When I started as an intern at New Times, I mentioned at my first Chow Bella meeting that I wanted to write about burgers. Immediately, the room erupted: "He should do a peanut butter burger battle!" Being the new guy, I apprehensively agreed to it, even though I had never heard of a peanut butter burger. Well, thankfully I managed to squirm my way out of that column and landed this bad boy instead.
But after a few weeks of visiting different burger joints and eating "normal" hamburgers, I decided I wanted to mix it up and try one with peanut butter on it. So, I ventured to Welcome Diner, at Roosevelt and 10th streets, to taste my first-ever peanut butter burger.
Welcome Diner is an old-school diner in Central Phoenix. The place has that pit stop type of feel, and with only nine seats inside, most of the eating is done outside, even in the heat. Along with burgers and fries, Welcome Diner prepares classic Southern eats like fried chicken and biscuits and gravy.
But I wasn't there for the Southern food. I was there for the peanut butter burger, which, along with peanut butter, is served with cheddar cheese, bacon, and pickles.
The Patty: 7.5 Most diner patties are thin, greasy chunks of meat, but not this one. Welcome Diner's patty was much larger than that of your average diner. The meat was juicy and tender, and not at all greasy, as you would expect from a tiny little box of a restaurant. The flavor was strong, and the seasoning a bit too strong. They seemed to overdo it with the pepper a bit but still managed to make a damn tasty burger base. The Toppings: 8 Now, we get to the good part: a peanut butter burger. I'm not going to lie -- I was pretty skeptical about liking it. (I know, a terrible attitude.) You could call this 20-year-old old fashioned, but I just didn't think peanut butter belonged on a burger; that is, until I tried it. The sharp cheddar cheese was flavorful and the bacon was crisp, but those ingredients didn't make this burger special. The peanut butter did. Welcome Diner uses a crunchy peanut butter, which gives the burger a unique texture, to say the least. Though I originally thought that peanut butter and ground beef couldn't mix, the two seemed to form a harmony. But the best part was the pickles. Three sweet pickles topped the burger, and while peanut butter and pickles sounds like something a pregnant woman might eat, it made for an odd but tasty sweet-and-salty combination.
The Bun: 8 With the peanut butter, the bun could've been glued to the top of my mouth the whole time I was eating the burger, but I had no such issues. The bun proved to be light and fluffy and managed to keep the mess to a minimum. Sure, the peanut butter got to be a little messy, but the end result could've been far worse.
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The Side: 4 The French fries were fried to golden brown and had a little potato skin, which made for a nice appearance, yet they were soggy. The fries oozed grease and felt as if they had been dunked in such. Also, the portion was small. I will say that a little peanut butter did fall on a fry and that too was surprisingly tasty.
The Price: 5 I would've expected a burger and fries at a diner to cost no more than $10, so when the cashier told me it was $12.50 plus tax, I was a little taken a back. But I guess that's the price you pay for a far-out peanut butter burger.
Overall: 6.5 If you ever get bored with regular burgers (I don't know why you would but if you do) go grab yourself a peanut butter burger. Yeah it sounds disgusting, but like my kindergarten teacher taught me, sometimes you have to be a taster and a trier.