Review: Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger from Wendy’s

Wendy’s has been one of the trailblazers in fast food when it comes to their ingredients.  Over the last year or so they’ve really stepped up to offer more than just new sauces and cheeses.  For the longest time it seemed like bread was the most ignored component of fast food sandwiches and Wendy’s has made that thought a distant memory.  In 2013 we saw Wendy’s come out with multigrain flatbreads, pretzel buns with both the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger and the Pretzel Pub Chicken Sandwich, and also a Brioche bun with the Bacon Portabella Melt.  You can say what you want about Wendy’s, but no one can say they aren’t chockfull of variety in the bread department.  The latest introduces another first for the Wendy’s brand with the Ciabatta bun on the new Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger.

Wendy's Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger 2

Wendy’s describes their new Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger like this:

Savor something extraordinary with our new Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger. It’s a quarter-pound of hot ‘n juicy beef topped with roasted, chopped tomatoes, creamy, rosemary garlic aioli, fresh spring mix, natural Asiago cheese and applewood-smoked bacon between a toasted Ciabatta bun. Hurry, it’s here for a limited time only, so you gotta ciabatta!

The goal of the Wendy’s brand is to offer premium ingredients and unique flavors in an effort to change our expectations of fast food.  Is this approach really for everyone or does it alienate those just looking for the traditional four or five ingredients that we’ve come to know and enjoy?  There’s an interesting mix of ingredients packed into this burger and it mixes some familiar Wendy’s flavors with some newcomers.

Wendys Ciabatta BurgerThere’s an interesting combination of flavors going on with the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger.  On the traditional and familiar side you’ve got the seasoned beef patty which I believe Wendy’s does quite well in the fast food world.  The beef ranks high for me when held up against the competition by providing the right balance of salty, beefy flavor without feeling weighed down with cooking oils.  Applewood-smoked bacon is something Wendy’s does better than all the other major competition and there are two hearty pieces of it to get just enough in each bite.  The bacon looks really good doesn’t it?  There’s no mistaking the savory impact it has on a Wendy’s sandwich.  Asiago cheese is something we’ve seen before in a number of Wendy’s items including the Asiago Ranch Chicken Sandwiches.  The sharpness of Asiago is better suited on chicken sandwiches in my opinion didn’t do much to improve the burger overall.  The Asiago seemed like a perfect fit amongst the other Mediterranean flavors, but that’s exactly where a few issues come to play.  I understand the aim of the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger is to go for a certain style of sandwich by introducing us to a more mature taste, yet I’m not understanding why Wendy’s went with beef and not chicken.   

Wendys CiabattaThe flavor of the rosemary garlic aioli was predominantly on the rosemary side which was slightly off-putting at first.  After a few bites it seemed to work a little better and provided a nice creamy texture to the contrasting crunches and chews.  I felt the spring mix did a nice job bedding and containing the sauce so I’ll give it a little credit.  The roasted, chopped tomatoes were something I was nervous about based on the promotional pictures of this burger since they seemed to be piled on.  Luckily the tomatoes weren’t the overkill I was anticipating and instead made for just a slight vibe of bruschetta.  This vibe of bruschetta goes hand in hand with the Ciabatta bun which I found to be passable, yet still out of place with a burger.  Ciabatta can be overly dry and “bready” in spots where its thickness rules over everything else.  Describing the Wendy’s Ciabatta bun is pretty much like describing any Ciabatta for me and it’s more of a shot against the bread itself rather than a shot at Wendy’s.  Maybe the Ciabatta could’ve been tweaked just a bit, possibly a little extra toasting to give it a more substantial crispness on the ends.

New Wendys Ciabatta Bacon CheeseburgerTo sum up the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger in a single thought I’d say it would’ve been better off as a chicken sandwich.  Priced at $4.99, it’s in the typical range of premium sandwiches at Wendy’s and it’s big enough to be filling on its own.  I was open to the possibility of this working out successfully, but I found the true standout flavors to be all the flavors I’ve already come to recognize and enjoy.  I’d be curious to try this style of sandwich in something other than a burger to see how well it works considering such ingredients as Asiago, roasted tomatoes and rosemary garlic aioli don’t really scream “burger” to me.

Pros: Wendy's beef patty and applewood-smoked bacon.

Cons: Ciabatta bread and all the other Mediterranean-inspired ingredients are better suited with chicken.

Taste: 6.50/10
Value: 4.75/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.00/10
Price: $4.99 for the 1/4 pound size

Overall GrubGrade: 6.25/10

More Info: http://www.wendys.com
Nutrition Facts:
670 calories, 39 grams of fat, 1260 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fiber, 32 grams of protein

22 comments on “Review: Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger from Wendy’s

  1. rob says:

    Looks like too much bread to meat ratio, might work better with a double patty.

  2. Phil G says:

    I hate this sandwich, dry, boring, pretentious.

  3. BostonT says:

    Seems like the flavor profile might work well for a grilled chicken sandwich, do you know if they offer that option? Although I do like Wendy’s beef, it would be an interesting twist.

  4. Roger C. says:

    I might have been in a good mood or something, I wanted to hate this, but I loved it. It really is a burger that would get me to come back to Wendy’s and spend money.

  5. Andre says:

    Wendy’s had Ciabatta buns with the Frescata sandwiches back in 2006… very tough on the corners as I remember. This new burger sounds worth a try.

  6. JF says:

    It looked so good from the promo pictures. Then again, most items do. But I had higher expectations for this. I think I’ll pass.

  7. B1gB3lly says:

    I’d lean more towards tweaking the bun. Two patties on that thing is going to be like a lead balloon in my stomach. We have a bakery in town that makes a very light and airy ciabatta, but it still holds up to something like a burger, and has that distinctive “chew”

  8. Jay says:

    I tried the burger yesterday and enjoyed it so much. The price of $4.79 for a single was the only downer for me. I really enjoyed everything about the burger from the flavor of the sauce, roasted tomatoes, asiago cheese, and the ciabatta. Anything that dripped/dropped from the burger, I made sure it was consumed. lol. It was definitely a refreshing take on fast food burgers.

  9. Michelle says:

    Next time ask for a chicken breast on it. They will do that for you.

  10. Jonathan Wayne says:

    It tasted pretty decent to me. The price is still Wendy’s crazy.

  11. max says:

    Tried it yesterday, I thought it was great! A very unique flavor for a hamburger, it was delicious. I got double patties, not sure if that makes a difference.

  12. Marta says:

    Just ran by Wendy’s hoping that the pretzel burgers were still around, just to find out they are gone (tears and all). So I seen the new ciabatta burger and decided to give it a shot. Haven’t seen any advertising, went into it not even knowing what was all in the burger. No preconceived notions.. nothing. The verdict? I really enjoyed it. Couldn’t quite place my finger on the rosemary but found it quite nice. Usually not a fan of tomatoes but I left them on and I’m glad I did. I will definitely have this burger again.

  13. Sascha says:

    This burger was great! I ordered the double, fearing that a single would be gobbled up by the amount of bread, but if I order again, I’ll go single. The ciabatta was tasty, and not at all too much, it was basically the size of a normal burger bun. I only wish it was a bit toastier.

    The rest of the ingredients worked perfectly together, great bacon, awesome tomatoes, and the mayo (sorry, aioli :eyeroll) had great flavor. Good cheese, too.

    And, no qualms about the price either. This thing includes quality ingredients (including bacon, always a pricey feature) and probably costs Wendy’s a lot too produce, and I don’t want them selling it cheap. These are the menu items that have to cover the losses of value menus.

    All in all, I prefer most of the Culver’s burgers (especially the limited time Pub Burgers), but this stuff was very good.

  14. Kingo Gondo says:

    I guess I’m an outlier here, but I hated this thing–it just was gross to me. Perhaps I am too conventional in my burgers….

  15. sean says:

    IDK why they call it aioli. Real aioli, like mayo, is yellow not white.

  16. CC says:

    Not a fan! As a grilled chicken sandwich, maybe. I kept thinking that maybe it was just this sandwich at this store on this night but it’s just not good. It’s average at best. I wish I would have just ordered a JBC!!!

  17. GPS says:

    The rosemary was way too overpowering. I would never order another one of these again. Blechhh.

  18. Mark says:

    This one didn’t work for me–I’d rather have the burger taste like a burger, and the salad-like components in a side salad. Less than the sum of its parts. But they’re trying!

  19. Brandon says:

    Sandwich was good overall. Good flavors. My only complaint is that I think they should toast ciabatta more and maybe slightly butter inside if bun before toasting. That would make it perfect.

  20. Tim says:

    I just ate one. Right after the first bite I wasn’t sure I was gonna like it, but I gobbled it up, and licked my fingers afterwards.

    My impressions are not too different from most peoples. The ciabatta was too bready. I wish it were more crispy on the outside and edges and chewy in the middle. Maybe more toasting would help.

    I also think I’ll order this as a chicken sandwich next time.

  21. […] ciabatta bun.”  Back in January, Wendy’s kicked off the ciabatta family with the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger.   Priced at $5.39 for the sandwich alone and $7.69 for the combo at my local Wendy’s in […]

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