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.
3807 S. Packard Ave., St Francis, (414) 212-8694
Faklandia Brewing has been a fixture in St. Francis for just over a year, making a splash not only with their storied brews, but also with their menu of housemade food, which includes a variety of beer-friendly options from appetizers and pizza to sandwiches and burgers.
In fact, just this week, the brewery officially released a menu of signature burgers (previously, they offered BYO burgers, along with weekly specials), which are now available every day during operational hours. And while you can certainly still build your own, the list of choices on the signature side is compelling with options from the Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Cheddar Burger and the Palladius’ Pub Burger (with French fried onions, bacon, whole grain mustard and house-made beer cheese) to the Cubanito Burger with roasted garlic aioli, pickles, grilled ham steak and Swiss.
All burgers feature a half-pound Angus beef chuck patty and served on a toasted brioche bun.
On this trip, I ordered up a classic: the Mushroom Swiss Burger with sauteed mushrooms and white onion, Swiss cheese and roasted garlic aioli ($13). Burger is served with a choice of fries, seasoned fries or tater tots.
The burgers at Faklandia are nothing if not beautiful. Some come layered with fresh crisp lettuce and tomato slices, giving them more color. But even without the vegetal fuss, the Mushroom Swiss held its own –– the big juicy burger glistening with fat, the melted Swiss and sauteed mushrooms and onions slipping out from under the glossy brown bun.
Faklandia’s burgers are no small affair, and the bun was sized to match: big enough to contain the burger, yet not so big that it overwhelmed the meat to bread ratio. The brioche bun was soft and fresh; but it also had one of the most solid toastings I’ve found on the burger trail, offering up an audible crunch when cut or bitten into.
The half-pound patty was uniformly shaped and formed so that it was slightly thinner (and more broad) than some half-pounders. Burgers don’t seem to be cooked precisely to order, but we were asked if we wanted ours “pink or no pink”: the obvious answer was “pink,” though I didn’t know exactly what that would bring.
Turns out “pink” was a bit variable. One burger in our order was decisively medium, with the other veering mightily toward medium-well. And, while consistency in that area would be ideal, the ground chuck itself was fatty enough that it could withstand a slightly longer cook without drying out. In fact, both burgers were pleasantly tender, with enough fat to give them a good mouthfeel.
As for flavor, the patties were well seasoned (on the exterior) with both salt and pepper. That helped along the beef, which was moderately flavorful, but limited by its composition. Without the meatiness of brisket or a blend of cuts, most burgers will fall a bit flat in terms of robust beefiness; this burger was no exception.
The toppings on the Mushroom Swiss were executed fairly well. The aioli was light in texture, flavorful generously applied (I’d gauge the burger on the saucier side). The cheese was beautifully melted atop the burger; in fact there were places where it dripped over the side, forming a crisp cheese crust around the bottom edges. There was also enough of it to give the burger that classic creamy, nutty flavor that only Swiss cheese can offer.
As for the mushrooms and onions, both were fresh and sauteed just until cooked. While some caramelization may have benefitted both in the long run, the mushrooms had a light, slightly earthy flavor and the onions were sweet and soft, but still held some of their texture. Both were buttery, an element that added to the indulgent nature of the burger.
Overall, the Faklandia Mushroom Swiss offered a nice execution of a classically topped burger. It was big and juicy with well executed components, from that ultra crisply toasted bun, to the fresh toppings. Is there value there? Absolutely. Even a half-pounder made from chuck is a deal these days, especially when it includes fries or tots.
Faklandia delivers on the classic mushroom Swiss, making me think its other creations are also likely well worth eating.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.