Hardee’s has reintroduced a classic from the ’90s: the Frisco Burger. It was a childhood favorite of mine, so I pulled up an old commercial on YouTube that slapped me in the face with nostalgia and reminded me how excited 7-year-old me was to try the sourdough bread. How exotic! I’d only had regular, non-sour bread before. Sourdough bread isn’t quite as novel these days, but Hardee’s has brought back its San Francisco-inspired burger as the Frisco Angus Burger. Will it live up to my fond childhood memories?
I order and receive my hamburger in under a minute. The cynical adult in me says that means it’s been sitting under a heat lamp for who knows how long, but the little kid in me is excited to have food so quickly.
As cynical adult me feared, the hamburger patty on my burger didn’t seem to be the freshest. The outer edges were attractively crisped, but when I cut the patty, it was a dull grey color. And once bitten, it was dry and unremarkable. The bacon was thin and unremarkable, as fast food bacon almost always is.
I’ve always been skeptical of the Angus branding of beef, and even more these days when I can get an Angus cheeseburger at my local gas station. Hardee’s Angus Thickburgers used to be a premium fast food offering, and it’s sad to see the quality dip.
As a child, I wouldn’t have noticed how much the two large tomato slices contribute to this meat-and-cheese-heavy sandwich. I was assiduous in removing every tomato from sandwiches until my early thirties. These days I can tell that the tomatoes here contribute some needed freshness and are better than the wet, flavorless discs on other fast food burgers.
The sourdough bread is plain white bread, just as it was in the past. The sliced round pieces were innovative in the ’90s and allowed a pleasantly toasted presentation, but no wild bacteria are flavoring the burger bun here. I don’t really expect that; good sourdough needs a mature starter that’s fed and cared for like it’s family. In my experience, great, really funky sourdough needs a starter that’s been burbling away for years (and occasionally forgotten) so that it’s surly, nearly sentient, and plotting its escape. And that’s a lot for a fast food company to deal with. My point is the bread is fine.
The 2022 Frisco Angus Burger is a decent sandwich, but it’s missing the crucial special sauce that made the ’90s sandwich a standout. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but years later, when the internet was finally a thing, I asked Jeeves (look it up, Zoomer), “What is the Frisco Burger Special Sauce?” and he responded, “Onion mayonnaise, sir.” My Frisco Angus burger had plain mayo that combined with the processed Swiss cheese into a white goopy mess. Just like the old days! But without the onion mayo, it’s just not the same congealed goo I loved as a kid.
Despite my disappointment, the Frisco Angus Burger is a perfectly serviceable sandwich. Perhaps it could have never lived up to my memories, and mine seemed particularly heat lamp-struck, but it gets the fundamental combination of toasted bread, meat, and cheese right.
Purchased Price: $7.49
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 760 calories, 50 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 120 milligrams of cholesterol, 1550 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 36 gram of protein.