Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Shack, formerly The Love Shack

Today's review? The Love Shack. The Love Shack is the brainchild of the man that used to own Rockwell Tavern. If you've been to the site before, you might know that Rockwell Tavern is our current #1 burger in the entire city and that it is so good that it almost killed this site entirely because it quickly became just about the only place that we would go eat. That is, until it was sold so that Joe, the owner/head chef, could go try something new. It was opened to the public yesterday, and we were giddy with anticipation of seeing what madness might come out of the kitchen this time around. This might even be the first review that The Love Shack receives!!

The Shack is situated deep in the heart of Cypress at 16602 Cypress-Rosehill Rd. You will know that you're getting close when signs of civilization start to disappear. Seriously. It was night time and we could hear the coyotes in the fields as we ate. The parking lot? Dirt. The restaurant? It's an old house converted into a kitchen and dining area with a massive patio and a few other buildings that have been converted to more indoor dining space. We spoke with the owner and we learned that they have over 6 acres of space to play with and they have all sorts of ideas for what they want to do with it.

With a name like The Love Shack, I originally feared showing up to a place that had disco blaring, and possibly even suffering through the B-52's every hour, on the hour. Those fears were quickly alleviated though when it turned out that The Shack is instead very serene. It is tucked into it's own little pocket of nowhere and it featured all sorts of interesting decorations to accent it's mostly outdoor dining space. This includes a MASSIVE fire pit on the patio, a large tent that could be used for live bands, a playground area that is under construction, a gazebo made out of trees and several other creative little ideas.

But we are here for one thing. The burgers. Hopefully the second coming. We wanted to see if our current king of burgers in Houston was ready to take back the throne. The menu features all kinds of burgers that you simply can't get in most places. This includes the Grease & Weasel, a burger with a donut for a bun, the Bad Decision, which is a burger with grilled cheese sandwiches for buns, and something completely different, the Billy Bob Nguyen, which is a Asian-spiced brisket sandwich with Cheetos. Seriously.

I went with a Grease & Weasel, having heard stories of the incredible Krispy Kreme burgers served up at the Gateway Grizzlies Ballpark in Illinois. Nick immediately made a Bad Decision. We ordered up huge portions of the onion rings, as well as two batches of fries: one covered in garlic and bacon and one covered in brisket, bacon and cheese.

The fries and rings came first, and they came big. On pizza platters. We were knocked almost completely out of our seats by how good the fries were that were covered in brisket, bacon and cheese. Hunger pains were replaced by chest pains and the burgers weren't even out yet. They were devoured in mere minutes and we all had to resist the urge to tell the kitchen to bring us about twelve more batches of the brisket smothered fries, nor would they buy it when we tried to tell them that the coyotes stole our appetizers either. The brisket at The Love Shack is out of this world, and paired with bacon and cheese you get what is hands down the best smothered fries we have possibly ever had.

Then the burgers came out of the kitchen. Were they as good as Rockwell ever was? Were they better? They were unimaginably delicious. The burger was so good that they should warn you that you might die if your lungs get jealous of what's going down your esophagus and decide to pull a bite or two in their direction. We had four people in our party and the first words out of every single one of our mouths after taking a bite were an instinctive "Oh my God!" that was garbled by mouths full of food. The owner absolutely outdid himself. The burgers were everything that he had at his old restaurant elevated to new heights by serving up more over the top combinations of meat, bread and cheese.

Were they greasy? Yep. Joe still puts together one of the richest, greasiest patties that can legally be served in the lower forty-eight. Even cooked to medium-well, I looked down when I was done and there was a pool of grease and sugar from the donut waiting for me on my platter. Grease candy!! The buns are nice and thick and manage to hold most of it back, but you can tell that it's World War 3 going on inside as the bun fights to contain everything trying to ooze out of it.

What's even more impressive about The Love Shack is that after all of us were completely blown away by what we ate, we still had to remind ourselves that the restaurant is still just now getting up to speed. When we were there last night the menu was limited and they weren't even taking credit cards yet. Might we see a few of the Rockwell recipes make it over eventually? Maybe. I certainly would like to see the pineapple, teriyaki, bacon burger again that I fell in love with back at the old digs. Might there be some even more outrageous sandwiches on the horizon? Good chance. I also hope I get to see what Joe can do with a chicken fried steak someday. The man knows beef. What else is coming? Their liquor license is apparently in the works and I've heard rumors that they are going to set up a full on outdoor biergarten.

So is this place the new #1? Yep. Without a doubt. We're going to take Rockwell out of the top three and slide the Love Shack right in to replace it. Why are we apologetically dropping Rockwell so hard? Simply because we don't want one man's creations taking up two slots on our Top 3. The Love Shack is our new best burger in Houston. The king has returned. Long live the king!!!

EDIT -- 10/14/2011: The restaurant had to change its name to The Shack. I'm not changing the review, but I'm changing the title. The Shack and The Love Shack? Same place. Same food. Same people. Don't worry, ownership didn't change or anything and it didn't go down the drain like Rockwell Tavern did. Have we mentioned that Rockwell Tavern went down the drain lately? It did. Stay away and go to The Shack. It's where good burgers live in Cypress.


  1. Great review guys. I got the Billy Bob Nguyen and my wife got the turkey burger. We were both blown away. Quality local ingredients make a huge difference. I definitely see us becoming "regulars" at the Shack like we were at Rockwell.

  2. The Billy Bob Nguyen is the next thing I try. As much as I love burgers, which I do, that brisket was the real showstopper for me last night.

  3. Too bad he couldn't come up with an original name. Chef Tim Love in Fort Worth has been running a burger joint for several years called The Love Shack.

  4. We started with the Onion Strings that were brought to us complimentary while we looked over the menu. We were their first customers yesterday. I only had the M, but our table also ordered the Grease & Weasel, the Dirty Bird Next Door, Cooter Jack and the Love Bird. We had plain fries, cheese fries and the Last Kiss fries (the bacon/garlic ones). We all went away stuffed, happy with the choice we made to try the place and anxious for all the things yet to come, including a great place for our kids to play! Joe was awesome and answered all our questions! 2 Thumbs up from all the ladies at our table.

  5. I love this place. In fact Me the Wife and Kiddos may be there this weekend....UMMMMM forbidden donut burger...UMMMM

  6. Look good indeed. Best burgers are in USA. In Europe, believe tthe best i eat are from max burgers in Sweden.