I received the ad-pages mailer last week and decided to thumb through it. Sure enough Witten's was advertising in it. Since I need to stop by the Bank of America on Melbourne, and I was headed that direction anyway, it seemed like the perfect chance to grab some lunch and give it a try.
The place is hard to see coming eastbound on Pipeline or sitting at the red light on Melbourne, but if you are driving toward the setting sun on Pipeline, it's green and yellow signage stand out.
I arrived right before noon to an almost empty place. That isn't usually a good sign. I sat at the bar and was greeted by the barkeep, Kyle, with a firm handshake. I ordered up my standard drink, a glass of unsweetened iced tea with a side of Sweet and Low. It seems they just started opening at 11:30 am, recently, which probably explained the lack of patrons.
He handed me the menu and I immediately saw things I wanted to try. When he pointed out the special of the day, Sloppy Joe sliders, my decision was made. I also ordered up two of the egg rolls hand-rolled by 'Jenny', I am guessing the owner.
Kyle explained the bar was non-smoking and very family friendly. They also have a number of the finest pool tables in the area, along with darts and shuffleboard.
The food arrived and I dipped the egg rolls into the sweet chili sauce provided. It was just the right mixture of sweet and heat. The eggs rolls were amazing, crispy and flaky without being soggy from the fryer. I can't recommend them enough.
When I finished off the egg rolls, I picked up one of the two sloppy joe sliders from the basket and dug in. It wasn't your typical ground beef and sauce from a can. It rated high on my list as well. The side of waffle fries were especially good too. I commented that they should toss the sloppy joe mixture on the waffle fries as an appetizer. Looking at the menu, they already thought of that. Damn. My goal of having a menu item named after me was thwarted again.
I knew I had to bring the better half here, so I planned a return trip later that evening to see how spirited the place can be on a Friday night.
So, I was off to do the things I needed to get accomplished that day until later that evening when I would feel like eating again.
Fast forward nine hours.
When we arrived the place was busy, but not packed. We found a table and soon a waitress stopped by and took our drink order. Again, I opted for the tea, while the Mrs ordered up a Shiner.
We choose the appetizer sampler with egg rolls, cheese sticks and jalapeno poppers, each coming with a dipping sauce (sweet chili, marinara and ranch, respectively).
My wife, Kathy, ordered by the B.E.L.T, a BLT with a fried egg, and waffle fries. I chose the Witten Burger with cheese and sweet potato fries.
The appetizer arrived in a timely manner. I tried one of the cheese sticks (homemade). It had a nice crust on it and was not your typical round stick battered and fried. The cheese was cut rectangular and about twice as wide as it was thick. The marinara was good but didn't appear to be made in house.
Kathy is a big fan of jalapeno poppers and went to work on one as her first choice. She ate a second one, later, so it must have met with her approval. She tried out the egg rolls as well and liked the dipping sauce as much as I did.
The B.E.L.T. arrived, with a basket full of waffle fries, and it looked great, as did my Witten burger surrounded by the sweet potato fries.
The burger was exceptional. The bun was soft and 'buttery', yet toasted on the inside just right. The big tomato slice, green lettuce and red onions really worked well together.
If you haven't been to Witten's, you are missing out. The food ranks well above your typical bar food, the prices are competitive, the place is clean and it appears to be well managed.
Now, if I was only closer to it during the week, I am sure it would be the kind of place 'where everybody knows my name' (and I might get a menu item finally named after me).
As for the Texas Burger Stop's rating, here goes:
- Patty Size and Style: medium thick, hand formed
- Cooking style: grilled on a flat top
- Char: great char across the patty
- Bun: soft, buttery roll, toasted
- Vegetables: fresh lettuce and tomatoes, red onions
- Napkins needs: one napkin should do
- Special attributes: great pool table, lots of TVs, adult beverages of your choosing, friendly wait staff
- Ownership: mom and pop (no affiliation with the great Cowboy's tight end that I can tell)