Culver’s – Lake Zurich, Illinois

Want a better franchise burger? Wisconsin residents might steer you toward the trademarked ButterBurger, specialty of the house at Culvers, a franchise serving the Midwest since 1984. The ButterBurger is made from ground chuck seared on a hot grill at 475 degrees then sandwiched between a “lightly” (that’s a matter of opinion) buttered, toasted bun.

While butter burgers have long been a Wisconsin staple, it wasn’t until George Motz’s documentary film “Hamburger America” that most non-Midwesterners were introduced to this artery-clogging regional phenomena. One of the burger burnishing establishments featured on Hamburger America was Solly’sin Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Solly’s version of the butter burger literally sits in a pool of melted butter and is a multi-napkin affair to consume. Culver’s version is healthy in comparison.

If you’re counting calories or are cholesterol conscious, Culver’s has a diverse menu featuring more than 45 other items including salads. If you want to risk an angioplasty, try Culver’s ButterBurger deluxe, available as a single, double or jumbo. The jumbo lives up to its name with three patties sandwiched between two large bakery buns and served with mayonnaise, pickles, onions, lettuce, tomato and American cheese. If you really have a death wish, you can also add strips of bacon to the deluxe. With or without bacon, it’s one of the saltiest burgers we’ve ever experienced and were it not for an aversion for salty foods, we might have enjoyed it more. Culver’s waffle fries are desalinated in comparison.

Culver’s is also famous for their frozen custard made fresh daily from premium ice cream. Served cold, you can have the custard on a cake cone, waffle cone or dish in sizes ranging from single to triple scoops. The “flavor of the day” includes several creative and sometimes seasonal flavors with the common denominator being great, albeit very sweet, taste. Culver’s ice cream products are nearly as sweet as their burgers are salty.

The frozen custard can also be enjoyed as a malt or shake or you can eat “Concrete,” a Culver’s specialty made with three scoops of vanilla frozen custard and a topping and (or) flavor of your choice. Toppings include M&M, Oreo, Snickers, Butterfingers, Reese’s Pieces and more. Shake and malt flavors include chocolate, hot caramel, mint, hot fudge and even root beer, all served cold.

There are now seven Culver’s restaurants in the great state of Texas and several more in Phoenix so maybe there’s hope that this franchise will soon be moving west to New Mexico.

Culver’s
645 N. Rand Road
Lake Zurich, Illinois
(847) 540-6700
LATEST VISIT: 20 November 2005
# OF VISITS: 4
RATING: 18
COST: $$
BEST BET: ButterBurger, ice cream

About Gil Garduno

Since 2008, the tagline on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog has invited you to “Follow the Culinary Ruminations of New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite.” To date, nearly 1 million visitors have trusted (or at least visited) my recommendations on nearly 1,100 restaurant reviews. Please take a few minutes to tell me what you think. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I'd love to hear about it.

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