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.
It's a Tuesday and time for dinner, so I headed over to The Rusty Nail for a burger bite and to hang out with my buddy Remington and his significant other Kayla. These two are like the perfect couple and recommended this place for a get-together.
If you've never been to the Rusty Nail, here's the info from their About page: Best friends for over 20 years, we are Shauna Claycomb & Kristi Utz. We have dreamt of many businesses where we could excel and The Rusty Nail is the finished dream! The Rusty Nail incorporates our vision and 40 combined years of hard-earned knowledge. With the help from so many, we gutted and remodeled a distinct, 3 level building in the heart of Wichita. We believe that supporting local, giving back to our community, and striving for 'Green' practices will allow us to gain many more best-friends. Come in to try our unique house-made food, signature cocktail on tap, and daily specials. We want to personally invite you to come visit our dream!
A bar with a great neighborhood vibe, I arrived just after 6pm, Remington and Kayla were already seated and sipping on some Jack & Coke. Our waitress for the evening, Jessica, popped over soon after I sat down to take my drink order, I went with a Jim Beam Peach and what a great price at just $2.25!
For dinner I went with what The Rusty Nail calls a Damn Good Burger. It's a 1/3 pound beef patty and you can pretty much top it off however you want. You can select from a nice variety of cheeses, go classic with lettuce, tomato, mayo, pickles, raw and/or grilled onion. You can kick things up a notch with jalapenos, mushrooms, BBQ sauce and even grape jelly. Upcharge adds include bacon, onion rings, guacamole, extra cheese, salsa and pork verde. Keeping in line with the Challenge, I went classic with lettuce, tomato, mayo, pickles and onion along with cheddar cheese and a bacon add. For my side I went with fried mushrooms for a change of pace.
It didn't take long for the food to arrive and I took that first bite. I have to say I was a bit disappointed. The 1/3 pound burger patty was under seasoned and over cooked, leaving it a bit dry. The bacon had good coverage but was unevenly cooked and lacked a black pepper kick. The cheddar was nice, the toast on the bun was decent and the veggies were on point but I didn't get any pickles. And while the bun holds up from first bite to last, the meat to bun ratio was a bit off, the sandwich is a bit bread heavy.
Side Note: The fried mushrooms were good, but not great. They were fried nicely and the shrooms gave you that juicy bite you're looking for but the batter lacked some seasoning punch. The dipping sauce was needed, without it, the mushrooms are a bit bland.
Costing me $12.62 after tax for the burger and side, the Rusty Nail Damn Good Burger scored 52 points out of a possible 63, earning it 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. It's a good burger, but I wouldn't call it Damn Good. And sure, I could have added some of those other topping options, but remember why I'm sticking to a classic bacon cheeseburger format for this Challenge... If a burger joint can't put together a classic bacon cheeseburger and do it well, then there's no reason to sample their other burger options. An under seasoned and over cooked beef patty prevented this from being a better burger.
Located at 1155 S Washington Ave, Wichita, KS 67211, The Rusty Nail has a comfortable atmosphere, friendly service and very reasonable prices. Jessica our server was great despite the drop on the pickles (don't know if that was on her, or the kitchen), her service was attentive and super friendly. It's a very Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly bar but their burgers and fried mushrooms could use a bit more seasoning.
$pend Wisely My Friends...
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