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Jake’s Wayback Burger / Wayback Classic, “Our Way” – $6
Schnecksville, PA | waybackburgers.com
Sometimes you want a good burger, but you want that good burger quickly. That’s what is great about having a few quality quick-serve burger franchises in the region. Founded in 1991 in Newark, DE, but relatively new to our area, Jake’s Wayback Burger (Formerly known as Jake’s Hamburgers until they added “Wayback” and dropped “Ham” in 2010) has 2 locations in opposite corners of the Lehigh Valley; one in Schnecksville, and one in Easton.
Wayback’s menu is what you’d expect from a franchise burger joint. They have their Signature burgers, along with a build-your-own burger menu, and provide other options such as chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders (which are VERY good by the way – the girlfriend loves them when she’s not in the mood for a burger) veggie burgers, and hot dogs just to name a few. They make some pretty amazing milkshakes as well.
Yes, this is a fast food restaurant at it’s core, but the quality of the food and service is on a completely different plane than any of the big burger chains. The ingredients alone are noticeably better, considering each one of Wayback’s burgers are handmade, fresh ground, and never frozen. Wayback cooks their burgers on a flat-top griddle, which may have a negative connotation attached to it, mostly because of the Golden Arches. But let’s be honest, cooking a burger on a flat top is one of the best ways to achieve flavor considering the patty is being cooked in it’s own fat without losing it over an open flame.
I ordered a Wayback Classic (2 patties) with American cheese, made “Our Way”, which comes with ketchup, mustard, onions, pickles, lettuce, and tomato. Read through those toppings again. It doesn’t get any more American than that. This burger is never going to win any beauty contests, but where it lacks in appearance, it completely makes up by hitting that deep-down comfort spot.
I have nothing negative to say about this burger. You visit a place like Wayback expecting a certain level of quality, and they consistently meet those expectations. On this particular visit, the burger was excellent. Both patties were cooked perfectly, and as thin as they are, even had just a slight hint of pink in the middle, while being just greasy enough while not soaking the bun with fat. The toppings are fresh and perfectly portioned, and there isn’t too much lettuce, tomato or onion to mask the flavor of the burger. The American cheese has melted into a wonder layer of gooeyness between the 2 patties, which in itself is genius since that way the cheese doesn’t stick to the toppings or the bun… it stays nestled in with the patties where it belongs. Speaking of the bun, there’s nothing fancy here. Just a simple, soft bun of bready goodness.
The fries are serviceable. They’re hand-cut and look delicious, but are usually a bit on the soggy side. Flavor-wise they are slightly above average, but I typically find myself wishing they were just a bit crispier.
Final thoughts: in my opinion, Wayback serves a solid, simple burger. When I’m looking for quick, consistent comfort food, they will continue to be toward the top of my list.