Recent road trips afforded me some great excuses to eat fast food along the highways and biways, including a couple stops at Wendy’s. Rather than my usual value menu purchases, I decided to indulge in their newly released premium burgers. Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Burgers are reboots of the Classic Single, Double, and Triple cheeseburgers with thicker beef patties and premium toppings. The “W” is a smaller double cheeseburger (akin to the Double Stack) with the same new toppings and a special sauce. The new sandwiches were rolled out in November in what has to be an effort to move a bit upmarket where players like Five Guys are making hay.
The Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Single I had was very tasty, but not much different than a Classic Single. I did like the red onion and thick cut pickles, but it’s a bit of an overstatement to call them premium toppings. The lettuce and tomato were just average fast food quality (CT would say “quick service” quality) . While the lettuce and tomato wouldn’t be mistaken for In-N-Out Burger, the packaging might. For dine in orders, the classic wrapper is gone and the burger is presented vertically in an open face box.
The “W” appears targeted at the budget between the value menu and full sized sandwiches. It features the smaller 1/8 lb beef patties used on the value menu burgers, the toppings of the mainline sandwiches, and is priced at $3. Beyond the Goldilocks position on the menu, the special sauce is the distinguishing factor for The “W”. Wendy’s special sauce, just like the Big Mac special sauce or In-N-Out Spread, is similar to Thousand Island dressing. I’m a fan of Thousand Island, but I thought the Wendy’s special sauce was too sweet and overpowered the burger’s other toppings. It wasn’t bad, but I will probably stick with a Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy or Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers next time.
Much like the revamped fries at Wendy’s, the updated sandwiches are move evolutionary than I thought they would be and feel quite familiar. That’s a good thing, in my opinion, since Wendy’s has always had one of the better burgers of the national chains. The tweaked recipes may not win over many converts, but luckily for Wendy’s fans they also didn’t fix what wasn’t broken.