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February 2020

Burger Challenge: Who makes the best burger in the Wichita metro? Is it Dog N Shake?

By Mike Thayer

I recently completed a pizza challenge, sampling 19 local/regional pizza joints and finding the 10 best in the Wichita area.

It's time for a new challenge:  Burgers

Who makes the best burger in the Wichita metro area?  I'm going to find out, sampling all the local/regional burger joints to see who crafts the best burger. 

During the course of this challenge I'll be sampling classic cheeseburgers, straight forward beef and American cheese goodness with the typical toppings. The way I see it, if you can't put together a classic cheeseburger and do it well, then there's no reason to sample a burger joint's other burger options.  So there will be no mushroom & Swiss, no on BBQ & onion strings, no on jalapeno & pepper jack cheese, etc., versions of burgers

Being evaluated on a point system scorecard will be a plethora of categories that includes but is not limited to the appearance, meat, bun, meat to bun ratio, how the burger is dressed (that means the assortment of veggies, sauce and/or condiments for those of you who live in Valley Center), service, time to order and more.  Weighing most heavily in the score of course, is TASTE and depending on the size of the patty, I could be sampling a single or a double, there's a quarter pound minimum.   After scoring the burger, the point total is then broken down into a star system, 1-5, with 5 stars being a top rating.  I'll post all the numbers for each burger joint and their offerings in the final report.

No national chains will be included in this challenge, no Five Guys, no Red Robin, no BurgerFi, no Freddy's, etc....    Only the local, regional burger joints qualify.  Besides, when it comes to burgers, McDonald's is most everybody's last resort, Wendy's is nothing extra special with their square patties and Burger King, well, isn't a king at all.

Dog N Shake Burger
The visual appeal is less than stellar

Today's Burger Challenge is a review of Dog N Shake, a Wichita icon, serving up burgers, dogs and shakes since 1948.   This restaurant is the fourth tasting in this challenge of 28 burger joints to review.

I ordered the Double Cheeseburger combo to go.  It's the #1 item on their menu and priced at $7.29. This is a classically dressed burger with toasted bun, onions, pickle and mustard.  The question becomes, is the combo worth that price?

I have to say that I'm not a big fan of Dog N Shake.  The visual appeal of the burger certainly isn't there, I'm not sure what's up with that bun for starters.....  It was not a good first impression for this first time Dog N Shake diner.

Dog N Shake in hand
Small burger and it's a double!

Of the four burger joints I've reviewed so far, Dog N Shake comes in a distant fourth that's how this burger measures up.  The meat to bun ratio at first glance is good from above, but check out this side view?!  Worst.bun.ever.   The patties were under seasoned and the pickle, onion, mustard combo was underwhelming.  And despite this being a double cheeseburger, it's small in size. 

Dog N Shake scored a 42 out of a possible 63 on the spreadsheet, which earns them a 3 star rating.  The fries were decent, but Dog N Shake's Double Cheeseburger is NOT worthy of a repeat buy and the combo is NOT worth $7.29....  Small burger, small fry, small drink, most telling:  Small in the flavor department!

3 stars

Dog N Shake lid offThe Dog N Shake visited on this occasion is located at 8800 W. Maple, Wichita, KS., 67209.   The service for my to go order was polite, professional and fairly quick, I was in and out with my meal in less than 4 minutes at the dinner hour. 

I look forward to the next burger joint tasting!

Here's my list of 28 restaurants that tout burgers, more joints are to be added, I'm sure I missed a few when putting this challenge together.

  • The Anchor
  • Big Larry's Burgers
  • Bionic Burger
  • Bomber Burger
  • Braums
  • Broadway Burgers & BBQ
  • Buster's Burger Joint
  • Calvin's Hamburger Haven
  • Chicken N Pickle (Yes, really, a chicken place that does burgers!)
  • Deano's Grill & Tapworks
  • Dempsy's Burger Pub
  • Dog N Shake
  • Emerson Biggins
  • Fizz Burgers & Bottles
  • Harry's Uptown
  • The Hill Bar & Grill
  • Lotus Leaf
  • Oasis Lounge
  • O'Malley's Irish Pub (1/2 pound burgers!)
  • Side Pockets
  • Spangles
  • Sport Burger
  • TJ's
  • Two Brother's BBQ
  • Ty's Diner
  • Walt's
  • West St. Burgers
  • Yo-B Yogurt & Burgers

Doing this in the name of "Food Science" (cough), I'm looking forward to finding the best locally crafted burger!  I'll eventually whittle this list down to the 10 Best Burger Joints in the Wichita Metro.

Stay tuned and $pend Wisely My Friends.....


Winner Winner, Friday Night Fish Dinner at Prost!

By Mike Thayer

Prost Fish Dinner
PERFECTLY Fried Fish, AWESOME Dill Sauce!

Regular readers know that this is one of my favorite restaurants in town, I've given them good reviews on a number of occasions and for good reason, they crank out some great food!

Simply put, they KNOW what they're doing.

Their special for the season of Lent is no exception.

WINNER, WINNER, Friday Night Fish Dinner!

This meal ROCKS! The perfectly fried Cod is crispy, crunchy on the outside, tender flaky on the inside, and dipped into that dill sauce is an AWESOME bite! The German potato salad is spot on providing a very nice, slightly tart balance to the fish and that slaw...... I don't think there's another place in town that does slaw any better than PROST.  This marriage of flavors on the plate just dances in your mouth! 

It truly is a pleasure to dine at Prost, they never disappoint.  And here's the thing, since 'discovering' this place back in November (Thank you Lori!), I'm still exploring the menu and every meal, appetizer or dessert I try is a delight!

Seriously, that's how good this place is!

The fish special is AWESOME and is available at Prost on Friday nights through the season of Lent.  It is indeed a MUST try!

If you haven't already done so, you HAVE to check out Prost!

2721 E Central Ave #101, Wichita, KS 67214

Great food, a FANTASTIC selection of beer/wines and an awesome staff of friendly, knowledgeable people makes Prost a VERY enjoyable dining experience!

Make plans to visit Prost on a Friday night!  You'll be glad you did and tell them Mike sent you!


Burger Battle: Braum's vs. Spangles in a Burger Challenge

By Mike Thayer

I recently completed a pizza challenge, sampling 19 local/regional pizza joints and finding the 10 best in the Wichita area.

It's time for a new challenge:  Burgers

Who makes the best burger in the Wichita metro area?  I'm going to find out, sampling all the local/regional burger joints to see who crafts the best burger. 

During the course of this challenge I'll be sampling classic cheeseburgers, straight forward beef and American cheese goodness with the typical toppings. The way I see it, if you can't put together a classic cheeseburger and do it well, then there's no reason to sample a burger joint's other burger options.  So there will be no mushroom & Swiss, no on BBQ & onion strings, no on jalapeno & pepper jack cheese, etc., versions of burgers

Being evaluated on a point system scorecard will be a plethora of categories that includes but is not limited to the appearance, meat, bun, meat to bun ratio, how the burger is dressed (that means the assortment of veggies, sauce and/or condiments for those of you who live in Valley Center), service, time to order and more.  Weighing most heavily in the score of course, is TASTE and depending on the size of the patty, I could be sampling a single or a double, there's a quarter pound minimum.   After scoring the burger, the point total is then broken down into a star system, 1-5, with 5 stars being a top rating.  I'll post all the numbers for each burger joint and their offerings in the final report.

No national chains will be included in this challenge, no Five Guys, no Red Robin, no BurgerFi, no Freddy's, etc....    Only the local, regional burger joints qualify.  Besides, when it comes to burgers, McDonald's is most everybody's last resort, Wendy's is nothing extra special with their square patties and Burger King, well, isn't a king at all.

Braum's vs Spangles bagsIn my first Burger tasting, I reviewed Bionic Burger.  You can read that Challenge article here.  Today's Burger Challenge is a killing two birds with one stone kind of thing, a Burger Battle if you will of two regional joints, Braum's vs. Spangles.  A Braum's Double Cheeseburger pitted against the Spangles Gourmet Supreme.

In my neighborhood, these two iconic burger joints are situated right across the street from each other, so while sitting in the Spangle's drive-thru waiting to place my order and in view of Braum's, I thought, "Why not pit one restaurant's signature burger against the other?"

So here we go, in alphabetical order:

Braums vs. Spangles wrappsBraum's:  They tout a good classic cheeseburger, I ordered a double.  The 1/4 pound patty is the weight before cooking.  Here's the description of the sandwich from the restaurant's website:  Braum’s Cheeseburgers aren’t for the faint of heart! We start with a 100% pure beef patty. Then we load it with lots of real dairy cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, mayonnaise, and special sauce. All this is piled high on a sesame seed bun baked fresh in Braum’s own bakery!

This burger has a nice visual appearance, I looked forward to taking that first bite.  The meat to bun ratio was good with the double, but I would have to say it would be too much sesame seed bun when it's just a single patty.  And about that patty, the seasoning was inconsistent.  I got those seasoning notes in some bites, but not others, it wasn't applied evenly.  The veggies were fresh, the condiments in good portion, not too much, not too little...  Overall, a good burger.  

4 starsI paid $5.36 for the Braum's Double Cheeseburger, a reasonable price and I'm giving it 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's worthy of a repeat buy.

The Braum's visited on this occasion is located at 1261 S. Rock Rd., Wichita, KS. 67207.  Service was polite, conversational and it only took me about 2 minutes to go through the drive-thru, from order to pickup at the window at the dinner hour.  Nice!

Braums vs. Spangles side-by-sideSpangles:  Their 'signature' burger is the Gourmet Supreme.  I'm no stranger to this burger and in fact I've called Spangles out on not promoting this burger more aggressively.  Not doing so holds the Spangles chain back in my humble opinion, because this particular burger can go toe-to-toe with the national chains, I'd put it up against the Big Mac, the Whopper and Dave's (Wendy's) single.

Lacking a description on the company website - another missed opportunity by the company - The Gourmet Supreme is a 1/3 pound seasoned Angus Beef burger, classically served with fresh lettuce, cheese, tomato, pickle and red onion, along with a toasted brioche style bun. 

Braum's vs Spangles lids offThe meat to bun ratio was spot on, although the patty on this occasion was not seasoned as well as I've had in the past.  The veggies were fresh, the cheese melted nicely but all the other flavors had to carry the under-seasoned meat a bit.

4 starsI paid just $2.59 for the Gourmet Supreme, taking advantage of the 1/2 price special on Monday's.  I'm giving the Spangles Gourmet Supreme 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars, it too, is worthy of a repeat buy, especially considering the price on Mondays!

The Spangles visited on this occasion is located at 1240 S. Rock Rd., Wichita, KS. 67207.  The service was "eh", obligatory professional, but nothing special, engaging or conversational.  I went through the drive-thru from time to order to window pickup though in about 2 minutes during the dinner hour.  That's good, but it's those minor details like service with a smile, asking if you want extra condiments, etc., the lack of such things doesn't bode well for restaurant growth.

So in pitting what Braum's has to offer vs. what Spangles has in a burger battle?.....  I'm going with Braum's in this impromptu one-on-one mini challenge.  Overall, while Spangles has the better price (on a Monday), Braum's makes a better burger than Spangles (but only by a slight margin), and has better service than Spangles. 

I look forward to the next tasting!

Here's my list of 28 restaurants that tout burgers, more joints are to be added, I'm sure I missed a few when putting this challenge together.

  • The Anchor
  • Big Larry's Burgers
  • Bionic Burger
  • Bomber Burger
  • Braums
  • Broadway Burgers & BBQ
  • Buster's Burger Joint
  • Calvin's Hamburger Haven
  • Chicken N Pickle (Yes, really, a chicken place that does burgers!)
  • Deano's Grill & Tapworks
  • Dempsy's Burger Pub
  • Dog & Shake
  • Emerson Biggins
  • Fizz Burgers & Bottles
  • Harry's Uptown
  • The Hill Bar & Grill
  • Lotus Leaf
  • Oasis Lounge
  • O'Malley's Irish Pub (1/2 pound burgers!)
  • Side Pockets
  • Spangles
  • Sport Burger
  • TJ's
  • Two Brother's BBQ
  • Ty's Diner
  • Walt's
  • West St. Burgers
  • Yo-B Yogurt & Burgers

Doing this in the name of "Food Science" (cough), I'm looking forward to finding the best locally crafted burger!  I'll eventually whittle this list down to the 10 Best Burger Joints in the Wichita Metro.

Stay tuned and $pend Wisely My Friends.....


KU routs Oklahoma State 83-58 in first game back at No. 1

Kansas JayhawksLAWRENCE, Kan. -- When shots aren't falling early, Kansas can always rely on defense and Doke.

Udoka Azubuike had 19 points and 16 rebounds, the Jayhawks shut down Oklahoma State long enough for their offense to come alive in the second half, and coach Bill Self's team rolled to an 83-58 victory over Oklahoma State on Monday night to celebrate its return to the No. 1 ranking.

via www.espn.com


Burger Challenge: Who makes the best burger in the Wichita metro? Is it Bionic Burger?

By Mike Thayer

I recently completed a pizza challenge, sampling 19 local/regional pizza joints and finding the 10 best in the Wichita area.

It's time for a new challenge:  Burgers

Who makes the best burger in the Wichita metro area?  I'm going to find out, sampling all the local/regional burger joints to see who crafts the best burger. 

During the course of this challenge I'll be sampling classic cheeseburgers, straight forward beef and American cheese goodness with the typical toppings. The way I see it, if you can't put together a classic cheeseburger and do it well, then there's no reason to sample a burger joint's other burger options.  So there will be no mushroom & Swiss, no on BBQ & onion strings, no on jalapeno & pepper jack cheese, etc., versions of burgers

Being evaluated on a point system scorecard will be a plethora of categories that includes but is not limited to the appearance, meat, bun, meat to bun ratio, how the burger is dressed (that means the assortment of veggies, sauce and/or condiments for those of you who live in Valley Center), service, time to order and more.  Weighing most heavily in the score of course, is TASTE and depending on the size of the patty, I could be sampling a single or a double, there's a quarter pound minimum.  After scoring the burger, the point total is then broken down into a star system, 1-5, with 5 stars being a top rating.  I'll post all the numbers for each burger joint and their offerings in the final report.

No national chains will be included in this challenge, no Five Guys, no Red Robin, no BurgerFi, no Freddy's, etc....    Only the local, regional burger joints qualify.  Besides, when it comes to burgers, McDonald's is most everybody's last resort, Wendy's is nothing extra special with their square patties and Burger King, well, isn't a king at all.

Bionic Burger
a 1/4 pound of steakburger goodness!

Today's Burger Challenge Tasting:  Bionic Burger

I selected Bionic Burger to begin this challenge because the joint flat out makes good burgers, they are a solid choice to establish a baseline for the tasting spreadsheet.  Bionic Burger has been deliciously serving Wichita since 1977 and so to start things off, I ordered the classic, the Bionic Burger which is a 1/4 pound of beef on a toasted bun with American cheese, mustard, pickle, raw and grilled onions.  Bionic crafts a really good patty, fresh beef that includes trim from T-Bone, strip steak and sirloin.  They sear that patty off with the grilled onion, it's steakburger goodness!

The burger to bun ratio is spot on, the patty was juicy and seasoned well.  The bun was perfectly toasted and I got the tart from the mustard in every bite.  The sandwich could have had a few more pickles on it.....  'jus say'n.  The combination of both raw and grilled onions compliments and even enhances the savory beef and rounding things out is the classic flavor of American cheese.  Overall all, this is a balanced burger delivering on all the notes you're looking for in a good one.

Costing me $5.37 - yes, you read that right, just $5.37!.....  for a Bionic Burger Combo, I'm giving the Bionic Burger 4 out of 5 stars.  Bionic's classic burger is very worthy of a repeat buy, especially at that price!

4 stars

The Bionic Burger visited is located at:  3257 E. Harry St., Wichita, KS., 67218

The service was very polite and my trip through the drive-thru took maybe 4 minutes at the start of the lunch hour, from time to order in a line of cars to getting my meal at the window.  Not bad!

Bionic Burger Open
A bit sloppy, but quite tasty

Don't even THINK about going to McDonald's, go to Bionic Burger instead.

Don't go to Wendy's, go to Bionic Burger instead.

Don't go to Burger King, go to Bionic Burger instead.

This Burger Challenge is off to a very tasty start, I'm SO looking forward to the next burger joint visit!

Here's my starting list of 28 restaurants that tout burgers, more joints are to be added, I'm sure I missed a few when putting this challenge together.

  • The Anchor
  • Big Larry's Burgers
  • Bionic Burger
  • Bomber Burger
  • Braums
  • Broadway Burgers & BBQ
  • Buster's Burger Joint
  • Calvin's Hamburger Haven
  • Chicken N Pickle (Yes, really, a chicken place that does burgers!)
  • Deano's Grill & Tapworks
  • Dempsy's Burger Pub
  • Dog & Shake
  • Emerson Biggins
  • Fizz Burgers & Bottles
  • Harry's Uptown
  • The Hill Bar & Grill
  • Lotus Leaf
  • Oasis Lounge
  • O'Malley's Irish Pub (1/2 pound burgers!)
  • Side Pockets
  • Spangles
  • Sport Burger
  • TJ's
  • Two Brother's BBQ
  • Ty's Diner
  • Walt's
  • West St. Burgers
  • Yo-B Yogurt & Burgers

Doing this in the name of "Food Science" (cough), I'm looking forward to finding the best locally crafted burger!  I'll eventually whittle this list down to the 10 Best Burger Joints in the Wichita Metro.

Stay tuned and $pend Wisely My Friends.....


Wichita St. rallies past USF for 11th straight 20-win season

Wichita StateWICHITA, Kansas -- Jaime Echenique tied his career high with 20 points as Wichita State defeated South Florida 65-55 on Thursday night and the Shockers have secured 20 wins for the 11th straight season.

Echenique sank two free throws and Dennis Dexter followed with a 3-pointer as Wichita State (20-6, 8-5 American Athletic Conference) fought out of the second of two ties midway through the final period with five unanswered points.

via www.espn.com


Foo Fighters coming to Wichita April 18

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) The Foo Fighters will bring their Van Tour 2020 to Wichita this spring.

The rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington, will play at INTRUST Bank Arena on Saturday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m.

"Each and every 2020 Van Tour show will feature a very special opening attraction: A sneak peek at an excerpt from Dave Grohl’s brand new documentary WHAT DRIVES US," according to a release on the arena's website.

Tickets for the show go on sale on February 21 at 10 a.m.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.selectaseat.com, by phone at 855-755-SEAT (7328) or in person at the Select-A-Seat Box Office at INTRUST Bank Arena.

You can find more information on the Foo Fighters here: www.intrustbankarena.com/foofighters

via www.kwch.com


Drink Review: Clos du Bois Chardonnay - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

National Drink Wine DayIn honor of National Drink Wine Day - who thinks up these days of celebration things anyway? - Well, I'm rolling with it!

A drink review on a Chardonnay, produced by Clos du Bois

Clos du Bois is one of California's longest standing names in the marketplace, walk into almost any liquor store and you'll see their wines on the shelf.  Their Chardonnay is a popular choice because it's a reasonably priced, no-nonsense wine.  It's not top shelf stuff, but it's not bottom shelf stuff either.  This wine is popular because it delivers top shelf taste without the cost, a great bang for the Chardonnay buck.

Here are the tasting notes from the winemaker's website:  Brilliant silver straw yellow in color. Intense aromas of apple blossom, ripe pear, and sweet lemon drop are complemented by toasty oak, spice, and cream. In the mouth, the silky texture of the wine is overlaid with bright, juicy flavors of ripe apple and pear for a long and fresh finish.

Those tasting notes are spot on!  In layman's terms, it's good!

Chardonnay is also arguably the world’s most popular variety of white wine and in large part we have California to thank for that.  Winemakers there have successfully marketed the straightforward but very pleasant aromas of apple and pear and Clos de Bois is a pick of choice with many who keep a Chardonnay or two at the ready at home.  It's also a pick of choice in the bars as well.  That's saying something.

Costing me about $10, this is another wine that's easy to like, it's reasonably priced, drinks easy after a long day at work and compliments a variety of fish and chicken dishes, especially those prepared with butter, cream or herbal sauces.  It's a repeat buy and gets 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars!

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

Related:  Drink Review: The Ned Sauvignon Blanc

For more food and drink reviews go to www.bacheloronthecheap.com