the spot: Sixth and Waller 1108 E. 6th St. Austin TX 78702
the eats: Waller St. Diner Burger
the bucks: $13.50 for a double, $8.50 for a single
the full nelson: a nostalgic burger built with quality ingredients.
A successful burger experience should satisfy a craving. I think that is why so many burgers I have tried as of late seem to dwell on the idea of an ooey gooey cheeseburger experience that also relies on farm to table produce, a custom beef patty and ends up with a price tag teetering towards the early teens. Sometimes it gets a little mundane to rely on American cheese when you are talking about burgers in this price range but in the end of the day, this is what pulls in the likes on Instagram:
My latest burger find takes me to Sixth and Waller, a casual yet swank eatery at the equally swank East Austin Hotel. I’m not one to discuss ambiance but this place is pretty lit for a spot you order from at the counter.
I’ve eaten here twice and both times I have been impressed with the food. That plus the vibe of the staff and the overall atmosphere makes you feel special enough to warrant the tab hotel dining and drinks saddles you with. I’ve been a fan of The Standard Hotel and The Line, so Sixth and Waller and The East Austin Hotel is definitely my scene, even though I’m pushing past 40 with a second grader in my entourage.
Meet the Waller St. Diner Burger.
Sixth and Waller gives you the option of a single or double burger. With the patties coming in at about 3 ounces each, I went for the double trouble. Using a blend of chuck and brisket, I wasn’t too concerned when the burger was suggested to be served medium vs my go to request of medium rare. Take a peak at the bottom bun and you know the burger was not exactly dry. Still, I might push for medium rare on my next visit.
I’m sure you have noticed the heavy layer of Iceberg lettuce. Normally I would take points off for that, in fact it is one of my chief criticisms of Pie N Burger in Los Angeles, despite better minds disagreeing with me. I say light on the lettuce unless its the quality of lettuce that is Wedge salad worthy, which is what you get at Sixth and Waller. The lettuce, tomato, onion and bun are really top notch here. These might seem like pedestrian qualities to point out but they are so often overlooked, even with burgers at this price range. My son, who chose to remove any remnant of plant life from his burger was compelled to comment, “Daddy I wish my burger had the crunch that yours does”.
While the produce was exceptionally good, at $13.50 for the double burger, I’ll have to mark this burger in the good vs great column. I’m tempted to go single on my next visit and push for the medium rare. For a burger under $9, we might have a real Bang for your Burger Buck contender.
I would also add this: the burger is good but the restaurant is great. What will draw me back to eating this burger again is a really great effort to serve up quality food and cocktails in a setting accessible to so many. From the millennial to the middle aged, everyone can find a reason to get over to Sixth and Waller. And I have to say, I find myself craving the Waller St. Diner Burger, which is what a burger experience is all about.