Review: Dave’s Single from Wendy’s

I think it’s fair to say fast food isn’t what it used to be. The Big Three chains are pushing sandwiches past the five-dollar mark and making a commitment to buzzwords like freshness and artisan, and more and more they’re embracing the ethos of quick-service restaurants. Wendy’s is the latest chain to beef up on this marketing angle, introducing some small changes to the Dave’s Hot and Juicy hamburger line. They include a new “bakery-style” bun, a “creamy coat of Dave’s signature mayo,” and a foil wrapping to “keep things extra hot.” Yes, prepare for death by quotation marks.Wendys Dave's SingleI got a Dave’s Single (1/4-pound burger with two slices of cheese) to see what all the fuss is about, and if it is any better than the version first reviewed in 2011. By fast food standards it’s about par for the course with a price tag of $3.99, although it feels comparatively small against a trey of Wendy’s 4 for $4 items.Wendys Dave's SingleI was excited to see if the foil-wrapping really helped melt the two slices of American cheese, but unfortunately the wrapping didn’t render the cheese an ooey-gooey. If anything, the foil wrapping just provides a lesson in what not to subject to infrared radiation. As for the burger itself, the toppings were added with a light hand, and neither the mayo nor the small amount of ketchup really seemed to stand out. I’m not exactly sure what makes Dave’s mayo “signature” because it just tasted like mayo to me. Wendy’s has really been pushing the combination of the new “bakery-style” bun and “100 percent fresh, never frozen North American beef.” The bun itself isn’t the Brioche bun we’ve seen on past Wendy’s burgers; this bun has a nice sheen and a bit of sweetness and richness, but it still has a somewhat stiff give and a certain level of dryness that doesn’t scream fresh-baked (It is also a near clone of the bun McDonald’s uses for their premium sandwiches these days). Still I do think the bun is a step up from the old buns used on the standard burgers, although it feels and tastes more grocery store bakery than actual bakery, if you get my drift.Wendys Dave's SingleThe beef, meanwhile, is definitely beefy by fast-food standards. I’d describe Wendy’s burgers as a bit less seasoned than McDonald’s or other chains, and because of this the beef tastes a bit more robust and less sweet. Comparatively speaking, the grind is looser than other patties, although it’s still relatively dry. What it isn’t is lukewarm, and because of this it works well when balanced against the salty flavor of the partially melted cheese and some of the bun’s sweetness.Dave's SingleDave’s Hot and Juicy burgers are serviceable burgers by fast-food standards, but I don’t think the new changes and marketing angles really make it a set of better burgers than they were before. The lettuce, tomato, and onion all still get second-hand treatment, while the bun has a few defects that keep it from being memorable. With the higher end burger options Wendy’s has developed in recent years, I just don’t see the Hot and Juicy line really flourishing. Like and awkward middle child, it’s caught between great value and great quality, and lacks enough defining characteristics to make it a go-to.

Pros: Good beefy flavor works well with the American cheese. New bun contributes sweetness and richness. Restrained toppings.

Cons: Foil-wrapping sort of useless. Still fast-food quality. Nothing really sets it apart or makes you think it’s a “great” cheeseburger. End piece of the tomato slice.

Taste: 6.25/10
Value: 6.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 8.00/10
Price: $3.99

Overall GrubGrade: 6.50/10

More Info: wendys.com
Nutrition Facts:
550 calories, 34 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams trans fat, 35 grams of carbs, 1180 milligrams of sodium, 8 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, 28 grams of protein.

45 comments on “Review: Dave’s Single from Wendy’s

  1. Zach S. says:

    I miss the days of being able to order a #1 with what seemed like a regular drink and fries for under $5 bucks. And this was still just back in 2003, 2004 about. Now you’re pushing between $6-7 bucks for a smaller fries, and drink it seems like. These new $4 deals the chains are advertising seems to be trying to get back to that, but they’re all just dollar menu items. I do like McDonald’s 2 for $2 deal. Haven’t tried Wendy’s 4 for $4 yet. Not terribly excited to try this new single.

  2. Jonathan Wayne says:

    Same price point as Five Guys so I’ll get that most of the time over this. One of the best parts of Five Guys is their buns, their buns have sesame seeds, this does not so right off the bat this is a no go for me. The best burgers have sesame seed buns.

    • Kibbs says:

      Same price point as Five Guys? LOL, sure.

      • CC says:

        At my local five guys a burger is $4.39…so it’s roughly the same price point. I agree w/Jonathan.

        I don’t know who Wendy’s is trying to attract with this.

      • Jonathan Wayne says:

        A single patty burger in my area is about $4 at Five Guys, I buy them all the time, so yeah, same price point. You might consider learning how to use the Internet and this thing called Google and doing research before making comments. I am going to go ahead and counter the moronic comment you will probably make next since you have probably never stepped food in a Five Guys, the hamburger whose price you will probably quote is actually a 2 patty burger and the little hamburger which is comparable to the above burger, is a single patty burger.

        • Kibbs says:

          You’re totally wrong. A “little hamburger” single 3.5 oz patty at Five Guys is just under 5 bucks, sure, but that’s not comparable – Unlike Wendy’s Single it’s not a 1/4 lb burger and it does not have cheese. A 1/4 lb cheeseburger at Five Guys is over $7 (called a “cheeseburger” on menu), that is the comparable burger. Your petty insults just make you look ridiculous, incidentally, especially given how wrong you are.

          • Adam says:

            You do realize that 1 pound is 16 oz so 1/4 pound is……? 4oz! so almost the exact same size unless you really wanna get specific its about a 13g difference which no one would ever notice so yea same size. Also all the toppings at five guys are FREE ill take all those toppings over the standard LTO from wendys anyday

      • Erika says:

        It’s sure not far off. This is a single burger. A single patty burger at my local Five Guys is 3.89. Yes, the above is a cheeseburger, so it’s a big 50 cents more than the Wendys burger at Five Guys, if one must have the cheese. The other toppings, however, won’t be so “restrained.”

        • Blousey says:

          Single patty at 5 Guys is not a quarter pound, it’s like 4 oz. You need 2 patties to have a quarter pound burger at 5 Guys, with cheese puts you at nearly double the price of the Dave’s Single.

          • Sascha says:

            Did you skip math class? A pound is 16 ounces, right? So, what does that make 4 ounces?
            But i think you’re wrong anyway. Pretty sure the single patty at 5 Guys is less than 4 oz.

          • Mike R says:

            4 ounces is a quarter pound FWIW.

          • Adam says:

            OMG how do you guys not know 1 pound is 16 ounces!! so 1/4 of that is 4 oz!!! You literally said “its not a quarter pound, it’s like 4 oz.” Please please please know what you are talking about before you write comments.

          • johnny says:

            LOL 4 OUNCES IS NOT A QUARTER POUND?!?! RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE!!

          • Fred says:

            No, no. Blousey is right. Half a pound is a quarter of a pound.

          • fcuktard 2.0 says:

            It’s always fun when people you’ve pegged as a trolling morons just rip down the curtain. #aintnoEinstein

      • Omnivore says:

        Just to set it straight:
        Five Guys “little cheeseburger” which is a smaller 3 oz patty w/ cheese. There is nowhere you can get a Five Guys little cheeseburger for less than $5.
        More than a dollar difference is obviously a different price point for a cheeseburger, and Five Guys burger is smaller to boot… considering you can get the bigger Dave’s 1/4 lb Single + another value menu item together for less money than the smaller Five Guys cheeseburger alone.
        That settles that.

    • runner running says:

      you know, i’d say that more than a 20% difference in price means a different price point, easy.

      it’s the difference between a $79,000 car and a $100,000 car.

      the single patty little cheeseburger at Five Guys is $5+ all day. More than 25% more than Wendy’s single cheese. and it’s smaller than the Wendy’s burger. so yeah naturally people will pay much more for a smaller cheeseburger at a fast-casual joint like Smashburger or 5 Guys than a bigger cheeseburger at a fast food drive thru like Wendy’s.

    • Aaron says:

      Thing is, with fries and a drink this is $6.19. At Five Guys if you get a burger, fries and a drink you’re over $10.

    • MP says:

      More Five Guys fetishism. The Little Hamburger (171g) at my Five Guys is $4.99. The Little Cheeseburger (190g) is $5.69 (what the?!). The Hamburger (265g) is $6.99. The Cheeseburger (303g) is $7.69. Too many toppings can ruin a burger & I don’t need 5 tomato slices or 10 toppings.
      A Wendy’s Jr Cheeseburger Deluxe (179g) is $1.29. A Wendy’s Single (236g) with two slices of cheese & a 1/4 pound patty is $3.99. Is Five Guys better quality over Wendy’s – sure, but you cannot compare the Little Hamburger vs Dave’s Single in a fair argument. Cheese matters & apparently a lot at Five Guys.

      Five Guys Little Hamburger patty: 3.31575 ounces
      Five Guys Hamburger patty: 6.6315 ounces
      Wendy’s Jr hamburger patty: 1.78 ounces
      Wendy’s Single 1/4 pound patty: 4 ounces

    • Randolph says:

      They opened up a Five Guys here in Omaha a while back. Although a step up from BK, it really does not hold up to much anything else. I see it has won a bunch of “best burger” awards. I’m curious if ours is a bad restaurant, or if the abundance of fresh beef in Nebraska over-shadow’s it.

      • Joe says:

        I never found it to be that great, but I did grow up on In & Out and might just prefer their food. If I want a fast casual burger out here in CO I’ll usually stick to Smashburger over Five Guys which just reminds me of an Applebee’s burger.

    • Nick says:

      My local Five Guys has a single cheeseburger for $4.99, and it’s 3.3 oz as opposed to 4oz. Their “little fries” are still probably twice as much as a regular order of fries at Wednesday, so even assuming you split them with somebody else, you’re still hitting $10/person for the burger, fries & drink.

  3. Toby Flenderson says:

    At what price point would you consider this a good value?

  4. JJJ says:

    Isn’t this the same paper backed foil Wendy’s has used since the dawn of time?

  5. dank meme bro says:

    I’m still shocked they think they can charge 4 bucks for that burger when you can get a whole meal for that price.

    Wendy’s always has a great dollar menu, I swear I have never eaten anything other than the dollar menu in recent years.

  6. sandy says:

    A basic cheeseburger for 4 bucks? No thanks.

  7. Matt says:

    That foil-lined wrapper is misleading. It’s the same wrapper they used years ago. The only way to get the result they’re trying to is wrapping in ACTUAL foil, like Five Guys or Good Times does.

    • JF says:

      Good Times Big Daddy Bacon Cheeseburger is the best FF burger I have ever had. And when they purchased Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar it brought the best FC burger I have ever had to Colorado.

  8. Ryan says:

    One positive note is Wendy’s still has some of the best fast food pickles I’ve ever eaten. But I’d rather have their chicken sandwich over one of their burgers. (PS you lucked out, last burger I had was super greasy)

    • Thistle says:

      Funny, we’re opposite on pickles. I LOVE pickles, and fast food ones especially, but I always order Wendy’s without them. They always taste sweet to me, I hate them.

  9. SPM79 says:

    A $4 burger this is not

  10. MP says:

    Definitely a go-to; especially for the double with a $2 off receipt survey coupon. The Brioche bun was just beyond awful; very dry & like seat cushion foam. Still cheaper than a Whopper or a Quarter Pounder & better in quality IMO.

  11. CC says:

    That looks like the foil wrapping they used to use before they went to the “hot ‘n juicy” garbage stuff. Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers would come in it.

    Makes me miss Wendys when it was good and they knew what they were doing. 🙁

  12. Robert says:

    “The lettuce, tomato, and onion all still get second-hand treatment…”

    What does that even mean? How are those toppings any different from a Five Guys or an In & Out?

  13. CulinaryZerg says:

    What happened to Wendy’s burgers? Even before the Hot & Juicy thing, around the time Dave Thompson passed away, their burgers (and overall food) took a dive.

    I can’t put my finger on it, so maybe I’m imagining this, but their hamburgers used to taste soooo good.

  14. Scrape says:

    They need to bring back the Big Bacon Classic already.

  15. BJ says:

    It doesn’t make any sense but the new shiny buns everyone is using now taste worse to me. lol

  16. Sascha says:

    Not impressed. Don’t care for a bun that falls apart before the burger’s done, so unfortunately the bun gets a fail from me. As for the “new” beef, I don’t know. It certainly tastes a little fresher, beefier, but still not close to, say, a Culver’s patty. And Wendy’s, salt and pepper goes a long way. The meat felt completely unseasoned. It’s sad to say, but I can get a better quality burger at Rally’s, and I know their meat comes in frozen.

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