Welcome to the vegetarian corner of the Oxford Burger blog. I will attempt to highlight the best vegetarian options at the burger joints my carnivorous companions frequent. When a veggie burger is an option, I will order it and review it. When a veggie burger is not an option, I get to order and review whatever the hell I want. You see, as the token vegetarian in the group, I am a majority of one and get to make up my own rules.
Also, a note: this review is written for an audience of vegetarians and pescetarians. If you like meat, you might not like veggie burgers. Because they’re not very meat-like. They’re not supposed to be. Many vegetarians actually don’t like the taste of meat. For some of you, that statement sounds insane, and I understand if you don’t read further. For those willing to concede that point, let’s continue.
I should start with a review of the veggie burger at Proud Larry’s because I ate there first, but I won’t. Why? Because I had the veggie burger at Tacky Shack before I bothered to write up the review of the one at Larry’s, and I can’t hold out on you. The black bean and corn burger at Tacky Shack is, hands down, the best veggie burger in town. I used to drive to Memphis just to get the black bean burger at Huey’s when I was craving a gut bomb, and now I don’t have to. The one at Tacky Shack is just as good; it might even be the same exact commercially made patty. I don’t hold that against the owners, though. I’ve had dozens of terrible homemade veggie burgers. I much prefer a solid Sysco option to a gummy, tasteless homemade one.
Tacky Shack grills the patty up so it’s nice and crunchy on the outside. Not only is the black bean patty toothsome and flavorful, Tacky Shack offers a huge array of toppings. Some are free and some cost a little extra, but a vegetarian can really have a ball here. I got grilled onions, tomato, avocado, lettuce, ketchup, jalapenos, and mustard. I got all those toppings assuming that the patty would be a flavorless Morningstar patty. When I discovered that the black bean patty was fabulous all on its own, I realized I probably didn’t need all those toppings. But they were excellent, and I’d probably get them again anyway. For a side item, I got the onion strings. As an onion ring fan, I love any form of fried onions. These onions are good, but after a couple handfuls, they start to seem really oily. My advice: order them if you’re an onion fiend, but eat them while they’re still nice and hot.
I didn’t take good notes on the burger bun, which probably means it neither added nor subtracted from the overall burger experience. I remember it being vaguely wholesome: whole wheat or honey wheat or something beyond mere Wonder bread.
Tacky Shack offers a reasonable assortment of beer. They also have a nice selection of ice cream, and they make milkshakes. I didn’t order one last time I was there, but I thought it was an ice dessert option. Now, for a few complaints. One: the black bean burger is not on the menu. I find this really strange. Are they afraid they’ll piss off the meat-eaters? Is there really not room to write “black bean burger” on the menu? Anyway, I almost didn’t join my friends for this excursion because I didn’t think there was anything for me to eat. Luckily, Greg called ahead and asked if they had anything for me, and I’m glad he did! Two: the black bean burger costs more than the beef burger. I don’t remember by exactly how much, but it’s a dollar or two more, and that always irritates me. You’d think plant material would be more affordable than an all-beef patty. The burger is so good, though, that you’ll forget you’re being gouged on the basis of your self-imposed dietary restrictions. Three: the ambience at the restaurant is a little silly. A lot of the signs on the wall seem like corporate-mandated “flair” and some of it is just really strange to display in a restaurant. For instance, one sign reads, “I don’t swim in your toilet; don’t pee in my pool.”
In short, this one is a winner with a few small drawbacks. I highly recommend Tacky Shack.