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.
Georgie Porgie’s Treefort Restaurant
9555 S. Howell Ave., Oak Creek
It’s been nearly 30 years since the late George Liapis founded Georgie Porgie’s Treefort Restaurant in Oak Creek. Today, the longtime eatery, which also has a location in Mount Pleasant, is run by his sons Peter and Lou.
Unlike many custard stands, the family business has set itself apart with a dedication to serving housemade ingredients and local products whenever possible. It has also endeared itself to the community, hosting events and supporting fundraisers and charitable events.
Like most custard stands, Georgie Porgie’s serves up vanilla, chocolate and a flavor of the day (regulars know that there’s also always butter pecan on Fridays), along with a special sundae of the month, blitzes, shakes and malts.
And yes, there are burgers. Options include a build-your-own, plus signatures like the classic Shroomy (mushroom Swiss), the Beer-Chz Bacon, the Pizzaaah and the delicious, but somewhat incendiary, Jalapeno Popper ($5.99-$6.99). Guests will also find a burger of the month: for July it’s the Brat Burger: a burger topped with sliced bratwurst, diced white onion, spicy brown mustard and cheddar cheese on a pretzel bun ($8.99).
Every burger comes with the guest’s choice of meat: beef (single or double), chicken (grilled or crispy) or a veggie patty; along with a choice of bun (white, wheat or pretzel).
On this trip, I opted for The Porgie, which is topped with homemade Porgie sauce, American cheese, shredded lettuce, pickles and onions ($5.99). I ordered mine as a single on a standard white bun with a side of onion rings ($2.99) and a raspberry chocolate malt ($5.29).
This burger was a looker, despite the slight bit of crushing that happened in the few moments it spent inside its paper packaging. But it was piping hot upon delivery to my car. And it unwrapped well, each ingredient still in place, albeit a bit of impatient lettuce escaping from the sides. And they formed a rather attractive display of colorful layers when gazed upon from the side.
The white bakery bun was plenty soft, but also sturdy with a delightful, slightly sweet flavor. It was attractive and well sized for the meat and toppings, even in the case of the single burger. It was toasted, but only lightly; it would have benefited from a bit longer on the grill
Meanwhile, the burger was browned and juicy with a slightly irregular shape. It was seasoned just enough (and definitely with more than salt) to bring out the beefiness of the meat and give it some character even when eaten on its own.
Taking a look at the toppings, everything was in order. The cheese was beautifully melted over the burger patty and the freshness of the toppings was evident - from the crisp lettuce to the thinly sliced red onions, both of which were not only visually appealing, but tasty. The pickles were also nicely applied, offering not only a crisp crunch, but a nice pop of acid to round out the richness.
The same is true for the sauce, which offered the tang of a Thousand Island style dressing with a little bit of an extra something that took its flavor up a notch. It offered a ton of flavor, enough to make it not only delicious (and devoid of a need for additional condiments), but also pleasantly sloppy.
Order a double and the Porgie is the sort of burger that might remind you vaguely of the classic Big Mac; but it would beat out the national chain’s version by a mile thanks to the little touches that pushed the Porgie above and beyond.
A custard stand burger at $5.99 is probably about average. But a custard stand burger that’s made with intention, high quality ingredients and housemade details that make it shine for $5.99 is an absolute steal.
The Porgie is a classic burger that's worth seeking out and devouring.
Georgie Porgie’s is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Online ordering is available, as well as curbside pick-up and delivery.
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.