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.
Today's Burger Challenge travels took me to Sport Burger for lunch. Located at the corner of Hillside and Victor Place, this is another iconic burger joint in Wichita, it's drive thru only and cash only. Opening at 11am and knowing how busy this place can get, I turned onto Victor Place and took a place in line on the street. It was 10:50am and I was vehicle #4.
Once the place opened up, the first car in line pulled in off the street (there is a chain and sign blocking the entrance during non-business hours) and up to the menu board. This is no ordinary drive thru, you're not going to get your meal in less than five minutes, fast food style. This is a "Hurry up and wait" drive thru. Your meal is made to order. That means they don't start cooking your burger and fries until you order it for those of you who live in Valley Center.
I ordered the #5, a Double Bacon Cheeseburger which comes with fries and a drink. The standard dress for a Sport Burger is ketchup, mustard, grilled onions and pickles. As I waited in my truck for my turn at the window to receive my meal, I noticed the vehicles ahead of me were receiving multiple bags of burgerliciousness and not just two meals for the two people in car #1 for example, no, I'm talking multiple bags of burgers and fries far exceeding the number of passengers within the vehicles ahead of me. That explained the long wait, but it's also testimony to how good this place is... If somebody hears you're going to Sport Burger, they want in on it!
After receiving my meal, I looked in the rear view mirror and the line of cars behind me was out of visual range, it was now 11:35am. I began the drive home, the aromas coming from the brown bag were killer! I managed to make it home without stealing any fries and performed the wrapper unveil...
The burger was delicious. The 1/2 pound of beef was cooked nicely, it was savory, juicy beef. The bacon was crisp although it was applied on the burger in the dreaded "X" fashion, failing to deliver bacon in every bite. There was good coverage with the ketchup, mustard, cheese and pickles but what puts this burger over the top is the generous portion of chopped, grilled onion. They were seasoned and grilled perfectly, providing that slightly sweet caramelized dose of YUM in every bite. These were the best grilled onions I've had so far in this challenge.
Side Note: The fries were excellent. These are a slightly thicker than your average straight cut fry. They were perfectly cooked and seasoned well, providing the light, crispy exterior and the fluffy potato interior you're looking for. It's the kind of fry where you don't care if you run out of ketchup, you're going to finish them without it.
Costing me $10.63 for the combo meal, the Sport Burger #5, a Double Bacon Cheeseburger scored 57 points out of a possible 63, earning it 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. This is one of the more reasonably priced burger joints in town, providing you a 1/2 pound of beef vs. the single patty (1/4lb.) a lot of competitors serve for about the same price.
Located at 134 N Hillside St, Wichita, KS 67214, the service was very polite and on task. There is a reason you'll see a line of cars on any given day at this place at 11am every morning. They make a darn good burger, period. The wait is worth it.
$pend Wisely My Friends...
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