Review: Philly Cheesesteak Burger from Checkers and Rally’s
Checkers (Rally’s) is one of those chains I’ve never had a lot of success with. The location near me has often charged above the suggested retail price, while the quality of ingredients they’ve used has lagged behind other fast food chains. That said, I have a soft spot for the “idea” of Checkers: an old school drive-in that makes burgers, fries, and shakes as its main reason for existence. I also have a soft spot for putting meat on top of more meat, which is why I wanted to try the new Philly Cheesesteak Burger.
The Philly Cheesesteak Burger features a 100 percent beef burger patty topped with seasoned shaved steak, Swiss cheese, and grilled onions. For whatever reason, the beef patty on my burger tasted better than the Checkers burgers I’ve had in the past.
The patty had a generous layer of seasoning and was a bit thicker than the small patties at other fast food places, even exhibiting some moisture despite a thick-packed grind. For a frozen patty, it wasn’t bad at all. When I first saw the amount of steak on the burger I was disappointed. That didn’t last long, though, because calling the stringy and greasy pieces of beef “steak” is really stretching it. Chewy and overly salty, it tasted a like the thin strips of fatty Steak-umms you’d find in the freezer aisle. That said, there is a certain guilty-pleasure nostalgia in the highly-processed, minimally-meaty taste of the steak. Someone out there feels me on this, don’t you?
The description of the Philly Cheesesteak Burger doesn’t include “seasoned mayo,” but there’s definitely a nice, but not overwhelming, layer on top of the burger. Usually I’m inclined to say that mayo is “just there,” but the seasoned mayo had a strong black pepper and garlic taste that really added some savory depth. Additionally, the mayo added an extra layer of goo that helped to mimic the texture of cheese sauce that you might get in some renditions of the Philly Cheesesteak. On the cheese front, the single slice of Swiss was pretty well melted, and contributed to that processed, guilty-pleasure flavor to the burger. The onions added a bit of sweetness and a nice crunchy factor, but the texture was more steamed than caramelized. It was as if they had been cooked and reheated, as opposed to grilled fresh on a flattop. They were OK, but for a Philly Cheesesteak, I was expecting more. Speaking of which, where are the grilled peppers? Peppers and “steak” aside, the Philly Cheesesteak Burger is a passable Cheesesteak rendition, provided you’re the kind of person who can get down with a cheap imitator every now and again. Believe it or not, the soft, cornmeal dusted bun really does a good job of imitating a fresh-baked hoagie roll, and lends itself well to the excessively savory flavors of the burger.
All that said, the $2.99 I paid for the burger felt a buck too high given the low operating costs of a Checker’s store, not to mention the small beef patty on the burger. Likewise, there’s just too much salt going on in the burger. Overall, the burger is a decent one-time purchase, but not something I’d get again.
Pros: Gooey combination of seasoned mayo and processed Swiss cheese mimic the salty flavors of a cheesesteak. Decent beef patty. Onions add a nice crunch and sweetness to partially cut the salty flavor.
Cons: "Steak" tastes heavily processed, overly chewy, and not terribly meaty. $2.99 price is a buck too high. Missing grilled peppers. Not for black pepper phoebes. Entire burger is way too salty.
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.00/10
Overall GrubGrade: 5.00/10
More Info: checkers.com
510 calories, 29 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 1490 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbs, 7 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, 23 grams of protein