Checking Out a Lehigh Valley Burger Legend

After having a great meal in Quakertown Saturday, I was back on 476-North Monday to pick up my wife in Allentown, where she had spent a couple days visiting with her parents. As I expected to arrive there around lunch time, my thoughts naturally turned to where we should eat. And it just so happens there is a long-standing Allentown institution I had wanted to try for at least a few years, but the timing was never right – until Monday.

Wert’s Cafe offers a fairly large selection of food items from which to choose, but their claim to fame is their hamburgers, which have won numerous Lehigh Valley awards since they opened in 1968.

The place was packed with a small overflow crowd in their waiting area when we arrived, but we were seated within 15 minutes. 

Wert’s Cafe has been serving burgers in Allentown, PA, since the late 60s.
These are just some of the many awards they have posted on the wall of their entry-way.
The view from my seat. Wert’s has multiple dining rooms.

The below photos don’t show the entire menu; just the sandwiches and entrees. They also had a list of special posted.

I decided to order a patty melt the previous evening while browsing the menu online. They’ve been a favorite of mine for years, but I hadn’t had one in a while. It was also one of a number of hamburger options on the menu that come with Velveeta cheese. I considered substituting Cooper Sharp but decided that I should taste the burger the way they traditionally serve it. My mother-in-law went with a basic cheeseburger, which also came topped with Velveeta, while my wife ordered what appeared to be an Asian chicken salad. It must have been one of the day’s specials, as I don’t see it on the regular menu. 

The three of us shared an order of Wert’s “famous onion rings” to start. I have to say their fame – local though it may be – is justifiable after trying them. Rather than the more common thick rings, these were lightly breaded and extra thin; like the ones found at coastal New England seafood shacks. 

The pile of fried onions was almost comically large, but they were good enough to be addictive and we managed to get through the bulk of it before our main courses arrived. To wash them and my burger down, I ordered a white birch beer.

Our fantastic onion rings
White Birch Bear

The burger patties at Wert’s are big ones – a half pound each. The basic cheeseburger that my mother-in-law ordered came with no toppings, although there were pickle chips on the side. It had a fairly thick layer of melted Velveeta on it. She said it was both juicy and tasty in spite of being cooked considerably past her requested medium-rare. 

I also frequently ask for my burgers to be cooked to medium-rare when presented with the option, but I wasn’t sure how well that would work for a patty melt, so I requested medium instead. And that’s how it arrived. 

Wert’s basic cheeseburger
My patty melt
The patty was cooked to medium, as I requested.

While the rye bread was perfectly grilled, It wasn’t a classic patty melt in the sense that there was melted cheese only beneath the patty, while a generous helping of fried onions sat on top of it. But with such a thick patty, I’m not sure that another layer of cheese would have been desirable. And the meat, Velveeta cheese and onions all blended very well for an excellent overall flavor. The meat was also extremely juicy. 

Although I normally prefer thinner burgers, I found my patty melt to be extremely enjoyable. 

Here is a shot of my wife’s salad.

My wife’s Asian chicken salad

We had two memorable lunches in three days – one in northern Bucks County; the other in the Lehigh Valley. That’s on top of my recent report on the barbecue scene of the far northern Philly ‘burbs. As much as I enjoyed those meals and my time up north, I’ll be refocusing on Philly and it’s environs for a while starting with my next post, which will be out Friday.

Published by BZ Maestro

I live outside of Philadelphia and have been food-obsessed for as long as I can remember. After toying with the idea of starting a blog for a fairly long time, the extinction of a food-themed message board that I frequented for years prompted me to finally take action. Thank you for taking the time to check out what I've been up to - and eating. If you've enjoyed what you have read and seen, please consider clicking the "like" button and signing up as a follower.

7 thoughts on “Checking Out a Lehigh Valley Burger Legend

      1. My mom went to Wilson and my dad went to Easton HS, just a few miles from Philadelphia. My parents are both deceased but would have been there in the late 1930s. Where was your wife in school?


          1. Small world! Love your part of the country! Some of my favorite childhood memories are when we lived in Yardley and we’d go visit my grandmother in Easton, where she lived with my mom’s younger brother.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. I have heard of Wert’s Cafe before, even though I’m a thousand miles away. I’m glad it lived up to its reputation.

    Now those onion rings are my kind of onion rings! They remind me of the onion rings that Howard Johnson’s used to serve (except those had clam batter). I’ve never had a better onion ring than the ones they prepared, but I’ve found a couple of places (long forgotten) over the decades that came close. I sure wish everyone served their onion rings that way!

    Liked by 1 person

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