Wendy’s is ready for Fall, and with gameday food in mind, they’ve decided to smother their cheeseburgers in nacho fixings. The Loaded Nacho Cheeseburger starts with classic elements – beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, tomato – tops them off with poblano queso, spicy chipotle sauce, tortilla strips, and crispy corn, and stuffs them all in a jalapeño cheddar bun. Anyone who’s ever ordered loaded nachos or a nacho helmet at a baseball game knows that these cheesy chips are a fickle mistress. The first few will be crunchy and satisfying, but things will eventually devolve into a soggy mess. Will a burger suffer the same fate? Will Wendy’s version of Corn Nuts save it?
Let’s start with the bun. Despite the obvious cheddar spots on top and jalapeño bits baked in, it doesn’t taste like much on its own. Notably, both times I tried this, there was a nicely browned-looking cheese crust along a third of the bottom bun, like the cheddar had been conveniently placed to spill over into a picture-perfect frico, but it isn’t actually as crispy as it seemed and lacks discernible flavor.
Atop that bun is a standard slice of American cheese (which you’d never notice unless you chose to pick it apart), a single patty of Wendy’s beef (which I consider to be pretty good quality for a fast food burger), a generous helping of poblano queso, tortilla strips, surprising corn kernels, lettuce, tomato, and the spicy sauce. There’s enough of the queso and sauce that the whole thing is a messy experience and definitely eats like what you’d find if you persevered to the bottom of your nacho plate and found everything had become a little too homogenous. The queso is tasty and more flavorful than I expected, while the chipotle sauce either got lost or I didn’t get as much of it. The sandwich has a slight kick, but it never crosses into truly spicy territory or tastes like chipotles. Lettuce would usually add a little crunch to a burger, but here, it forfeits its texture to the cheese/sauce mix, which brings us to the tortilla strips and crispy corn.
Before trying this, I couldn’t picture what the crispy corn would be and wondered if it was just a redundant explanation of the strips. It turns out they’re a unique entity: zestily seasoned jumbo corn kernels akin to Corn Nuts. The few that escaped my burger were nice on their own, but the ones that stayed on managed to either be startlingly crunchy amid the otherwise squishy situation or sogged by cheese into an unpleasant texture. The tortilla strips, not surprisingly, met a similar end, and most of them were left lifeless.
This sounds like a list of complaints, but I enjoyed this burger. Not all of the textures worked out as Wendy’s intended and I would have liked some more jalapeño flavor, but the cheesy-without-being-gloppy poblano queso makes it worth a try as a novelty item.
Purchased Price: $6.29
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 710 calories, 43 grams of total fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 1390 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of total carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 11 grams of total sugars, and 33 grams of protein.