Review: Cheese Curds from A&W

It’s not often that I find myself close to an A&W restaurant so when I happened to come across one recently, I had to stop for a quick bite.  That quick bite turned into an 18-minute wait in the drive-thru lane that only had two cars in front of me.  A Saturday afternoon lunch rush at A&W proved to be one of the worst experiences I’ve had in terms of wait-time.  Not since the 26-minute Boston Market drive-thru back in 2009 had I fought such inept service.  So yeah, with that out of the way, this review is all about Cheese Curds.

A&W describes their Cheese Curds like this:

Curiously Delicious A&W Cheese Curds are made with real 100% Wisconsin white cheddar cheese, lightly breaded, and fried to a golden brown.  Pop’em.  Stretch’em.  Taste perfection.

I don’t know anything about cheese curds.  In fact, this was my first ever experience with cheese curds.  I’m from Maryland and cheese curds are more of a midwest American thing from what I can gather.  The differences between Canadian cheese curds and Minnesota cheese curds and Wisconsin cheese curds can be left to the experts, but all I really know is that when speaking of fried cheese curds, someone told me, “They’re bastardizing the Wisconsin concept of cheese curds”.  Whatever the case, I’m no purist and I liked what A&W was offering.

Going into my first experience with “fried” cheese curds, I sort of expected a more poppable style of mozzarella stick and that’s not too inaccurate from what it was.  It’s balls of fried cheese, but no dipping sauce or flaky crusty breading like I get with a mozz stick.  The A&W Cheese Curds are described pretty dead-on.  Lightly breaded… check.  Fried to a golden brown… check.  The Wisconsin white cheddar didn’t have too sharp of a taste to it, but cheddary enough.  Slightly chewy like a fried mozzarella stick, these cheese curds came piping hot and a great snack for grubbing on the go.  The packaging is designed to fit in your car cup holder (see above) and is reminiscent of the packaging McDonald’s uses with their McBites (see also).  The fried batter had an oily, slightly crunchy exterior and on the inside, the gooey melted cheddar provided a delicate tinge of salt.  Hot is the only way to go as these fried cheese balls became something completely different when refrigerated.  Get’em while they’re hot!

Priced at $2.99, my box came with around 20-something fried cheese curds of different shapes and sizes.  I feel the $2.99 price tag was decently priced.  I’m used to dipping sauces with any kind of side item like this but I have a feeling cheese curds are meant to stand alone and they did their job just fine.

One day I will be able to say that I’ve had a legit cheese curd from Wisconsin and compare that to a fried cheese curd found at the Minnesota State fair.  As it stands now, I’m a self-admitted amateur who hasn’t even had Culver’s cheese curds.  The A&W Cheese Curds are off my list of “fast food items I actually haven’t tried yet” and in my brief experience, they were a really good side item that I’d not hesitate to pick up again.

Pros: It's fried cheese! Great packaging for grubbing on the go. Great side item when served hot. Lightly breaded like a good onion ring, not like a mozz stick.

Cons: Eat it within minutes or else it transforms into a sad lump with an odd texture and taste. A&W drive-thru lunch rush on a Saturday.

Taste: 7.75/10
Value: 7.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 8.75/10
Price: $2.99

Overall GrubGrade: 7.75/10

More Info: http://www.awrestaurants.com
Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 5 oz regular
Calories - 570
Total Fat - 40 grams
Saturated Fat - 21 grams
Cholesterol - 105 milligrams
Sodium - 1220 milligrams
Carbs - 27 grams
Dietary Fiber - 2 grams
Protein - 27 grams

10 comments on “Review: Cheese Curds from A&W

  1. Sascha says:

    The A&W cheese curds are much better than the Culver’s cheese curds. Culver’s has a different breading and uses both white and yellow cheddar. The yellow ones simply don’t taste as good, and the white ones are good, but not as good as these from A&W.

  2. Lindsay - Iowa Girl says:

    I’m had Culver’s cheese curds multiple times and although I love the variety of white and yellow cheddar, I do prefer the white. The Culver’s breading is more of a bread crumb type and I do prefer a flour/batter light breading – looks like A&W has that. Hmmmm….either way, $2.99 for a 20 piece is a very good deal for cheese curds. I usually feel like those are a higher priced specialty side. I like eating them plain but they are also very good dipped in ranch!

  3. NicDaMone says:

    When I got the cheese curds from A&W, they included ranch dressing, but they tasted better plain. My friend from Wisconsin says they are fine, especially since we live in Texas, and it is pretty far to Wisconsin! He calls them “squeaky cheese”.

  4. Steve says:

    The “squeaky” cheese curds aren’t fried. They are best at room temperature (refridgerating them will make them lose the squeak).

    Here in WI, the fried cheese curds are normally served with a pizza/marinara dipping sauce.

    • Zachary Jacob Zblewski says:

      I don’t know where you are in Wisconsin, but in the Fox Valley, fried cheese curds are definitely NOT served with marinara sauce.

  5. Rachel says:

    I love these curds. They’re a bit pricy here in Oregon. But so worth it when they’re right out of the fryer. Now only if my A&W/KFC combo had draft Root Beer I’d go there more often.

  6. Being a native of Wisconsin, I’m confused that someone would say “They’re bastardizing the Wisconsin concept of cheese curds”. Fried cheese curds are just as popular as the regular kind. Who was this person saying this?

    • Zachary Jacob Zblewski says:

      I concur.

      • Beverly says:

        Right on. Also, I’m from MN and I’ll admit that WI curds are the best, especially from Nelson, but I don’t think there’s much difference between MN and WI curds on the whole. We’re usually using WI cheese anyway.

  7. Lisa Davis says:

    I love the A&W large cheese curds but not enough to justify the price of 7.00!!!
    Yikes! I could buy a combo meal for the same price, at least I get a soda and fries with it!! OMFG!!

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