and a salad (“The One Salad” – $4.99). They also have shakes made with Blue Bell ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry – $3.99).
Personally, I like the simple menu approach. It makes them efficient and allows them to stay focused on quality. Plus, I just happen to like their burgers. A lot.
These are onion burgers, of which I am a big fan (see a pic). Now, whenever one talks about onion burgers around these parts, one will inevitably compare them to El Reno onion burgers. Believe me, I get it. I grew up eating at the El Reno onion burger places. I love them, and I can tell you that Tucker’s Onion Burgers are not El Reno style onion burgers. But to be honest, I really don’t care. Who says an onion burger has to be made a certain way to be tasty? Tucker’s may not be making El Reno style onion burgers, but they are making tasty onion burgers that are located a lot closer to my house, and that gets my attention.
Tucker’s burgers are bigger than El Reno burgers and the patties don’t get smashed razor-thin like we’re used to in El Reno. That’s ok with me because while I might need to eat two (or sometimes, yes, even three) El Reno burgers to get full, a single burger and fries at Tucker’s gets me to a good level. I try to stick with the single burger at Tucker’s because I know it’s better on my pocketbook and my health, but the double burger is oh so good. I’ve never had the Mother Tucker, but I’d imagine it’s oh oh so so good. Maybe one day I’ll try it but for me the single is a great size with the double being there for an extra level of indulgence.
The quality of ingredients are a cut above here. First, they’re using fresh, locally-sourced, high quality beef that’s hand-formed into patties. The onions are cut thin and cooked on the meat to a good level. The buns are exceptional, sourced from the Prairie Thunder Baking Company and baked fresh especially for Tucker’s. I’ve heard some say the buns are a little too heavy or “roll-like” for them. I can understand that point of view as they are pretty substantial. This is another reason why I think the double burger beats the single by just an edge. On the single, you feel like there is just a little too much bread for the meat. But with the double, the balance is perfect.
The substantial bun also allows it to hold a whole lot of toppings without falling apart. Your choice of toppings is included with every burger (cheese is extra). My personal combination is always grilled onions (of course), mustard, extra pickles, and fresh grilled jalepenos. To me, the shredded lettuce and tomatoes just get in the way. But the pickles are a treat. These are thick-cut, high quality pickle slices. You can ask for “extra pickles” and I highly recommend that you do.
Tucker’s fries deserve some love as well ($2.59 - see a pic). The first time we visited, my wife said they were the best fries she’s had. I’ve experienced some slight inconsistency in the fries from visit to visit. Sometimes they’ve been a little overdone, but never enough to really bother me. And when they are on they are spot on — fresh-cut, fairly thin, cooked in peanut oil and sprinkled with a little sea salt. The amazing thing is you can get these to go and they will still be crispy when you get where you are going.
I haven’t had “The One Salad,” or the turkey burger so I can’t speak to those. I have had one of their shakes (see a pic). I’m no shake connoisseur, so to me it was just a shake. And at $3.99 it adds quite a bit to the price of a meal (not to mention the addition of calories) so I usually pass. I prefer my calories in burger form.
Speaking of price, I think Tucker’s is priced well for the most part. The fact that it’s served in a paper sack gives the feel of a fast-food restaurant and so, one might feel Tucker’s is pricey in comparison to other fast food options. But the size and quality of the meal here justifies the higher price tag. My standard single onion burger with cheese, plus fries and a drink comes in at just under $11 with tax (and there’s no tipping here). A little high, but there are a couple of tricks you can employ to lower your tab. Bring your cup back with you and you’ll save $1 on the drink. Use a KeepItLocalOK card and you’ll save another 10%. Put that all together and my meal usually comes in at under $9 all-inclusive.
As with most every restaurant Good Egg operates, the building tells a good part of the story. Before Tucker’s ever opened, Good Egg invested a great deal in the restoration of the historical building it now occupies (see pics here and here). As a resident of this area, that makes a big impression on me. The vibe inside the restaurant is lively and it can be pretty loud when it’s full. I prefer sitting outside on their wonderful patio where things are a lot quieter.
My only real complaint at Tucker’s is the lack of options for kids. There is no kids menu and the burgers are so big that, unless you cut them into pieces to share among several little ones, there’s going to be a lot of waste. I don’t fault them for it as I’m sure they would add a kids menu if they thought they needed it to bring in business. As it is, I won’t be taking my family to Tucker’s, but that won’t keep me from frequenting by myself, with my wife, and with friends.
Overall, Tucker’s is a hit and a place that I hope will be a part of OKC’s dining scene for a long time. Have you been to Tucker’s yet? Let us know what you think in the comments below.