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The Best of Five Chain Restaurant Burgers We Ate

    The Best of Five Chain Restaurant Burgers We Ate (1)

    My expectations for a good burger’s flavor are, and always have been, high. It’s not surprising, since I grew up with a father who was the best griller I’ve ever seen and an aunt who ran one of the best burger places in New Jersey. My standards have been called snobby, but I prefer the term “selective,” since not all burgers are made equally. This is particularly true with burgers served at fast food chains, as each location offers its own take on the American staple.

    I get that the way you want your burger is a matter of taste, just like how you like your coffee or whether you’re on team ranch or blue cheese. So, we decided to compare the burgers at several well-known chain eateries. In an effort to save you from a bad meal, I sampled five different burgers and ranked them according to beef patty flavor, topping selection, condiment quality, and overall eating experience.

    1. ShackBurger from Shake Shack, One Per Order

    Lines at Shake Shack often snake out the door in a winding pattern because the chain has amassed a devoted fan base of people eager to try its legendary burgers and French fries. Perhaps you are also among them. But I’m not one of them.
    Beef from the burger and shake establishment seems dry and flavorless if it is not topped with the signature shack sauce. A cheese-topped snack nevertheless calls for a drink, whether it’s a creamy shake from the chain’s namesake menu or a glass of fresh lemonade. I had already eaten about a third of my burger before I tried the shack sauce, and I have to say that it was well worth the wait.

    2. Authentic Applebee’s Cheeseburger

    You can tell you’re getting a good amount of meat because of the huge, flattened patty oozing out of a brioche bun. The lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles complement the two layers of American cheese that seem to merge into one massive piece.

    Noticing the absence of seasonings in that selection? Unfortunately, the Applebee’s Classic Cheeseburger is unadorned. Even if it were dry, I wouldn’t say the meat lacked taste. If you’re a fan of unique sauces made just for you at a restaurant, you’re out of luck. However, the blank, muscular canvas is likely to be appreciated by individuals who want to load on their own condiments (ketchup, mayo, mustard, BBQ sauce, a combination, etc.).

    3. A whiskey-glazed burger is TGI Friday’s claim to fame.

    When I didn’t consume many burgers while working as a waiter at TGI Fridays in college, I did like the establishment’s distinctive sesame Jack strips, which are essentially chicken strips covered in a Jack Daniel’s whiskey glaze. As a result, I was looking forward to trying the Whiskey-Glazed Signature Burger.

    Overall, it fell a little short of my high expectations, but it wasn’t a total disappointment.

    I like the taste of Friday’s special sauce, but only in a few doses. The meat flavor is lost in the sweetness of the glaze. The sauce penetrated the bottom of the burger bun, making the whole thing a nasty ordeal to consume. The burger is tasty, but I’d have to have a really particular taste for it before I’d eat it again.

    4. A Cheesy Old-Timer from Chili’s

    I bet when you think of Chili’s, burgers aren’t the first thing that comes to mind. The Oldtimer with Cheese at Chili’s blew my expectations away.

    The steak has an excellent flavor without being too seasoned. This way, the burger’s toppings can really shine. Pickles, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and mustard are used to top the burger. It wasn’t until this study that I tried mustard with my burger. I’m not sure I can go back to using just ketchup and mayonnaise after experiencing the deliciousness that is the combo.

    The only negative I can think to say is that I would have liked a little more cheese. Strangely, however, I found that the addition of mustard helped make up for the missing flavor.

    5. CharBurger the Burger of Habit

    The famous CharBurger at this eatery is a charred beef burger that stands on its own in terms of taste. I got mine with cheese because I like cheese, but if I had to I could survive (and possibly even like) it without.

    The burger’s assembly of toppings was another something I like; the shredded lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, and pickles weren’t too much to take in all at once. Mayonnaise oozing excessively from the sides of the seeded bun was the most striking feature. But I can overlook it since this is the greatest burger of the bunch.

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