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.

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.

Philly Cheesesteak Burger

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?

Philly Cheesesteak Burger

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.

Philly Cheesesteak 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.

Taste: 5.50/10
Value: 5.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.00/10
Price: $2.99

Overall GrubGrade: 5.00/10

More Info: checkers.com
Nutrition Facts:
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

14 comments on “Review: Philly Cheesesteak Burger from Checkers and Rally’s

  1. Lancaster says:

    I’ve never quite understood the appeal of burgers that combine another type of beef with the beef patty. If I want a cheesesteak, I’ll get a cheesesteak; if I want a burger, I’ll get a burger.

  2. Matt says:

    In fairness…authentic Philly’s should have cheap, thin steak and should not have peppers. It would not have Swiss either. I would get this without the onions, if they had Checker’s nearby.

    • Walter says:

      You obviously never had a real ‘steak’ from Philly. They are made with top quality choice rib eye……..not a cheap thin steak as you say…….

      • Bubbsy says:

        @Walter – Well hold on, yes real Philly steak sandwiches are made with thinly-sliced steak like ribeye, sure, but by design it’s not going to be “top quality choice reserve” steak. It wouldn’t make any sense to use the expensive finest quality steak and then slice thin, season it heavily, overcook it, chop it to bits, put it in a hoagie roll and pour cheez whiz all over it. That would be like using premium aged bourbon as a mixer with Coke in a plastic cup sucked thru a straw.

  3. Andre says:

    I tried one of these the other day. Your review is spot on… quite salty, steak a bit gristly, burger patty better than expected. They are $1.99 here in NW ohio; $2.99 with bacon.

  4. J says:

    $2.99, I am sure it is only $2 here in my town. Like I had said in a previous post, my restaurant here forgot to put the burger patty on mine and I actually think it tasted better than if it had had it. Also would be great if their food didn’t taste like half a container of salt was not in it.

  5. Will says:

    you should’ve tried the Steakzilla. it is amazing!

  6. the guy says:

    Nothing says “authentic Philly cheesesteak” like Swiss cheese.

    I’m going to just pretend the mayo never happened.

  7. Jay Melo says:

    I love Rally’s but I have to drive 25 miles to the nearest one. They have the BEST prices of any fast food place. You can usually get a small combo meal for $2-$3. Recently I ordered Popcorn Chicken with their seasoned fries and 2 apple pies for a grand total of $3. Their food is better than McD’s and a better deal too! Nobody else can do a fish sandwich for .99 cents.

    • MP says:

      I’d be wary on where that fish is coming from (China). Or maybe everybody else just really overcharges for it.
      I see so many Checkers posts & think what great deals these are & how unbelievable it is. So apparently they’re small, overly salty & use cheap ingredients. My general question is: is it better or worse than Burger King?

      • Barnaby says:

        Checkers, like most national fast food chains, get their fish from commercial fish farms in Alaska.
        As far as using inexpensive ingredients and being salty — yes we should mention Checkers is fast food.

  8. Ryan says:

    You lost me when you stated grilled peppers should be on a cheesesteak. No respect for a classic.

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