The Rio Grande Burger - Roasted Green Chilies and Cheddar Cheese
I love it when I learn cool and interesting things from the community of readers of this blog. Close to a year ago, I conducted a giveaway where the question was, "what is your favorite steak and/or burger place?"
Two places showed up over and over again - enough for me to notice. One was Peter Luger in New York City (not a surprise, considering it actually won a Michelin star in 2011!! - post coming soon!). The other was this humble little burger place in Watertown called Wild Willy's.
I finally had a chance to try Wild Willy's the other day to see what all the loyalty and hype was about.
I soon discovered that Wild Willy's is unique in that it is one of the few (cheaper) places that serves grass-fed beef. For an extra $1.50, you can substitute grass-fed beef in any of the burgers on the menu. Grass-fed beef is a great option for a variety of reasons. Most notably, grass-fed beef is healthier. It's reported to be lower in saturated fat and have higher omega-3 content and than traditional corn-fed beef. I really like having the option to pay just a bit more for it.
"The Spicy Cactus" - Black Bean Veggie Burger
On top of the classic burgers, their menu offers various other interesting burgers such as the Annie Oakley (blue cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions) or the Rio Grande (roasted New Mexico green chilies and cheddar cheese). They even have a surprisingly delicious black bean veggie burger called The Spicy Cactus. I was surprised at how tasty it was - it had a crusty grilled edge just like a normal meat burger, and somehow the patty had tons of umami flavor. The salsa that was paired with the burger added juiciness and a kick to the burger. I was very pleasantly surprised.
The burgers may not be as creative as, say Bartley's (still my favorite!) or the recently opened 5 Napkin burger. However, the menu has a solid variety that's sufficient for most people. Additionally, at around $6 a burger (or closer to $8 if you want grass-fed), it's definitely cheaper than Bartley's, where burgers run closer to $10.
I would probably say it's somewhere between Five Guys and Bartley's in terms of "fast-foodness" (you order at a counter and they bring it to you), though taste-wise I'm not sure if it's actually better than Five Guys. Bryan still says he much prefers the burgers from In & Out in California, which cost about the same (if not less).
The French fries and onion rings were quite solid, though the mac & cheese was forgettable.
Mac & Cheese
Overall, Wild Willy's has a good concept and executes it solidly: they provide no-frills high quality burgers at reasonable prices. Granted, there are better burgers Boston. However, if you're just looking for a solid burger and you're not looking to spend too much, Wild Willy's is a fine option.
If I ever find myself in Watertown again, I would most definitely be happy to return.
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