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.
Murf’s Frozen Custard
12505 W. Burleigh Rd., Brookfield, (262) 814-6873
Among the younger set of custard stands in the area is Murf’s, which has been serving up a menu of burgers and custard since 1993.
Give them a visit and you can indulge in their namesake frozen custard (vanilla, chocolate and the flavor of the day), along with a menu of jumbo burgers (they are really jumbo), specialty sandwiches and a variety of weekly specials.
You can also get something that I haven’t really seen around town: a take on the Pittsburgh-style sandwich, the legendary all-in-one hand-held that features either a spiced beef patty or any variety of sliced meats; provolone cheese; a handful of thick-cut French fries; and vinegar-based coleslaw, all piled between two slices of soft Italian white bread. At Primanti Bros. (the OG), you can add an egg to the sandwich for 59 cents.
Murf’s has taken a bit of Midwestern liberty with the sandwich (including serving it with creamy coleslaw), as well as giving it a name of its own: the Sloppy Fried Egg. It’s available in four versions: the cheeseburger, grilled chicken, bacon and meatless.
My curiosity was piqued.
I ordered up the Sloppy-Egg Cheeseburger featuring Murf’s 5-ounce jumbo burger (made with fresh custom blended sirloin), American cheese, an over-easy fried egg, coleslaw, tomato and French fries ($6.79).
The presentation on this over-stuffed beauty wasn’t too bad (barring the styrofoam container, which I’d always prefer not to see when ordering carry-out). It was definitely jumbo and sported a classic looking bun layered with a darkly browned beef patty, melted cheese, creamy slaw and a slew of French fries, most of which were outside of the sandwich. I put the best construction on the latter (figuring that they probably stayed crispier that way) and piled a good number back into the sandwich before eating it.
I should mention that the burger was served with a knife and fork (but strangely, no napkins), which you might choose to use if you don’t want things running down your arm while eating.
Note: It’s pictured with the onion rings I ordered, which were good but absolutely unnecessary (I shared mine with my husband). This sandwich is truly an all-in-one.
The bun was a fairly typical white jumbo bakery bun. It was fresh, with a very slight crust and was plenty soft -- even on the interior, which was only lightly toasted around the edges. It did seem well sized for its job, which was a big one -- holding together a boatload of fillings, some of which were pretty runny.
Meanwhile, there was the burger. Sirloin can be quite lean, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to find the beef to be flavorful (it was also nicely seasoned), but definitely firm in its texture and a bit on the dry side. Unfortunately, that made it reliant on the toppings for its "juicy" components.
Taking a look at the toppings, there was nicely melted American cheese, enough to cover most of the jumbo burger. The tomatoes were thinly sliced and tasted quite fresh. And the egg was impressively cooked to a perfect over easy; the yolk was soft enough to run right down my wrist on the first or second bite.
The fries were relatively thin, remarkably crisp (for having been shut in a container) and salty. And then there was the coleslaw. It was finely chopped, crisp enough to still offer a bit of crunch, and very creamy. It was also very sweet.
My first few bites of the sandwich were enjoyable. I was intrigued. I was trying something new. The textures were lovely, from the vague crunch of the slaw and crisp edges of the fries to the silkiness of the egg yolk and fresh liquidity of the tomato. But as I ate, I mourned the lack of balance in the gradually overwhelming and eventually cloying sweetness of the coleslaw, which needed a modicum of tang to balance out the richness of the egg, the cheese and the fries.
Was this a value? Yes, particularly in terms of volume. It’s an entire meal (and maybe more of a meal than I needed for lunch) for under $7.
If you’re looking for a burger that falls outside the usual box, the Sloppy-Egg might just suffice.
Murf’s is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 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.