After (yet another) brief respite, I return in full, burger reviewing force. Just a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the highly metropolitan Pigeon Forge, TN…home to such fine establishments like Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, The Hatfield-McCoy Dinner Theater, The Miracle Theater (do yourself a favor and don’t go here), and even The Jurassic Boat Ride. All sarcasm aside, Pigeon Forge is a nice little city, nestled in the Appalachian mountains, that anyone can enjoy. And, though the Dixie Stampede refers to the Civil War as a “friendly brotherhood rivalry” (grammar much?) the food is delicious and the show is very entertaining.
Nonetheless, I was busy expiring the Appalachians so I was forced to put my apartment hunt on hold.
By the time I returned to Evanston I was lucky enough to have scheduled an apartment viewing in a lovely little building on the immediate west-side of downtown (or the far east-side of the west-side) just a few minutes from Marquette’s campus. The apartment was lovely! Cross your fingers (all 3 of you reading this) and hope that I’m lucky enough to get the apartment.
In my previous trips to Milwaukee (visiting the lovely Third Ward) I happened by the Stack’d Burger Bar. Stack’d is right on 1st street, cozily sitting beside Alterra Coffee. Like the rest of the Third Ward, Stack’d has a hip, neo-industrial-warehouse (boom, I just invented a new architectural style) feel complete with exposed beams, brickwork, and all of the requisite awkward cleanliness found in such places. All in all, it was a warm, happy, and young atmosphere that had yet to become crowded at 5:00pm on a Wednesday evening.
Whenever I visit an apartment I tend to be a little too taken by it, so my friend Trish came along to help scope out the apartment and the neighborhood. She was also lucky enough to accompany me to Stack’d where we were both a little overwhelmed by the menu. Stack’ds menu was extensive, but somewhat confusing. Though Burger Bar is in the restaurant name there is only one beef burger. In the midst of our confusion and overwhelmth (overwhelmth…new word, use it freely), Trish and I decided to grab a delicious Cream City Vanilla Shake complete with Cream City Vanilla Sprecher’s (sorry, ladies and gents, we decided to avoid the Smirnoff spike…I’m not a partaker of the bev). Vanilla milkshakes tend to be a little bland but the addition of the Sprecher’s really kicked this one up into the realm of deliciousness. Thankfully there was a create your own burger section where Trish and I were able to devise our own burgers from the ample topping selection.
I decided on the Tallgrass Beef (medium), Wisconsin Cheddar, fried onions, thick-cut bacon, and a Milwaukee’s Own Pretzilla Soft Pretzel Bun…plus french fries. My friend Trish…picked the same burger (though she ordered it well done, GROSS) and chose mac and cheese instead of the fries.
After just a few minutes of waiting and a brief amount of awkward silence (we’d already been in the car for around 3 hours) our burgers arrived. Immediately, I noticed two deep-fried somethings on top of the burger. I was really hoping for some deep-fried cheese or something of that nature and was incredibly disappointed to find out the two golden brown nuggets were merely pickles (so sue me, I LOATHE pickles. I carefully removed the pickles and dove in to what would be a delicious burger.
Now for the review:
Bun (1-5): 4
– Normally I’m not a fan of pretzel buns but this one was fantastic. It was not overly pretzel-flavored and had brought a welcome stiffness to the burger that acted as a great support system for the hefty 1/2 lb patty. I’m excited to go back to Stack’d and try the classic roll but I definitely recommend the pretzel bun.
Bacon (1-5): 5
– It is hard to do bacon wrong and Stack’d does a fantastic job with theirs. When I picked thick-cut bacon I was afraid the bacon would make the burger too difficult to eat or would overpower the beef, and luckily I was wrong. Neither of the two strips of bacon were all that thick and both brought a delicious, smoky flavor to the burger.
Onions (1-5): 5
– These were truly some of the best grilled onions I’ve had on a burger. Sobleman’s could learn something from Stack’d about proper onion sizing for a burger. The grilled onions weren’t too large or overpowering and they brought a great deal of flavor to the burger. Despite the large amount of onion on the burger it did not become too messy or difficult to eat (man, I really seemed to be focused on ease of burger consumption today). Great onions!
Cheese (1-5): 3
– The Cheese was the only week point of an otherwise delicious burger. The Wisconsin Cheddar was thoroughly melted and didn’t seem to have been put on in slice form (I’m a sucker for cheese slices) but I could be wrong about that. Nonetheless, the subtlety of the cheese really complimented the great beef. I’d prefer a little more cheese but it could have become overpowering.
Beef (1-5): 5
– So far, this is the best beef I have had in Milwaukee. My burger was a delicious, pink medium and was incredibly well put together. It didn’t crumble after a few bites and easily retained its flavor throughout the meal. I have yet to develop the ability to taste the difference between a Tallgrass burger (organic beef) and a regular one but this one was very flavorful. Fantastic beef that was, justifiably, the star of this burger.
Fries (1-5): 4
– The fries weren’t spectacular, but they were a really solid side dish. They reminded me of Edzo’s (of Evanston) old fries, which are fries that have been left in the oil for a little longer than regular fries. The extra oil really payed off but the smell was a bit overpowering.
Mac ‘n Cheese (1-5): 5
– I really liked this mac ‘n cheese though I can’t say why. It was topped with a just a few bread crumbs and was not too dense. It wasn’t overly cheesy or heavy. A perfect, Wisconsonian side.
Milk Shake (1-5): 4
– In Stack’d’s Cream City Vanilla Milk Shake they take what could be a very boring drink and deliver a ton of flavor. The Sprecher’s really kicked up the vanilla ice-cream and didn’t feel overly flavored. I’ll definitely be trying this milk shake or another the next time I visit Stack’d.
– So far, Stack’d is the best burger I’ve had in Milwaukee. It was reasonably priced ($10) for the amount of food and it more than filled Trish and me up. Next time I go I’ll have to try their famous “Hangover” burger, but it is very hard to go wrong with the vast create-your-own option. The shake I tried was delicious, and the mac ‘n cheese is a must. Next time you are in the Third Ward, head over to Stack’d and grab a burger.
– I’ll give this burger a 5 out of 5 and Stack’d a 5 out of 5. Stack’d is a fun restaurant with a delicious burger and enough options to make a fan out of even the most persnickety eater.