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.
Pop’s Frozen Custard
N87 W16459 Appleton Ave., Menomonee Falls,
For decades, Pop’s Frozen Custard has been a fixture in the Menomonee Falls community, offering creamy frozen custard and comfort food staples in a friendly, classic ice cream parlor environment.
In addition to frozen custard, malts, shakes and custard sodas Pop’s also serves up a rather unique selection of sundaes including Strawberry Schaum Torte (Schaum torte, vanilla custard, strawberries and whipped cream) and Puppy Chow (topped with peanut butter and puppy chow pieces).
Despite a menu filled with various sandwiches, fried shrimp and fish dinners, salads and soups, burgers remain among Pop’s most popular items. Options include single or double butter burgers, single or double jumbo butter burgers, and single or double Black Angus burgers, plus a few signature creations like a pizza burger, patty melt and the Ranch Burger (a Jumbo Burger with lettuce, tomato, mayo, cheese bacon and onion).
I ordered the Double Jumbo Butter Burger with American cheese, ketchup, mustard, pickles and fried onions ($5.49, plus $0.50 for cheese), plus onion rings ($2.99) and a chocolate raspberry malt ($3.99).
The jumbo burger was neatly packaged, first wrapped in paper and then tucked inside a styrofoam box. The evils of styrofoam aside, it still didn’t come out of its packaging looking great; in fact, both my burger and my dining companion’s were somewhat of a hot mess.
A good portion of cheese was stuck to the paper wrapper, the bun was slightly crushed, and in order to get a good look (and a reasonably recognizable photo) it needed a bit of zhuzhing. But after a bit of adjusting, it looked quite like a double burger, the browned edges of the burger patties visible and glossy with cheese, a bit of ketchup and onion peeking out, and the glossy bun giving a better showing.
The bun was smashed; but it looked delicious. Its exterior was slightly cracked but very glossy. It was very soft (in the end, to a fault) and quite tasty, with a sweet, almost buttery flavor. It was also well sized for the patties. Unfortunately, I was surprised to find that the inside of the bun was not visibly toasted, leaving the bun’s soft interior to readily soak up the condiments.
I’d gone back and forth on the decision of whether to order the Black Angus patty (a relatively meaningless term in the beef world) and the butter burger, largely because I had no idea which would give me the more satisfactory patty. Ultimately, I went with my Wisconsin loyalties and chose the butter burger. Of course, that choice comes with expectations, many of which were not fulfilled.
Appearance-wise, the burgers were a mixed bag. They were nicely browned around the edges, but otherwise grey, as if they’d been mostly steamed. The patties were thin and very densely packed with a far drier texture than one would expect from a butter burger (and none of the buttery flavor); the beef wasn’t notably seasoned and its flavor, while not objectionable, was muted. It truly needed the assistance of the other toppings to shine.
Even though a good portion of the cheese escaped the burger and clung to its packaging, that which remained was nicely melted and sufficient enough to give the burger a balanced cheesy flavor. The ketchup and mustard were balanced in their application and the pickles were crisp and fresh tasting. Unfortunately, the onions – which were very pale, more stewed than fried – were applied in large quantity, tipping the balance of the burger into very onion-heavy territory.
At six dollars, the Pop’s Jumbo Double is a relatively average burger at an average price.
With a few tweaks, the Pop’s Jumbo Double Butter Burger could be a burger that lives up to its very big name.
Pop’s is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Note: Pop’s will be closed Aug. 30 - Sept. 9 for a deep clean and updates. They will resume regular hours on Sept. 10.
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.