Cheeburger Cheeburger: Better on TV

Josh Rouse

One of the newer restaurants in town has caught a lot of attention lately.

Cheeburger Cheeburger (no that’s not a typo) is located near HyVee in Topeka at 2919 S.W. Wanamaker Road. The restaurant opened June 23, 2009 and is the first of its kind in Kansas.

There are two main reasons the restaurant has become such a strong conversation starter in this neck of the woods: the odd name and the restaurant’s freedom of choice in just about every aspect of the meal.

Each “Cheeburger” comes with about 26 toppings and in five different sizes, from the Classic (5.5 ounces before cooking) to the Pounder (20 ounces before cooking) and prepared medium, medium well and well. Each burger is made with 100 percent premium black angus beef. The milkshakes also come with a plethora of options for literally thousands of different combinations (378,000 according to the menu). You can also order a shaked soda with several different options and five signature sauces to put on your cheeburger, dip your fries in, throw on a salad or anything else you want to use them for.

There are also several other varieties of sandwich, including turkey burger, veggie burger, several chicken sandwiches, BLT and a grilled cheese sandwich.

All in all, the restaurant offers more options than you can shake a stick at and you may want to print off a menu at before heading in. While options are always a positive thing, it is a bit overwhelming.

As far as the actual food goes, it’s all pretty good… with one exception. I thought the cheeburger, for all it’s cracked up to be, was bland. Not great, not good, not bad and not horrible. It was OK. I certainly don’t think it qualifies as one of the better burgers in town, no matter what you throw on it. It’s also quite pricy, ranging from $5.29 to $11 for the burger alone. I know I’m not alone in thinking it’s a bland hamburger, as I’ve heard similar reviews from friends, family and fellow critics. However, I’ve heard just as many people say they thought it was the greatest cheeseburger they’ve ever tasted, so it’s definitely worth trying. You may love it… or you may not. But you probably won’t absolutely hate it, either.

That being said, the rest of the food is delightful. The fries are seasoned perfectly and the shakes are utterly amazing. But the restaurant isn’t called “Hake Hake” or “Frie Frie,” so I’m a little disappointed the cheeburger wasn’t the coupe de grace of cheeseburgers.

As far as the atmosphere goes, it’s basically how I imagine a Spangles in Branson to be. The building seems too small for the massive lunch and dinner crowds it draws, and the ’50s diner theme that has made establishments such as Bobo’s and Freddy’s stand out seems to clash with the gift shop and the use of mason jars instead of cups. It’s an odd dining experience, to say the least.

Overall, I like the idea of Cheeburger Cheeburger and I think we need more restaurants in Topeka that are unique and can draw large crowds… but I’m not a huge fan of this particular restaurant. If you talk to someone who isn’t obsessed with the restaurant, they’ll likely repeat this statement to you.

“It’s OK. I’ll probably eat there once in a while but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.”