I ate at one of America's best burger chains, and I hope it keeps expanding outside of the Midwest (2024)

Culver's started as a family-owned restaurant in Wisconsin with made-to-order cheeseburgers, frozen custard, and cheese curds, and it's since expanded to nearly 800 restaurants across the US.

The chain has been expanding rapidly, but it hasn't yet made its way to the Northeast or the West Coast.

I visited a Culver's location near me and tasted some of the most popular items to see why many people love it so much


Read on to see how it went.

Culver's prides itself in having plenty of Midwestern hospitality

I ate at one of America's best burger chains, and I hope it keeps expanding outside of the Midwest (1)

I set out to my nearest Culver's in Oviedo, Florida, just northeast of Orlando, and walking in felt cozy and peaceful, like stepping into a Midwestern grandma's home.

One of Culver's key values is conveying small-town hospitality to every guest that steps into a restaurant, and I felt that they really achieved that with the warm, simple decor and kind staff members.

The employees were incredibly courteous and kind.Throughout my meal, several employees stopped by to check on me and see if I needed anything and, at one point, an employee even threw away my garbage for me and offered to bring me more food.

The chain has plenty of drink options, but it is known for its signature root beer

If you're dining in, Culver's has self-serve soda fountains with Pepsi products, fresh brewed iced tea, and its own signature root beer.

The original recipe for its root beer was developed by co-founder Craig Culver, who used locally sourced ingredients.

Many other fast-food chains just offer standard soda-fountain drinks, so I was really excited to have some fresh and original drink options.

It's also famous for its ButterBurgers, which are made-to-order with Wisconsin cheese

I ate at one of America's best burger chains, and I hope it keeps expanding outside of the Midwest (2)

Culver's ButterBurgers get their name from the buttered and toasted buns, which won't get soggy even when they're piled high with sweet tomatoes, zesty mayo, and fresh lettuce.


The staple menu item earned the brand the title of America's favorite fast-food burger in 2018,according to Restaurant Business.

Each ButterBurger is cooked to order, which means mine arrived juicy, melty, and hot. At the Oviedo Culver's, the team didn't skimp on the toppings, and my burger was nearly too big to eat.

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I love that this burger had a smoky taste that reminded me of homemade burgers cooked on a backyard grill.

There are many sides to choose from, but cheese curds seemed like a unique choice

I ate at one of America's best burger chains, and I hope it keeps expanding outside of the Midwest (3)

Every meal comes with crinkle-cut french fries, green beans, coleslaw, or mashed potatoes. But if you want the full experience, you can upgrade to George's chili, named for the co-founder's father, or the classic cheese curds.


I decided to try the cheese curds, which are a true Wisconsin staple. They resembled bite-sized mozzarella sticks but were filled with fresh, Wisconsin cheddar cheese.

When I bit into a cheese curd, there was a delightful crunch that was followed by the springy, creamy melted cheese pulling out of its crispy, fried crust.

The fried batter combined with the creamy cheese made this a tasty and savory side dish that satisfied my desire for a salty treat.

A meal at Culver's isn't complete without some of the chain's special frozen custard

I ate at one of America's best burger chains, and I hope it keeps expanding outside of the Midwest (4)

When I arrived mid-afternoon, it wasn't very busy, so the cashier helped me choose the most authentic Culver's meal. This, of course, involved some of the chain's frozen custard.


Culver's uses eggs in its frozen custard and churns small batches throughout the day, so the final product is typically denser and creamier than traditional ice cream.

Each Culver's restaurant features one special custard flavor everyday. It varies by restaurant, but you can check online to see what flavors are coming up.

While at this location, I was able to taste the frozen custard Flavor of the Day, which was a green-mint frozen custard topped with Oreo cookies and Andes mint candy. It was tasty, but I opted to try something else from the menu, which also had concrete mixers (a denser dessert with toppings), milkshakes, floats, and sundaes to choose from.

I ordered a one-scoop caramel cashew sundae with classic vanilla custard. Even though it was only one scoop, my sundae contained a hefty portion of sweet custard topped with salty cashews to help balance out the flavors.


With its creamy texture and customizable toppings, this custard tasted homemade in the best kind of way.

Overall, I think Culver's offers delicious options if you're low on cash but don't want to eat at a traditional fast-food restaurant

My burger, cheese curds, specialty frozen custard, and beverage cost me about $15, which seemed like a great deal for so much food and such hefty portions.

In my opinion, even though I only tried a small section of the menu, the food that I had from Culver's seemed high quality — and it certainly holds its own against other popular burger chains, like Five Guys and In-N-Out Burger.

Hopefully, Culver's will continue expanding around the globe so more people can have a taste of these meals that taste homemade and are served with a side of Midwestern hospitality.


This post was originally published in February 2020.

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I ate at one of America's best burger chains, and I hope it keeps expanding outside of the Midwest (2024)


Is Culvers a Midwest thing? ›

The first Culver's opened in 1984 in Sauk City, Wisconsin, and it quickly became famous for its hamburgers — known as ButterBurgers — and custard. Today, Culver's is located in over 20 states, including Florida, Georgia, and Arizona, but most of the franchisees are located in the Midwest.

What is America's second largest burger chain? ›

McDonald's generated more revenue in systemwide sales than any other quick service burger restaurant chain in the United States in 2022. The burger chain made 48.6 billion U.S. dollars in sales, which was over 30 billion U.S. dollars more than the second ranked burger chain, Wendy's.

What is the Whataburger slogan? ›

Just like you like it | We take “just like you like it” pretty seriously. By WhataburgerFacebook.

Is Culvers based out of Wisconsin? ›

In 1984, Craig and Lea Culver, along with Craig's parents George and Ruth, opened the very first Culver's in the family's beloved hometown of Sauk City, Wisconsin, and began serving ButterBurgers® and Frozen Custard.

Is Culvers only in Illinois? ›

Did you know Culver's® is located in over 26 states? If you think the ButterBurgers® and Fresh Frozen Custard are special, just wait until you learn about some of our most unique locations across the country.

What is the oldest burger chain? ›

White Castle is an American regional hamburger restaurant chain with about 350 locations across 13 states, with its greatest presence in the Midwest and New York metropolitan area. Founded on September 13, 1921, in Wichita, Kansas, it has been generally credited as the world's first fast-food hamburger chain.

What is America's oldest restaurant chain? ›

A&W Restaurants, Inc.

(also known as Allen & Wright Restaurants) is an American fast food restaurant chain distinguished by its burgers, draft root beer and root beer floats. The oldest extant restaurant chain in the United States (the oldest being the Harvey House), A&W's origins date back to 1919 when Roy W.

What are the top 3 burger chains? ›

2022 RankCompanyCategory
3Burger KingBurger
4Sonic Drive-InBurger
10 more rows
Aug 1, 2023

Is Whataburger owned by Mcdonald's? ›

Founded by Harmon Dobson and Paul Burton, it opened its first restaurant in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1950. Family-owned by the Dobsons until 2019, the chain is now managed by the private equity firm BDT & MSD Partners; the Dobson family still holds a small stake. in Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.

Is Chick Fil A slogan? ›

"Eat Mor Chikin" is the chain's most prominent advertising slogan, created by The Richards Group in 1995.

Is Whataburger owned by Chicago? ›

As of today, there more than 800 locations that sit across the U.S. Whataburger has a very dedicated and loyal following. In 2019, the fast-food restaurant announced merchant bank BDT Capital Partners, LLC based in Chicago was taking over the chain.

What is the oldest burger place in the United States? ›

Louis' Lunch
Wikimedia | © OpenStreetMap
Restaurant information
Owner(s)Lassen family
12 more rows

Which state is the birthplace of the hamburger? ›

Fletcher Davis created an early version of the hamburger for his menu at a small café in Athens, Texas, in the 1880s, but didn't debut his invention to a wider audience until he took his burger to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. To this day, some call Athens the birthplace of the hamburger.

Who eats the most burgers? ›

At this point, the U.S. continues to be the world's leading consumer of hamburgers, with more than 26% of the world's hamburgers consumed in the country each year. Other major hamburgerconsuming countries include the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, France, and Australia.

What state has the most Culvers? ›

As of March, 2024, there are 998 Culver's restaurants in the United States. These restaurants are located in 26 states and territories and 793 cities. The state with the most Culver's locations is Wisconsin, with 136 restaurants.

Where is Culver's from? ›

Is Culvers in the West Coast? ›

CULVER'S. Culver's is a fast-food burger chain operating primarily in the Midwest. Among its signature menu items are ButterBurgers and Frozen Custard. Culver's is currently available in 26 states, but not California.

Are there Culver's in other states besides Wisconsin? ›

Besides Wisconsin, the states with the highest number of Culver's locations (as of the end of 2023) are Illinois with 135, Florida with 102, Michigan with 96 and Indiana with 78. Of those five states, Florida is the fastest growing, with 13 new locations projected to open this year.

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