Note from Editor: We’d like to welcome Peter to the So Good team! He’ll be helping us review interesting fast food items and opining on other things as well. Peter is a part time college student, avid sports fan, and TV watcher. His DVR is regularly filled with European soccer matches and various sitcoms, as well as episodes of First 48 and Conan. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, he is a frequent fast food eater with a penchant for burgers and fries.
Last month, after two years of testing and tinkering, Wendy’s finally released its ‘new and improved’ burger. Through their extensive research, they found that customers felt the chain had fallen behind the times. It was a tough decision to make, but after 42 years without changing their product, it was time to make some improvements.
So what’s different about the Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburger? Well, it starts with the “juicier, thicker” beef. Not more beef, mind you. It’s still ¼ lb. for the single, ½ lb. for the double, and ¾ lb. for the triple. They also changed the shape of the beef patty, going for a “natural square,” with more wavy edges. Then there’s the cheese, of which there is supposedly more. The burgers now have “premium toppings,” which include “crinkle-cut pickles, sweet red onions, and thick sliced tomato.” They have also scrapped the mustard, opting just for ketchup and mayo. The buns are now “soft, warm and topped with real butter.” That all sounds nice, but how does the new burger taste?
I chose the ½ lb. double on this day, as I prefer the meat-to-everything else ratio of a double cheeseburger. At my local Wendy’s, it’s $3.49 for a single, $4.59 for a double, and $5.59 for a triple, which seems to be in line with the pricing of premium burgers at other chains. Upon inspecting the burger, I found that there was actually mustard hidden between the patties. Personally, I like mustard on a burger, so that was alright with me. I found my burger to be neither hot, nor juicy, which was a little disappointing, considering the name.
The beef itself tasted less salty than the old beef. The consistency was different; it was a very loose beef patty, easily falling apart. There were two slices of cheese, which were melted. Iceberg lettuce adds a crunch, along with the crinkle-cut pickles. The tomato was good, not too slimy, which is my usual problem with fast-food tomatoes. The sweet red onions didn’t add much to the overall flavor. The “soft, warm” bun was very average. It tasted fine, but wasn’t soft or warm. My main gripe is with the ketchup and mayo: there was way too much. They sort of engulfed the burger, and it was hard to taste the rest of the ingredients because of it. My favorite components were the melted cheese and crunchy pickles. The “premium toppings” were above average, but nothing special. The bun was a flop for me, and the burger would have been much more enjoyable if it weren’t for the sauce overload.
In all, I found this to be an average burger. When Wendy’s announced that they were changing their burgers for the first time in 42 years, it was big news in the food world. But I think this burger may be a victim of too much hype. If you’re expecting to be dazzled by “premium toppings” and “thicker, juicier beef,” you’ll come away disappointed. If you’re expecting a decent burger, that’s what you’ll get.