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.
Betty’s Burgers & Custard
1233 E Brady St.
Betty’s Burgers & Custard, is among the newest additions to the Brady Street area, opening to the public at the end of July.
The fast casual spot caters primarily to carry-out, offering a comfort food menu of handheld items including hot dogs, sausages, decked out grilled cheese sandwiches and “buttered” burgers, along with vanilla, chocolate and twist custard, sundaes and shakes. Be sure to ask about the "secret" menu featuring a variety of globally inspired eats.
As for the burgers, they’re available in single, double or triple form and topped to order with "the works" (ketchup, mustard, fried onions) or a slew of additional toppings. Sides include fries, "hot" fries, garlic fries, cheese fries and poutine.
On my recent visit, I ordered up a double cheeseburger with the works ($7.65) and an order of “hot” fries (yes, they have a bit of zip) with ranch dressing for $3. I topped it off with a can of Jolly Good soda for $1.25.
Carry-out is often a tough gig for burgers. But when I unpacked this at a nearby park and gave it a once-over, it fared reasonably better than I initially thought it would. The burger suffered from some of the classic carry-out burger issues: the bun was slightly crushed and the cheese had begun to slide down the sides and onto the red checkered paper in which it was packed. But it held together enough for its glamour shot, in which ultimately showcases a gloriously messy double burger with two thin-but-substantial patties, beautifully melted cheese and a pop of nicely browned onion here and there.
The bun was a classic white burger bun with a pleasantly sweet flavor and an ultra-soft texture. I’ll admit I almost dismissed it from the get-go for being too soft and supple; I worried that it wouldn’t hold up for the long haul. But, as it turns out, the inside was nicely toasted on both cut sides, and – although it definitely compacted as I ate – it held up well. Even more importantly, it didn’t get in the way of the burgers themselves; the meat to bun ratio solidly favored the meat.
The burger patties were fairly thin, with patties that were uniformly shaped and overlapped the edges of the bun just enough. As I examined them further, they didn’t possess much in the way of caramelization, but the meat’s flavor was good. It was beefy and notably seasoned with both salt and pepper. I’d place the patties’ texture a medium pack; they weren’t overly firm, nor was the grind quite as loose as some. They weren’t notably greasy (a surprise for a butter burger); but they were juicy enough that they didn’t rely on the condiments to keep them supple.
A bit of the nicely melted American cheese was lost to the packaging, but what was left was plenty. It was a nice salty foil for the beautifully prepared fried onions, which were soft and boasted a good amount of caramelization, making them tender and sweet. Meanwhile, the condiments (ketchup and mustard) were applied in a balanced fashion.
There was nothing fancy going on here. But the toppings worked together in creating a harmonious classic cheeseburger flavor profile.
You’ll pay just over $7 for this burger (and just over $10 with fries); but if you’re like me and appreciate a solid burger with a classic flavor profile, you’ll do it without regret.
Betty’s Burgers & Custard makes a mighty fine carry-out burger.
Betty’s is open Tuesday through Thursday from 2 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 2 p.m. to midnight and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 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.