It is important to eat a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, while avoiding saturated fats, too much sodium and excessive sugar.
This is good advice, but not as much fun as sinking your teeth into a juicy double cheeseburger with the works.
Add a milkshake to that order, and we’re talking about a pretty good Friday night.
In Willow Grove, you can do just that at Jakes’s Wayback Burgers, a franchise founded in Delaware in 1991 with the mission of making fresh (not frozen) burgers. There are over 25 locations along the East Coast, five of which are in Pennsylvania. Seven more PA franchises are “coming soon,” according to the website.
From the parking lot, that alluring scent of a Fryolator beckoned us in. The aromas became stronger and more mouthwatering as we entered and heard the sizzle of beef on the large flat-top grill behind the counter where burgers are made to order.
There are two large flat screen televisions at opposite ends of the room, one set to a sports channel, and the other to Nickelodeon.
The sound was on mute, or simply overpowered by the loud and varied music playing on the stereo. The Black Eyed Peas, Melissa Etheridge, Beyoncé and even 80s classic Dexy’s Midnight Runners were pumping at party level.
Jake’s has the feel of a place you would go after a few drinks with friends for a late night bite, but it was mostly filled with families, mine included, at 7 p.m.
Once we ordered our burgers (which can have one, two, or three patties) with our desired condiments (which range from classic ketchup, mustard and relish to the more interesting grilled onions, sweet peppers and chili), we took a seat. The friendly staff brought our food to the table.
My husband chose the Texas Jake Burger ($5.49), which is two beef patties, jalapeños, pepper jack cheese and chipotle (smoked jalapeño) mayo. This burger is spicy, so be prepared.
The smoky mayo and melted cheese made for a drippy, messy burger, but you won’t want to miss a bite.
It is that good.
I ordered the Rodeo Burger ($5.49). Two juicy beef patties are topped with cheese and two huge onion rings, then slathered in tangy barbecue sauce. Yum.
The thickly cut house-made potato chips are amazing ($1.49). They smelled and tasted like they would be greasy, but they were the trifecta of a perfect chip— dry, crunchy and salty—with the flavor of actual potato.
The french fries ($1.49) were average. Get the potato chips instead. You won’t be sorry.
My young son ordered the hot dog off the kids menu ($3.99), and it arrived sliced in half and grilled with fries on the side. The dog was a large and not too salty. He enjoyed it.
I also promised him a milkshake, so we bought the junior-sized vanilla shake ($2.49) and took home the Capri Sun that came with the kids meal. The shake had an alcohol bite as if someone was a little heavy-handed on the vanilla extract, and my son, despite having talked about nearly nothing else all day, didn’t want to drink much of it.
We ordered a small salad ($2.19) as an attempt at balance. It came completely covered in shredded cheddar cheese, and with two packets of dressing. As salads go, it was nothing special, but this is a burger joint—what did I expect?
Skip the salad, and just let Jake’s do what it does best.
We picked at the salad, but in the end, agreed to splurge that night and eat more greens the next day. Maybe the jalapeños on the Texas Jake burger counted as a vegetable?!
In today’s world where salt, fat and sugar are vilified, Jake’s Wayback Burgers is a welcome refuge where you can enjoy a real hamburger and homemade potato chips without feeling too guilty.
Jake’s has turkey burgers on the menu, too, but go ahead and get a real burger. It’s good to be bad.
Jake's Wayback Burgers gets 3 ½ out of 5 Whisks for salacious burgers and scrumptious potato chips.
Second helping of information:
Location – 2720 Easton Road, Willow Grove, PA 19090
Hours – Sunday - Thursday 10am - 9pm; Friday - Saturday 10am - 10pm
Phone – 215-442-1975
Website – http://waybackburgers.com/homepage/
Reservations – Not available or needed
On the Kids Menu – Kids menu with burger, hot dog, grilled cheese, or chicken fingers; the meal comes with fries and a drink; high chairs are available; no changing table