Wealthy Street Station
You know by now how I have an obsession with places that supposedly have the “Best Burger.” Since I’m working in Grand Rapids, I get to try to hunt down the best one there too.
Dinner couldn’t come fast enough on this particular work day. I was hungry and really needed something to eat. I actually headed to a deli in East Grand Rapids only to find them closed. Since I was running out of time and didn’t really have a back up plan, I started heading back down Wealthy Street. At some point on the drive, I remembered a place a website I had found quite some time ago.
Wealthy Street Station is a very unassuming building on the corner of Wealthy Street and Fuller in Grand Rapids’ East Hills neighborhood. It’s actually a building I have driven past many times and never realized there was a restaurant there. It looks like an old service station (makes sense with the name) and it really looks unoccupied. There are signs on the building, but no free standing signage. In a rarity in this neighborhood, they actually have a small parking lot. The building doesn’t sit right up next to the street, so it’s sort of easy to pass by.
I did notice the “open” sign lit up in the window and pulled into the parking lot to see what I could find.
The building is tiny and mostly kitchen. When you walk in the door, there is a large order counter immediately to your left. To your right is a very small dining room with only three tables. On nice days, they do have patio furniture outside so you could take your food outside if you’re inclined to do so.
The menu board is on the wall and it covers a wide range of cuisines. For the most part, it’s a sandwich carry-out place, but they do offer Mexican and Polish selections in addition to the usual American fare.
The burgers from Wealthy Street Station have gotten really good reviews on a number of review sites. I didn’t notice it when I ordered, but there was actually a bacon cheeseburger on special that would have saved me a couple bucks. Instead, I ordered the Station Burger which seems to be their marquee selection.
The sandwich is a 1/2 lb ground beef patty topped with cheddar cheese, deep fried jalapeno and onion strips, lettuce, tomato and a home made chipotle sauce. It’s then served on a “unique pretzel bun.” I asked to leave off the onion strips and the sauce. What I didn’t realize right away is that the onion strips and jalapeno’s are considered one menu item. I kept trying to explain I wanted the jalapenos, but not the onions. They were breaded and deep fried separately so I still don’t see how it would have been a big deal to give me the jalapeno’s, but not the onions. Eventually I settled for just putting it all on the side and I’d figure it out later.
I opted to add on the fries and a drink for a couple bucks extra. I pulled out my credit card to pay, but the woman taking my order was having a hard time multi-tasking. Wealthy Street Station is a mom and pop shop in the true sense of the phrase. Mom was working the counter. Pop was working the grill. The problem was mom was taking phone orders while trying to take care of the counter and pack up to-go meals. She tried four times to ring up my order but kept getting interrupted by the phone. Wouldn’t have been a problem, but she couldn’t get my order to the grill until she rang it up.
Eventually she did and it cost me a little over $8. There’s not a whole lot of room to wait while the food is being cooked, but there was one table that opened up about the time I was trying to find a space on the wall out of the way. I took a seat and waited about ten minutes until my ordered was neatly packed up in a to-go box. I grabbed a can of Coke on my way out to round out the meal.
I went to work on the fries on my drive back to work like I usually do. They were pretty typical restaurant fries with what appeared to be a cajun seasoning.
The burger was very juicy and really tasty. Like I figured, the onions and jalapenos were not the same thing I was able to easily tell which was which. I picked the jalapeno strips out of the pile of fried veggies and added them to my burger. In the process, I stripped off most of the shredded lettuce and the tomato slices. The meat had the taste of a greasy griddle and the pretzel roll bun held and soaked up all that greasy goodness. I’m not a super huge fan of pretzel buns, but I don’t mind them. This one was pretty typical of my experience with pretzel rolls.
As far as best burger goes, I am still digging into Grand Rapids’ burger culture. It was really good, but I would have preferred a regular bun (or ciabatta bun) to the pretzel roll. I’m sure a lot of people love that pretzel bun. I know J would. It’s not to say it was bad or I didn’t like it, it’s just nothing something I go crazy about. The burger itself was really good and something I would go back for in a heartbeat.