Hailing from Wisconsin -- wearing a lightly toasted bun, cloaked with cheese, and dripping with flavor -- it's your champion: the almighty ButterBurger. Named such due to the buttery grilled buns (though some versions of this uniquely Wisconsin treat are actually grilled in melted butter), the burger is on the thin side, but it's still juicy with a texture that complements the toppings and the slight crunch from the toasted bun and shredded lettuce.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a chain that won't boast about its "high-quality" ingredients, but it's absolutely true here: You won't be getting any flaccid lettuce or translucent tomatoes. Every one of these beauties is made-to-order and emerges piping hot, with its Wisconsin-made cheese adding a wonderfully balanced touch of sharpness atypical of American cheese. This is the ideal fast food burger, one that feels like it came from a mom n’ pop shop, and whose flavor is all the more transcendent with a side of cheese curds and a frozen custard. Don't know what those are? Don't worry. Culver's is rapidly expanding beyond its Midwest base. If you're lucky, "ButterBurger," "concrete," and "curd" will soon be entering your lexicon -- and your mouth -- with shocking regularity. -- DN
Introducing The Fasties, Thrillist's first fast food awards. Think glitzy TV and movie award show, but to honor the best things that came out of fast food restaurants in 2019. We rolled out the ketchup carpet for fast food’s biggest names and handed out golden burger trophies in 16 categories. Watch the full awards show and check out the winners here.