Burger Battle of Visalia
Prescription anxiety medication shoots up heavily for turkeys this time of year, while cows all over the country can relax a little. But with Visalia’s booming burger market, that trend may be coming to an end. There are several restaurants in town that serve a good burger, along with a menu full of other selections. Think about what a hamburger would taste like that comes from a place that focuses most of its vision on the beef patty sandwich? Well, Visalians, we’re in luck, because our town is about to get an influx of quality burger joint opportunities.
This Tulare drive-in has been around for 40 years and now has an expanded property in Dinuba. Current owners – brothers Duval and Willy Espinoza – took over three years ago with their eyes on Visalia. A third Wimpy’s is slated to open downtown in or before March. The location is on Court Street, just off Main Street, in the old Chinese takeout behind the Cellar Door building.
When Duval is asked about what makes their place special, he says,“We believe in keeping things simple.” The menu has the usual burger, fries and shake selections.
There is the Wimpy and double Wimpy, and the Bruto or Double Bruto, which is the same burger only larger. The sandwiches come with fresh shredded lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise sauces. The contents are between two fresh toasted buns that are so good, they are noticeable. Although there is simplicity within the burger, it soon gives way to a complex mouthful of flavor, tasting just as a quality drive-in burger should. The seasoned fries are just that, but somehow rise up as standouts. There are other options on the menu to explore, but it’s the burger that is king, all served by a friendly and hard-working staff.
Stacked Bar & Grill:
The mysterious Stacked Bar & Grill has been under construction on East Main Street for several months. The grand opening date has come and gone. However, as the adage goes, good things come to those who wait. Business owner Todd Esajian says the restaurant should be ready to roll on Main by year’s end.
Stacked has an original location in Kingsburg; it opened in July 2016. A visit to the place shows a trendy vibe and décor coming through brick and wood. The Americana burger house comes with a full-bar. The Visalia location will be of the same model, but a much larger property. Todd says of his attraction to the Visalia location; “Visalia has a vibrant downtown and we are excited to join the revitalization of the east end of Main Street.”
The sandwich Stacked produces is a little more complex in nature, almost appearing as a burger you would make at home and show off to friends, as if it was an artisan creation. It comes on a buttery bun with a thick patty, or two, or three – hence the name “Stacked.” You can build your burger from a list of traditional condiments or add the more unusual, such as a fried egg, mushrooms, chili cheese, blue cheese or grilled onions.
“Our burgers use only the freshest ingredients emphasizing on local bakeries and produce,” Todd says.
For your Stacked side, you have the choice of crinkled, sweet potato or Stacked fries, which come with chili cheese, baked potato or buffalo style. They also offer a grilled or spicy chicken sandwich. For the keto-conscious, they will wrap any sandwich in lettuce.
What can be said about Visalia’s Burgerim? A summary of the place can be linked to the motto you see centered on the wall of the up-and-running Visalia eatery located in the Kohl’s shopping center: “Over 40 Million ways to build your burgers (no, really).” And they aren’t joking.
The sandwiches at Burgerim are slider-style. However, don’t let the term slider bring to mind a small basic hamburger; that option would almost be impossible to make here. There is a four-part ordering at the walk-up counter restaurant.
- Choose your combo. There is the Uno, Duo or Trio, in relation to how many sliders you want.
- Choose from eight different patty flavors such as dry-aged beef, which is aged for 28 days to enhance the flavor; the Wagyu beef, which is considered some of the best beef in the country, or the Spanish beef, which has been seasoned with garlic, chili pepper and smoked paprika. There are also lamb, salmon, chicken, turkey and meat-free option patties to choose from.
- Choose your style: Classic, Cowboy, California, Caliente or Custom, with 18 available condiments, or premium add-ons like sautéed mushrooms, egg or bacon, to name a few.
- Choose your side. There are wildly popular Burgerim Fries, which are cut and fried more in the style of a thick potato chip, or their top-rate onion rings, with a tender ring of sweet onion surrounded by one of the crunchiest fried batters on the market.
At Burgerim, you can order a combo meal or a party box, catering-style. You can order a beer or glass of wine, and sit and watch one of a few large-screen TVs in this 21st-century hamburger stand.
It’s tough to find a list of popular American foods where the hamburger doesn’t top the chart. They can be found everywhere from fast food to fine food, and are universally enjoyed by all ages and backgrounds. A food so popular deserves a culinary celebration, and the party is about to start here at home.