In early January, Bryan Majewski brought Patty Burger, 1952 N. Farwell Ave., a popular Chicago Adams Street venue, to Milwaukee’s East Side, and plopped her down kitty-corner to Comet Café.
Patty Burger has all the markings of a well-branded new restaurant (Gregg Majewski, former CEO of Jimmy John's Subs, owns the sister Chicago franchise, the only other location in the United States) with Patty’s diner-waitress-meets-pin-up-girl persona adorning everything from the red lipstick on the sticker that seals each foil-wrapped sandwich to the pervasive promise that Patty will deliver (until 3 a.m.).
Patty Burger is designed like a new-age diner, with chrome seats and tables, bright, airy windows and colors. The interior is sparse and sleek, much like the menu, which offers only breakfast sandwiches, burgers (black angus and vegetarian varieties), chili ($2.59), fries and shakes.
Burgers can be ordered in single ($3.29), double ($5.29) and triple ($6.49) versions with lettuce, tomato, onion and “the sauce”, a mayonnaise-based burger sauce. Extra toppings -- including cheese, grilled onions, mushrooms, bacon and avocado slices -- are priced a la carte, from 29 cents to 99 cents. A regular fries at Patty Burger is $1.39, large is $1.99, and shakes are close to four bucks, with a chocolate version coming in at $3.89.
Patty Burger will not compare with your standard restaurant hamburger, but it is in a different league from those found at local custard stands. Unlike what many of us know what we are getting at a Bella’s or a Kopp’s Custard stand, Patty Burger’s versions are not at all greasy, which may actually work against them for some customers who like to go out and get “a good greasy burger.”
But I found the Patty Burger burger to be good, although not remarkable, and I was disappointed that it does not offer pickles as a topping. The fries here are crisp and generously salted, and the chocolate shake was enjoyable, although it had an unexpected, almost maltish flavor.
The vegetarian burger is an interesting spin for non-meat eaters as well, because it offers an eggplant burger, which may make Patty Burger a standout for fast food shopping vegetarians, and a vegetarian dining companion was very pleased with the results.
The one thing we did find remarkable about Patty Burger is that it is open nearly 24 hours and delivers daily until 3 a.m., which should be a huge selling point for, especially since it is so close to the UW-Milwaukee campus and it offers a 20 percent discount with a student ID. One thing to watch for when ordering burgers delivered to your door is an additional 49-cent delivery charge added per item, which can quickly add up to what is already a fairly expensive bill for burgers and fries.
Patty Burger also offers breakfast sandwiches daily starting at 7 a.m. on weekdays, offering a quick grab and go option for nearby workers and students. Egg sandwiches start at $2.49 with your choice of cheese, bacon, Canadian bacon or sausage, and again the a la carte options of cheese, onion or mushrooms from 29 cents to 59 cents extra.
While the pennies add up here quickly, sometimes we have a need for faster food, and this corner location will offer a good alternative for those of us who need to eat on the go without the extra grease; and while we all know there is little healthy for us about an old-fashioned hamburger, at least you can feel confident that the food you order at Patty Burger is made to order, and that Patty will deliver.
Amy L. Schubert is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in every aspect of bar and restaurant operations. A graduate of Marquette University (B.A.-Writing Intensive English, 1997) and UW-Milwaukee (M.A.-Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing, 2001), Amy still occasionally moonlights as a guest bartender and she mixes a mean martini.
The restaurant business seems to be in Amy’s blood, and she prides herself in researching and experimenting with culinary combinations and cooking techniques in her own kitchen as well as in friends’ restaurants. Both she and her husband, Scott, are avid cooks and “wine heads,” and love to entertain friends, family and neighbors as frequently as possible.
Amy and Scott live with their boys, Alex and Nick, in Bay View, where they are all very active in the community. Amy finds great pleasure in sharing her knowledge and passions for food and writing in her contributions to OnMilwaukee.com.