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Mar 11, 2007 07:11 AM

Wild Willy: burgers cooked to order

I know there's been some debate about Wild Willy's policy regarding cooking burgers to order. For the record, I was there yesterday and was asked when I ordered how I would like my burger cooked. I went for medium rare and I got medium rare. My two companions went medium well and got just what they asked for too. Burgers were yummy too. Onion rings were acceptable (better than O'Sullivan's, not as good as Bartley's), and the fries were first rate -- better than Bartley's IMO, and much better than O'Sullivan's tater logs. Come to think of it, even the beer selection is better than O'Sullivan's, which is pretty weird considering that O'S's is a bar! Now if I could only get my beer in something other than a plastic cup in WW's.....

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  1. I actually like Wild Willy's burgers and fries but feel it is a bit overpriced and not a good value. I have only been once to RF O'Sullivans but felt it was a much better and bigger burger than Wild Willy's and a much better value. For 2 people at Wild Willy's with burger, fries and drinks, the average check is about $25; many people I have spoken to who have gone there feel it's a bit overpriced for good fast food, I agree. Yes, I do also agree that they will cook your burgers "to order".

    1. The "cooked to order" argument seems to be silly one. Of course Wild Willy's cooks to doneness as requested by the customer. So do a great nearly every sit-down burger establishment that offers a burger on its menu (think O'Sullivans, Mr. Bartley's, Bristol Lounge, etc.) We here in the northeast are lucky in this regard. I've travelled to the Mason Dixon line and south, where almost no establishment will serve a burger less than medium/medium well due to concerns about e-Coli (which is killed when meat is cooked to an internal temp of 165 F.)

      By comparsion, fast food burger places like Mickey D's, BK, Flat Patties, and UBurger will not cook to doneness. As has been discussed on this board at length, UBurger promotes its burgers as "cooked to order," which in their vernacular, means a burger is cooked after the customer places the order. They would be wise to change that language as many have complained that they could not place an order to doneness.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Bob MacAdoo

        They would not cook to order in the past. Now, apparently they do. Maybe i'll give them another try, but no rush. There are plently of excellent burgers around.

        1. re: Bob MacAdoo

          Agreed, it's a silly argument. That's why I initially refused to dine at Wild Willy's. When they opened locally, their policy was "medium or better only".

          Wild Willy's did change their policy: they will now cook a burger to order, as long as your order is medium rare or better. They'd don't do rare or very rare. And this is a fairly recent change: I confirmed it in December 2006 by contacting the local franchise owners.

          The issue doesn't just pertain down South, but at any establishment where legal fears have trumped the pursuit of deliciousness, notably most national chain restaurants. Apparently, the "raw or undercooked foods" disclaimer that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts insists on isn't enough.

          I thought the issue at Flat Patties and Uburger is that their patties are so thin that doneness issues are kind of meaningless. Requesting a burger cooked to order at McDonald's or Burger King is like insisting that your hog slop be served in a wooden trough, not a plastic one.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            U-Burger's patties are NOT super thin in'n'out fast food style patties. They are 1/4 of a pound, at least, which is what makes an overcooked one so depressing.

          2. re: Bob MacAdoo

            In my experience, your comment about restaurants down South not cooking less than medium/medium well is erroneous. Any decent restaurant here will cook a burger, steak, etc to order. Now if you get something like country fried steak or hamburger steak in gravy, well then you're right as most are pre-grilled then finished with the gravy of choice.

            1. re: Dax

              Dax, note the "almost no establishment." This weekend, I dined in New Orleans at the famed Port O' Call and enjoyed a medium rare burger. Based on my experience in Virginia and the Carolinas in particular, there are many, many places that just say no to anything less than a burger cooked to 165 F internal temperature. Which is a pity. There's nothing better than a medium rare burger at a place like the Bristol, Mr. Bartleys, the Druid (yes, the Druid!).

              FYI, on the flight back from the Big Easy, I enjoyed a Five Brother's burger at Reagan National - cooked to 165, no choice ... :( - Though it was delish, albeit incredibly messy.

              1. re: Dax

                Here's the law in SC..let's see how long it lasts..:).

                SECTION 44-1-145. Minimum cooking temperature for ground beef; exceptions.

                (A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, ground beef or any food containing ground beef prepared by a food service provider for public consumption must be cooked to heat all parts of the food to at least one hundred fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit (sixty-eight degrees Celsius), unless otherwise ordered by the immediate consumer.

                (B) The food service provider, its business or its employees or agents, are not liable for any adverse affects to the purchaser or anyone else for providing a ground beef product cooked at an internal temperature less than one hundred fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit (sixty-eight degrees Celsius), if providing the product is at the request of the purchaser and if the food service provider has notified the purchaser in advance that a possible health risk may exist by eating the product. The notice must state that a possible health risk may exist in eating undercooked ground beef at an internal temperature less than one hundred fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit (sixty-eight degrees Celsius), and be given to the purchaser:

                (1) in writing;

                (2) as stated on the menu; or

                (3) by visible sign warning.

                (C) In order for an immediate consumer or purchaser, as used in this section, to request or order ground beef to be cooked to a temperature less than one hundred fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit (sixty-eight degrees Celsius), the individual must be eighteen years of age or older.

                SECTION 44-1-150. Penalty for violating rules of Department.

                (A) Except as provided in Section 44-1-151, a person who after notice violates, disobeys, or refuses, omits, or neglects to comply with a regulation of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, made by the department pursuant to Section 44-1-140, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for thirty days.

                (B) A person who after notice violates a rule, regulation, permit, permit condition, final determination, or order of the department issued pursuant to Section 44-1-140 is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars a day for each violation.