Seriously, you cannot open a new burger restaurant without getting my attention. I really don’t even remember how it popped up in my Facebook feed, but before it even opened, Juicy Burger was already on my radar.
I was in Battle Creek for work and had a few minutes to grab something quick for dinner. I was downtown at the time and Juicy Burger is in the Old Lakeview Neighborhood on Capital Avenue SW just south of Territorial Road. It’s only a few minutes down Capital to get to the restaurant and it’s kinda, sorta on the way out of town, so I decided it was burgers for dinner.
Juicy Burger has an origin story that intertwines with Cereal City Burgers down the street. The Enquirer covered that in it’s article on Juicy Burger’s opening if your interested, but short story is, the guy who owns Juicy Burger also started Cereal City Burgers, lost it due to some bad financial transactions then started a competitor down the street in a building that most recently a Middle Eastern restaurant called Shwarma’s Queen
The building is on a very busy stretch of Capital Avenue. There are a few parallel spots right in front of the building, but there’s also a parking around the corner on Richards Place. The restaurant has an entrance from that parking lot on the back of the building as well as the front entrance from Capital.
I was never actually in Shwarma’s Queen, but from pictures I found online, the layout of the restaurant appears to have stayed the same. The place feels like a diner with a long lunch counter and an open kitchen near the front door. They have table service to the counter as well as to booths and tables in two large dining areas. I was expecting a counter service place when I walked in, but found a number of waitresses and a restaurant doing pretty brisk business on a Thursday night just before the dinner rush.
I noticed the menu on the edge of the lunch counter so I grabbed one and took a seat at an open spot. The list of burgers dominates the lunch and dinner menu, but there are a couple of other sandwiches and wraps if delicious ground up cow bits aren’t your thing.
Of course, I’m going to go for the worst burger on the menu for me. I put in an order for the Double Heart Attack Combo. What makes it heart attack inducing? Well, in addition to the two delicious, greasy burgers, it’s topped with bacon and mozzarella sticks. The combo meal also comes with fries and a Coke.
I put the order in to go then waited about five minutes for a bag with my food to be thrown up on the counter next to the kitchen. The waitress grabbed it and handed me my bill which is paid at a cash register between the kitchen and lunch counter. The meal set me back exactly $13 before tip.
I had to get back to Grand Rapids, so I grabbed the bag and headed out the door. I knew the burger was going to be tricky to eat, so I started in on the fries. They were crinkle cut fries that were very crispy, but didn’t have much flavor other than dirty oil. They really could have used more salt. They were fine and I ate them, but my real complaint was that the container they came in (think McDonalds fry container) was only about half full. I kept checking the bag to see some fell out, but alas, there were no surprise fries in the bottom of the bag.
I didn’t get in to the burger for a while and it was killing me to have to smell it on my drive back north. I finally pulled over about halfway back to get gas and decided it was time. I could sit in the parking lot of a gas station and try to eat this burger or continue to torture myself on the drive.
When I unwrapped the sandwich, I had no idea how I was going to get the thing in my mouth. I would have needed unhinge my jaw to get it in as it was, so I pulled the mozzarella sticks off and ate them first. Like the fries, they had a kind of burnt grease taste to them. They were most likely frozen cheese sticks to start with so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of flavor anyway, but I thought it would be a fun addition to the sandwich.
Once I ate two of the three cheese sticks, I attempted again to get the burger in my mouth, but it was still a struggle. The sandwich is two large, fresh beef patties topped with American cheese and bacon. The bulk of the sandwich is beef. The tiny bun couldn’t contain the meat and actually started falling apart from the juices that were oozing from the burger.
What the fries lacked in flavor, the burger made up for it. There was a distinct salt and pepper taste to the outside of the meat and each patty was slightly pink and full of delicious juices all the way through. You can always tell when a place uses fresh beef for it’s burgers and it makes such a huge difference in the quality. Looking at this burger, it’s nothing special, but tasting is something completely different.
Juicy Burger delivers where it needs to….the burger. The sides were a little disappointing as they were the same frozen sticks you can get from the supermarket fried in grease that probably needs to be changed. The burgers though….man, the burgers. Go to this place for the burgers. If you like a good, fresh, juicy burger, you’ll love Juicy Burger.