By Mike Thayer
I'm traveling around the Wichita Metro, sampling the burger offerings from any joint that has burgers on the menu, local, regional, national chain, it doesn't matter. In order to determine a true champion of burgers in the metro, I'll have to sample them all in the name of "burger science" (cough). For the burger criteria, click here.
For today's Burger Challenge dinner, I headed over to Bubba's33. Located in the Towne East Mall Square area on the Kellogg side and across the street from Rusty Eck Ford, I've been to Bubba's33 quite a few times and have never had a bad meal there. Specializing in pizza, wings, burgers and beer, it's a great place to catch a game on one of their many big screens.
Entering Bubba's33 at about 4:30pm, it was open seating in the bar area but the bar itself was already pretty packed. I found a vacant nearby table and parked it, in full view of a half dozen big screen TVs. Ryley the waiter soon arrived, introduced himself and took my order for a Blackberry Smash cocktail, an absolutely delicious mixology of Crown Royal® hand shaken with a hint of Bubba’s 33 sweet & sour, DeKuyper® Razzmatazz® Liqueur, and fresh blackberries. It's my go-to whenever I'm at Bubba's, I have yet to try and re-create it at home. I engaged myself in a variety of sports programming as I waited for Ryley to return with my drink.
It didn't take long at all for Ryley to return with that enticing cocktail and I placed my order for the Bubba's33 Bacon Burger. Here's the description of my Burger Challenge dinner choice for this evening's meal - a Bacon Burger - from the Bubba's33 website: Two Bubba's signature beef and bacon grind patties (half pound total weight) pressed and stacked with Bubba sauce, American cheese, smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion.
Passing time watching a variety of sports highlights, texting and Facebook posting, my burger soon arrived and when presented by Ryley I was reminded of my recent experience at Applebee's, a good looking burger... accompanied by five, count them just five onion rings. It was a disappointing burger and side experience at Applebee's both in taste and quantity. Fortunately, Bubba's33 makes a superior burger.
I took my first bite of the bacon burger and it was quite tasty, living up to my expectation for never having a bad meal at Bubba's33. The beef & bacon grind was nicely prepared, seasoned well and juicy. The bacon was crisp but a point was docked because the bacon was applied in the dreaded 'X' way, so there wasn't bacon in every bite. I don't know why some restaurants are OK with this, it's NOT a better presentation, it's lazy and without bacon in every bite it's just not as good of a bacon cheeseburger experience as it could be. Either apply the bacon to the burger in half slices side-by-side or shape it into triangles prior to cooking, providing the customer the ultimate in bacon in every bite experience. Bacon coverage over the entire burger is what makes it a bacon cheeseburger and it only takes perhaps one more minute in prep time! The bun was toasted nicely, the Bubba Sauce - a kicked up Thousand Island dressing - was nice, the melted cheese was on point, the shredded lettuce was fresh but the tomato wasn't the juiciest red and the onion was almost non-existent.
Side Note: The battered onion rings were delicious, but the quantity was a downer. Looking back, I guess I've always gotten the fries with a basket type meal in the past and it's not like their fry portion is huge either, but c'mon, five onion rings?
Costing me a bit under $14 for the burger and onion rings, the Bubba's33 Bacon Burger scored 56 out of a possible 63 points, earning it 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. It's a very good but not a truly great burger and it's worthy of a repeat buy, but the not as fresh as it could be tomato and lack of onion prevents it from being a Top 5 burger in this Challenge and I've got quite a few restaurants yet to sample.
Located at 412 S Towne East Mall Dr, Wichita, KS 67207, Bubba's33 is a fun place to dine with friends, enjoy some interesting cocktails and grab some overall good eats while watching a game. The service provided by Ryley was friendly and professional, but it wasn't as attentive as it could have been, he seemed far more 'focused' on tables with multiple guests rather than my table of one, working the larger tab tip...
$pend Wisely My Friends...
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