Wineburger Warfare: Harvey's Wineburger vs. The Original Wineburger
Harvey's Wineburger is on 16th Street near Camelback.
Chefs have been spiking their burgers with red wine for decades, but Harvey’s Wineburger and The Original Wineburger have made wineburgers an art form. Both are rumored to bring some serious game, but only one can be the best wineburger in town.
In This Corner: Harvey’s Wineburger
The Setup: Harvey’s, a 16th Street institution, is the definition of a dive, though there’s something cozy about a place lit exclusively with neon signs. With a pool table and darts to play while you wait for your food, it’s dark and a little sinister-looking, but clean. Saddle up to the bar, order your burger, and enjoy the '80s rock (we heard Journey at least once during our meal).
The Good: We ordered the classic cheese wineburger. The burger and fries came out fast and hot, with gooey cheddar melting on a third-pound beef patty topped with lettuce, onion, tomato, and pickles. The bread, just a simple white bread bun, was light and fluffy. Immediately after biting into this burger, we figured out what the splash of red wine does: it makes the meat insanely juicy. Plus, the price is right. Eight dollars got us the burger and fries, and Harvey’s has specials throughout the week.
The Bad: This beef patty was so juicy, it seeped into the bottom bun, making the burger a soggy mess. The meat was also cooked medium, rather than medium rare; we would have liked to see more pink in the middle. The fries had almost no seasoning at all — not even salt.
The Original Wineburger is on 19th Avenue and Bethany Home Road.
In The Other Corner: The Original Wineburger
The Setup: The Original has been slinging burgers at the corner of 19th Avenue and Bethany Home Road since 1965. With the wood paneling, neon signs, and brown leather booths, this place is right out of Phoenix history. If you go, chances are you’ll catch a baseball game on one of the restaurant’s TVs. The grill is right behind the bar, so you can watch the steam rise and hear your burger sizzle as you wait.
The Good: Grilled with a splash of sangria wine, this burger was juicy, but not messy – the whole thing stayed together to the last bite. The patty was cooked medium rare, so it was perfectly pink in the middle, with well-seasoned meat tasting fresh off the grill. The beer-battered fries were great: crispy, but not greasy.
The Bad: No pickles came with this burger, but we won’t take a ton of imaginary points off for that. We will, however, gripe about the bun: it was too thick, making for an unpleasant bread-to-meat ratio.
The Winner: In the end, The Original Wineburger won us over. Both burgers were juicy, but we’d choose the Original over Harvey’s to fight a hangover any day.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Phoenix dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.