Everything Is Just Jake
First before I get to Jake’s fantastic burger I need to update readers about my reviews here. After Jake’s Burger made it to the cover of Milwaukee Magazine’s cover of their burger review in August of 2012. There is a reason I took time off from my burger quest and that’s because sampling over 100 of the area’s burger’s took it’s toll on my. I gained over 25 pounds in the pursuit of the best burgers in the Milwaukee area. I spent all of 2012 focused on losing the 25 ponds I gained. Well, I not only lost the 25 but another 45 pounds on top of that for a total of 65 pounds for the year which feels great. Unfortunately that meant no burgers (or fries, or much of anything unhealthy) for a while and even no alcohol (ok, for a while but I do still have a couple beers or so again on weekends, I’m not crazy). Bottom line is I’m back in a size 34 jeans and want to stay there but I will still sample burgers once more!
A year is a long time to go without a burger but the reward is finding a new burger joint and a new burger to write about. The burgers are the main attraction at Jake’s and are available without buns and are called “rafts” served open faced and meant to be eaten with a knife and fork. I liked the description for several burgers but I was mainlytry to decide between a Jake’s Burger and the California Raft Burger. The Jake’s Burger had cheddar cheese, oven roasted tomato, butter lettuce, haystack onions and a special sauce. The California Raft Burger had butter lettuce, oven roasted tomato, avocado, special sauce & Neuske’s bacon. When my server asked how I was doing and I told her of my dilemma, she suggested I try one as a $1.50 slider special. What a great idea! I ordered the Jake’s Burger with the California as a slider.
The burger patties themselves are made in house from a combination of ground sirloin and brisket. The meat had good flavor and texture. The shoestrings were nice and crisp and were nice and crispy as they should be. There are several options for sides which are extra: house cut fries ($1.95 & $3.75), crispy sweet potato fries ($1.95 & $3.95), creamy cole slaw ($2.95) and haystack onions ($3.95). I opted for no sides since I had the haystack onions on the burger and I don’t want to go in the other direction and add on any weight to what I lost.
There are other toppings you can add:
Port-Caramelized Onions $1.5
Nueskes Applewood Bacon (2 Slices) $2.5
Fried Egg $1
Haystack Onions $1.5
Beer Cheese Sauce $1.5
Brie Cheese $2
White Truffle Oil $1.5
Wisconsin Blue Cheese $1.5
Wisconsin Aged Cheddar Cheese $1.5
Avocado Half $1.5
In hindsight I would have opted for the Nueske’s bacon as you can’t go wrong there. All of the toppings for their burgers are available to add and customize as you see fit.
There is a bar with both cocktails and a surprisingly good beer selection.
Jakes Burgers is closed Sunday & Monday.
UPDATE : Matty’s Bar in New Berlin always had great burgers but now they are really bringing it with a new burger called the Smokehouse. Located in New Berlin on 144th & College, Matty’s is quickly becoming a go-to spot for watching sports, Friday Fish Fry and now their new burger. All of their food is very good and the place has a good feel to just hang out & drink and be with friends you haven’t met yet. But I think the Smokehouse burger will put Matty’s on the map in the local burger war of who has the best burgers in the Milwaukee area.
The Smokehouse gets it name from the smoked beef brisket that is ground and added to the Certifed Black Angus beef to make the distinctive patties. The brisket starts out as a raw brisket of beef that is hand rubbed in special seasoning then smoked for 3 hours in Matty’s smoker that is filled with a special blend of hard wood chips and then ground and mixed with the Black Angus beef.
The burger can be ordered how you like it as a Build Your Burger where you pick from different options or as the Smokehouse Burger of the day from a schedule that is similar to Kopp’s Flavor of the day. Each day a different burger is featured that is crafted by Matty’s kitchen to bring together some very good taste options all with different names like The Hot Cowboy, The Hangover, The Mona Lisa and The Milwaukee.
I have had two Smokehouse burgers so far, the New Berlin and the Al Pacino. They were both very good with good choices for topping selections. The New Berlin is topped with the smoked beef brisket that the burger itself is made of, mushrooms, sliced onions, provolone cheese, garlic mayo, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes on a brioche bun.
The sliced brisket on top was a great choice. It offered smoky flavor of very good brisket as well as the infused flavor from the brisket in the patty. The garlic mayo added to the flavor as well and the brioche bun was sturdy enough to hold everything together.
The Al Pacino was piled with salami, pepperoni, garlic herb tomato basil, fried onions, shredded lettuce, garlic mayo and tomato garlic relish on a gourmet bun. The addition of the salami and pepperoni really worked. It gave it a decidedly Italian flavor made it a very meaty burger.
The Smokehouse patty gives a great platform to build on and Matty’s has done a great job with giving you a large number of toppings including a number of different cheese toppings. Besides the usual; cheddar, American, pepper jack, mozzarella, provolone, baby swiss and blue cheese Matty’s offer specialty cheeses from small cheese producers from around Wisconsin. There is Evalon, an asiago made from goat’s milk from Sheboygan, a gruyere style cow’s milk Swiss from Dodgeville, Mango Fire, a sweet and hot cheddar made with cow’s milk from Kiel, Saxony, an award winning firm nutty flavored alpine style cow’ milk cheese from Cleveland, Dolcina, another award winner made from a combo of goat and cow’s milk is a sweet, creamy gorgonzola, Black Peppercorn Cheddar, a cow’s milk white cheddar from Kiel and Benedictine, a earthy creamy chease made from a combination sheep, cow and goats milk from Kiel.
Toppings also include many options like garlic aioli, sun dried tomato mayo, mango salsa, black bean corn relish, blue cheese butter, pesto, guacamole, sauerkraut, sun dried tomatoes, portabella mushroom, pico di Gallo as well as more. You can build your own burger to your liking and even enter a contest coming up in December to build build your best burger and enter it into Matty’s Taste Off contest. The winner will get a permanent burger on the menu and free burgers for a year (as well as bragging rights).
Reviewed By Tom Graber
14460 W. College Ave.
New Berlin WI 53151
One thing that is great about doing this website is that everyone I talk to has an opinion about who has the best burgers in Milwaukee and for the most part of tried most of them at least the ones that are on most people’s list but every once in a while I’ll bump into someone who is a raving fan about a burger that somehow escaped my list of places to visit. I was at a function downtown and met these guys who worked in Thiensville and swore their favorite bar had the best burgers in the area. All right, I put them on the list although I was a little skeptical since I never saw their name on a list. Well, I was wrong to be skeptical; Skippy’s has a fantastic burger!
Even after months and months of trying different burgers and AFTER I already tried the Skippy burger, a very good friend said “Hey, you should go to Thiensville, just behind the old fire station is a place called Skippy’s that has THE BEST burgers”. I thanked him for the late tip but I already decided to put them on the site.
Skippy’s is located across the street from the Milwaukee River and it has a small creek in the back of it. It is a Wisconsin landmark that was built in 1853 and was originally a hotel. Today it is just a corner bar that has great bar specials ($2.50 drinks Mon-Thurs 3-6), great food and a great burger.
The burgers (there are 11 options) but the Skippy Burger is the one that is most popular. There isn’t even that much special in it’s appearance, it looks like a lot of others but it’s a different story when you bite into the burger. It has so much great flavor much do to the “secret sauce” which is a little like Thousand Island but not as thick and more flavorful.
113 Green Bay Rd.
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A Little Something Extra
Lagniappe might be the most difficult to pronounce name on the best burger list, but it did have one of my personal favorite burgers on the list. Lagniappe (lan-YAP) is a Cajun-French-Louisiana term for merchants in southern Louisiana who add “a little something” to your purchase as a small gift for making your purchase in their store or shop. Or restaurant in this case.
Lagniappe is very much an upscale restaurant located on the border of New Berlin and Brookfield on Greenfield Ave in the small, intimate building that used to house Steven Wade’s café. It is still an upscale restaurant that serves Continental cuisine, that being cuisine from different countries from around the world and what better item to have on your menu representing American cuisine but the American Hamburger. And Lagniappe perfects this creation in their Kobe Burger with 9 year old Cheddar cheese. If you want to experience as close to a “perfect burger” as you’ll find, this is it.
This is food porn at its finest. If you want a picture of a perfect cheese burger, this is it. No tower of toppings, no wilted lettuce, no special sauce, no secret ingredients or gimmicks to make this burger better. It stands on its own by the taste of the beef and cheese. Burger perfection. The Kobe patty is actually the American version of Kobe beef, Wagyu.
Kobe beef has strict guidelines to be called Kobe beef. It is from Tajima cows raised, fed and slaughtered in the Prefecture (state) of Hyogo Japan. It is fed a diet of special grain feed, a beer a day, and a rubdown with warn sake every day. I’m sure PETA would still think it is somehow cruel but it is pretty much the ultimate lifestyle in the bovine world.
Wagyu is the American version of Kobe beef since true Kobe beef is from those cows in the small region of Japan. America being one of the beef capitals of the world has our own version of Kobe known as Wagyu by breeding The Japanese Kobe cow with the American Angus for an animal that can thrive in our climate but tastes close to it’s Japanese cousin. Wagyu comes from the Japanese wa (Japanese) gyu (cow), Japanese Cow. They too are fed a special diet of alfalfa, barley, corn and wheat straw and a beer a day and then massaged with sake.
The result is fantastic tasting beef.
Since this is the simplest form of the cheeseburger at it’s purist, it needs to rely on all three of it’s simple components, the patty, cheese and bun. The bun itself is homemade and is big and sturdy enough for the job of supporting the large patty yet soft and yielding like a good bun should be. The patty itself is a perfectly formed patty that looks dry when it arrives with just the melted cheese oozing down it’s sides. When you bite into it however, there seems to be an invisible crust that kept all of the juices in because you are immediately met with juices running freely from the meat down your hands and arms and then on your plate.
The patty has wonderful beef flavor an the meat is almost granular in its consistency and it is so moist and juicy that it needs nothing else for flavor except the cheese. In this case the cheese is 9 year old cheddar which adds a great tang you can clearly taste which adds depth to the cheese flavor that ordinary cheddar just can’t touch. Nine year old cheddar is hard to find in a dairy case much less a restaurant but here it helps make one of the best cheeseburgers in Milwaukee. The cheese on my burger was made while Bill Clinton was still in office!
Served along with the burger are home made gaufrette potato chips which is a fancy way of saying waffle cut chips. I was tryinhg to remember what they taste like and couldn’t figure it out until it hit me, Muncho’s potato chips. They taste like a fancy looking Muncho potato chip. You also have your choice of caponata salad, cole slaw or cottage cheese.
This is a small, intimate restaurant (great romantic choice for Valentine’s day or other romantic occasion) that you want to wear something appropriate for and isn’t the typical sports bar type place to go for a cheeseburger but is worth the trip and definitely the $11 price tag for this perfect cheeseburger.
I’m ready for my beer and the sake massage now.
Reviewed By: Tom Graber
“Who’s Your Bigg Daddy?
Bigg’s Roadhouse, located in the shadow of Hwy 45 just south of Mayfair mall, is Roadhouse bar filled with license plates and beer signs on the walls and TVs everywhere you turn so you never miss a play of the game. They have drink specials so often that it would be difficult to be in the bar when there isn’t a drink deal to be had. Every day during the week happy hour is going on from 2-6pm. I stopped by in the early afternoon and was greeted with hello from the bartender and an offer of free potato skins. I like this place already! I’ve been here all of two minutes and already have a great snack.
But I’m not here for the skins, I’m here for the burger. And just my luck, they have a great Bigg Daddy Burger ($9.95), the operative being BIG. This is one big, fat juicy burger. The patty itself is 13 ounces of Black Angus beef, 3 oz short of a full pound! This is supported by a grilled bun and topped however you like with your choice of cheeses, mushrooms, onions, bacon, mustard and ketchup. It is grilled to medium unless you specify otherwise and leaves plenty of juice to dribble down your arms as you eat.
You have a choice of fries (waffle cut, seasoned), tater tots, homemade potato chips,cottage cheese or a cup of soup. I had the fries which were hot and crispy.
In addition to the Bigg Daddy burger there is a cheeseburger, Baconcheeseburger, Cajun, Mushroomswiss, Blackjack and Turkey burgers. There is also an extensive menu of pizza(1/2 price Tuesday Nights), ribs, steaks, great apps, desserts and other specialty sandwiches.
In addition to their great burgers they have a lot lot of specials and a large variety of choices. One thing you’ve GOT to try if you’re a rib fan is theirall-you-can-eat ribs (and chicken) on Wednesdays for $14.95. First of all AYCE ribs is a great deal for $15 but when they are as good as Biggs its a fantastic deal. I love ribs and live near Famous Dave’s and have enjoyed their BBQ there and their ribs are good but are not nearly as tender and fall of the bone as these are and the sauce is awesome too. Haven’t tried the chicken yet but I have tried their fish fry. Go with the cod over the walleye, both are good but the cod is slightly better and AYCE.
I haven’t tried anything else at Biggs but I have read a number of reviews at Yelp or Urban Spoon that they have a fantastic steaks and for much less than a steakhouse. Maybe not the same ambiance as Mo’s but very high quality.
Reviewed By Tom Graber
1900 N. Mayfair Rd
Wauwatosa WI 53226
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