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.
Monday night, burger night, dinner date night with Pam W., at Emerson Biggins in Old Town. Neither one of us had ever eaten at this place before, so we were looking forward to it. Here's a teaser description from the restaurant's website: Nothing satisfies hunger like a hot and juicy burger – made to order – served with a cold beer of your choice. Pair that with the best hand-battered onion rings in Wichita and you’ll never want to leave!
A perfect fit for this challenge, that's exactly what I ordered in getting the Emerson Biggins Original Burger that's topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion and mayo. I also went with cheddar cheese and a bacon add to make it 'Challenge Compliant.' Pam went with a Rueben sandwich which sounded great along with hand cut fries and for an appetizer we shared some fried pickles which were quite tasty.
After a few sips of beer and some great conversation, our food arrived, both plates nicely presented. I took that first bite of the burger... What looked so promising was under seasoned and over cooked, resulting in a dry, underwhelming patty of beef. The toppings saved it. This was a nicely stacked burger, the veggies were fresh and had great coverage providing crisp lettuce, juicy tomato, tart pickle and sharpness of the red onion. The cheese was melted nicely and the bun had a great toast on it but the bacon was applied using the dreaded "X" method, so I didn't get bacon in every bite. It delivered on the crisp with a hint of smoke when I did get a bite though.
Pam's Rueben was good, there was a nice portion of grilled pastrami, but it was a bit light on the Thousand Island dressing, so an additional side of it was ordered to better compliment and balance out the bacon, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and toasted marble rye.
Side Note: The onion rings were delicious! Fried to perfection, I got a really nice crunch bite on the outside and tender sweet onion on the inside. That hand battered preparation makes it and the rings were huge! I'll let you know if they're the best in town at the conclusion of this Challenge. Pam's fries however, even though hand cut, were average.
Costing $17.20 with tax for the burger, bacon add and side upgrade of onion rings, the Emerson Biggins Original Burger scored 54 points out of a possible 63, earning it 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. This was the most expensive burger so far in the Challenge. The base price for the Emerson Biggins Original is $12 with the default side of hand cut fries, so the restaurant kind of gouges you a bit with the adds/upgrades. For $17+ I expect a lot more flavor from a burger, it doesn't matter how tasty those hand battered onion rings were. It's a shame the beef was over cooked, especially at that price, which prevents this from being a repeat buy.
Located at 808 E Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS 67202, the service at Emerson Biggins was quite good, very friendly and super attentive. The beer was cold, the mugs were tall and repeat buy worthy were those fried pickles and hand battered onion rings. If you want to enjoy an Emerson Biggins burger, I would recommend doing so on Tuesdays, they have a half price special.
$pend Wisely My Friends...
Related: Other burger joints reviewed so far
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