In this series, we’ll be hiking the burger trail to find the latest, greatest and most delicious burgers in Milwaukee. Click here for an explanation of the criteria used to rate each burger. Where have we been? Check out the complete catalog of burger reviews here.
Since carry-out is king, and there’s little better than frozen custard during the summer months, I’ll be focusing on "custard stand" burgers for the time being.
LeDuc's Frozen Custard
240 W. Summit Ave., Wales
When you’ve been in business for forty years, there’s a pretty good chance you’re doing something right. And such is the case for LeDuc’s Frozen Custard, which has been serving up creamy frozen custard since 1980.
Guests can choose from three custard flavors: chocolate, vanilla and the flavor of the day, which is chosen from a catalog of over 75 flavors including cotton candy, cake batter and strawberry shortcake. There are also sundaes, custard floats, custard sodas and custard cookie sandwiches.
Like most stands, LeDuc’s also offers a menu of food items from specialty sandwiches like roast beef and homemade bbq to bratwurst, fish fry and char-grilled Black Angus burgers.
On my trip, I ordered a double cheeseburger with the works (ketchup, mustard, pickles) and fried onions ($7.69) along with a side of beer-battered onion rings ($2.89) and a malt ($4.09).
Overall, the burger presented well. The nicely melted cheddar stuck slightly to the burger’s wrapper, hanging in loose strands around the exterior; but the burger wasn’t smashed and stood tall and nicely intact, showcasing it’s flour-gilded bun and two browned glistening patties layered with the melted cheese, fried onions and just a peek of pickle rounding out the display.
The flour-topped egg bun on the LeDuc’s burger was solid. It was soft and beautifully toasted on the inside with a neutral flavor and slight richness. It was also perfectly sized for the burger patties, which just slightly overlapped the bun’s edges.
Scalloped edges gave away these preformed patties, which had a tight and slightly spongey texture. Their flavor didn’t belie much in the way of seasoning, but they did have tell-tale grill marks and a char-grilled flavor that gave them much of their character. Their saving grace was in their pleasant greasiness, which kept the patties from being entirely dependent on their toppings.
Overall the toppings were balanced. Stone ground mustard felt like a nice upgrade and there was a nice tang from the cheddar cheese, which gave the burger an old-school charm. The fried onions were tender and well prepared with a gentle sweetness. Meanwhile, the exceptionally crisp pickled provided a beautifully acidic pop and some much needed texture.
At just over $7, the LeDuc’s double cheeseburger is a reasonable investment that takes its value from upgrades like real cheddar cheese, a quality bun and little details like stone ground mustard.
The double cheeseburger at LeDuc’s is a modern burger with a nostalgic feel.
LeDuc’s is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.