Best Burger Exposed


Dylan Hansen, Staff Reporter

I embarked on a journey January 10th, 2018 to find the best competitively priced burger. As someone that has spent a fair amount of time observing how food in a high-end restaurant is prepared and plated I have begun to enjoy looking into the quality and presentation of my local restaurants.

My rules were fairly simple, the burger had to be under 8 dollars, not including fries and it couldn’t be fast food. I picked these rules because as someone that is usually slim in the wallet I thought it would be fun to find quality, affordable food.

With an emphasis on price, I decided to leave places like McMenamins and Golden Valley out of the running, because this is not just the best burger. I am looking for an entire package of price, quality and presentation

I decided to review Nancy Jo’s Burgers and Fries, Carlton Corners, Banners and a little food cart by the name of Sandwich Hut. All of these places serve a basic cheeseburger, and they all had burgers for eight dollars or less.

My first victim was Nancy Jo’s, and after that, they are ranked in order of my favorite to least favorite.


Nancy Jo’s

Nancy Jo’s is run on the original burger joint business model from the 1950’s, simple burger and fries. Granted they have a lengthy list of condiments and garnishes that should keep any connoisseur happy while remaining completely simple.


The simplicity continues with a Ron Swanson, nonsense cooking style with a grill and a deep fryer used only for french fries and maintained at just the right temperature. The delicious devil is in the details. Details that go on for a while in their list of garnishes and condiments; lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, fresh onions, jalapeno peppers, jalapeno ranch sauce, grilled fresh onions, grilled fresh mushrooms, A1 steak sauce, sweet relish, barbeque sauce, ketchup, mustard, and at last mayo.


The only complaint that It’s constantly busy. The burger is piled high with whatever you ask for, free of charge. With this said, the bun doesn’t seem to get soggy and it stays together surprisingly well. Certainly well prepared.


But as good as the burger was, and it was delicious, the fries are everything and more. After consulting a professional chef about the fries, the secret is frying only the fries in their oil and keeping the oil at the perfect temperature.


Overall the minimal service was sound, but certainly a server would have been nice. However, the food was excellent quality delivered quickly and efficiently. The condiments were as expected, fresh. Nancy Jo’s left nothing to be desired and delivered the simplistic old fashion service as advertised.

Sandwich Hut

Sandwich Hut is a food cart located on the southwest side of the Lowe’s parking lot in between the entrance and lumber loading area. The burger was 4.95 and a definite bargain for a real beef burger.


At a glance, I found the burger to be the same simple concept as Nancy’s, a straightforward patty, bun and the classic condiments. I chose to add grilled onions and mushrooms to mine, and overall I had a pretty good sized burger.


There are no fries offered, and I didn’t see any chips either. So my burger was flying solo, and it was surprisingly sufficient. The bun was very soft and supple, it grappled the burger firmly. Below the bun was a surprisingly high-quality garnish. The tomato was perfectly ripe, and the onions weren’t slimy as grilled garnishes can become.


However, the patty was just okay. Again, the classic case of under seasoned but well dressed. There was a perfect amount of mayonnaise and nothing became baby food before I could eat it.


Overall, this is a pretty straightforward food cart experience, get your food and get out kind of deal, so the service was limited. Although the woman was very friendly, but a little slow to realize I was there.


I give the food a 7/10 and the overall experience a 7.5/10, with solid service and a well prepared burger at a more than affordable rate. If you are in the neighborhood, it certainly beats the pants off of Taco Del Mar or Carls Jr at half the price.


Although I thoroughly enjoyed the host, as he was a very bubbly man with lots to say, I was not very impressed with the Burger or the fries. They seemed poorly prepared and a victim of cutting corners.


To start, the patty was certainly, the star of this ensemble. But much like a 90’s BMW chassis, the rest of the car, or burger in this case really underperformed. The lettuce was floppy and hard to break down. In addition to the lettuce, the tomato didn’t appear to be completely ripe.


The burger was like a warhead, sour, sour, sour, and then suddenly sweet and you wanted to keep eating. That patty is seriously seasoned well. Almost well enough to make up for floppy fries and lettuce.


This leads me to the fries and presentation. There wasn’t much presentation, although the fries were generously portioned and created a golden barrier.


In terms of overall quality of food and service, the restaurant presented itself well and the food was at least a step above Carlton Corners. But that’s all they have going for them. There is still hope, with a little investment in quality produce and frying the buns, this burger would be a real competitor for the number one spot.

Carlton Corners

I’ll open with this, no longer the best but the reasons is self-inflicted. Within the first bite I noticed that the patty was different and it was disappointing. Without a piece of seasoned meat, the burger really was not worth the money. At a minimum, salt and pepper would have been appreciated.


Moving on to fries and sides, their signature pepperoncini and pickle was delicious as always. However, it’s hard to mess pickled garnishes up. The real crime, and I mean full on, felony, was the fries. First of all, they were not even a shade of golden brown. The fries were white, like nun legs in January white.


Although the patty and fries were unsatisfactory, the bun and garnishes were sublime. Their bun and condiment preparation is seriously the best that I had during this entire the review. Moreover, the pepperchini and pickle are always a delectable addition.


Having said all of this, every time I eat a burger I expect to have a pickle and pepperoncini. Moreover in 2013 or 2014 when they began serving burgers as a restaurant, they were seen as the new standard beating the likes of Golden Valley and the Union Block House cafe all while costing half to nearly a third of the cost.


I saw this transition from Carlton Corners sort of top dog best burger to bottom of the barrel that is over hyped as a representation of this countries transition from capitalism(having the best product) to consumerism(doing it because others are/persuaded).  Having established this, Carlton Corners really ought to rethink their change in patty and actually cooking the fries, because they have a real chance and rightfully deserving their customer and fan based from winning best burger.