The Guilty Pleasure: The Ruben stuffed hamburger
Where to Get it: Stufrageous Stuffed Burgers
What it Really Costs: Your ability to eat a regular burger. You'll want every other burger in your life to be as engorged as this one from here on out.
The hamburger, as a unit of sustenance, is hard to beat. A burger is that rare food of endless versatility, equally at home on a backyard barbecue grill, wrapped up in waxy paper and sliding across a drive-thru window, or on the menu at your trendy neighborhood gastropub.
From standard-issue fast food burgers that you can buy for a couple of bucks, to $15 restaurant burgers made with Angus beef and slathered in fancy aioli sauces, the burger universe is vast and diverse. And just when you thought you've seen pretty much every iteration of the burger, along comes a place like Stufrageous Stuffed Burgers in Mesa.
The fast-casual restaurant, which is owned by brother-and-sister team Justin and Jenna Savaya, is located at the Fiesta Commons Shopping Center near Alma School Road and Southern Avenue, just down the street from Fiesta Mall.
It's a nice strip-mall restaurant, hidden from street view, sporting red-and-white subway tile and funky, industrial-chic pendant lighting, along with an open kitchen, where you can watch Jenna (who trained at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute) and her team of burger chefs construct one of the house signature burgers.
As you can probably glean from the restaurant's name, the Stufrageous menu is devoted to the drippy, cheesy and decadent pleasure that is a stuffed burger. All burger patties here are hand-molded, then artfully assembled so that generous amounts of comfort food favorites end up encased in between layers of grilled ground beef or chicken.
Signature burgers include the Pepperoni Pizza burger, a burger that oozes mozzarella cheese and pepperoni slices. There's a popular Mac 'n' Cheese burger, the patty bloated with cheesy noodles. There's also a jalapeño popper-inspired burger, the slices of jalapeños and cream cheese bubbling out of the thick six-ounce burger patty. There's even a Hawaiian burger, the meat patty stuffed with a teriyaki-spiked slice of pineapple and then capped with a slice of ham.
Altogether, there are 12 signature burgers on the Stufrageous menu, and there's also a stuff-your-own-burger option that allows you to pick from various meat, cheese, and veggies, so that you can build the Frankenstein burger of your dreams.
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SHOW ME HOW
If you ask one of the friendly folks at Stufrageous about their most outrageous signature stuffed burger, they may suggest you try the Ruben, which takes its inspiration from the classic Reuben deli sandwich.
The Stufrageous version uses pastrami and Swiss cheese, the ingredients neatly layered and bulging from the beefy patty. You have the option to pick a sauce for the burger. The obvious choice here is the house-made "outrageous" sauce, a pink-orange dressing that is creamy and slightly tart, with a nice flash of heat. The stuffed burger patty is then topped with crispy onion straws and somehow squeezed into a normal-size brioche bun (you also have the option of a wheat roll or lettuce wrap, if you're keeping it low-carb).
As you tighten your grip on the Ruben burger to take your first bite, it leaks thick, orange sauce, which mingles nicely with the salty cured notes of the pastrami and mellow Swiss cheese. The burger itself is tender and juicy, which is quite a feat when you consider that most stuffed burgers tend to cook unevenly.
It may seem like a gimmick, but it turns out that Stufrageous is making killer burgers.