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POINTS

Buffalo Wild Wings

Cheeseburger

Buffalo Wild Wings is a national chain of restaurants best known for its strong “sports bar” theme and, as the name implies, the buffalo wings. With 16 signature sauces, ranging from their Sweet BBQ sauce on the mild side, to their Blazin’ sauce (made with ghost peppers) on the “wild” side, there’s a sauce for everyone.

I wonder if they do flights of sauce.

Anyway, when I stopped by recently, it wasn’t to eat wings. Rather, I was there to try out their cheeseburger and fries.

The Burger

According to the menu, the burgers at Buffalo Wild Wings are made with all-beef patties that are handcrafted. That may be, but the patty looked like it could easily have been a mass-produced frozen patty from any grocery store.

The menu also says the patties are seasoned, and then “‘smashed’ on the grill to seal in the flavor.” Whatever flavor they wanted to seal in either still managed to escape, or wasn’t there in the first place—the patty was bland and dry.

The brioche bun was buttered and toasted, and was the best tasting part of the burger by far. The veggies were also fresh and delicious, and the Cheeseburger came with lettuce, tomato, raw red onion, and pickle slices.

I was a little surprised to see the pickle slices, because my menu listed all of the other ingredients, but failed to mention pickle slices. As it turns out, the “Fast Break Lunch” menu, which is what I ordered from (more on that later) didn’t list pickles, but the full menu did.

Also good was the cheddar cheese, which I chose from a list of cheeses that also included pepper jack, swiss, queso, American, and blue cheese.

The Fries

My burger came with a number of choices for a side, including potato wedges, but the choice of fries was an easy one to make.

The shoestring fries that came with my burger weren’t very hot. They had a slight crispness to them, and although they weren’t as crispy as I’d have liked, they weren’t mushy.

The fries had very low grease, and tasted good. Actually, their flavor reminded me of the fries I’ve had at A&W.

I asked for a side of Blazin’ sauce (when in Rome…) to dip my fries in and it was definitely quite hot. I felt it had a bit too strong of a vinegar taste, which masked the wonderful flavor of the ghost peppers.

The Price

The Cheeseburger at Buffalo Wild Wings normally costs about $10.50 before tax, but if you show up on a weekday between 11 A.M. and 2 P.M., you can order off the Fast Break Lunch menu.

On the Fast Break menu, not only is the burger only $8, but if your food isn’t at your table within 15 minutes of ordering it, your lunch is free. After I placed my order, my server started a timer on a tablet left at my table so I could keep an eye on how much time had elapsed. My food showed up right around the 12 minute mark.

How does this affect the value of the meal? Well, the burger wasn’t that great, and although the fries tasted good, their temperature sucked. I’m glad I paid $8 instead of over $10, but given the overall lack of quality, I’m not sure that’s enough of a price cut to improve the value by very much.

The Restaurant

One thing Buffalo Wild Wings absolutely nails is their look. The whole place, inside and out, has a cohesive look and feel, and one that conveys “sports bar” without feeling disjointed or hodgepodge, which is common among smaller, locally owned bars.

If you like sports, this may be the place for you. There were TVs everywhere. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many TVs in one place that wasn’t the showroom floor of a big-box store. The only place without any TVs was in the bathroom, although there was an outlet on the wall above each urinal, so they’re ready to put them in anytime they want to.

Each TV was tuned to one game or another, but the audio playing on the overhead speakers was music. It was a mix of genres, although seemed to be mostly country. The volume was loud enough to mask most other conversations, but not so loud that I couldn’t have chatted with other people at my table.

The tables and chairs were clean, and the floor was mostly clean. None of this came as a surprise, since I showed up pretty soon after they opened for the day, so things hadn’t really had a chance to get dirty yet.

Despite that, the bathroom, which felt clean overall, could definitely have received more attention. I was surprised to see a bit of a mess considering how presumably little it had been used by the time I went in.

My waiter was very friendly and attentive, and he was a pro at upselling. He had fun banter with me and other guests, and would stop by and joke with me a bit before moving along. He also brought me a refill for my water without me having to ask, which I always appreciate.

I have the perception Buffalo Wild Wings is a popular place, but after eating the Cheeseburger, I can’t fathom why. Perhaps the buffalo wings, 30 taps, and copious televisions are what draw people in.

It’s really not my scene, though, and unless the food somehow gets very significantly better, I won’t be back.

Buffalo Wild Wings
14702 E Indiana Ave, Spokane Valley, WA 99216
(509) 891-0289

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