My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (2024)

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Review by Timothy Moore

My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (1)

  • Culver's is a fast-food restaurant that started in Wisconsin and has since expanded to 26 states.
  • The chain is known for its ButterBurgers, cheese curds, and frozen custard.
  • I'd never been before, but my mom loves it — so my husband and I recently tried it out.

My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (2)

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My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (3)

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My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (4)

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I'm not much of a fast-food guy.

My husband and I will occasionally swing through the Wendy's drive-thru on a long road trip or grab a bite from McDonald's in a pinch. But living in downtown Cincinnati, with plenty of mom-and-pop joints, trendy bars, and fancy restaurants, we usually don't find ourselves at chain restaurants.

My mom, on the other hand, adores chains. Growing up, we'd always go to Applebee's, and she was over the moon when I took her to BJ's Brewhouse for her birthday a few years back. But Culver's is her absolute favorite.

I'd heard her rave about the burgers, cheese curds, and frozen custard for years, but I never made it there myself. Recently, my husband and I decided to see why Ma is so wild about this place — and I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised.

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Culver's is a fast-food chain known for its burgers, cheese curds, and custard.

My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (5)

Culver's got its start in Wisconsin in 1984 but has since expanded to 26 states, largely in and around the Midwest.

Even though I'd never been to Culver's, I knew the chain was famous for its ButterBurgers, Wisconsin cheese curds, and frozen custard.

As a cheese connoisseur, I've had my fair share of curds, and I'm no stranger to frozen custard. But I honestly had no idea what a ButterBurger was.

Turns out it doesn't have anything to do with the patty. Every bun crown gets lightly buttered with Wisconsin butter from Alcam Creamery.

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It's set up like a typical fast-food joint.

My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (6)

When we pulled into the Culver's near our home in Cincinnati, I immediately spotted the first hallmark of a traditional fast-food restaurant: a drive-thru.

Once inside, the format continued to look familiar, with large screens detailing the extensive menu (and combo meals, named Value Baskets) hanging behind the counter.

The interior also had standard self-serve soda machines, trash cans with a spot for trays on top, and expectedly sticky floors.

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We ordered two Value Baskets, cheese curds, and two Concrete Mixers.

My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (7)

To start the meal off, we each ordered a Value Basket.

Mine consisted of the famous Culver's deluxe ($11.20), and my husband got the Culver's bacon deluxe ($12). The Value Baskets also came with medium fries and a medium soda.

In our excitement, we forgot to order the Wisconsin cheese curds ($4.60), so we got a round of those to split when we went back up to order our desserts — medium Concrete Mixers ($6 each).

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The ButterBurgers put other fast-food burgers to shame.

My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (8)

Without a doubt, the ButterBurger deserves all the praise it gets — it's the superior fast-food burger.

You can taste all the fresh onions, crunchy iceberg lettuce, and juicy tomatoes. The meat itself is also delicious, though admittedly thin. There was a choice for a single, double, or triple patty, and I'm glad I got the double. The two patties felt like one single burger patty.

True to Culver's promise, the buns were perfect. They were buttery and toasted on the underside, leaving a pillow-soft top with a crunch just above the patty.

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The fries, on the other hand, were forgettable.

My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (9)

The fries felt like an afterthought, unfortunately. They were crinkle-cut, which brought out the excited kid in me, but the taste didn't live up to the hype.

I thought they were a little bland and undersalted — more like a meal filler than something to look forward to.

I'd never go back to Culver's just for the fries.

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A saving grace for the Value Basket was the self-serve soda.

My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (10)

I'm a Diet co*ke fan through and through. But when I got to the soda machine (or pop machine as we say here in Ohio), I was astonished to see some uncommon options such as Mello Yello, Hi-C, and even diet root beer.

I stuck with Diet co*ke, but I couldn't help myself from grabbing a quick sip of Mello Yello, just for the nostalgia. It's probably been two decades since I last sipped that particular citrus soda.

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I couldn't go to Culver's without getting the cheese curds.

My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (11)

When you go to Culver's, get yourself a ButterBurger and an order of the Wisconsin cheese curds. They are infinitely better than the fries.

For less than $5, you get a generous portion of golden fried-cheese nuggets.

They include a combination of yellow and white cheddar — sourced from Wisconsin. The crispy exterior is delicious (it's fried, after all), but wow, that cheese is tasty.

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I really liked the chain's frozen custard, too.

My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (12)

We finished off our meal with two Concrete Mixers — your choice of vanilla or chocolate frozen custard with two mix-ins. They're blended together much like a Dairy Queen Blizzard, but I don't advise turning your Concrete Mixer upside down because they feel much less thick.

I ordered vanilla custard with fresh raspberries and marshmallow creme. The custard is creamier than your average ice cream, and it was certainly flavorful. It made for a light, summery dessert.

My husband, on the other hand, went a more decadent route: chocolate custard with peanut butter and chunks of Reese's. He was pretty quiet as he inhaled it, so I think he was satisfied.

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We spent $42 for a tasty and filling meal, and I wouldn't mind going back.

My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (13)

On the rare occasion we do grab a bite at Wendy's, we usually spend about $25 between the two of us. Culver's was a little more expensive at $42, but we also ordered more food than we really needed.

If we had it to do over again, we'd probably skip the Value Baskets and just order burgers, split some cheese curds, and get custard on our way out.

I'm not sure I'd plan to go back to Culver's, especially by myself. But if I'm ever in a hurry and have to choose between McDonald's and Culver's, I think I'd drive right past the Golden Arches in favor of a ButterBurger.

Plus, once my mom reads this (hey, Ma!) and finds out I went to Culver's without her, I'm sure she'll insist that we go together. If there's an order of cheese curds in it for me, I'd willingly accept.

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My husband and I don't eat much fast food, but we went to Culver's for the first time and loved our $42 meal (2024)

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