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 next few weeks.
Robert’s Frozen Custard
N112 W16040 Mequon Rd., Germantown
The frozen custard world is a small one, and the stories of those who operate stands in the Milwaukee area often criss cross one another. For example, last week I wrote about the burger at Bubba’s Frozen Custard in Pewaukee. As it turns out, Bubba’s owner Mike Brown, grew up working for Darren Stamm, the owner of Robert’s Frozen Custard in Germantown, the stand I chose for this week’s visit.
The story of Robert’s didn’t begin in Germantown. Stamm’s father, Robert, got his start co-owning George Webb restaurants and operating Sweet’s, a now defunct custard stand on the Northwest Side. But he and his son Darren launched their first Robert’s Frozen Custard in the lauded Appleton Avenue building where Kopp’s Frozen Custard debuted and served the neighborhood for over 40 years. The family operated the Milwaukee stand until 2011 and opened the second Germantown location in 2003.
In addition to custard (vanilla, chocolate and the flavor of the day), Robert’s menu is filled with things you don’t necessarily find at other custard stands, including fresh salads, wraps and deli-style sandwiches like the Avocado Croissant Club and Bacon Avocado Ranch Grilled Chicken served on focaccia.
There are also multiple specialty burgers, including the Buffalo and Bleu Cheese Burger with Frank’s Red Hot sauce and bleu cheese; the Western Bacon Cheeseburger; and the Big Greek with gyro meat and tzatziki sauce.
Despite all the burger choices, I kept it simple. I got the cheeseburger which features a 5-ounce "jumbo" beef patty topped with American cheese and "the works" (ketchup, mustard, pickles and fried onions) for $5.49. On the side, I added onion rings ($2.79) and a burgundy cherry malt ($3.99).
This burger came out of the gates looking pretty darn good. Its bun was in fair shape, packed carefully so it didn’t get too terribly smashed. There was a little glimpse of pickle, some melted cheese, lots of dangling fried onions and a smudge of ketchup. But you could also see the very tasty looking crisped edges of the nicely browned burger; and that was what made me eager to dive in.
The bun – a standard white bakery bun – was soft, but sturdier than most, with a nice loft.It was toasted, though only a whisper; I felt as if they may have rushed mine off the flat-top a bit too soon. I also decided a few bites in that it was just a bit too lofty for a single burger, as the bread to meat ratio was definitely skewed toward the bread. My recommendation: go for the double.
The burger, on the other hand, deserved more of a spotlight. It was thin, slightly irregular and nicely caramelized with crisp edges that mimicked those of a smash burger. It was well seasoned, beefy and overall a joy to eat.
The toppings, simple as they were, offered a good amount of flavor. The condiments (ketchup and stone ground mustard) were applied a bit too generously, but not enough to occlude the other flavors. The onions were gently fried, soft and sweet with just a few visible browned bits. The cheese was nicely melted atop the burger, covering it nearly edge to edge. The pickles were deftly applied, offering a nice pop of acid.
At $5.49, this burger was more than fairly priced, especially since the burger itself was actually worth the eating.
Robert’s cooks up a fine custard stand cheeseburger. No complaints here.
Robert’s Frozen Custard is open Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Drive-thru service and patio seating are available.
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.