Does Wendy's Deliver? We Review Dave's Hot 'n Juicy Cheeseburger

September 28, 2011

As a high school student, one of my favorite hamburgers was a Wendy's double.  From the iconic square patty to the much-better-than-McD's toppings, Dave Thomas's chain served the first burger that caught my attention.  But over the years new competitors appeared on the scenes, and Wendy's never really made improvements.  The awesome burger of my youth became one I would only order in an emergency.

But now there's something different.  Wendy's is upping their game.

Called "Dave's Hot 'n Juicy Cheeseburger", it is the first upgrade to Wendy's hamburger offerings in several decades.  From thicker patties to better quality toppings to a new toasted, buttered bun, Wendy's has responded to both the Better Burger competitors like Five Guys and SmashBurger, and to the higher-end burgers rolled out by McDonalds.  The advertising photos look very promising.

Dave's Hot 'n Juicy Cheeseburger - The Promise

I was anxiously anticipating sampling this big deal that Wendy's just released, so I stopped by a local Woodlands-area Wendy's to see whether it lives up to the hype.  I was immediately put off by the rather dated look of the store - other than new signage, this restaurant could be a Wendy's from 1990.  But I'm here for the food, not the atmosphere, so I ordered my benchmark double, and waited for its appearance.

What greeted me on the tray was this:

Dave's Hot 'n Juicy Cheeseburger - The Reality
The new Wendy's "masterpiece" was visually unimpressive.  The machine-formed patties were slightly thicker than I remembered, but they were extremely dry and totally ooze free.  My guess is that the patties were cooked a while ago, and had been sitting under a not-too-effective heat lamp.  So much for the "juicy".  And the patties weren't warm enough to melt the cheese.  So much for the "hot".  The vegetables were of higher quality than I remembered, but the bun was impressive in its ordinariness - Wendy's has offered better buns in the past.
And the flavor was... bland.  It was a generic mass-market, fast food burger, with slightly fresher veggies on top.  This is what Wendy's is excited about?
I was completely underwhelmed with Dave's Hot 'n Juicy Cheeseburger.  It was neither hot nor juicy.  It didn't approach the quality of the newest McDonald's offerings, much less that of fast food burgers from What-a-burger or Culver's.  To compare it to Five Guys or SmashBurger would be ludicrous.  
I admire the intentions behind Dave's Hot 'n Juicy Cheeseburger.  But intentions alone do not make a great hamburger, or in this case, even a good one.
Back to the drawing board, Wendy.
Copyright 2023 Nurick + Associates