Fine dining it isn’t – but as “fine” fast food it might qualify. At least for my family. (Actually for them, it might even pass for fine dining…) Culver’s (a bit like Costco used to be) is a regional phenomenon – growing, but still limited to the upper Midwest, and as I can see from their placemat map – also Texas and Arizona.
My family has to visit Culver’s at least once on every trip – the kids probably even more often. No it is not healthier than McDonalds. In fact, let’s analyze: The most popular product is what they call a “butterburger” (already the name is a clue). A butterburger is “real midwestern beef” (I am not sure how often I have eaten “fake Midwestern beef”) on a buttered bun – plus all the extras like cheese, lettuce, tomato, etc. Naturally you can get a double butterburger, probably even a triple butterburger. For obvious reasons, I usually don’t order one. With your butterburger, you can get fried cheese curds (definitely a Wisconsin thing – and another thing I don’t usually eat) or fried onion rings (a weakness of mine I battle to avoid) or of course, the ubiquitous french fries. Add a soda (or a “pop” as we call it out here in the heartland) and you have one, highly caloric meal to rival the multi-national fast food chains.
Despite my tone, Culver’s is really good. It is a “must try” if you never have. Beyond that, you’re on your own. Be careful. It’s addictive.
Culver’s is also “famous” for its frozen custard. I don’t know why it isn’t called soft ice cream, because basically I don’t know what the distinction between custard and ice cream is (I am willing to be enlightened!). All I know is that the custard looks REALLY GOOD. I have promised myself that if I successfully get to my target weight by the end of my summer travels to WI, I am going to treat myself to Culver’s frozen custard.
It is as good a reason as I can think of to pass up on the butterburgers and the onion rings for another two months!