Wendy's New Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger Might Be the Best Burger on the Menu
Wendy's made a pub burger and it's surprisingly spot on.
Wendy's is tossing burgers on pretzel buns for the first time in five years, and it's a damn good thing.
The Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger is a pub-style burger that definitely looks more dressed up in the picture than when it comes to your plate, picnic table, or hands and lap while driving down the interstate. Between those pretzel buns, the quarter-pound burger comes topped up with fried onions, Muenster cheese, three slices of Applewood smoked bacon, pickles, honey mustard, and a warm beer cheese sauce. It's a combination that is more reminiscent of your local bar and grill than a Wendy's, and the Twitter-loving chain did a surprisingly solid job trying to measure up.
The bun has a touch of sweetness to it as well as some of the firmness you want from a pretzel dough. Between the burger's look and the branding, the pretzel bun looks like the star of the show, but it's really the balance of salty and sweet that makes the burger work. As you'd expect if you've ever navigated a Wendy's menu, the burger and bacon are plenty salty with the bacon coming out crisp even if it's not as crisp as you'd make at home.
However, the pickles, honey mustard, and beer cheese sauce, deliver a balancing sweetness that gives it more layers than you demand from food coming out of a drive-thru. That's no knock on fast food burgers, but for the most part, you know what you're getting and what you're getting is reasonably straightforward.
It's tough to pin down the masterstroke, the topping that pushes this over the top from being an appealing menu addition to something you should really go try. It could be the beer cheese sauce, which is delicious and not overly strong. (As a Midwesterner, I could go for a little bit more oomph. I could go for a beer cheese that says "ope" if it's worried it might have offended you. Still, it's nice.) But the key ingredient might be the fried onions that taste a bit like curly fries and bring texture to the burger.
It's almost an actual pub burger. That's a strong compliment. You're still getting the thin, square Wendy's patty instead of something a little juicer like you would at a pub or even some fast casual joints. Because of that, it'll never truly fool anyone into thinking it came from a local bar and grill. Nonetheless, it might be the best burger on the Wendy's menu.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.