I ate at one of America's best burger chains, and I hope it keeps expanding outside of the Midwest
- I visited Culver's, a popular Midwest-based fast-food chain that's growing across the US.
- It had delicious, made-to-order ButterBurgers, fresh frozen custard, and Wisconsin cheese curds.
- The chain prides itself on hospitality, which I noticed as the workers helped me order and dine.
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Culver's started as a family-owned restaurant in Wisconsin with made-to-order cheeseburgers, frozen custard, and cheese curds, and it's since expanded to nearly 800 restaurants across the US.
I visited a Culver's location near me and tasted some of the most popular items to see why many people love it so much
Read on to see how it went.
Culver's prides itself in having plenty of Midwestern hospitality
I set out to my nearest Culver's in Oviedo, Florida, just northeast of Orlando, and walking in felt cozy and peaceful, like stepping into a Midwestern grandma's home.
One of Culver's key values is conveying small-town hospitality to every guest that steps into a restaurant, and I felt that they really achieved that with the warm, simple decor and kind staff members.
The employees were incredibly courteous and kind. Throughout my meal, several employees stopped by to check on me and see if I needed anything and, at one point, an employee even threw away my garbage for me and offered to bring me more food.
The chain has plenty of drink options, but it is known for its signature root beer
If you're dining in, Culver's has self-serve soda fountains with Pepsi products, fresh brewed iced tea, and its own signature root beer.
The original recipe for its root beer was developed by co-founder Craig Culver, who used locally sourced ingredients.
Many other fast-food chains just offer standard soda-fountain drinks, so I was really excited to have some fresh and original drink options.
It's also famous for its ButterBurgers, which are made-to-order with Wisconsin cheese
Culver's ButterBurgers get their name from the buttered and toasted buns, which won't get soggy even when they're piled high with sweet tomatoes, zesty mayo, and fresh lettuce.
The staple menu item earned the brand the title of America's favorite fast-food burger in 2018, according to Restaurant Business.
Each ButterBurger is cooked to order, which means mine arrived juicy, melty, and hot. At the Oviedo Culver's, the team didn't skimp on the toppings, and my burger was nearly too big to eat.
I love that this burger had a smoky taste that reminded me of homemade burgers cooked on a backyard grill.
There are many sides to choose from, but cheese curds seemed like a unique choice
Every meal comes with crinkle-cut french fries, green beans, coleslaw, or mashed potatoes. But if you want the full experience, you can upgrade to George's chili, named for the co-founder's father, or the classic cheese curds.
I decided to try the cheese curds, which are a true Wisconsin staple. They resembled bite-sized mozzarella sticks but were filled with fresh, Wisconsin cheddar cheese.
When I bit into a cheese curd, there was a delightful crunch that was followed by the springy, creamy melted cheese pulling out of its crispy, fried crust.
The fried batter combined with the creamy cheese made this a tasty and savory side dish that satisfied my desire for a salty treat.
A meal at Culver's isn't complete without some of the chain's special frozen custard
When I arrived mid-afternoon, it wasn't very busy, so the cashier helped me choose the most authentic Culver's meal. This, of course, involved some of the chain's frozen custard.
Each Culver's restaurant features one special custard flavor every day. It varies by restaurant, but you can check online to see what flavors are coming up.
While at this location, I was able to taste the frozen custard Flavor of the Day, which was a green-mint frozen custard topped with Oreo cookies and Andes mint candy. It was tasty, but I opted to try something else from the menu, which also had concrete mixers (a denser dessert with toppings), milkshakes, floats, and sundaes to choose from.
I ordered a one-scoop caramel cashew sundae with classic vanilla custard. Even though it was only one scoop, my sundae contained a hefty portion of sweet custard topped with salty cashews to help balance out the flavors.
With its creamy texture and customizable toppings, this custard tasted homemade in the best kind of way.
Overall, I think Culver's offers delicious options if you're low on cash but don't want to eat at a traditional fast-food restaurant
My burger, cheese curds, specialty frozen custard, and beverage cost me about $15, which seemed like a great deal for so much food and such hefty portions.
In my opinion, even though I only tried a small section of the menu, the food that I had from Culver's seemed high quality - and it certainly holds its own against other popular burger chains, like Five Guys and In-N-Out Burger.
Hopefully, Culver's will continue expanding around the globe so more people can have a taste of these meals that taste homemade and are served with a side of Midwestern hospitality.
This post was originally published in February 2020.