Culver's deserves that consumer's choice award
Culver's, home of the ButterBurger, was recently named the number-one fast-food chain for food and beverage on Chain Restaurant Consumer's Choice Award list. And with nine Colorado locations for Culver's, if you haven't yet indulged yourself with one -- or more-- of its hand-spun frozen custard concretes or a sandwich with a signature buttered bun, that's a shame. You are missing out on a deliciously non-healthy meal that could include surf and turf -- done the fast-food way.
I'm a big baby who loves buttered buns.
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The Culver's restaurant at 9790 Washington Street is Thornton is done up '50s diner-style, and the blue-and-white checkered walls, the oldies on the sound system and the wholesome-looking employees all add to the throwback vibe of a time when music was softer, fat calories were harder, and people used words like "keen" and "icebox." I checked out the enormous menu behind the counter, complete with pictures, and I was quickly keen on getting something from the icebox.
J. Wohletz The blueberry-banana mini mixer from Culver's.
Culver's was actually born in Wisconsin in 1984, not in the '50s. George Culver bought and gutted an A&W restaurant, started serving burgers on those buttered buns, and by 1987 the Culver family was franchising. The chain remained relatively small and local until 1995, when expansion took it outside of the Midwest. Since then it's been growing slowly but steadily, and the owners have been experimenting with more compact Culver's restaurants for urban markets.
The menu is not compact, though, and I ordered a fair representation of the offerings: fried chicken with mashed potato and green bean sides, a sliced prime rib sandwich with buttered bun, and sides of onion rings and Wisconsin fried cheese curds, fried jumbo shrimp and a blueberry-banana mini mixer.
As I made my way to a shiny clean table in a sparkling clean dining room, I noticed that Culver's house root beer was on tap, and pocketed plastic bibs were offered. I got both. Although the bibs were clearly intended for toddlers -- the string ties were short -- sometimes "adults" need protection from themselves. And sometimes they need root beer, too. Culver's isn't bad. Less fizzy than A&W and Barq's, it had a good caramel flavor and wasn't too sharp.
J. Wohletz Culver's has a winner-winner chicken dinner.
My food came in under fifteen minutes, and I went for the smoking hot fried chicken first. The bird -- breast, thigh, leg and wing -- was well-cooked, without layers of crunch masking the actual meat appears. And after many trips to Church's, KFC and Popeye's, it was a welcome change to find fried chicken that wasn't loaded with salt. In fact, the chicken was a touch under-seasoned -- it needed more pepper -- but I guessed by the older demographic in the dining room that this Culver's may be catering to a crowd that prefers less kick.