By Mike Thayer
This challenge started before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the stay-at-home order and resulting changes in business operations caused a delay in reviews. But now that it looks like things are getting back on track to some sense of normal, the reviews can continue.
I recently completed a pizza challenge, sampling 18 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.
Bacon Cheeseburger on the left, Mushroom Swiss on the right
Today's Burger Challenge is a review of Fizz Burgers & Bottles, a local, family-owned and operated burger joint that opened in November 2010. Fizz is the sixth tasting in this challenge of 28 burger joints to review.
My girlfriend and I were craving burgers for dinner one night, so off to Fizz Burgers & Bottles for a carry-out order we went. We ordered two different burgers to split and share, going with the Bacon Cheeseburger and a Mushroom Swiss. To accompany the burgers we also ordered sweet potato fries as well as the fresh cuts fries - I mean, you can't have burgers without fries, right? Dipping sauces come with the fries, so we went with the garlic aioli for the fresh cut and to pair with the sweet potato fries, we went with the server's recommendation of the pecan sauce. To round the meal order out, we scored a couple of "Cake Truffles", one a red velvet cake, the other a peanut butter and chocolate. To wash things down with, we got a couple of wheat beers brewed by the Boulevard Brewing Company.
Fizz cranks out some good burgers! Disclaimer here.... According to the Challenge rules, the Mushroom Swiss was not scored, it was still evaluated, but for the purpose of the review, the merits of the Bacon Cheeseburger is what counted.
A boatload of fries!
Each burger was 1/4 pound, seasoned nicely and juicy. An over-cooked burger is a burger crime and Fizz is not guilty of a crime here. The meat to bun ratio was spot on, the toasted bun held up (I hate it when a burger bun falls apart!), the bacon makes everything better as bacon always does, the cheddar cheese is a perfect pairing but what puts this burger over the top is that zesty mustard Fizz puts on it. The mustard rocks, it sings on the tongue! Of the two burgers ordered, the Bacon Cheeseburger was the favorite. Don't get me wrong, the Mushroom Swiss was good too, with the only knock I've got with it was the sauteed mushrooms and onions being a bit under seasoned. The Fizz Bacon Cheeseburger scored a 51 out of a possible 63 points on the spreadsheet.
Side Note: The fries were stellar and there was a boatload of them! While the fresh cut fries were really good and the garlic aioli dipping sauce quite nice, the sweet potato fries were that much better and that pecan dipping sauce had that WOW! factor. Kudos to our server for the recommendation! The beer we ordered was refreshing, a perfect compliment to our order and to top it all off was dessert, those Cake Truffles. These are OMG good! The Red Velvet was very tasty, but the Peanut Butter & Chocolate was the clear favorite.
Fizz Burgers & Bottles is located at 7718 E. 37th St. N., Wichita, KS. 67226, in the Sienna Plaza. The service for our carry-out order was super friendly, polite, engaging and informative, special thanks for the spot on recommendations for the fry order and dipping sauces! The total price for two burgers, two medium orders of fries, two beers and two desserts came to $47.23, with the price for the Bacon Cheeseburger alone ringing in at $11.00. Fizz comes out on the high end of burger prices but their burgers are quite tasty and still worthy of a repeat buy. I'm looking forward to when things get back to normal and we can dine in. I'm giving Fizz Burgers & Bottles and their Bacon Cheeseburger 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.
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
- 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
- Sport Burger
- Two Brother's BBQ
- Ty's Diner
- Walt's East
- 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.....