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.
2643 S Kinnickinnic Ave.
Bay View is like a comfort food cloister. Whether it’s creative small plates at Odd Duck, Korean Fried Chicken at Lazy Susan, or that impossibly delicious crab bucatini at Goodkind, it’s tough to indulge in a meal in the BV without letting out a long, lingering sigh of satisfaction.
Among the places where you can do just that is Honeypie Cafe, an unfussy little diner of a spot that not only produces delicious, comforting main dishes, but also a daily menu of desserts that are nearly always worth the calorie count.
It’s been a while since I’ve indulged in the pork fries, a plate of biscuits and gravy or a dinner entree like the chicken and biscuit pie. But it’s been even longer since I’ve had the burger. So I rectified that late last week, bringing you a full report.
The house burger features ground brisket patties, American cheese, tomato, bacon, caramelized onions, spicy mayo, sunny egg, brioche bun and a side of fries ($14).
We do, indeed, eat with our eyes. And this burger provides a feast for your peepers. From the cheese glazed burger and bacon still shiny with fat to the strategically tipped bun which showcases the glistening beauty of a perfectly cooked sunnyside-up egg.
You’ll find brioche buns cradling countless burgers throughout the city. There’s good reason for that. It’s soft and pliable; it toasts up beautifully; and it brings with it a nice sweet, yeasty flavor. All of those things hold true for the House Burger for which the bun is an apt match.
It won’t prevent all those beautiful toppings from sliding around, making the sandwich nearly impossible to eat out of hand. But you’ll appreciate its sweet flavor as it soaks up the meat’s juices and a good percentage of the egg’s runny yolk.
Let’s talk for a moment about flavor; not every burger possesses what this one brings on in spades. I’ll attribute that not only to the natural meatiness of brisket, which beats the tastelessness of ground chuck by a mile, but also to the deft hands of the chef in seasoning the two small-but-mighty patties with a deft hand.
On occasion, I feel as if a burger is conspiring against me. Such was the case here. The toppings were delicious; and all were well executed. The bacon was flawlessly crisp. The cheese was melted beautifully, providing a cloak of umami that covered just about every surface of the burger. Caramelized onions were deeply browned and sweet; and the spicy mayo adds a pleasant, countering tang. Meanwhile, there was joy in pressing ever so gently down on the top of the bun and watching the gorgeous orangey-yellow yolk of the egg coat the toppings with a rich yellow gloss. But man, it was a mess to eat. A big, tasty, glorious mess.
There’s always room to scoff when the price of a burger rises above the $10 mark. But you’re paying for high-quality locally sourced ingredients here. Based on my experience, you’re also paying for some know-how when it comes to pulling off a delicious (if impossibly messy) burger. It’s worth it.
The Honeypie Cafe House Burger is a deliciously beautiful mess. Its biggest flaw is that it’s filling enough you might not have room for a slice of pie.
Honeypie Cafe is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; pie is served until 10 p.m.