Burger Battle

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The hamburger is a favorite meal throughout the world, so it should come as no surprise that found within the boundaries of Walt Disney World it comes in many different forms.  This serves to suit the needs of the many as everyone has varying tastes and likes.  In fact, recently many of the burgers throughout WDW have been enhanced in many new and unique ways.  However it can also become a point of contention among those within the Disney community as to just which of these variations is the best.  I thought I’d discuss three of my favorites.

Le Cellier in the Canada Pavilion in Epcot is, without a doubt, one of the single most popular restaurants in Walt Disney World.  On top of that, it has a very small dining room by comparison to other locations on property – so it is constantly full and booked 6 months in advance.  On their lunch menu they offer the “Le Cellier House Burger” that is a burger served with mushrooms, cheddar, and pancetta.  They also off a “Pan-Roasted Salmon Burger”, which is new and I’ve never tried it.

Like many burgers that I order, I need to get the “House Burger” modified.  While I’m not strictly Kosher outside the house, I do follow some basic rules: no pig of any kind (bacon, ham, pork chops, etc.), no bottom feeders (shrimp, lobster, clams, etc.), and I do my best to not mix milk and meat.  So I have them leave off the cheddar and the pancetta.  While I want to say, “get this buger!” because this burger is very tasty, it does have some drawbacks.  It’s not a very juicy burger, and natural juices are key to a great burger.    Every time I have one I find it to be very dry, and in need of some type of sauce (e.g., ketchup) to compensate.

While the quality of the food used at Le Cellier is top notch I find two big problems still plague this restaurant even after the head chef changeover.  First is their over-use of salt remains – the phrase is “salt to taste” not “salt for taste” comes to mind.  They simply serve too many food items over salted, especially the side dishes, so I tend to avoid certain things here like french fries – thankfully the burger has an option of potato salad.  Second is that they continue to have a problem with meat doneness level, which is a real shame for a steakhouse.  The last time I visited I ordered my burger medium, and it clearly came out medium well.  Other times it’s been on the rare side.

Another very popular spot at Walt Disney World that can be found in the Beach Club resort near Stormalong Bay is Beaches & Cream.  The difference though is that unlike Le Cellier which is all about reservations, there are none at Beaches & Cream – all parties are walk up.  However, there are very few seats inside the restaurant, less than Le Cellier, so you may have to wait a while to eat here.  B&C is also a traditional style soda shop, so in addition to things like burgers and hot dogs, they also offer many ice cream sundae choices.

Personally I like the B&C burger more than Le Cellier.  Its more juicy, and therefore requires less sauce.  The fries also have very little salt on them, which makes them easier to tweak toward your own needs.  There is one clear drawback, due to how it’s prepared, this burger tends to be quite a bit greasy.  For me, this is what kills it as a great burger.

Because B&C is a soda shop, I often like to get ice cream for dessert.  Doing so means I can’t have meat for my meal.  Fortunately they also offer a simple yet tasty veggie burger and a veggie wrap.  One thing I really like about the veggie burger is that you can see the vegetables and grains that comprise it right in the patty rather than it being a non-descript meat substitute.  If its not something you normally eat, you may not like it.  However, if you’re like me and you eat such things all the time it is quite tasty.

My third and favorite choice comes from the Turf Club located at Saratoga Springs.  Like Le Cellier and Beaches and Cream, the Turf Club is on the small side and has a low head count.  It does also offer outdoor seating as well, which can make for an incredible meal on a sunny day.  Now it’s no secret that this is one of my favorite restaurants on property – in fact, I even suggest it as an alternative to the reservation madhouse that is Le Cellier, especially now that Le Cellier is considered signature dining for the Dining Plan.

On their lunch menu , the Turf Club offers three different burger choices: a basic burger, a “Bacon-Barbecue Angus Chuck Burger”, and a “Surf & Turf Angus Chuck Burger”.  The Surf & Turf is also offered on the dinner menu.  Again I stick with the basic because I’m unable to have the other two variations.  What I love about this burger is it’s consistency in quality, flavor, presentation, and satisfaction.  It also has some great options for toppings and side dishes – including fries, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, and some really awesome potato chips.

This is why, over the years, I’ve made the claim that this burger is the best on property.  Several people have tried it based on my recommendation, and I’ve found that many end up agreeing.  My feeling is that if you’re craving a awesome burger, and want a nice quiet meal that is away from the parks then this is the one to get.   I’ve never had a problem with this burger in the 5+ years that the Turf Club has been opened.

What about you? What’s your favorite burger on property?  Have you tried any of my choices?  Will you now?  What’s your least favorite and why?  What do you think of the fast food burgers on property?  How now brown cow?

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Posted on March 24, 2011

41 Responses to “Burger Battle”

  • by Lynn (lynnsc08) on March 24, 2011, at 8:48 am EDT

    Thanks for the great suggestions! I’ve never been lucky enough to get an ADR at Le Cellier and we haven’t eaten at Beaches and Cream either. We did eat at the Turf Club over Thanksgiving last year and the food (and service) was terrible. I’m not sure if it was later in the day or what the problem was. I haven’t found a really great burger on property yet. The Quick Service ones aren’t awful but I know there are better ones out there and now I’ve got a couple to check out! Thanks for your review and suggestions.

    • Hi Lynn! Sorry you had a bad Turf Club experience. Going as much as I do to WDW restaurants, I sort of feel that all of them have bad days – I’ve had a bad experience at Turf Club also. I also find that high capacity times tend to kill the abilities of all the restaurants on property to keep up. It seems to me they often short-staff during these peak times and that kills service.

  • Try the burger at Rosie’s All American Cafe in DHS; it’s my favorite. It’s got onion straws and a special house dressing.

    • by Mousejunkie Adam on March 24, 2011, at 11:04 am EDT

      In January, we too had excellent (and decidedly NOT kosher) Angus burgers at Rosie’s on Sunset. Best burgers on that 9 day trip through the World. Yum, Yum Yummy.

    • Hello Shane. I’ve had the Rosie’s burger before, but I need to leave off both the sauce and the cheese – so I imagine that for me the experience is not quite the same.

  • by Amy from KC on March 24, 2011, at 9:25 am EDT

    We had serious salt issues on too many of the items that we ordered at Le Cellier last December. Couple that with the service issues that we had, and we will probably never go back. We went from feeling like we had won the lottery to be able to book Le Cellier for Candlelight Processional, to feeling like perhaps we were being “punked.” It was not good. I could understand if our situation was a fluke, but I see sooo many comments about saltiness that I just do not understand how people can be complacent about it. How can that be acceptable to people? We REALLY wanted to love Le Cellier, but just can’t give them a pass on something as basic as proper use of salt.

    With that being said, we tend to not order burgers at table service restaurants. That means that we are looking at counter-service restaurants for the best burger award. As most of you can probably guess, that means Pecos Bill. The burger there is a great product at a good price, and the fixings bar is top notch. It also gets a big shout out for not having msg.

    Great article Todd. I may have to go search out a good burger for lunch today here at home!

    • by Amy from KC on March 24, 2011, at 9:29 am EDT

      I forgot to mention that my 5yo son had a really nice burger at Les Chefs de France last December at lunchtime. The meat was a good quality, and the bun was quite nice. It was definitely a couple of steps above a fast food burger, at a pretty reasonable price. He also loved their escargot, which made it a very unusual lunch combo. :)

      • My 7yo also had a burger at Les Chefs, back in September, and it was really something special. He didn’t put any ketchup on it, and that’s when I knew it must be pretty good. :-) It was served on brioche, which was terrific. He let me have a bite, and it was definitely the tastiest burger I’ve had on property.

    • Hi Amy, hope your lunch was great. Pecos Bill’s is a good burger, but I can’t use a lot of what’s at the fixins bar because of how that stuff is prepared. And yeah, Le Cellier makes me sad, the quality of components is so good, but the salt use by the chefs is crazy. I’m wondering if a line chef hasn’t lost his palette.

      • by Amy from KC on March 24, 2011, at 6:23 pm EDT

        Thanks Todd! Even though I love the fixin’s bar at Pecos, I also like the basic burger. Last December while I was waiting in line for the 7 Dwarves prior to the start of MVMCP, my husband brought me a standard Pecos burger, on the downhill slope from hot, in a styrofoam container. He had forgotten the fixin’s, and I mean ALL of the fixin’s, but the burger was still very good. It was just a bun and the meat, no cheese, and what I liked was that you could taste the good quality of the meat and the bun. I was surprised to not miss all of the extras.

  • Best inexpensive burger is at Cosmic Rays at Magic Kingdom because of the toppings bar. LOVE.

  • The burger at The Wave is incredible: http://www.disneytouristblog.com/featured-post/the-wave-restaurant-review-disney-contemporary/

    I also like Beaches & Cream, but I think the Wave has it beat. Can’t wait to try Turf Club, now!

  • For quick service, I think its no surprise that Pecos Bill’s is my favorite. Not only is the burger a step above the ‘pressed McDonalds patty,’ but the fixins, oh the fixins!

  • by Glenn from Alabama on March 24, 2011, at 10:33 am EDT

    As much as I appreciate the article, and with no disrespect intended, with as many unique and different tastes as you have, Todd, I don’t know that I can actually take your suggestions “seriously.” I only mean by that you order your food with so many changes, and have such different requirements for what you eat, it really doesn’t fit the the general public’s preferences–well, at least not mine–AND I MAY BE THE ONLY ONE, so take this with a grain of salt (no pun intended). I do love a good burger, though, and appreciate the recommendations, and hopefully will get to try some of them in the future…but probably have them served a little closer to the way they are intended to be prepared. :) As new as I am to commenting on this blog, I hope I don’t offend anyone. I just enjoy stating my mind–hopefully in a light-hearted and unoffending way. Love the blog, the site, and the books. Thanks a lot!

  • Before the big construction job a few years ago at Shades of Green, the best burger on WDW property was at Evregreens, over by the golf courses. Then Evergreens disappeared, but now it has reappeared again in a new location. I’ve not been to the new version, so I can’t say if they have reincarnated the glorious burger as well as the restaurant name. It might be worth a try.

  • Agreeing with a couple of points here:

    1)Best cheap burger is Cosmic Ray’s at MK (Pecos Bill’s a close second). We eat there a couple times every trip since it is so easy to customize the sandwiches to each person’s likings.

    2)My wife and I scored Le Cellier reservations when we went on a “grown-ups only” trip a couple years ago. We were also very unhappy with the quality of the meal we received. We each ordered items considered specialties and found them to be average at best and a big let down considering the price.

    • Hi Jon, thanks for reading! You have to remember this Le Cellier is about supply and demand. There’s a low supply of seats and a high demand on them – these two factors are the driving force behind the prices.

      I do prefer the Pecos Bill’s burger over Cosmic Ray’s, but as a restaurant overall… I have them swapped. I’d much rather be sitting at eating at Cosmic Ray’s.

  • This may sound a little wacky, but I really like the burgers at All Star Music. To me they just have a great flavor. Now it might be that if I am eating at All Stars it is at a time when I am famished, but for some reason those burgers just seems tops! I also need to add that on those occasions when I’ve been able to score an ADR at LeCellier, I was not about to waste the experience on a burger!

    • Hi Jim, thanks for reading.

      I’ve heard many people say they love the burgers at both the All Stars resorts and Pop Century. Never had either. I do have a guilty pleasure of the meatball sub at Pop Century.

      Completely understand your point on Le Cellier.

  • So the mere thought of a Pecos Bill cheeseburger with LOTS of mushrooms and an equally impressive Beaches and Cream burger + a really bad week at work has led me to book a trip to WDW. Coleen at MEI is about to get a phone call!

  • Why was I not notified or consulted to participate in this burger battle LOL LOL LOL – Nice article!