HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Nu-Way Burgers (Moved from Midwest Board)

  • m

Hasn't anyone come up with a recipe for these wonderful burgers yet? The closest I have been able to come to them is to brown ground beef, drain the fat and then boil in chicken boullion. I used one cup of Wyler's Bullion to one pound of beef and it really came out close (as I remember them) Leave a little moist and serve on a steamed or very fresh warm bun. A couple of dill chips on the bottom with some mustard, heap on the beef and if you like a little chopped onion on top.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I dunno... we scorned Nu-Way burgers for Maid-Rites.

    15 Replies
    1. re: PRSMDave

      Probably cause you couldnt get the real thing where you lived.

      1. re: Merf

        I'm curious...Where do you live?
        and what is a Nu-Way? I've never heard of it.

        1. re: Clare

          Clare, I live in Temecula California right now, but grew up in Kansas City. Nu-Way is a chain out of Wichita, Ks. I understand they still have a few stores there and possibly one in Leavenworth, Ks. Back in the 50's they were a mainstay of our family diet, and was a real treat on a weekend if my Dad had the money for us to go get some.

          It was a loose meat burger that was served on a fresh bun. A few dill slices on the bottom with some mustard, the meat was heaped on top and was sort of damp, but hot, and if you wanted onion they topped it with chopped onion. Then the whole thing was put in a bun freshener and steam was pumped through it, wrapped up and ready for you to take home.

          The closest I can come to the recipe is to brown the beef, drain the fat, then boil it in one cup chicken boullion to one pound of meat before serving. It is driving me nutz to figure it out, but not until I get to go home ot KC or Wichita will I get the chance to try another "real" one to compare them.

          1. re: Merf

            All hail Wichita, which bequeathed to America:

            Pizza Hut
            White Castle
            and Nu-Way

            also Don Johnson, but that's another story.

            1. re: Mgmax

              This sounds like a loose meat burger called the Zip Burger, which used to be served in KCK at a drive-in called Hecky's on Merriam Lane, back in 1986. Found the exact same thing, a ZIP burger at Mugs Up here recently off 23rd St in Independence, MO. Awesome.

              1. re: Mgmax

                The only true NuWay is dished out at 1416 W. Douglas just west of downtown Wichita. I don't know that there is a "secret" recipe, but it probably involves simmering the ground beef in seasoned water or broth, then pouring off the liquid, and serving it on a steamed bun with mustard pickle and onion. With onion rings and garlic salad on the side and a REAL root beer (or float), it's the closest thing to heaven. I live just a couple blocks away and although I don't eat there as often as I should, it's the one place I'd take out-of-town visitors for lunch. And yes, White Castle started here (but they're long gone) and Pizza Hut (but they've REALLY gone downhill when they moved their corporate offices to Dallas). But if you're in town FIND the NuWay...

                1. re: Kent

                  Oh, man, I am originally from K.C. - in MI for about 30 years now - but we used to eat NuWay Burgers in K.C. and they were so good. Their big rival was Windstead's - great regular burgers very thin - but as I remember NuWay was only takeout while Winstead's was sit down or drive-in with the car trays - this goes way back. Anyway, you made me so hungry for a NuWay!

                  1. re: Kent

                    Actually, there is an original Nu Way in Leavenworth, KS. I live in Overland Park and we drive all the way there just to have this great, great sandwich. It's in the original downtown location and the very long-time owners will come to your table and talk about the Nu Way history. They are in a very old building that looks shabby from the outside, but the food is really, really great. The inside is covered with old pictures that are must sees!

                    1. re: DukeofBenson

                      I'm from Leavenworth and I remember the cool kids (read: not me-haha!) at my high school used to walk down to Nu Way for lunch (if they had teachers that let them anyways!). Then Sis' Sweets cookies for dessert :)

                2. re: Merf
                  Jane - chowtownkc

                  I'm hard pressed to even think of where there might be a remaining Nu-Way in the immediate Kansas City area anymore. There is one in downtown Leavenworth, but that's as close as I've found to KC.

                  I didn't favor either Nu-Way nor MaidRite -- like 'em both. :)

                  1. re: Jane - chowtownkc

                    There was one in the [gulp] Ward Parkway Mall food court (in KCMO) for a while. Don't know if it's still there. The original is really worth the 5-hour roundtrip, though;) Have a Tip Top, some chili and a royal malt while you're there.

                  2. re: Merf

                    No spices are added to a nu-way burger it is cooked in a rectangular grill that is shallow at the top and deep at the bottom. It has a burner at both ends but the rear burner is only on when adding more ground beef. What makes a nu-way taste different is the organ meat they add when it is ground. That is why the grease, or what the regulars refered to as juice is yellow in color. To make one you would bring some meat up to the top of the grill and either press some of the grease out or not depending on the customer-take your bun directly from the plastic wrap on a cart (not steamed) add mustard, ground onion (very fine, almost juicy) and two pickles then flip the meat onto the bun and cut in half. I was a cook at nu-way for six years and did this many times. Also the meat packing company Manning-Clampit who also provided the chili bricks for nu-ways chili was owned by the same people.

                    1. re: judy

                      Excuse me, WHAT? 6 years too late I find out there's ORGAN MEAT in them? Where was this information previously? I live literally "around the corner" from the original NuWay on west Douglas and no one even hinted there's cow guts in there. BLECHHH! Now I'm going to have to restrict myself to curley fries and root beer.

                    2. re: Merf

                      I was at the Nu Way in Leavenworth just this past weekend (10/25/05). I was talking to the owner and he told me that he wants to open a Nu Way restaurant here in KC. He asked me to look around the city and find a restaurant that was looking to sell out and let him know. He said it needs to be a complete deal, building tables and chairs and fixtures. So, if we want to get Nu Way back in KC, let's keep an eye out for restaurants that are going out of business and give the owner in Leavenworth a call. I didn't get his phone number because I figured if I found a place for him, I could find his number somehow. :-)

                  3. re: Merf

                    Or because we had Maidrites there and we liked 'em just fine, and if we wanted a burger we didn't want a fancy-shmancy one, we just went to Culvers in Waterloo (mmmm...butterburgers) (drool)

                    Chacun a son goût... to each his own. :)

                3. My dad owned the Nu Way in KCK at 1320 State Ave from 1959 until he sold it due to poor health in 1976. I still make NuWays at home from time to time and have made them on special request for people through the years. I have never eaten at the one in Leavenworth even though I have driven by it several times. Part of the fun is people trying to replicate the recipe, keep trying it keeps our memories of the NuWay alive.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: FHughes

                    Do you, or anyone, have a picture of the Nu Way Drive In (in KCK) from back in the 1940's? My mom and dad met there around 1945 and are going to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary this year. I would love to have a photo to display at their anniversary party. Thanks in advance for your time!

                  2. Like so many others, I too, have longed for the old Nuway burgers. Today I think I found the closest replication of the original recipe on recipezaar. The recipe name is Nuway burger/aka Maid Rite. I just found it about ten minutes ago and haven't had the time to try it out, but I hope someone will let me know. Thanks y'all.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: marjic

                      I was a Fry Cook/Soda Jerk at Nu-way drive-in in the northeast district of Kansas City, MO back in 1955.
                      I met my wife of 51 years when she was a Curb Hop there back then.

                      I bet I've made a million nu-way sandwiches (OK, would you believe 500,000)?

                      The only thing we put in the hamburger meat was a little salt and pepper and water.
                      Anyway the thing that made them so good was the type of slanted bottom cooker we used and the fact that the hamburger meat was steeped and the grease ran off the meat and down to the lower part of the cooker.
                      Also we put a tiny little bit of water on the meat which we kept piled up above the burner.
                      Every 5 minutes or so we would use the spatula to dip grease/water from the lower part of the cooker and put it on top of the hamburger meat.

                      I sure wish they were still in business,
                      I wonder if the one with the same name in Leavenworth KS, cooks their sandwiches the same way.
                      I guess I'll have to drive to Leavenworth and find out since I'm only 34 miles away.

                      The Maidrite burgers were almost as good but not quite. :)

                      1. re: Sparkymore

                        Sparky, I would like to pick your brain a bit more, I do understand it
                        's been a long time ago. could you respond off line to shullett@aol.com?
                        Thanks Stan

                    2. The Nu Way on West Douglas used a special recipee bun that blended with the meat taste and mustard.. Does any one know what that type of bread is? I beleive thats more of the secret and the ingrediants. It was made locally.

                      1. Man oh man, I was just about to cook for my family i usually make a crumble meat, or loose meat burger, I just brown the meat and add a little cheese and crushed bread crumbs to it to stick but its not as good as Mugs up, I grew up in Independence, MO and lived here all my life im now 20, but when i was little my dad would take me there off of 23rd st and get me a zip burger and onion rings, and a nice cold root beer thats probably one of my favorite meals, and i have always been trying to figure out that amazing recipe I wish everyone could go there and eat man its the best! but thankyou for your guy's recipe im going to try it right now!

                        1. I remember Nu-Ways drive in back in the 50s in the Northeast area of Kansas City. My aunt used to make the burgers and take them to the drive-in theater. She'd brown some hamburger in a skillet, drain it, then add a can of Campbell's Onion Soup. Serve on a bun. Mmmm. They tasted just like the Nu-Way sandwich the drive in was famous for. Today, they seem similar to White Castle hamburgers.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: dolores_owen

                            A little history here. NuWay restaurants were founded in Wichita, Kansas in July of 1930 and the original location at 1416 West Douglas has been in continuous operation since then. They also have other locations in Wichita now. There is another NuWay with totally separate ownership that's been at the same location in Leavenworth, Kansas since the 1930's. A man named Jack Duncan secured the NuWay franchise for Kansas City and by 1950 or so had 12 outlets there including across from the PlaMore Ballroom on Main Street (the building is still a restaurant), NW corner of 63rd and Meyer Blvd., SW corner of 47th and Prospect, one in Northeast district, etc. Jack had a heart attack and died filling sandbags at his warehouse in the West bottoms in the big flood of 1951. After that the chain was left to managers and gradually went down hill. The last one to close was the one on Main street. Later, someone acquired a franchise and opened two NuWay locations including the one in the Ward Parkway Shopping Center and one in the Blue Ridge Shopping Center. Not enough people patronized them so they too closed. For one of our Southeast High School Reunions we called the outlet in Leavenworth and ordered 100 NuWay burgers and brought them back to the reunion in coolers so that the reunion attendees could relive their high school days. If you put NuWays in zip lock bags and freeze them they will keep for months. When I go to Leavenworth I always bring back lots in a cooler. I used to watch NuWays being made at the location on Meyer Blvd. and they put the buns on little ledges on each side of the inside of the stainless cabinet holding the beef. Most restaurants serving ground beef burgers today put the bun in a steamer for a few seconds before making up the burger. Some don't bother at all steaming the bun. Maid Rite seems to be expanding. They now have a couple of outlets at exits on I-35 North of KC and up through Iowa. They also have an outlet in Rochester, Minnesota. At the risk of censure, I find that, although there are nuances, the various NuWays and Maid Rites tend to be more alike than different. The KC Nuways served their root beers in frosted mugs like A & W used to do and I certainly preferred that. Time marches on and the history tends to get lost in the shuffle.

                            1. re: dont123

                              Interesting information dont123
                              I really hated to see the one on Ward Parkway close since it was the only one close to me.

                              1. re: dont123

                                My dads name was, Calvin Duncan, he bought the first Nu-Way in 1943 or 1944, I was very young, so I don't reall the exact year. He bought the first one from a man named Marshall. Before his death in 1953 he owned 5 at different locations. My mother didn't want to run the stores, my brother Jack, was in college and could'nt continue with the Nu-ways, so my mother sold them, not sure who bought them. When my died he was 42 years old he died of a heart attact at Lake Lotawana, where we lived for several years. Many people who new him said he was "One of a kind".

                                1. re: pharrgolf

                                  Didn't know Jack, and Janie Duncan had a brother or that your dad's name was Calvin. Nice to meet you ! I've lived at Lake Lotawana all my life and dated your sister Janie in the 8th/9th grade. I spent a lot of time at your house at E-5 in around 1955. Where were you then ? Your house at E-5 has now been moved about 250 feet North to the second tier and is owned by a close friend of mine. Janie and I used to walk from your house across the lot to have dinner on the patio at the Lotawana Inn. Do you remember your mother Irene's parrot ? He was mean as a snake ! He'd bite anything that got close to his cage. Janie married a guy who's nick name was "Boots" and her best friend was Dorris Heflin. It doesn't sound like you recall too much about your father's NuWay chain. Apparetly he lived a couple of more years after his first heart attack in 1951. He had a very profound effect on generations of KC youth who grew up cruising his restaurants and eating his wonderful food. You must be proud of him.

                                  1. re: dont123

                                    I am Janie, I'm sure I know you. You sure know a lot about me. Dorris was my second cousin. Jack and I are the only kids of my mother Irene and my Dad Calvin. Jane

                              2. re: dolores_owen

                                there is a small bit of chopped onion in the NuWay's themselves, cooked in while the ground beef is being browned. But the flavor itself comes from turmeric. =)

                              3. I grew up in Wichita, home of the original NuWay (and it's still here!)
                                My mother was able to duplicate this recipe and yes, most of you have it "almost" right.
                                Brown the ground beef, drain then cook in a bit of water or chicken boullion till liquid is reduced considerably.
                                The secret to the taste of a NuWay is turmeric.
                                And of course, some salt & pepper (to taste)
                                For all you die hard NuWay fans out there, give it a go with turmeric - start with 1/2 teaspoon per lb of cooked meat. Add it in the final cooking stage (liquid).
                                Bet you're going to smile and say "Ahhhhh! THAT'S it!! "

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: PaganRaven

                                  I've never heard of NuWay burgers, but I love these kinds of quests. I think I'm going to have to try this "recipe"!