Fuddruckers - making a good name for fast food

April 10, 2008, midnight | By Greg Kohn | 13 years, 9 months ago

"World's Greatest Hamburgers" found in DTSS

One of the newest additions to the Downtown Silver Spring scene, Fuddruckers huddles in between the popular Cold Stone Creamery and Z Pizza. Its bright yellow awnings draw the eye in, and a taste from inside will ensure that people come back.

Its reputation as a fast food restaurant puts it in the same league as McDonald's, which is unfair. Though there are no waiters, the great food at Fuddruckers puts it far ahead of any drive-thru chain.

Subtle hints of this emerge on the overhanging menu. There is no crank to switch from McBreakfast to McLunch, nor is a quarter-pounder the biggest sandwich of the bunch. Instead, Fuddruckers offers a one-pound burger, cooked to the customer's specifications.

The center of the menu contains all eight of Fuddruckers' specialty hamburgers. They're diverse, ranging from a simple Bacon Cheddar to the Southwest Burger (bacon, guacamole and pepper jack) to the Inferno (sauteed jalepenos, onions and pepper jack). These burgers are not served with traditional toppings such as lettuce and tomatoes, because this is left up to the customer. It is often easiest and cheapest to order a plain burger and deck it out with the free toppings: fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, pico de gallo and peppers, in any proportions, are all located at a convenient produce bar. Although Fuddruckers does offer various salads, a quick and easy side salad can also be prepared from the fresh produce as well.

If the many toppings aren't enough, bottles of pepper sauce, relish, A1 barbecue sauce and Tobasco are also available. Hot melted cheese is provided, if you want to save a buck and order your burger cheese-less.

Fuddruckers also goes in other directions, with delicately spiced chicken sandwiches and fresh-from-the-sea fish. However, they choose to advertise themselves as having the "World's Greatest Hamburgers" for a reason, as most customers will be most pleased with the specialty.

A "healthy options" menu offers veggie burgers, turkey burgers, buffalo burgers and ostrich burgers. There are even desserts: fresh baked cookies, authentic milkshakes and delicious brownies. The shakes come in the three traditional flavors and Oreo - and every one is worthwhile.

As its menu sports many options, Fuddruckers also has some prices that may be high for the average teenager; burgers cost much more than they do in a typical fast food restaurant. But because food is definitely something you don't want to skimp on – the extra bucks are worth it.

The food is ready quickly, rarely taking longer than five minutes. When picking your meal up it's not hard to see the impressive quality of the food. The hamburgers are thick and fresh, snuggled in between two buns that were baked that day. The french fries are an excellent side, potato wedges that are perfectly seasoned and dwarf regular fast food fries. The crispy chicken sandwich is also a hearty size, peeking out of the bun on all sides and sporting a fresh golden-orange hue.

A difference in class between Fuddruckers and the average burger joint is even more revealing after the order is placed. Sitting down in booths or tables itself isn't special, but the soft light from overhanging lamps is a much welcome change from the fluorescent lighting of many fast food places. Uninterrupted oldies music flows out of the speakers, bringing back the popular tunes of one's parents – definitely a plus for the ambiance.

Fuddruckers has all the benefits of a fast food restaurant – namely a short wait and reasonable price – in the setting of a sit-down one. But while they offer a little something for anybody's taste, paying a visit to Fuddruckers should really be about their burgers.

Fuddruckers is located on 819 Ellsworth Drive in Silver Spring. Open 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Greg Kohn. Greg Kohn is a native Marylander. He's lived in one house his whole life, played soccer since before he could talk, and loves to chant "09" when it's really quiet. He hates being called Gregory, and he wishes he were more organized. He was a … More »

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