Editor’s Note: Your Mom’s closed May 2014. Read a letter from the owners here.
This guest blog post is by Kat Mandelstein.
If you are a true carnivore, be sure to check out his series. But if you’ve been looking for the best veggie burger in Austin, you’re in the right place. All the article titles in this series start with “Harvesting the Best Veggie Burger in Austin.”
This time, Eric and I teamed up and had lunch together to review the meat and veggie burger versions together. You’ll find Eric’s review of Your Mom’s Burger Bar by clicking here.
In this review series, I’m not only judging the veggie burger itself, but the whole restaurant experience. With that in mind, know that these are my personal opinions. Feel free to agree or disagree with them. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts and recommendations.
Your Mom’s Burger Bar Overall Impression
I ended up making two visits to Your Mom’s before I got around to writing my review. I sampled two sides and my burgers were prepared differently. The owner, Ryan Blackmore, took my order on my first visit. When Eric explained what we were up to, Ryan stopped by while we were eating to check on us and chat.
Your Mom’s is definitely a mom-and-pop business. In fact, Gina, Ryan’s wife, helps run it.
The location we visited on Airport is actually the second home of Your Mom’s Burger Bar. Your Mom’s was originally on Cesar Chavez, but had to close due to a series of mishaps. The new location in North Austin added more space and the ability to take credit cards. As a Mac and mobile payment addict, I was pleased to see they use an iPad and Square for orders and payment.
I also love the mural of Austin’s own Willie Nelson outside, and the paintings of rockstars by William K. Stidham inside – including my rock idol, Dave Grohl.
The staff at Your Mom’s is definitely what you would expect for a place called Your Mom’s. They are musicians with lots of tattoo art, ear gauges and a bit of grit. The name is a bit tongue and cheek and came from a joke between the owners. Eric and I enjoyed their soundtrack, too, which included some good rock classics.
They are known for their stuffed burgers. But since I was ordering vegan, stuffed was not an option since the stuffing includes cheese. Your Mom’s also apparently delivers in the area, a really nice touch for a burger joint!
Kat’s Veggie Burger Review Criteria
For consistency, I decided to adopt Eric’s burger judging scale for veggie burgers using a 1-10 scale, with 5 being average. (As Eric would say, “Don’t be a hater. If I rate you a 5, that means you were average, and that’s not so bad.”)
So adapting the scale for veggie burgers, a score of 1 translates to “tasted like the dirt it grew in,” while 10 translates to “Mother Nature handcrafted it herself.” Remember, you are free to disagree with me. I am entitled to my opinions and so are you.
When reviewing a veggie burger, these are my categories:
- Veggie Burger Patty
- The Bun
- Messiness (note: Eric rates burgers higher as they get more messy because that’s how he likes them, but I rate burgers lower as they get more messy)
- Presentation (garnish, did they make it look appetizing)
- Overall Veggie Burger Taste
- Fries or Side Item (extra points for a choice in sides)
- Other Factors
Your Mom’s Burger Bar Veggie Burger Review
- Veggie Burger Patty = 9 Wow, I had to confirm that I had not misordered as this veggie burger patty came as close in taste to the real McCoy as I have ever had. I definitely had the veggie patty and Ryan said the secret is the marinade that they soak them in, which is the same as they use on their beef burgers. Since the menu did not specify, I asked Ryan what it was made of and he said it was soy-based, but made from scratch. The burger I had there was a single patty and was perfect. The one I got to go the second time somehow had two patties. That was too much patty for me in one burger, so I took the second patty off and saved it to eat in a tortilla on a different day.
- The Bun = 7 Their bun was fairly plain, but larger than average to hold the big patty and toppings. It was soft and fluffy inside and crispy on the surface. Not the best I’ve had compared to others I’ve reviewed, but definitely better than average and the right size.
- Toppings = 9 They have an extensive selection of toppings and sauces. They even have one of my favorite vegetables, that I’d never had on a veggie burger: artichoke hearts. On my first visit, I had a modified version of the John D Rockerfeller burger, holding the dairy and adding a little BBQ sauce. On my second visit, I added guacamole, mushrooms and artichoke hearts. They definitely have the best choice of toppings out of all the burger joints I’ve been to in Austin.
- Messiness = 6 Okay, these burgers are REALLY messy. Eric loves that; I prefer my burgers not ending up all over my face and possibly my shirt…
- Garnish = 8 The burger comes served with a steak knife through the middle of it…kind of fits the rough-and-tough vibe of the place. And hey, the burger’s so big that there’s no chance that one of those fancy toothpick skewers would hold it together. I will note that the to-go burger did not have a knife. Probably good to not send customers out into the world with an exposed weapon in their car. My burgers also had the usual garnish of lettuce, tomatoes and red onion, which were all fresh and crisp.
- Taste = 9 Between the realistic burger taste and some of the best green topping choices a vegan could ask for (artichoke hearts, spinach, guacamole, jalapenos and even fried pickles), this burger is a real treat to the taste buds.
- Fries or Side Item = 7 I split the difference between my the two visits, which were vastly different. I give the French Fries a 9 and Mom’s Hook ‘Em Fries a 5, for an average of 7. They have some other interesting side choices, including a sampler called the App Slap that has fries, rings, ‘shrooms and fried pickles. Their Ryry French Fries were excellent. Homemade, handcut and cooked just right. I had high hopes for the Hook ‘Em Fries, given my Longhorn heritage and love for sweet potato fries. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed. They should have been on the dessert menu. They are battered and coated in sugar and cinnamon. Normally they drizzle them with caramel but I had them put that on the side since most caramel has butter. I did dip one fry in the caramel sauce for a tiny taste for the review, but that just reinforced my dessert opinion. I like my sweet potato fries crisp, fresh and barely seasoned, so they taste wholesome and the flavor of the sweet potato shines through. If you are looking for a dessert, you might like them…but I am not a fan.
- Atmosphere = 7 Definitely has a musician’s flare and I dig it. Between the art, music, aluminum siding and fun retro diner feel, I felt at home at Your Mom’s (even if my Mom wouldn’t). Tables were a bit rundown; a few booths might be a nice addition down the road. Completely understand that this is mom-and-pop run and funded, and Ryan and Gina have done a nice job with the space.
- Cleanliness = 8 Restaurant seemed clean enough for my standards and their service was friendly on both visits, with different people serving me.
- Other Factors = 7 Location is a bit hard to find, tucked away on a less popular part of Airport in North Austin. Kome next door is a good landmark. I do appreciate that they are close to my office, so will definitely be a lunch regular. They have done a great job with their Web site, blog, social media accounts, menu and branding. Kudos to Ryan’s wife Gina for those elements.
Bottom Line on the Veggie Burger at Your Mom’s Burger Bar in Austin: 7.7 out of 10
Overall Score = 7.7. The overall score is the average of the 10 categories.
The 7.7 score puts Your Mom’s in second place out of the best veggie burgers in Austin that I have reviewed so far. There are many places I have tried and not reviewed because I couldn’t endorse them on my list of bests. As my Mom taught me, if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all. I have lots of nice things to say about Your Mom’s. I am now a fan and am rooting for them to have more success at the new location than they did at the old one.
This is the kind of local business that I am happy to support. I love to root for the underdog and see people achieve their dreams when they put their heart and hard efforts into their work. It is evident that Ryan and Gina definitely do.
I am pretty sure they won both Eric and me over. We both put them near the top of our lists for the hamburger and the veggie burger. They now have two new regulars and if you give them a try, I am pretty sure you will become a regular too.
If you give them a try, let us know what you thought about Your Mom’s by commenting below. We’d love to hear what you think. Also, besides Arlo’s, which is next on my list to review (based on glowing comments from my fellow vegans), what other veggie burgers have I missed that might make the Best Of list?
Harvesting the Best Veggie Burger in Austin Continues
So far, of veggie burgers in Austin reviewed on The Austinot, here is the scorecard:
#1 – score 7.8 – Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse
#2 – score 7.7 – Your Mom’s Burger Bar
#3 – score 7.5 – Magnolia Cafe
#4– score 7.1 – Galaxy Cafe
#5 – score 6.8 – Elevation Burger
#6 – score 6.35 – Billy’s on Burnet
Other places where I’ve never eaten a veggie burger that have been suggested for me to review are: Arlo’s, Mr. Natural, Mother’s Café & Garden, Woodland, Big Daddy’s, Crown & Anchor and Bartlett’s.
Kat Mandelstein is not a native of Austin, but she got here as fast as she could. By day she is the Director of Social Business Strategy & CollaborANT at Ant’s Eye View, and by night she is the President of Social Media Club Austin, sits on the International SocialMediaClub.org Board of Directors and recently became the host of the Social Media Book Club and Webinar.