The burger: People, keep those calls and letters (and e-mails) coming. “I don’t know if you take requests for Burger Friday, but I’m curious about the Burger Time in West St. Paul that opened last year,” read the latest missive. “I’ve never been. But some folks I follow on Twitter rave about the one near St. Cloud.”
Yes, I take requests. Happily. And I’m in agreement with the Twitterati; Burger Time turns out a fantastic fast-food burger.
It’s one of those big, delightfully sloppy monsters. The patty – thicker than fast-food expectations might otherwise suggest – weights in at a third pound, and while I wouldn’t say it was brimming with juices, the beef was seemingly hand-pattied and freshly cooked, with faint streaks of pink in its center. Not bad. Not bad, at all.
The bun? It’s a basic food-service number, but giving it a hearty toast certainly adds welcome flavor and texture dimensions.
Toppings, piled on with aplomb, don’t stray from the classic fast-food vocabulary. But who cares? The formula works, big time. Gooey, salty American cheese acts as an adhesive, trying (and failing, in a good way) to hold together surprisingly tasty (and juicy, for winter) tomato slices, tons of crisp iceberg lettuce, what were probably a dozen pickle chips, a prodigious amount of ketchup and sharp, crunchy raw onions.
All these factors fuse into a truly impressive fast-food burger experience. Consider yourself fortunate if a Burger Time franchise lands near you.
Price: $3.99 for basic “Bigger” burger, $4.49 with cheese, an impressive value.
Fries: Not included (a jumbo serving costs $1.79, and it’s worth it), but, trust me, order them, because they’re fabulous: golden, crisp, barely greasy and lightly salty. They reminded me of the fries that McDonald’s served when I was a kid, back in the Paleolithic era.
Details: The restaurant opened in late July, taking over a former Checkers outlet. It’s the only Twin Cities location (an Apple Valley outlet fizzled a few years ago) for the 30-year-old, Fargo-based chain, which operates four branches in North Dakota, two in South Dakota and three others in Minnesota. Don’t expect ambience. There’s a drive-through window, two walk-up windows and six outdoor tables. That’s it.
Calendar item: Burger Friday will resume on March 24.
Address book: Open 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. 1011 S. Robert St., West St. Paul. 651-450-4557.
Talk to me: Do you have a favorite burger? Share the details at firstname.lastname@example.org.