Yesterday I wrote about a place called The Hot Dog Stand that has better burgers than hot dogs. Today I am posting on Old School Burgers, which has better cheesesteaks than burgers. Actually, their full name is Old School Burgers, Dogs & Shakes, but that’s a bit much to put in a title and I’m not really interested in their hot dogs.
I’ve been driving past Old School Burgers on the way to visit my father for several years and have thought about stopping in many times. The photos of their burgers I’ve seen online looked pretty good and their menu is certainly in my wheelhouse. But I didn’t get off the pot until a few weeks ago when I stopped there for a burger, fries and shake.
But my reaction to their burger was similar to how I felt about the hot dog I had yesterday at the Stand in Folsom. It was blah. That’s not to say it was a terrible hamburger, but there was just nothing even remotely special about it. The flavor was okay, but far from great, and there was none of the outer char that I look for on a burger. I also wasn’t nuts about their crinkle-cut fries, although I generally don’t like that style of French fries, so it was probably a matter of personal taste more than there being anything wrong with them.
Here again is the cheeseburger I had yesterday at The Hot Dog Stand. Now this is what a burger should be. It had char and flavor to burn. It’s somewhat surprising that a place that specializes in hot dogs makes better burgers than one that has them in their name.
But all was not wrong with Old School Burgers. On the positive side of the ledger, I’ll start with beverages. They sell Kutztown sodas, a Pennsylvania brand that uses cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. My bottle of black cherry brought back great memories from my younger years, when I would drink Frank’s Black Cherry Wishniak like it was going out of style.
Then there was the black & white milkshake I had with my burger. I drink more milkshakes than the average person and have strong opinions about them. This was one of the best I can recall having, at least in the past few years. The flavor was perfect and it had just the right degree of thickness. It also seemed to be colder than most milkshakes I drink. They may store their milk at a colder-than-usual temperature. I see myself stopping back at Old School periodically for a shake even if I don’t have any more of their food.
As I alluded to above, Old School Burgers also makes cheesesteaks, and I had read on the Facebook cheesesteak board that they are quite good. In fact, a couple other people who agreed with my judgement of their burgers told me to give their steak a shot. I did that earlier today.
It unquestionably was better than the cheeseburger I had there a few weeks ago. I’m not prepared to place it in the upper echelon of steaks I’ve had during this binge I’m still in the midst of, but it’s a good sandwich. There was an ample amount of meat that was very well seasoned. They also use Cooper Sharp cheese, which has become a popular substitute for American lately and with good reason. It adds more flavor to the steak and melts very well to coat the meat with what is almost a liquid cheese film. I would have liked just a tad more cheese, but that wasn’t a significant problem. The roll was probably the biggest strike against the sandwich. But even that wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t great.
If I go back to Old School Burgers to eat, it will be for another cheesesteak. I won’t order a burger there again. But my most likely reason for returning will be for one of those stellar black & white milkshakes.
6 thoughts on “Old School Burgers: Willow Grove, PA”
It’s good that you have some scale of discrimination in mind when discussing burgers. I’d say the more discrimination, the better. Any place can make a hamburger. But can they make one that you go, “Whoa!!! This is good!!!”?
This is the criteria that I have for hamburgers anyway (and, really, all restaurant food). When your critique has this quality about the subject under discussion, and people eat it based on your experience and agree with you, then you make a name for yourself as a reliable, culinary barometer.
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Thank you, Louis.
If I ever find myself in eastern PA I know who to contact for cheesesteak recommendations…
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