Monday, September 24, 2012


852 McNutt St.
Herculaneum, Mo.

The Place:
Why Wendy’s?
Well, a couple of weeks ago we created a list of fast food burger chains. Our favorites, from most to least were: 
Jack in the Box
Dairy Queen
Burger King
Almost anything else actually somewhat edible including road kill, tree bark and rotting algae.
White Castle
This got us thinking, well, actually it got Angel thinking. The one we’d had the least actual memories of was Wendy’s. Angel couldn’t remember the fries. To her this is important, a game changer. One of the reasons she doesn’t have DQ much is their fries. They’re wimpy, limp, soft, almost mushy. Angel does not appreciate, at all, that sort of thing. But she could not recall Wendy’s fries. Since the two places were next to each other in the list, it seemed only fair to give them another shot. There was no argument.
A beautiful fall-like day, crisp, barely warm, the daylight receding several minutes earlier each day. Angel had spent the morning in Kirkwood, some pet parade of some kind. I’d spent the day between painting the bookshelves I’d built for the man-cave and researching/writing an entry about my three grandmothers for my ‘Family’ blog that required a lot of tedious amateur-genealogical research. Adam had helped with the dogs, keeping them on schedule. None of us had a big breakfast or lunch, we were all pretty hungry.
This particular Wendy’s is the closest one to our compound. Too far to be a casual stop-in, Festus is closer by several miles and Festus has just about every other chain joint there is, but not a Wendy’s
St. Louis area Wendy’s are still relatively rare. The franchise owners for the area got into some trouble a few years back and nearly all of them are, or were for a lengthy period, closed.
This one abuts a gas station at a busy intersection.
The Food:
I wanted chili but We were here to review the classic burger and fries. So I decided to ask for a large chili, to go. It would be my Sunday brunch. I don’t have to review Wendy’s chili. It is my favorite, by far, fast-food chili. It has been for over twenty years. Some people wouldn’t consider it chili at all since it lacks the fireball-hot seasoning. I don’t care what those people think, I like it.
Though I was hungry, I decided to keep it simple. A ¼ lb Single Cheesburger. Above all I wanted to see, since the photo and the name didn’t indicate ‘bacon’, if there would still be bacon on it. (See Dairy Queen review for explanation)
 Angel and Adam both ordered the ‘Son of Baconator’ which clearly would have bacon, plus two ¼ pound square, "fresh, never frozen" patties. We all got fries, medium sized.
Single Cheeseburger
We were handed our cups and while I waited at the counter for the order, Angel and Adam tried to figure out the space-age, overly complicated, robotic drink dispenser. When it came my turn to pour a drink I simplified the matter by just pouring unsweetened tea from a simple, separate dispenser.
The burgers didn’t appear terribly large, the fries did. Not the size of the fries but rather the amount. We ordered ‘medium’ but the packaging would rival anyone else’s ‘large’.
Angel and Adam were still complaining about the beverage robot. For all its fancy screens and menus, it was still out of Diet Dr. Pepper, Angel’s go-to soda. She’d had to pour regular Dr. Pepper instead. Adam had opted for root beer, but was frustrated with the stupid machine constantly returning to the home menu before completing his pour.
I opened up my small burger and confirmed my suspicions, no bacon. Angel and Adam pried theirs open and found. . . bacon.  See Dairy Queen? That’s not so complicated is it?
Adam had dispensed plenty of ketchup into little paper containers. We unwrapped everything and dug in.
Son of Baconator
“The fries may be my new number two.” Angel soon declared. This is no small thing. Her number one for fries, by a long shot, is McDonalds, a place I simply cannot tolerate, but must agree with her assessment of their fries.
These fries were indeed pretty good. Crispy, not oily or mushy.
“The burger’s okay but the bun tastes old.” Angel added.
“The bacon is crispy, better than at other places” Adam chimed in.
I agreed the fries were very good, the burger, though not spectacular was not bad at all.

As I am writing this on Sunday afternoon, it has been just a couple of hours since I ate the chili. I was, as always, quite pleased with it. Meaty, not too spicy, just right. But this trip was about the burgers. The bill came to an unsurprising, just under twenty four bucks, including the to-go chili. A price consistent with other fast food burger joints.
Personally, I do NOT openly welcome
our new drink dispenser overlords
There’s a little disagreement still about McDonald’s position on the list. We decided that we’d agree to disagree, by that I mean I wouldn’t yell at them for being completely wrong. I have McD’s  pretty far down the list, perhaps even with Burger King, or because of the fries, just above it. What we did agree on was that Wendy’s, once again because of the fries, moved up, perhaps above DQ.  So the list didn’t change dramatically, we were  quite satisfied with Wendy’s except for Angel’s dislike of the bun and both of them yammering on and on about the drink robot.
There’s simply no reason for a drink dispenser to be that complicated and high-tech. Plus the fact that there was only one nozzle on it, it will create a bottleneck in the dining experience, as was perfectly obvious when a busload of young women pulled up as we were preparing to leave. A line formed at the drink robot, each lady had to figure out the menus and process. This is just what the robots want.

Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers on Urbanspoon

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