I was a bit surprised when Michael and Chad offered that our next venture was Culver’s. Chains are a bit taboo in the world of food reviews. But the rarity outside of the upper mid-west made it a destination, which in my book is “Okay” (warning that word will appear throughout my review- OK?) First, from my house, it is a 30-minute drive to the closest one, pushing the limits of my laziness, but it was a Sunday, so a nice drive was an OK way to break up the day. Full disclosure: I have only been to one Culver’s, and it was a couple of years ago. I have eaten a lot of meals since then and have zero recollection of my experience. So, when I looked at the menu, I was clueless about what to order. This was the perfect time to ask the cashier, “So, what are you known for?”
They paused, turned, looked at the menu, and pointed. “Of course, our Butter Burgers are most famous. I usually get the deluxe…and our shakes are pretty famous.”
“OK,” I replied, “I will have a deluxe and a chocolate shake, please.”
When the food came, I must admit I was excited. I really wanted a burger that had launched hundreds of franchises. What I got as an “OK” burger was a bit bland (the patties really needed more seasoning/any seasoning) and an upside-down build. It was a solid 3.0 – probably not worth the 30-minute drive, but not bad. The shake was the meal’s star- creamy, thick, and chocolatey.
However, Michael (as he often does) saved the day. He had fried curds, and fried curds are magic. Just by sprinkling a few on top of the two patties, the burger went from “OK” to “Damnnnnnn.”
My advice is to get the curds, add the curds to the Deluxe, and enjoy the burger with a shake. It’s now worth the drive. — Don

I never thought Chad would ever recommend a fast food place for this site, but here we are. A few weeks ago, he emailed us about Culver’s, putting off Merritt’s until tomato season. Maybe it was because his wife was from Wisconsin, and he needed an excuse to take her. To quote him, “They are famous for their butter burgers.”
I heard butter and burger, and I was sold on the idea.
Culver’s Frozen Custard and ButterBurgers was started in 1984 by the Culver family — dad George, mom Ruth, son Craig, and daughter-in-law Lea — in Sauk City, Wisconsin. I urge you to read the article Craig Culver recalls Culver’s origins from the Sun Prairie Star. It lays out specifics on how Culver’s came to be and grew into the 930 location behemoth it is today.
Frozen custard is held sacrosanct here in the Triangle as Concretes not from Goodberry’s are not real. I’m choosing to ignore Culver’s Concrete and will focus on the ButterBurgers.
As an aside, indeed, it is ButterBurgers. One word. The use of camel case is always a crowd-pleaser.
The ButterBurger comes in many varieties, as you would come to expect from a fast-casual burger chain. I ordered The Culver’s Deluxe as it comes — two smash-style patties, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, red onion (a nice departure from the standard yellow,) and mayo. All this held together with a buttered bun. If this were a Straight Beef review, it would get a 3.25. The build was a mess with all the toppings under the patty. They are called toppings because they are meant to go on top. They aren’t called bottomings, am I right? Anyway, it was a fine burger. Not offensive, not exceptional. Throw some salt on there, put the toppings on top, and you have yourself a solid burger approaching a four.
I read an article recently (I can’t remember where) that discussed why recipes generally call for unsalted butter. The reason is that salted butter can have very unpredictable salt content. Perhaps Culver’s needs to switch to salted butter for their buns. It simply needed a little more flavor.
Culver’s also has a choice of sides to go with the ButterBurgers. My daughter ordered her go-to pretzel bites. Those were really good. Put that seasoning on the burger! However, a Wisconsin-based restaurant’s measure must be the cheese curds. Wow. This might be my favorite fast-food side ever. A lightly fried coating with a firmness that caused a satisfying squeak while chewing it. Put this on the burger!
It turns out they do. In October, they had the CurderBurger, a Deluxe with a cheese curd patty on top. I’ll have to keep checking their website to see when it returns. Those cheese curds were so good they might reach McRib status in the fast-food pantheon of limited-time-only offerings. — Michael

Reference: Culver’s. (2023, October 27). Wikipedia

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