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.
The Fatty Patty (food truck)
221 E. Juneau Ave., (414) 522-1133
For years, The Fatty Patty has been serving up streetside burgers (both beef and veggie), chicken sandwiches and gyros. And they’ve set themselves apart by serving up fresh halal meats, plant based options, intrepid year-round service and a consistent late night presence for crowds in proximity to Water Street.
Burger options include the bare burger (just a burger and bun), cheeseburger and signatures like the Gloppy Burger (double homemade beef patties, American cheese, Swiss cheese, crunchy fried onions, turkey bacon, mayo, sliced pickles and lettuce); the Fix Mix (beef patty, egg, grilled onion, avocado, turkey bacon, ranch and American cheese); and the popular Fire Ring Burger (double beef patties, American cheese, Swiss cheese, crunchy fried onions, turkey bacon, mayo, sliced pickles and lettuce).
Veggie options are plant-based and include the Bean Queen (black bean patty, crushed fried onions, avocado sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onion) and the Fryer Buyer (fried eggplant, onion rings, sauteed mushroom and onion, avocado sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onions).
But, whenever there is one, I tend to be inclined to choose a venue's namesake burgers. After all, the burger that bears the name of the venue should – by my gauge – embody the epitome of their burger vision.
So, on this trip, I went for The Fatty Patty Burger featuring double beef patties, American cheese, turkey bacon, jalapeno popper, avocado mayo, lettuce, tomato and onions ($9.99). I also added onion rings for $3.99.
The packaging for this not-so-petite burger was packaged in a fairly small container, so the burger was a tiny bit cramped. Since the burger was packaged up right off the grill, the steam inside the well-insulated container also made plenty of condensation, leading to a bit of sogginess.
Once peeled out of its container, however, it was still a fairly good looking burger. Its top bun was a bit smashed, some cheese was lost to the packaging and the lettuce and onion remained a bit willy-nilly. But you could see the layers of ingredients, from the irregular brown patties to the lettuce, avocado mayo and lettuce. There was even a little “tongue” of turkey bacon visible on the one side.
The brioche bun was a bit smashed, but it was soft and fresh. It had a fairly good toasting on both of the cut sides, as well as its exterior (a practice I’ve only seen used a few places). Its sweet flavor was a nice match for the more savory components, and it was well sized for a double patty (though I think it might be slightly overwhelming for a single).
The bottom of the bun got a bit soggy in transport (this was among the messiest burgers I’ve encountered on the trail); but it didn’t fail the burger entirely.
The more meat you put on a burger, the better that meat needs to be. Fortunately, this was an example of good meat put to good use. The patties sported the irregular edges of hand-shaped patties and they had a good amount of caramelization on the exterior. Although the burger was cooked well beyond the medium-rare I ordered (it looked closer to medium/medium well), it was still juicy and loosely packed enough that it hung onto a good amount of its flavorful fat content.
Most importantly, the meat tasted good. The beef had a clean, meaty flavor and it was beautifully seasoned throughout with what I’d guess to be more than salt and pepper. This was the type of burger I’d gladly eat on its own.
As for the toppings, I had a lot of thoughts while eating them. First, this was a fully loaded burger. It had a nice mix of both textures (creamy, crispy) and flavors (sweet, salty and savory). All of the ingredients seemed fresh and relatively well prepared (the turkey bacon wasn’t crisp; but I haven’t met much turkey bacon that crisps well). And it tasted good, bringing a bit of sweet smokiness to the table.
The entire affair was grounded by those great beef patties, swaddled in nicely melted cheese. And because the lettuce and onion were both crisp and fresh, they contributed to the burger in ways that weren’t just an afterthought.
But the build for the burger seemed a bit awkward and unbalanced. The avocado mayo was delicious, but there was a lot of it and it made everything it touched slippery, making this a delicious mess that I would have had a tough time eating standing on the street.
As for the jalapeno popper, it was fine (if a bit soggy from the avocado mayo), but I couldn’t quite decide why it was there. It was too small to contribute to each bite, and too buried in the toppings. It didn’t hang with the rest of the burger’s story.
On the value side of things, this burger had a lot to offer: fresh ingredients, a large amount of beautifully flavored meat, and a good start on a balanced flavor profile. I’d pay them $10 for a burger again, maybe trying out one of their other signatures.
The Fatty Patty Burger’s fatty patties were definitely the star of this burger show.
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.