When you read the menu at Peace Burger Dive Bar & Grill, the first thing that may come to mind is that this is the kind of food you’d make for a bunch of drunk people at 3 a.m.
Peace Burger’s fare, in other words, is a collection of cheesy, goopy, heavy, staggeringly caloric snack-meals that are perfect complements for draft beers and the people who drink them, which includes me. Imagine a spread of Tex-Mex food brought to a summer pool party organized by a beer-bellied, good-timin’ uncle, the kind of guy who idolizes Adam Richman and brags to strangers at the grocery store about his secret burger seasoning. From sandwiches, burgers, and chicken strips to wings, burritos, tacos, and all the onion rings, tater tots, queso, and guac that orbit them, Peace Burger’s grub is a galaxy ripe for snaxploration.
This is not to say that there’s much on the menu to fill you with awe (though everything on it will fill you with satisfaction, as most plates are big enough to split). However, the menu does have a few things to catch your eye should you hanker for something more unusual than a burger with bacon. There’s a hot dog with bacon on it, for example. The TJ Mexi-Dog is a 10-inch beef frank wrapped in bacon, smothered in creamy refried beans, queso, and grilled jalapeños inside a toasted bun, served with what I assumed was an entire bag of tater tots. With all that gooey Tex-Mex action inside the bun, the TJ predictably turned into a huge, delicious mess after a few bites. While the dog tasted nice and smoky, it would have really knocked me out if the bacon had been thicker and crispier.
I didn’t find anything particularly mind-blowing about the carne asada fries I tried with the TJ: just bits of tender steak amid thousands of fries covered in a mantle of queso, guac, and crema — if you’re familiar with the ’80s Nickelodeon game show Double Dare, you could conceivably hide a flag in the dish and use it as part of the obstacle course. Again, nothing special, just what you’d expect at a place like this but with even more cheese.
Queso dip isn’t the only cheese on hand, however. I prefaced my Peace Burger (poblanos, jalapeños, jack, and guacamole) with an elote callejero, an ear of corn roasted and smeared with a tangy blend of mayo and cotija cheese. The salty cheese and the slightly crunchy texture of the roasted corn made for a great alternative to fries.
Peace Burger’s namesake item came out medium well –– if you like your patties pink, you’d better tell your server ahead of time. But even cooked all the way through, it maintained plenty of juicy flavor, and the double pepper attack added adequate heat without sacrificing taste.
Peace Burger evinces a sort of San Diego-surfer cantina vibe, inasmuch as one can achieve that in a suburb some 300 miles from the nearest ocean. The lights are dim, the floor concrete. The tables are mismatched, and just about every square inch of wall space (and lots of window space) is covered in surf-brand stickers, pictures of surfers, license plates, and, curiously, a significant amount of Red Sox paraphernalia mixed in with the typical Rangers and Cowboys stuff. It’s a little bit like eating at Pacsun, if Pacsun sold nachos instead of board shorts and nobody bothered you with a buy-two-pairs-get-one-free-flip-flop promotion. Instead, the service was decent. My server was unobtrusive, friendly, and fast, if a little forgetful. Peace Burger is definitely a good happy hour spot, as well as the kind of place where you can be a little loud at dinner, especially if dinner comes after a few beers. It’s hard to justify a 30-minute trip to eat at a burger place in Grapevine, but Peace Burger’s carefree cuisine and hang-loose vibe just might make it worth your while.
Peace Burger Dive Bar & Grill
1228 William D. Tate Av, Grapevine. 817-410-4074. 11am-12am Sun-Thu, 11am-2am Fri-Sat. Beer, wine. MasterCard, Visa accepted.
Carne asada fries ….. $6.99
TJ Mexi-Dog …………… $5.69
Elote callejero ………… $4.25
Peace Burger ………… $5.99