Best fast food joint in the Midwest


Photo by Brendan McCabe/The Dakota Student.

In the fast-paced 21st century, it can be easy to get caught up in the contemporary fast food joints like McDonald’s and Burger King. We often opt for speed over quality, and it can really take a toll on our taste buds. But similar to watching The Walking Dead, it’s an experience that can leave you repeatedly disappointed yet inexplicably keeps you coming back for more. Well, I have finally found a solution to your fast food rut: Burger Time. (To get out of your Walking Dead rut, I suggest reading a dictionary. At least then you’ll be bored AND learn new words).

Burger Time is a small chain based in the Midwest, with its Grand Forks location situated along Demers Avenue, a short five minute walk from campus. The joint only serves food to go, with a handful of picnic tables across the street being the sole option for sit down dining. This was a perfect choice for the 72 degree day I visited the restaurant, but I can only assume it would be slightly less enjoyable on one of the sub zero days this state is so fond of producing.

As I walked up to the restaurant, a large billboard loomed in front of me with the phrase “rodeo burgers $5.99” plastered across it. When I see rodeo burgers on a  menu, only one thought crosses my mind: “Oh h*** yeah.” There is something almost holy about barbeque sauce and onion rings on a burger. Even Burger King’s halfhearted and half-something-elsed attempt at a rodeo burger is edible, which I can’t exactly say about the rest of their menu.

But if Burger King’s rodeo burger is a 1999 Toyota Camry, Burger Time’s rodeo burger is the Hubble Space Telescope. “But wait, that doesn’t even make sense,” you think to yourself as you contemptuously stroke your hairless cat.  Excellent observation, suspiciously evil reader. The two burgers are not even in the same category.

While Burger King’s offering is fairly bare bones, Burger Time’s sandwich is practically bursting at the seams with toppings. Bacon, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes and two kinds of onions and cheese topped off the enormous beef patty. The shear weight of it was almost unsettling, in the same way that picking up my nine pound four ounce newborn cousin was unsettling.

For $2.29 more, I upgraded to a combo that included a drink and a side of fries. Drinks only came in one size, which can be best described as “more than you will ever need.” It is also worth noting that the menu only referred to soft drinks as pop, just the way God intended. None of that “soda” or “soda pop” business, because this here is the Midwest, and we don’t take kindly to exotic names for carbonated beverages ‘round these parts.

The fries were a close copy of McDonald’s, so no real complaints there. I would have appreciated extra ketchup with my order, but seeing as I forgot to ask for it, I probably shouldn’t hold it against the Burger Time staff.

The entire meal cost $8.86, which at first glance may seem a little pricey for a fast food combo meal. But when you factor in the high quality and quantity of food provided, it is easily worth a few extra bucks. After some thorough searching, I could not find anything I didn’t enjoy about Burger Time, and it easily earned 5 out of 5 stars. My only real disappointment came when I realized deep fried pickles were on the menu after I had already placed my order, and that was at least partially my fault.

Brendan McCabe is the features editor The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]