During the month of January, Lori Fredrich will be making some special stops on the burger trail to find the latest, greatest and most delicious veggie burgers in Milwaukee. The criteria for presentation, bun, toppings and value will remain consistent with those established for the Burger Trail; but the veggie burgers themselves will be rated on the basis of overall quality, flavor, texture and preparation.
Who’s on Third
1007 N. Old World 3rd St.
As sports bars go, Who’s on Third is among the city’s most popular. And there’s good reason for that. The bar offers a lively atmosphere, attentive service and great daily specials (and happy hour deals) on food and beverages. It also attracts a fun crowd on game days, when there’s not a bad seat in the house.
In addition to drinks, Who’s on Third sports an impressively large food menu which features a fairly diverse selection of appetizers (try the wings), brats, burgers, sandwiches, salads and a few solid options for vegetarian diners, including a vegetable and hummus plate, veggie wrap, macaroni and cheese and a chipotle black bean burger, which (when I asked) my server indicated was housemade. Whether that was true or not, I made the decision to judge it on merit.
The Who’s on Third Veggie Burger is comprised of a chipotle black bean patty topped with lettuce, tomato and raw onions ($9.95). I added chipotle jack cheese for an extra 95 cents; but as you’ll find in my review, I’d probably pass on it next time.
On the presentation side, the burger was nicely pulled together. The edges of the chipotle black bean burger were crisp and dark, and the patty was topped with visibly fresh ingredients including green leaf lettuce, an amply red slice of tomato and crisp slices of fresh onion.
The bun, a standard, bakery style roll, was soft and fresh with a glossy lightly browned top. It had been grilled nicely, so the cut edges were slightly crisp and browned. Most importantly, it was well sized; it didn’t overwhelm the overall flavor of the burger and toppings.
The bean burger itself was delivered piping hot. The exterior was crisp on the exterior and slightly charred from the grill, giving it both additional texture and an added layer of flavor that made it feel vaguely burger-like. Meanwhile, it’s interior texture was expectedly soft; but it was studded with pieces of sweet corn and whole black beans, which added additional texture. It was also sturdy enough that it didn’t ooze out of the bun when bitten into. Meanwhile, its flavor was bean-forward, with a slight hit of smoke and spice from the chipotle.
As for the toppings, they were largely as expected. The vegetables were fresh and flavorful. The tomato was sliced thinly, offering just a modicum of additional moisture and a bit of subtle acidity. The leaf lettuce was fresh and the onion offered a mild bite and pleasant crunch to the mix. Meanwhile, the cheese was nicely melted atop the burger, but I was disappointed to discover that it was a slice of processed chipotle jack, so its flavor fell flat overall. Its texture was creamy and it offered a nice pop of salt (and potentially a tiny bit of zip); but, I’d probably skip it the next time around.
The price on this veggie burger beat out all but the most basic of burgers on the menu, but was just as substantial. Its toppings were relatively basic; but it also didn’t feel entirely like an afterthought.
As veggie burgers go, Who’s on Third serves up a solid rendition.
Who’s on Third is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
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.