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. And, if you enjoyed the addition of veggie burgers to the mix, you can look forward to more of those. I'll be adding at least one veggie burger review to the mix every month.
1134 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave.
If you’re looking for a place to watch the game, there might be few other spots that can compete with The Mecca, the massive urban sports bar located just across from the Fiserv Forum.
In addition to its focal point bar, which comes complete with a 38-foot high-definition television, there are 64 televisions scattered evenly around the entire venue, ensuring a good view from every seat in the house (including the impressive dual level patios). Check the schedule for special game day events.
But, while a great view and full service bar are the keys for a great game, The MECCA also seems to deliver on the food front, whether it’s brunch, lunch or dinner. You’ll find perfect game day snacks like wings and nachos, along with a cadre of soups, salads and sandwiches (plus an impressive brunch menu and a Friday night fish fry), with numerous options for vegetarian diners.
Among those options are burgers. The MECCA offers three including a namesake MECCA Burger with two smashed beef patties, garlic dijonnaise, pickled red onion, arugula and sharp cheddar on a sesame seed bun; and the Bacon Burger with a half pound all beef patty, candied bacon, bacon jam, pimento cheese and crispy fried onions on a potato bun (you can also get a free Miller draft or NA beverage with this burger on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
Maybe it was the name that called out to me. Or potentially the simplicity it offered. But on my latest trip, I ordered up The Cheeseburger Cheeseburger featuring two smashed beef patties, American cheese, leaf lettuce, tomato and raw onion on a potato bun.
All burgers are served with a choice of pub chips, house salad or Caesar salad. You can also get (battered) fries for a slight upcharge.
Presentation-wise, this burger does a pretty good job of giving your eyes something upon which to feast. You can actually see the deep caramelization on the burger patties, which are topped with melted cheese, tomato and onion. There’s also a nice pop of green from the leaf lettuce tucked beneath.
The soft potato roll makes a suitable foundation for the classic double smash burger. It’s tender and absorbent with a nicely toasted interior. It’s also large enough to support the burger and toppings, but not too large that it throws off the meat-to-bun ratio.
The double patties were delicious. The exterior of both showcased a crisp bark that extended to the edges, giving it the perfect smash burger texture (crisp on the outside and tender within). The meat possessed a solid beefy flavor with ample seasoning that was enhanced by the slices of umami-filled American cheese tucked between.
The toppings on this burger are simple. But that’s exactly what makes them shine. The burger to cheese ratio was on par, and all that umami was balanced out nicely by the fresh ingredients. The tomato added a subtle pop of acid and a bit more moisture, while the onion lent a distinct sweetness and pop of crunch.
My only critique would be that the leaf lettuce – while offering a pop of color for presentation – languished overall under the heat of the burger patties, resulting in a limp, soggy slice of lettuce that was relatively unpleasant to eat.
This burger falls squarely within the usual range when it comes to price, while delivering on classic smash burger flavor. It’s a fair bet for lunch, dinner or any meal in between.
There’s a pretty good double smash burger (plus a birds’ eye view of the game) waiting for you at The MECCA.
The MECCA is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight
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.