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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Life + Arts

Burger joint a big hit

Little Bigs, an excellent new burger shack located a shouting distance from campus, seems slightly out of place on the corner of Westheimer and Montrose.

With several of Houston’s most famous fine-dining restaurants located a mile in either direction, most being obscenely expensive or pretentious or often both, Little Bigs stands out from the crowd.

Still, this is what makes the opening of Little Bigs so genius. With simple, delicious and carefully crafted sliders offered at inexpensive prices, served right on a patio that overlooks the vibrant Houston nightlife, Little Bigs is suddenly one of the best ‘bang for your buck’ spots in the entire city.

Opened by Houston restaurateurs Bryan Caswell and Bill Floyd, whose seafood restaurant Reef was recently voted Bon App’eacute;tit’s best seafood restaurant in America, Little Bigs takes a no-fuss approach to its menu.’

Customers walk up, choose from the three kinds of sliders, possibly a drink from a surprisingly extensive wine list, take a seat on the spacious patio and wait for their name to be called. Nobody is going to be overwhelmed by the amount of choices on the menu, but Little Bigs has chosen quality over quantity, and in most cases, they hit their mark.

Here, the beef slider is clearly the star of the show. Served on a freshly baked yeast roll comes three ounces of intensely flavorful, medium-rare beef placed on a bed of caramelized onions.

It’s the signature dish at Little Bigs, and with a side of their hand-cut French fries, it’s a combination that can go head-to-head with the best burger joints in Houston.

Also available, albeit not as popular, are the mushroom and chicken sliders. The former is essentially crimini mushrooms that are breaded, fried and overly cheesy while the latter isn’t a far cry from the chicken sandwiches offered up at the UH Satellite’s Chick-fil-A, only not as good. And those previously mentioned French fries, while tasty, can still arrive a bit soggy.

The variety of Little Bigs’ drink menu is may be its most pleasant surprise. Aside from an impressive wine list comes a fruity Sangria slushy and, in a not-so-subtle nod to The Big Lebowski, a White Russian milkshake dubbed ‘The Dude,’ a unique blend of vodka, Kahlua and cream.

The affordability of the experience at Little Bigs can’t be understated.

Two people can order a handful of sliders, sides and drinks and should only expect to give around $20 in exchange. Students are typically tight-fisted with their money anyway, but put that same tight-fisted student in a nationwide economic catastrophe and a place like Little Bigs becomes a godsend.

Tucked away behind several larger eateries, there’s hardly anything to point out Little Big’s presence other than one small and unassuming sign perched on its roof.

And yet the restaurant is crowded well into the early hours of the morning, likely due to a strong word of mouth that’s already brought students, families and trendy Montrose hipsters alike into Little Big’s warm, casual surroundings.

It’s a local secret that’s suddenly not so secret anymore, and even if it is a little out of place, it’s up to every self-respecting foodie and burger-lover to come over and find out why.

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