Before the term “gastropub” came along, bars with food were called “bars with food.” So are there more of them now than ever, or are we just noticing them more? Either way, the genre is already splintering into subgenres. Some “gastropubs” go heavy on the beer, while others focus on the food and/or beer-infused recipes. Out in Weatherford, Big John’s Burgers and-Beer seems to be its own thing, serving a small but impressive variety of craft beers and creative food that, while not beer-inspired, is gut-bustingly filling. And big.
Located across from the downtown courthouse, the year-old restaurant sits between two empty retail spaces. The inside is livelier. Beer-related signage adorns the tall walls. Most of the seating is on a single large bench that stretches the entire length of one wall. The bar is tucked away in a small corner but has a respectable fridge and several taps with local brews, including Rahr & Sons Brewing Company, Franconia Brewing Company, Panther Island Brewery, and Deep Ellum Brewery.
We started with the fried mushrooms (a huge hit) and barbecue wings (a decided miss). The latter arrived in a syrupy coating that was heavy on the sweet and light on the barbecue flavor. Worse, the wings were more like winglets: tiny and thin.
The mountain of mushrooms quickly made up for all that. The golden-fried, golf ball-sized, lightly spiced ’shrooms were crispy outside and meaty inside.
The Monterey jack chicken sandwich was a big, delicious mess. The large, lightly crusted, blackened hunk of moist breast came with heavy-hitting toppings like gobs of melted cheddar, sautéed onions, and chipotle-infused mayo on a large, toasted, and slightly sweet Hawaiian roll.
Big John’s offers some creatively named burgers like the Oink Oink Moo (bacon above and below the patty) and the bun-free lettuce-wrapped Leaf. My guest and I went with two options that, while quirky, were rather conventional.
The Nate –– a juicy, peppery one-pound patty topped with a thick wedge of cream cheese, slices of fresh jalapeño, crisp red onions, tomato slices, and shreds of romaine lettuce –– was gargantuan. And tasty. The mild cheese added a rich texture to each bite and tempered the fiery peppers. The potent mix of flavors and textures was lively and yummy.
The king of all sandwiches at Big John’s may be the Good Day Sunshine. This brick-sized BLT of sorts was a belt-busting heap of fried egg (cooked anyway you want it), one one-pound patty, and two thick, smoky pieces of bacon, all on buttered Texas toast with tomato slices and lettuce. As you can imagine, it took some time to finish.
The waitress was attentive and quick to answer questions about the beer selections. Big John’s may be heavy on the gastro and light on the pub, but it’s still unique and filling.
Big John’s Burgers and Beer
105 College Av, Weatherford. 817-341-6717. 11am-2pm Sun, 11am-10pm Mon-Sat.
All major credit cards accepted.
Big John’s Burgers and Beer
Fried mushrooms $6
Barbecue wings $7.70
The Nate burger $9
Good Day Sunshine burger $10
Monterey jack chicken sandwich $9