Burgers and Sandwiches Reviews

Farmer Boys

Dubbing themselves the makers of the “World’s Greatest Hamburgers” I had to try one. The burger has fresh ingredients and isfarmer boys made in the style of a small mom & pop burger joint as opposed to the mass-market chains. The taste compares favorably with that of a Fatburger, thick and juicy with generous portions of fries or giant onion rings.

This small but growing chain is developing quite a following in Southern California. The menus, signs and placemats all proudly proclaim that the burger was voted “best” by

KFRG Radio
Inland Empire Magazine
Entertainment Book (they rate burgers?!)
Bob Cunningham, Food Critic (Heck, aren’t we all?)

The bottom line, however, is that I cannot say this is the “best” burger. It’s good, but not any more unique than the fresh, juicy burgers you get at smaller operations. I’ve had the same or better at the small west side “Burger Cafe” chain, Tom’s Restaurant in Santa Monica, and definitely better with quite possibly the best burger: the 1/4 lb. cheeseburger at Holiday Burger in Mission Hills.

The good thing is that this is a chain that is trying to keep the small restaurant taste while expanding into franchises. Time will tell whether they succeed.

By the way, the menu is quite extensive, so even non-burger fans (GASP!) will find something to enjoy. They even have Mexican food and salads.


Burgers and Sandwiches Reviews


About: Founded in 1952, Los Angeles, CA
90 locations mostly in the southwest but also in the four corners of the continental U.S.

Contact: 310-319-1855
Fatburger North America, Inc.
1218 Third Street Promenade
Santa Monica, CA 90401-1308

Fatburger does all it can to de-emphasize the word “Fat” in the company’s name. It prefers to think of “fat” as meaning the burgers are loaded with good, fresh ingredients. And it’s true that, back in the ’50’s, “fat” meant premium and high quality.

Fatburger is bold enough to do what Fast Food Source saw as a need a long time ago: put the menu and prices on their website. Keeping in mind that prices vary (the web prices are different from the prices we gathered while in the field), this is still very helpful. If you want a burger from a chain that doesn’t taste like it came off an assembly line, then go to Fatburger.


Burgers and Sandwiches Reviews


aw logo

About: Founded In 1919, Lodi, CA


My memory of A&W Restaurants is basically centered around the root beer floats, and the 1970’s menu that included the Papa Burger, Mama Burger, Teen Burger and Baby Burger. My personal favorite was the “Disenchanted Adolescent Burger.” Knowing that the A&W chain had been acquired, along with Long John Silver’s, by the Pepsi-cum-Tricon-cum-Yum! group (which includes Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC, as well as the recently scrapped “Irving’s House of Ptomaine.”) I was anxious to try what appears to be a new restaurant in Victorville, California. A visit to their website reveals new locations (many co-branded with KFC) throughout California and the U.S.A.

The design is retro, with a jukebox playing oldies (and I didn’t have to put any money in, so it was well worth the cost.) The menu was a bit complicated (with hamburgers, hot dogs, pastrami and something called cheese curds, which I was not brave enough to order.) I chose a combo that included a double cheeseburger, fries and soda (and, to my delight, I was able to upgrade to a root beer float for only 85 cents.) It looked like a menu that is being used franchise wide (as opposed to the old A&W models, in which the only consistent thing on the menu through the 80’s and 90’s was the root beer.) I also added a corn dog to my meal for 99 cents, since I realized that my cholesterol count had recently dropped below 8,500.

The burger was, in a word, tasty. The meat was flavorful, the produce was fresh, and it was far superior to the average fast food fare. The corn dog was efficacious. The fries were basically a non-entity, a simple copy of everyone’s favorite McFry. The crowning achievement, which made the entire trip worthwhile, was a re-imagination of the traditional float. This was not the same float I had when I was a kid; it was much better. The root beer was the same appetizing concoction as always. The ice cream closed the deal, however. It wasn’t scooped or soft-serve… It was sort of a “soft-scoop” vanilla ice cream, for lack of a better word, and I may have been the best dang root beer float I ever tasted. It dissolved perfectly as it hit my mouth and left just enough melted matter in the root beer base to compliment the essence. I felt like Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks when he tries the coffee and cherry pie for the first time.

Yum! Brands has done a great job with their entry into the burger market. Try it for the burgers and floats, and let’s hope they put a little R&D into the fries.

By Ggreg Snyder

Burgers and Sandwiches Reviews

Gold Coast

Burgers and Sandwiches Reviews

Back Yard Burgers

About: Founded in 1987, Cleveland, MS 116 locations, 75 franchised, in 17 southeastern states


Back Yard Burgers: Real fast food, done just right

Sun dining critic

If you are a regular reader of this column, you know that it’s not often I get excited about a new chain restaurant, especially one that serves burgers and has a drive-up window.

In fact, I’ve never been excited about a place that serves burgers and has a drive-up window.

Now, that’s all changed. I have to admit that I am excited about this one, burgers, window and all. Back Yard Burgers is not exactly a fast-food restaurant, but it is exactly what a fast-food restaurant ought to be.

This place serves up char-broiled hamburgers, the one-third pound variety, that are just about as good as I can cook in my own back yard, and I’m no slouch in the charcoal department.

We’re talking juicy.
We’re talking reasonably thick.
We’re talking charred on the outside to give them that “back yard” flavor.

We’re talking a decent quality bun with lettuce and tomato that are actually edible.

And, we’re talking made-to-order burgers, yet delivered to your table within about five minutes of the time you tell them what you want and pay at the counter.

If there’s anything not to like, it’s the price.

You won’t get a double cheeseburger at Back Yard for 99 cents. You won’t get one for $1.99 or even $2.99.

The standard, single-patty burger goes for $3.19, and once you add some cheese, it costs $3.58. Turn it into a Black & Bleu bacon-bleu cheeseburger with waffle-cut fries and a soft drink, and it will set you back about $6. But once you bite into this burger, I don’t think you will mind.

If burgers aren’t for you, you might want to reconsider being a beef-eating carnivore because they are really, really good, but Back Yard can still accommodate you.

There are five kinds of grilled chicken sandwiches ($3.29 to $4.09) and even a Garden Veggie burger ($4.79).

Back Yard also offers a bevy of salads from a Garden Side Salad ($1.59) to a Grilled Chicken, Blackened Chicken, Chicken Club and Buffalo Chicken Salad, ($4.79 each). There also are a couple of Angus beef hot dogs ($1.59-$2.19).

When it comes to potatoes, Back Yard offers three kinds in more than three ways.

The waffle-cut fries actually taste like potatoes and are good enough that I’ve never gotten past them to try the Seasoned Fries, which appear to be batter-dipped french fries, ($1.09 and $1.39 for either).

Then, there are Miz Grazi’s Chili Cheese Fries ($1.99).

Another thing that sets this place apart is that you will find a bottle of ketchup on your table, not those infernal foil envelopes, but sometimes the bottles are empty, or nearly so.

Back Yard has three kinds of baked potatoes, butter and sour cream ($1.49), shredded cheddar, bacon bits and Ranch dressing, and a shredded cheddar and salsa variety ($2.29 each).

The drawback, and every place has a drawback, is that the word about this place was traveling fast even before you read this article. The restaurant is in a rebuilt Schlotzsky’s Deli location on SW 34th Street just south of Archer Road.

It’s not large, and the parking lot was full before you read this. Tomorrow, it will be, shall we say, char broiled?

David Carlson has been writing about food, wine and restaurants for more than 15 years. He can be reached at dave@ Dining is done anonymously and without advance warning. All meals are paid for by the Gainesville Sun.

Back Yard Burgers
3400 SW 34th St., 692-4442
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday

Burgers and Sandwiches Reviews


arbys logo

About: Founded in 1964, Boardman, OH. 3200 locations worldwide. “Arby’s” means “RB” which stands for “Raffel Brothers” (founders), not Roast Beef. Trivia: Early in 2000, the Santa Monica Arby’s successfully won their case against the city to keep their famous cowboy-hat-shaped sign standing (the city of Santa Monica had earlier decided to eliminate all unsightly signs above a certain height or size.)

Author Recommends: Market Fresh Ham or Turkey, substitute honey mustard for mayo.

Remember the “America’s Roast Beef, Yes Sir!” slogan? Just wondering.

Arby’s is a great alternative for burger fans who get to that “burgered-out” stage – usually around lunch late in the week. But, Arby’s has successfully expanded its menu to include not only roast beef sandwiches, but also a number of tasty chicken selections too. A personal favorite is the Chicken Bacon & Swiss sandwich. Yuuummm! Honey mustard!

The Market Fresh Sandwiches are a refreshing change from normal fast food. But at $3.99 each (or more than $6 for a combo) it can never be an everyday treat.

One of the coolest things Arby’s does is not to charge extra for cheese on its French Dip sub. That one gesture alone sets Arby’s apart as a restaurant chain not afraid to do things their own way.

At a time when many fast food chains are starting to look too similar, Arby’s remains tastily different. Oh, and their Arby’s sauce is great on their fries. -RB

Burgers and Sandwiches Reviews


About: Founded in 1955, Des Plaines, IL. Over 26,000 locations in 119 countries.

Contact: 630-623-3000. McDonald’s Corporation: One Kroc Drive, Oak Brook, IL 60523

Author Recommends: Big Mac

It’s difficult to say something about McDonald’s that hasn’t been said a thousand times before. Instead, let’s use this article as a sort of list of recommended do’s and don’ts that we’d like to see McDonald’s follow:

-Do keep putting your Big Mac in the cardboard container. Rare is it that form follows function so beautifully in a fast food package.
-Do keep offering dollar menu items and other specials.
-Do put your soda machines out in the dining area so we don’t have to wait in line for a refill.
-Do keep up the quality customer service when someone registers a complaint. McDonald’s has one of the best fast food websites and a very courteous customer service department.

-Don’t charge extra for BBQ or other sauce packets. It is beneath you.
-Don’t sell 3 different sized value meals. Get rid of the middle one. It’s too confusing.
-Don’t give up on trying to make a good chicken sandwich. You’ll get it right one of these days. -RB

Vintage TV Commercials