Summary List Placement
On a recent trip to Chicago, I decided to stop at Culver’s, a popular fast-food chain in the Midwest.
The first Culver’s opened in 1984 in Sauk City, Wisconsin, and it quickly became famous for its hamburgers — known as ButterBurgers — and custard. Today, Culver’s is located in over 20 states, including Florida, Georgia, and Arizona, but most of the franchisees are located in the Midwest.
After walking almost an hour out of my way to try Culver’s, I was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming the restaurant looked from the outside.
Unfortunately, there are no Culver’s in downtown Chicago, so I had to travel a little bit out of my way to try their food. After taking a long walk in the heat, I finally ended up at a Culver’s slightly outside of the city.
I was immediately surprised to find an outdoor seating area because I haven’t seen that at many other fast-food places — the first sign that Culver’s is different from its competitors.
When I stepped into the Culver’s, I was surprised again to find a homey feel.
Wood-paneled walls, exposed brick, rugs, and the Food Network playing on a TV in the corner made this Culver’s feel more like a home than a fast-food establishment.
At the counter, I was overwhelmed by all the food options, so I decided to ask the cashier for help.
From hamburgers and chicken to shrimp and cheese curds, it seemed the Culver’s menu had everything and anything. I asked the cashier what the go-to Culver’s order would be, and she told me I had to try the famous ButterBurger, which can be made as a single or double hamburger and topped with a buttered bun. She also told me I had to try their second-most popular item, which is the frozen custard.
In the end, I ordered a single ButterBurger, chicken tenders, fries, and a chocolate frozen custard topped with cookie dough bites. It all came out to $20, which I thought was a bit pricey for two fast-food meals. I was eager to see if it was worth the price tag.
I was given a number, told to sit at any table I wanted, and the food would come to me when it was ready.
I was surprised that I didn’t have to wait at the counter for my food like I usually have to at McDonald’s or Burger King. Instead, Culver’s has great service that brings the food to you, and the “Oh Happy Day!” stickie really made the place feel even more welcoming.
Within minutes, my meal was delivered, and my mouth began watering.
Everything looked and smelled so delicious that I didn’t know where to start.
I decided to try the chicken tenders and fries first. They were both delicious.
The chicken tenders had a crunchy breading on the outside and a juicy, meaty inside. Although they weren’t as thick as other fast-food chicken tenders, they were just as delicious as McDonald’s chicken tenders.
I’m not usually a big fan of crinkle fries, but Culver’s were perfectly seasoned and crunchy.
Next up, I tried the hamburger, better known as the ButterBurger.
The hamburger had red onions, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and a special sauce on it.
The ButterBurger was so juicy, and it quickly became the best burger I’ve ever had at a fast-food restaurant.
When I bit into the burger, juices dripped out and landed on the table. I later found bibs hanging on a wall in the restaurant that are meant to protect your clothing from the ButterBurgers — they’re just that juicy.
Although the burger was thin like a regular fast-food burger, it had a buttery flavor and moistness that, in my opinion, just can’t be found at other fast-food joints.
Lastly, I tried the frozen custard, a dessert that makes Culver’s really stand out among the rest.
Culver’s has a ton of custard options. You can get it served as a shake, a malt, or in a cone. There are a variety of flavors including chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and mint. You can even top the custard with hot fudge, caramel, bananas, blackberries, almonds, or pecans.
My chocolate custard with cookie dough toppings was so good that I had to stop myself from eating the entire cup. It was cold, smooth, and rich, making it the perfect dessert for me after the long walk in the hot sun.
There even was a fridge at the front of the restaurant where customers can buy custard by the pint.
The big fast-food companies like McDonald’s or Burger King don’t serve frozen custard, nor do they serve their food in bulk for takeout, as Culver’s does.
With just one meal, Culver’s has become my favorite fast-food chain.
From the moment I stepped inside Culver’s for the first time, I instantly felt welcomed. The service was top-notch and the decor was homey. Thankfully, the food was just as great. The chicken, the burger, and the custard were all so good that I think they would easily beat out the bigger fast-food companies in a taste test. In fact, Culver’s has become my favorite fast-food meal.
Unfortunately for me, I live in New York City where there are no Culver’s. Until the company expands to the East Coast, I’ll just have to dream about the juicy burger and crunchy chicken tenders at Culver’s — or I’ll just have to take another trip to the Midwest soon.