MCALLEN, Texas – Craft cocktails and fine dining have come a long way down in the Rio Grande Valley and with the addition of the Orchard Lounge in McAllen, it’s gone up another notch.
Chef Adrian Cruz is the driving force behind the fancy food at this fine restaurant, but the first thing people want to know about is his burger because it’s become sort of a big thing.
“This is the best burger in town, in Texas,” Orchard Lounge regular Tina informed us.
The Concha Burger is a creation made out of brotherly love. Adrian and his brother, Bobby, came up with the burger after visiting a local bakery and reminiscing about their childhood memories of conchas.
“On the south side of McAllen there was this van that used to drive by every day in the morning honking the horn ,” Adrian said. “‘Beep pan dulce, pan dulce.’ So my mom was like y’all want some pan dulce?’ We’re like yeah. It was like the ice cream truck. ‘Hey stop.’ The guy would get down, he’d open up the back door, and it was glorious. You’re like, ‘Oh my god.’ You’re like conchas huevos, all the cakes, all different deserts. You’re like, ‘aw man.’ Then I started drinking coffee at a young age.””
When the brothers laid eyes on the baked goods, the idea of their Concha Burger started to rise.
“The bakery reminded us about the concha,” Adrian remembered. “So brought them to the restaurant. My brother got hungry and was like, ‘hey, I’m going to make a burger.’ I’m like okay.”
Together, they created a masterpiece.
“Two minds always better than one,” Adrian says. “One has flavors, one’s got creation, one’s got plating. You put all that together and you’ve got something that’s going to blow people’s minds.”
The burger became so well regarded that the James Beard Foundation invited the brothers to show off their connection at the Blended Burger Project.
“We had to drive up about 3,120 concha buns from here to New York,” Adrian informed us.
Fortunately you can find this burger right here in the Lone Star State and we’re ready for this creation.
When it comes time to make this burger, we start off with the bacon. Two slices of bacon go straight onto the flat top. Then comes the specially blended sustenance that makes the patty. A house blend of beef, chorizo, and shitake mushrooms make these patties unique and oh so tasty.
After the bun is buttered and toasted, Adrian gets straight up scientific with his preparation and places Gouda cheese on the patty. Duck fat is fired up on the flattop to give the egg even more pop. The Concha bun gets topped with chipotle mayo, red leaf lettuce, tomatoes, pickled cucumbers, pickled onions and strawberry jam made in house. Bacon and egg complete the ensamble that’s almost too pretty to eat.
One of the most unique burgers we’ve ever seen on this show. Absolutely no idea what to expect when it comes to what this will taste like, and that’s the best part of the job.
With all the flavors in this burger, I’m pretty sure you could hear my crunching all over the lone star state. The deeper we went, the more flavor started appearing out of nowhere.
With every bite you can get different sensations on your tongue. On the side you kind of get that sweet. In the middle you get all that chorizo, and everywhere else picks up the little things. There’s so many flavors going on in this thing.
“The variations of flavor, the depth of the sauces and the meat blends, it’s just amazing,” as Orchard Lounge regular, Rebecca says.
The pan dulce gives a little subtle sweet flavor, but it’s so crispy. It’s like biting into a real crispy soft cookie. Then you get into that meat. You get that jelly, you get all those little flavors that come together, and that’s well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List.