Here we are again, talking burgers. This has really become a thing for me and my weird Friday schedule. Setting up burger joints in the area and checking them off, one by one. There are really only about 3 more that I can think of that I need to hit, and only 2 will likely work for Friday lunches. We will see.
This time we head to Guilderland to finally try Juicy Burgers & More…often passed, never sampled. How did their fare fare?
I did veer off course a little for this visit – going for a Bacon Cheese Burger instead of just a burger. And, as you can see, I got the Mix & Match side with regular (Yukon Gold) fries with onion rings. The clean presentation on a reasonably sized white plate comes with a few pickle chips. When you order you get a single napkin with a number for your table, which is ludicrous, because you’re going to need more. I was asked if I needed anything, like more napkins, when my meal was brought, and I agreed to extras since there were no napkins on the tables or with the beverages. The cashier/food deliverer cheerfully brought me a couple more and I did indeed need them. I, and other diners, were also asked at least once while we ate if we needed anything else, which is really a step above typical for quick service and this price point. She was very nice, too.
The space in Guilderland is pretty big, lots of 4- and 2-person tables, tall windows along one wall letting in a lot of light. A number of unnecessary TVs, muted, with music playing. There are also tables outside, which I guess could work.
Let’s start with beverages. No Coke Freestyle here, Juicy Burgers has Pepsi (and the crowd goes wild) products. This dispenser was a bit different – it’s not the somewhat silly Pepsi Spire machine (I think the only one I’ve ever seen is at Hot Harry’s), but a typical dispenser with individual push tabs for beverages – but it does have a dispenser to add “flavor shots” to your drink. Basically adding a bit of fruit flavor. It was broken, but I had no interest in adding any fruity flavors to my root beer, anyway. Dispensed ice is a very course crush instead of cubes, which is fun.
You can see my meal above, a touch of grilling to the bun, a rather off kilter wooden skewer holding things together. I asked for mayo, tomato, and pickles, then added ketchup at the table. Nice condiment selection at each table – ketchup, plain mustard and (nose up, pinky out) Gray Poupon, salt and pepper grinders, and….I knew I should have taken a picture…tabasco, I think. No utensils anywhere, though, otherwise I’d have cut that monster burger in half and probably used a fork on some of the little fries. Order to table was pretty fast.
Let’s talk sides first. The thin fries were really well cooked, crispy but not crunchy/dried out. Good seasoning, they didn’t need any added salt. The onion rings struck me as pretty generic – aka ‘from the freezer’, but I’m not sure because they were really tasty. Again, perfectly cooked and you could actually crunch a bite without being left with a handful of batter and half an onion flopping on your chin. I’d get the Mix & Match again, definitely. Note that you can also get sweet potato fries. I bet my wife would go for those.
Finally, the burger. You’re given a choice between red, pink, and brown and I went for pink. They did a decent job nailing it, too. Probably more of a medium rare than medium, but it was hot throughout and I had no complaints.
The burger was good – nice crumb, held together well, nice browning on the outside and a strong, clean beefy flavor. Not a lot of seasoning, more ‘understated’ than ‘unseasoned’ if you catch my drift. I think there may have been a bit more seasoning on the outside, but the bit I tried on its own was from the center so it wasn’t clear. The cheese was OK, nothing memorable. I chose cheddar.
The bacon was really nice. It was flavorful and crispy without being too hard to bite through with your burger bite. The first nit I will pick, though, it with the bacon. It was too salty. While it still had a classic, porky bacon flavor and wasn’t all fatty, the first impression is salt. It lent an overall saltiness to the burger that was just this side of acceptable. It’s a good thing the meat wasn’t overly salted or it would have been a disaster. And I think the grease from the bacon also threw off my attempts to assess the seasoning on the burger.
Now let’s pick the biggest nit. Those pickles are horrendous. I mean they are just awful. They’re quite soft, almost no crispness to them at all. And it’s not due to cut, they’re not thick, but they’re not the thin wafers on a fast food burger. And they are sour. I guess maybe if you’re into really sour pickles or Warheads you might be into these, but they really threw me. I’m not really a fan of half-sours, let alone full-sours, but I know how those taste and this wasn’t even like that. I want to say they, too, were salty. Maybe the profile I was getting was actually more of a bitter/sour combo. Anyway, I ended up pulling most of them out of the burger, which greatly improved it. It’s a shame, because especially with the bacon this burger could have used a nice acidic pickle to cut through the grease, but it wasn’t happening.
Because I don’t want to end on a downer, because this meal wasn’t a downer, I really enjoyed it, I’ll finish on a positive. The bun was quite good. Held up well, despite the serious juiciness of this burger, and had a nice squish to it. It was strong enough to keep everything together right up to the last bite. Nothing assertive about the flavor. Pretty much everything you want a quick service burger bun to be.
Price was so-so, around $15. For what I got I’m pretty much ok with the price. Also, I did feel a little more full when finished compared to Dave’s last week, but nothing in the ‘oh my goodness I need a nap’ category.
So there you go. And I think it’s about time that I provided some updated rankings with links to previous reviews for your clicking and drooling pleasure. Beware, this ranking is totally unfair – I’m combining independents and very small chains with giant corporate chains. It is what it is.
- Five Guys
- Dave’s Gourmet Burgers and More
- Juicy Burgers & More (yup, heady territory)
- Burger21 (links here, here, and here)
- smashburger (here and here)
- Elevation Burger