200 N 6th St, Philadelphia PA 19106 (map)
Cooking Method: Griddled
Short Order: Pretty good, but not as memorable as the Cake Shake. Eating in a park is a plus.
Price: Hamburger, $4.50; Cheeseburger, $4.75
The Franklin Square park in Philadelphia has it all—a carousel, a miniature golf course, a large water fountain that will taunt you on a hot summer day since its surrounding fence prevents anyone from actually touching it, and, since July, a burger stand.
SquareBurger from Stephen Starr has a simple menu: classic hamburger, classic cheeseburger, veggie burger, two kinds of hot dogs, french fries, and a salad, along with drinks and desserts. Of course, I was there for the burger, even though I heard the hot dogs were potentially better. And really, just the burger—no fries since I was already a bit full from breakfast.
But I did get a Cake Shake, which I justified as "not food" since I could suck it through a straw. That's a bunch of crap; even if it doesn't require chewing, it's still a fatty, dairy, calorie-filled substance—in this case, one that also had TastyKakes blended in. But I'm not here to talk about milkshakes. I can tell you off the bat though that I liked the shake more than the burger. Not that the burger was bad—I just really liked the shake. Innards shot after the jump.
I got a classic cheeseburger featuring a thick quarter-pound patty on a Martin's potato roll neatly topped with American cheese, pickles (relish, more like), chopped onions, ketchup, and mustard. A soft, griddled potato roll? Thumbs up. Seasoned meat patty? Not oozing with saltiness, but good enough. Juiciness level? It's alright, but I think it could've been better if it hadn't been automatically cooked to medium (I prefer medium rare). It was fairly juicy despite the level of doneness.
My main problem was that it had more toppings than I thought it needed. If the meat were flavorless I would welcome the condiments, but it wasn't. Even though the burger wasn't laden with toppings, I mostly tasted...well, a mixture of pickles, onion, ketchup, and mustard, a rather powerful quartet of flavors. That's just my preference though—if you like those condiments, you'll probably like the burger.
The burger isn't bad, but it didn't leave a lasting impression on me like the milkshake or the park did. Would I go back? If I lived in Philadelphia, probably—the park is nice and I'd want some real food to go with my shake.