I won’t call this your typical review. If I was reviewing a place, I look at a lot of things – the ambiance, the presentation and more. A fast food place make certain concessions that kind of take it out of the running – like uniformity, centralized supplies, the culinary equivalent of your basic at-home lobotomy kit, etc.
That said, I wanted to try Wendy’s new burger. Wendy’s has a special nostalgic place for me. As a child, we were not wealthy by most standards. A trip out to eat when I was young was a treat and a half, and one of the places that we went fairly often was Wendy’s. In fact, when I was a kid, I set up a pretend Wendy’s in the back yard of my house. I’d serve burger from there, which was easy since I could do it with dirt and imagination … and since there was a rumor flying around at the time that there were worms in the meat.
Wendy’s hasn’t always held fast to their roots. You might remember the Mega-Bar days at Wendy’s. Or the Salad Bar days. I remember when cheese and tomato was extra. I also appreciate the type of man who Dave Thomas appears to have been. He was an example of the American dream – a self-made entrepreneur – who loved burgers. A man who was orphaned who had a life-long commitment to bettering other people lives.
Like Dave himself, there is much to like about the new Wendy’s burger. Some of the changes are cataloged here, but the company went on a burger vision quest over the recent past … resulting in:
- A juicier patty, due in large part to less denseness and less mashing during cooking, but still square-ish
- Crinkle pickles, over flat ones
- Permanently hold the mustard
- More cheese
- Purple onions over white ones
- A butter-toasted bun
If you judge this burger against other fast food ones, it is one of the better ones. It ranks up there with my favorites – Backyard and Rallys.
Personally, the buttered bun is tasty, but I felt it detracted from the taste of the burger. The purple onions were just too oniony for me, and I pulled them off after giving them a try (but I do this at most fast food places). But the meat is juicier; and the lack of mustard gives the burger a fuller flavor (undoubtedly from the new full-fat mayo). It’s a pretty good burger.
The other bonus at Wendy’s is the fries. Obviously, they don’t walk down to the farmer’s market and buy their produce locally, but the fries at Wendy’s are about as close as a true fast food place is likely to get to having hand-cut fries. They are some of my favorites (and I always loved their old fries, too).
No, I don’t do a scale or a rating for fast food; it’s like picking Vandy to win SEC football championship … an unnecessary move. But Wendy’s has faced some business headwinds of late and this new burger is an attempt to right the ship. I hope they do, because I’ve always had a soft spot for them.