Note: I scheduled today’s post for later than usual, because Welcome Diner doesn’t open until 5pm, and showing you a great local burger that you couldn’t buy for several hours seemed like a uniquely awful form of torture.
Admittedly, I was hesitant to try this sandwich for over a year. We lived in The Roosevelt, and yet I resisted making the trip a few blocks over to try what had been lauded as one of the best burgers in town. After all, there is no way that peanut butter, chunky peanut butter, belongs on a savory cheeseburger, right?
Wrong. Boy was I wrong.
Read on to hear more about how this unassuming, neighborhood spot continues to produce flavor-forward dishes that will make you wish they were open right now.
As the name indicates, Welcome Diner is probably as close to a classic, Streamline-era diner as one might find today. Last time we were there, the staff described it as “a place to chill-out really hard”. Work that one over in your head for a bit.
Each time I’ve had the PB&B, the Niman Ranch beef patty is cooked to a perfect Medium. Well-seasoned and well-seared, it’s never overcooked and still manages to provide enough heat for the peanut butter proofing process I’ll describe below.
Maybe the better way to say it is that, while on the PB&B the eater is clearly focused on the unique toppings, the meat itself is good enough that Stephanie ordered their “classic” burger above any of their amazing chicken and biscuit offerings. If you’ll turn down fried chicken and honey biscuits for an unadorned burger, you know that meat is top-notch.
If anything in this sandwich can be called “standard fare”, it’s the bun. Given the juiciness of the burger and toppings, this plain, toasted bun does a remarkable job keeping my shirt and hands presentable. Not too much “great, my mouth is full of bread” action, just enough to encase the savory, salty burger and convince you that you probably don’t need to put it down…ever.
[Warning: Topless Burger Pic below]
With a name like “PB&B Burger”, you know that the toppings is where this burger really stands out. Crisp, thick bacon from The Meat Shop (hooray for ethically raised pork!) brings a bit of texture to the saucy/gooey proceedings. Cheddar cheese; almost never go wrong there.
And then of course, comes the guest of honor: crunchy peanut butter. You’d think* that peanut butter would make each bite unbearably thick, sticking to the roof of your mouth and slowing down the noms. The truth, however, is that the peanut butter melts over the cheeseburger becoming the perfect, slightly sweet/mostly umami quasi-aioli you could imagine. Rather than slowing your chompers down, it turns into a beautiful sauce that keeps you from wanting to set the burger down between bites.
Manners be damned, the PB&B Burger is a lesson in fun, flavor, and hard-core chilling-out.
* Unless you’re a scientist or someone else familiar with the characteristics of viscous plasmas under heat.