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Checkers Philly Cheesesteak Burger

By • Dec 20th, 2009 • Category: Burger Blog

Last week, when I heard that Checkers was giving away free cheeseburgers on 2 Fridays in December, I hit the web to find one near me.  That ended disappointingly. But my interest was piqued by something else, an ad very similar to this:

The quintessential cheeseburger paired with the legendary Philly cheesesteak?  It was like when a superhot girl transferred to your high school from out of town.  I didn’t know anything about her, but I was immediately smitten.  I found this description amidst the Checkers propaganda:

“Offered for a limited time, this new twist on a classic favorite expertly pairs our hand-seasoned and seared, all-beef burger patty with authentic, juicy shaved Philly Steak, warm melty Swiss cheese and seasoned grilled onions for a flavor combination that’s out of this world.  To top it all off, this burger’s served on warm, toasty sourdough bread.”

My Philly Cheesesteak Burger was tasty enough, reminiscent of my DIY Arby’s Roastburger experiment a few months back, further proving that roast beef makes a superb burger topping.  Maybe the best part?  It cost just 3 bucks, unlike many limited-time-only burgers.  This is one I’d get again, I thought.

But to be honest, it wasn’t the same as adding a real Philly cheesesteak to a cheeseburger.  Going back to that online profile, I started to see some clues explaining why this mashup of great tastes fell a little short.  Checkers describes their Philly as a “new twist on a classic favorite.”  So this Philly was “loosely based” on an authentic icon, a lame remake.  Like Madonna techno-butchering “American Pie.”

The first twist?  The cheese.  A true Philly is topped with American, provolone, or, most popularly, Cheez Whiz.  “Melty Swiss” is not an option. In fact, when John Kerry ordered his with Swiss during a 2003 stop in South Philly, he was labeled a fancypants blueblooded snob.  The Washington Post even theorized that that was the moment Kerry lost the ’04 presidential election.

The second alteration comes with the bun.  While Checkers offers “warm, toasty sourdough bread,” the key to an honest-to-God Philly cheesesteak is the bun.  Many speculate that something in the city’s water creates the perfect roll, the best of which is made by Amoroso’s, a local family-owned bakery.  That simply can’t be duplicated in 840+ restaurants across 29 states.

So they’re changing the cheese and the bun; what about the steak?  Philly’s finest usually feature ribeye or top round.  Checkers says they use “authentic, juicy, shaved Philly steak.”  But do they really?  I called up the chain’s nutritional info page to see for myself.

I tried to, anyway.  The PDF never loaded. Not after I opened a new browser.  Not after I rebooted.  Not after I tried again four days later.  It turns out that obtaining nutritional info from Checkers is a long-running effort for many.  Do some Googling and you’ll quickly learn that the chain keeps all food-related facts and figures a monumental secret.  Wikipedia reports:

“Checkers has long been subject to criticism due to their lack of nutritional data or information about the ingredients in their food… The fast food chain has stood out as the only mainstream fast food chain that is secretive about its menu ingredients and nutrition.”

Now, I’m under no illusions about this stuff being health food, but you can’t share any details about it?  Gotta admit, this left a bad taste in my mouth.  I found my Checkers burg better than most fast food offerings, but I’m not sure how quick I’d be to go back for another if the corporate pointyheads aren’t even willing to divulge what’s in it.

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One Response to “Checkers Philly Cheesesteak Burger”

  1. 1
    Tim Says:

    The Checkers nutrition page loads up just fine on my computer.

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