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Best in Wichita Metro Burger Challenge 2022: How does Side Pockets rate?

Side Pockets Wichita
614 S Tyler Rd, Wichita, KS 67209

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 Friday night, burger dinner time, I met up with some friends at Side Pockets.  It was a "Happy Retirement" party for Gil S., a man you can count on to help you out, no notice, seven days a week.  It was Gil's recommendation to get together at Side Pockets, it's kind of a go-to place for him and it's easy to understand why.  The place is huge, with a countless number of pool tables, a plethora of TVs, a menu with a lot of variety and reasonably priced drinks.

Side Pockets Bacon Cheeseburger
Presenting the burger 'Lid Off' is nice, allowing the customer to add condiments as they see fit, but a culinary "Oops" in applying the bacon using the dreaded "X" method.

Walking in at about 6:45pm, the place was already hopping, many of the pool tables were busy and a number of folks were perched in view of the Cowboys vs. Seahawks pre-game show, drinks in hand, appetizers on the table.  Meeting up with members of my group, we opted to get a large table in the Brass Taproom.  It's kind of a hidden area at Side Pockets, with more pool tables in a quieter setting and its own full bar, an ideal tucked away space for a gathering such as ours.

With the rest of our group arriving, it was time to order.  Our waitress, Wanda, was great.  The Friday night special at Side Pockets just happens to be their 1/2 pound burgers for $6.99, so that played right into my Bachelor on the Cheap Burger Challenge in ordering the Bacon Cheeseburger with cheddar and a side of Tater Tots.  What?  A half pound burger for just $6.99?  Yep.   Half of our party took advantage of the special.  Regularly priced at $9.69, the Side Pockets Bacon Cheeseburger is a generous portion of ground beef with your choice of American, Pepper Jack, Swiss, Provolone or Cheddar Cheese topped with Hickory Smoked Bacon.  It comes dressed with lettuce, tomato, pickle and is served on a lightly toasted bun.

1/2 pound beef patty
All the juice was cooked out of the beef

After enjoying a round of drinks and sharing some work related 'War Stories,' our food arrived. Side Pockets presents their burgers 'lid off,' making it easier for the customer to apply ketchup, mustard and mayo if desired.  That's a serving option I can appreciate.  I didn't apply any of that however, wanting to embrace the flavors in the burger as served.  After taking a few pics, I took that first bite...  Unfortunately the burger patty was overcooked and very dry.  It was seasoned well enough, but very dry.  The only 'juice' I got was from the veggies.  The melt on the cheddar was good and the bacon was crisp and flavorful, but that bacon was applied using the dreaded "X" method, failing to provide bacon in every burger bite.  The lightly toasted bun held up from first bite to last, but this burger needed an infusion of condiments to insert some needed moisture.

Side Pockets Bacon Cheeseburger
Good bacon flavor, too bad that half slice isn't ON the burger for a better BACON CHEESEBURGER experience.

Side Note:  The Tater Tots, my favorite side when it comes to burgers, were rather average.  The fry on the taters was OK, the seasoning was OK.  Not the best of the challenge.

Costing me $7.51 with tax for the burger and tots, the Side Pockets Bacon Cheeseburger scored 51 out of a possible 63 points, earning 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  A half pound burger for a bit over $7 is a good value, but this is a borderline repeat buy with prep being the key.  My burger wasn't the only dry one at the table, they all were.  It's unfortunate all the juice was cooked out of the patty.

4 stars

Side Pockets Bacon Cheeseburger
Over cooked patty, not juicy at all.

Located at 614 S Tyler Rd, Wichita, KS 67209, the Brass Taproom at Side Pockets was a great spot for our small party.  The service provided by Wanda was friendly, informative, attentive.  We didn't have to ask for drink refills (although the pours were a bit weak), she asked how our meals were, she was 'at the ready,' addressing any needs the table had.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related:  Other burger joints reviewed so far

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