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Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, A Popular Kansas Chain Comes to Fairfax


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Website & Menu: http://freddysusa.com/Menu/FullMenu/default.aspx

Location: 10030 Fairfax Blvd, Fairfax, VA (next to the Fairfax Outback Steakhouse)

Serious Eats review of another location: http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/04/chain-reaction-freddys-frozen-custard-and-steakburgers-review.html

Impressions: Much less claustrophobic than the Fredericksburg Steak & Shake (and sure as shit easier to get to), and far more "roomy" than the Smashburger down the street. There's likely a good reason for this, however, in the fact that directly behind the restaurant is a communal practice field and playground, and directly adjacent is the Fairfax Outback. That's excellent news for their bottom line, but I could see both factors weighing heavily on interior congestion, service time, and *parking*.

Other than that, this place is a near-carbon-copy of Steak & Shake. The chief difference between the two is that Freddy's does frozen custard along with their grillworks. Other differences come in the form of Freddy's not having the wait staff of S&S, instead opting for a number-call system. This isn't a negative insomuch as the wait staff, at least at the Fredericksburg S&S, contributes to more traffic on the floor.

Two big notable *minuses* have to be the location of the condiment/drink station *right next* to where you pick up your order as well as *only two registers* for the interior. It also feels decidedly "cheaper" and much more kitschy than Smashburger, so if you prefer a more "adult" atmosphere, I'd advise you go a bit further down/up the road.

Layout: Roomy, considering it used to be a Kentucky Fried Chicken. I visited right around 5:45pm on 3/23, and people had plenty of room to move around, but a game taking place on the aforementioned practice field and the looming dinner rush of the Outback might've made eating there an hour or two later untenable, though I'd imagine only about 1/4 of those originally going to Outback would be tempted to "downgrade" their dining experience to fast-casual when presented with a lengthy wait time.

There are also, thankfully, no distractants to keep people in their seats longer than they need to be there. No TVs showing sports or cartoons discourages loitering, and I didn't see any mention of "Free Wi-Fi."

Wait Time: No more than ten minutes, but it wasn't very busy, either.

Order and Taste: One double Bacon and Cheese (#7) and one single "California Style" just to taste. The patties are smashed almost paper-thin (again, a la Steak & Shake) and if you get a single, you're liable to taste more of the toppings and condiments than the protein. This is perfectly fine if you're looking to save on fat and calories, but not especially recommended if you're trying to sate your hunger. The standard burger uses only mustard as a condiment, and if you're a fan of that, you'll love these burgers. The "California Style" is their take on In & Out, and having never been to one, I can't tell if their "spread" hits it dead on. It's pretty much just that predictable "Thousand Island" taste. As for the beef itself, if you like crust, this place does it better than Smashburger.

The big winner had to be the toppings. I barely tasted the bacon, but the winner on both burgers had to be the white onion and pickle. Unlike Smashburger, whose onions tend to catch in your teeth and pull out with each bite, this onion was crispy and yielded quite nicely with each bite, markedly contributing to each one taken.

The fries aren't really anything special. They're shoestring-style and palatable, but fundamentally no different than a half-dozen other places around here who do it the same way, and only earn a slight kick in the form of their "Fry Sauce" which is simply that, a yellowish-beige light seemingly mayo/mustard-based sauce that has visual flecks of what appears to be cayenne pepper or curry powder or the like inside of it.

Even after two of their burgers and a handful of their fries, I still wasn't "full," which should also speak to the viability of this place as anything more than just a "light lunch/dinner." They even seem to know this themselves, as each booth/table's napkin dispenser advertises their frozen custard as the "perfect end to every meal," and they sure got me to fish for that in the form of their PBC&B (Peanut Butter Cup & Banana) concrete. The custard itself is on par with and perhaps a bit superior to Milwaukee's (especially considering there isn't a frozen custard place in Fairfax yet), and the blending of banana and candy at least gives you the *impression* that you're eating something vaguely nutritious, despite my counting only about 4-5 slices of banana in my "regular" sized cup.

Verdict: Worth a try if you're within 20-30 minutes of it, just be sure to not go during a dinner rush, and if you see anything being played/practiced on the field behind, eat quickly lest you be drowned in an avalanche of sweaty, amped up little youth soccer munchkins. It's also not *cheap*, with each combo costing in the range of 7-8 bucks plus whatever else you decide to tack on.

Also, evidently it was good enough for "Blago" to make it his last meal as a free man for the next 14 years: http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/03/blagojevich-eats-last-meal-before-prison-at-freddys-frozen-custard-and-steakburgers.html

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Freddy's is similar to Culver's which is similar to the best of all, Kopp's in Milwaukee. http://www.kopps.com/ http://brookfield-wi.patch.com/listings/kopps-frozen-custard If I had never been to Kopp's I would have both Culver's and Freddy's near the top of a list for fast food burgers and custard.

The local mini chain, "Milwaukee Frozen Custard," has little in common with the standard, Kopp's. Neilson's in Vienna would be closer; still Kopp's frozen custard is 16% butterfat which is unheard of for scooped custard. I believe Milwaukee is around 13% or so with similar low overrun. For all of those who love the Dairy Godmother and Carl's in Fredericksburg (original Electro Freeze machine from the early '50's) I would seriously suggest that Neilson's is among the best frozen custard in America. Still second to Kopp's but a serious Saturday night indulgence.

Neilson's also makes a concrete which I believe is better than the original at Ted Drewes.

Now that I have retired one of my claims to fame is having had lunch at Kopp's in West Milwaukee and dinner at Ted Drewes and Imo's in St. Louis.

Worth every calorie and every mile.

About Freddy's: it started in 2002 in Wichita. From Wikipedia:

"Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is a Wichita, Kansas-based restaurant, famous for cooked-to-order Steakburgers and specialty Hot Dogs served with piping hot shoestring Fries. Custard is churned fresh all day in each store for Freddy's Tasty Treats. The first restaurant opened in Wichita, Kansas in 2002 and began franchising in 2004."

I represented a Wichita company from the mid '80's and have stopped there every year since. Prior to Freddy's opening Wichita had Walt's Hamburgers and Takhoma Burger although White Castle started there in the '20's. Wichita was not a big frozen custard town although Culver's was/is one of the fastest growing chains in America. Spangles was the local fast food company of note. I've just never thought of Freddy's in the way that I did Kopp's, In-n-Out or several others.

In-n-Out: it's not just spread but the way that grilled onions melt into long grilled cheese and this in combination with the spread and, frankly, a greasy/juicy hamburger and a toasted bun puts them over the top. "Fries animal style" has melted cheese, grilled onions and spread all on top of french fries made from fresh potatoes.

I would probably be more excited if Whataburger opened in Fairfax; neither Kopp's nor In-n-Out will happen in my lifetime, In the meantime Neilson's in Vienna for frozen custard and Ray's is still a benchmark for a hamburger.

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I've been back here twice since the first time, and I have to say I think they've improved slightly-to-markedly. The burgers I got originally seemed to lack a lot of the taste and seasoning they have now, and I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that the custard quality is better than Milwaukee's. Wait time seems to have increased slightly, but if that's the reason the burgers are tasting better, I'll gladly take it.

The fries also are almost carbon-copies of the ones Artie's serves down the road. Same taste and structure.

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Freddy's is similar to Culver's which is similar to the best of all, Kopp's in Milwaukee. http://www.kopps.com/ http://brookfield-wi.patch.com/listings/kopps-frozen-custard If I had never been to Kopp's I would have both Culver's and Freddy's near the top of a list for fast food burgers and custard.

The local mini chain, "Milwaukee Frozen Custard," has little in common with the standard, Kopp's. Neilson's in Vienna would be closer; still Kopp's frozen custard is 16% butterfat which is unheard of for scooped custard. I believe Milwaukee is around 13% or so with similar low overrun. For all of those who love the Dairy Godmother and Carl's in Fredericksburg (original Electro Freeze machine from the early '50's) I would seriously suggest that Neilson's is among the best frozen custard in America. Still second to Kopp's but a serious Saturday night indulgence.

Neilson's also makes a concrete which I believe is better than the original at Ted Drewes.

Now that I have retired one of my claims to fame is having had lunch at Kopp's in West Milwaukee and dinner at Ted Drewes and Imo's in St. Louis.

Worth every calorie and every mile.

About Freddy's: it started in 2002 in Wichita. From Wikipedia:

"Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is a Wichita, Kansas-based restaurant, famous for cooked-to-order Steakburgers and specialty Hot Dogs served with piping hot shoestring Fries. Custard is churned fresh all day in each store for Freddy's Tasty Treats. The first restaurant opened in Wichita, Kansas in 2002 and began franchising in 2004."

I represented a Wichita company from the mid '80's and have stopped there every year since. Prior to Freddy's opening Wichita had Walt's Hamburgers and Takhoma Burger although White Castle started there in the '20's. Wichita was not a big frozen custard town although Culver's was/is one of the fastest growing chains in America. Spangles was the local fast food company of note. I've just never thought of Freddy's in the way that I did Kopp's, In-n-Out or several others.

In-n-Out: it's not just spread but the way that grilled onions melt into long grilled cheese and this in combination with the spread and, frankly, a greasy/juicy hamburger and a toasted bun puts them over the top. "Fries animal style" has melted cheese, grilled onions and spread all on top of french fries made from fresh potatoes.

I would probably be more excited if Whataburger opened in Fairfax; neither Kopp's nor In-n-Out will happen in my lifetime, In the meantime Neilson's in Vienna for frozen custard and Ray's is still a benchmark for a hamburger.

Joe...I have to challenge you and everyone on this board to come into Willow and eat our burger and not agree that it is one of the the top three burgers youve ever had!!!!! :o

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We went a few weeks ago. Burger was very similar to Smashburger down the road although I liked this one better. I also liked the fries better than Smashburger. We drove all the way to Fairfax for the burgers. As someone who used to spend a few weeks a year in Milwaulkee I can say that while the custard is good, its no better than Milwaukee's Frozen Custard. Cheaper though.

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I've been here quite a bit since originally writing this post, and I can say that when I want a fast food burger, I hold this place on par with Five Guys.  They're still finding their stride, even close to six months after their opening, but they make a decent product.  If they could just cut the sometimes overpowering salinity out of the patty, it'd be no question what the best 'not-so-fast' fast food burger in Fairfax is.

Though I can't decide if it's a plus or minus that you can continue to smell your burger on your hands hours after you've eaten it.  It would certainly make a dog like you more.

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I've been here quite a bit since originally writing this post, and I can say that when I want a fast food burger, I hold this place on par with Five Guys.  They're still finding their stride, even close to six months after their opening, but they make a decent product.  If they could just cut the sometimes overpowering salinity out of the patty, it'd be no question what the best 'not-so-fast' fast food burger in Fairfax is.

Though I can't decide if it's a plus or minus that you can continue to smell your burger on your hands hours after you've eaten it.  It would certainly make a dog like you more.

Do they have a drive up window? I'm under the impression that Smashburger doesn't have one, but I have nothing to base that on, as i have only had their food brought to me by friends as I'm not able to drive at present.

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Do they have a drive up window? I'm under the impression that Smashburger doesn't have one, but I have nothing to base that on, as i have only had their food brought to me by friends as I'm not able to drive at present.

Yeah, they have a drive-up window, and if you're in a hurry it definitely seems that they fast-track drive-thru orders - but comparing it to a McDonald's driverthru it can sometimes feel glacial.

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Yeah, they have a drive-up window, and if you're in a hurry it definitely seems that they fast-track drive-thru orders - but comparing it to a McDonald's driverthru it can sometimes feel glacial.

"Glacial" is the word -- swung through the drive-thru window for a cone of custard last week.  There was one car waiting, so I figured "what the heck?", but it still took about ten minutes.

The custard had proved a great base for a concrete -- definitely a better version of this treat than a Blizzard or a McFlurry -- but on its own, it was pretty meh.

Not sure the drive-thru for a burger would have proved any faster than stopping at Smashburger (which indeed does not have drive-thru) for take-out.

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"Glacial" is the word -- swung through the drive-thru window for a cone of custard last week.  There was one car waiting, so I figured "what the heck?", but it still took about ten minutes.

The custard had proved a great base for a concrete -- definitely a better version of this treat than a Blizzard or a McFlurry -- but on its own, it was pretty meh.

Not sure the drive-thru for a burger would have proved any faster than stopping at Smashburger (which indeed does not have drive-thru) for take-out.

Thanks for the confirmation of Smashburger not having drive up. And thanks to destruya for confirming that Freddy's does!

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The one minus to Smashburger is the restaurant layout.  Either the designer of the interior needs to be shot, or it was purposefully designed so that during high-traffic hours there'd be a "line out the door" effect for everyone driving down Route 50 to see.  Compounding that, even after you endure the line, there's no guarantee you'll have anywhere to sit, and there's only one little 'limbo' highrise table for people who are waiting.

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or it was purposefully designed so that during high-traffic hours there'd be a "line out the door" effect for everyone driving down Route 50 to see. 

This has to be it, yet in all but the nicest weather, it's an absolute deterrent to going there.  There's room for what, eight people inside, before the line hits the door?

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Went to the drive in after a doctor appt out in Fairfax. Really was not all that much longer than a McDonald's would be. It was after 2:30 pm, so we were the only car. I had the Hatch Chile Burger combo (argue over the spelling yourselves) with fries and a lemonade.

Yum, there is some heat in this burger and grilled onions and American style cheese. Appropriately frizzled on the edges. I like thin fries, and these are delish, but we did not receive any Fry Sauce.

Me likee. 16.65 for two people, my friend had a different combo.

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The only two things I can advise against ordering are the Patty Melt and the "California Style" burgers.  The Patty Melt lacks enough in taste to make me not want to order it again after asking them to put Freddy's Sauce on it (as Steak and Shake does for theirs), which did absolutely nothing to help it.  My guess on the culprit is that it uses an extremely weak Swiss cheese.

As for "California Style," the addition of lettuce, tomato, and their take on I&O's "spread" actually detracts from what makes the 'originals' palatable.

Also, if you eat-in instead of using the drive-thru, the best advice I can give is that *one* person gets a combo meal, and the other orders a la carte.  The amount of fries they put into the basket along with the burger can border on obscene, and the helping is more than enough for two people to enjoy.

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Went there with a friend after a blood draw at the lab. Last blood work showed I was a bit anemic, so what better way to get some iron than a hamburger?

The Hatch Chile burger is off the menu, so I got the single burger with one hot dog combo. Good hot dog, I had it with mustard and sauerkraut, and requested grilled onions and cheese on my burger. Fries were good, though not as fresh as last time. It was 11:30 am so there was only one car ahead of us. We did receive the Fry Sauce this time, which added some flavor to the plentiful fries.

I ordered iced tea, my friend ordered Pink Lemonade (they only had pink today). When we got back to her house, we combined them and had Pinkish Arnold Palmers! I suppose I could take an antiquated word from the more heated comments in the Post and call it a "Pinko Palmer".

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Went there with a friend after a blood draw at the lab. Last blood work showed I was a bit anemic, so what better way to get some iron than a hamburger?

The Hatch Chile burger is off the menu, so I got the single burger with one hot dog combo. Good hot dog, I had it with mustard and sauerkraut, and requested grilled onions and cheese on my burger. Fries were good, though not as fresh as last time. It was 11:30 am so there was only one car ahead of us. We did receive the Fry Sauce this time, which added some flavor to the plentiful fries.

I ordered iced tea, my friend ordered Pink Lemonade (they only had pink today). When we got back to her house, we combined them and had Pinkish Arnold Palmers! I suppose I could take an antiquated word from the more heated comments in the Post and call it a "Pinko Palmer".

I'd call it an Arlene Palmer, simply because I don't know of any common female names that start with an "Arn" root that wouldn't be some Southern Franken-name like "Arnice."

...well, son of a bitch: http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Arnice

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I'd call it an Arlene Palmer, simply because I don't know of any common female names that start with an "Arn" root that wouldn't be some Southern Franken-name like "Arnice."

...well, son of a bitch: http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Arnice

The southern family I was married into for 21 years had about five names they circulated amongst the members of the family. "Keith" was both a boy's and girl's name, as was "Lee". Then there were the more obscure ones, like "Tomlinson".

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So this month's 'specials' are a meatloaf sandwich (which actually doesn't look half bad in 'show' form - if a little basic) and, like so many other places, a pumpkin pie concrete.

YBiYEZi.png

(and no, I don't work for these guys either, Don :) )

EDIT: Tried the Meatloaf Sandwich today.  Suffers from the same issue as the Patty Melt.  Had to salt and pepper the everloving hell out of it to give it any sort of taste.  Recommend asking for both raw onion to compliment the grilled, plus bacon.  The patty, despite it being meat loaf, looked and tasted rather 'mealy' to my palate as well.  Kinda disappointing.

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So it's been a while since I've updated this.  They're serving a pretty consistent product now - you'll get a slightly overcooked patty every once in a while, or a piece of gristle, but as annoying as the latter is, at least it tells you they're using meat with some fat in it (or actual *meat*, period).  Even the fries have improved, even if you have to end up eating the tinier ones by skewering them with a fork.

Cheaper and arguably better than Smashburger now, unless you've got a thing for arugula on your burgers.

And the Hatch Chile Burger hasn't come back yet, MsDiPesto, I checked this evening when I treated myself.  Probably more of an autumn/winter thing. vOv

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Thanks for the update, Destruya, (hey, love the Brock Sampson icon! Go team Venture!) Fresh Hatch chilies are definitely only something you see around the East Coast in the fall, including the weekend roastings at some of the supermarkets, etc.

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So I found a way to get a decently passable Double Double Animal Style at this place:

Order a double steakburger, ~california style~, and nix the sliced onions, instead substituting in grilled onions for no charge.  (Optionally) Add mustard (asking to have it on the bottom so it doesn't co-mingle directly with the spread).  Enjoy a passable facsimile that doesn't require a flight to Dallas or the West Coast.

Nixing the mustard altogether and simply relying on the intense saltiness of the patties themselves works, too.  That's advisable if they're busy.

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12 hours ago, Destruya said:

Nixing the mustard altogether and simply relying on the intense saltiness of the patties themselves works, too.  That's advisable if they're busy.

Wouldn't grilling the onions take more time than adding the mustard on the bottom, or are grilled onions non-negotiable? :)

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It's not "Animal Style" without the grilled onions.  And it might just be easier to ask the guy when you pick up your food to put some mustard in a condiment cup for you to apply yourself.

Also, the closer the mustard is to the meat, the better - since the other hallmark of "Animal Style" is that the patties are griddled *with* the mustard.

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