The Burgers of Wisconsin
Hello folks, May is around the corner and that means 'Burger Month' here @chibbqking is coming with it. So today we take a sneak peak into whats ahead and visit yet another old school Midwest burger joint. For those unaware, nobody does the 'Burgers of WI' better than we do here. Last Spring we decided to stop in and take a stroll around Manitowoc, WI one day. It's the home to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, one of the largest Nautical museums in the country and also coincidentally enough, Burger Boat Company which is the oldest custom yacht builder in America. Many people find themselves here before boarding the S.S Badger Ferry that takes travelers and their vehicles from Manitowoc across the lake into Ludington, Michigan as part of U.S Route 10. Manitowoc is all about the boats and one of the better looking 'Great Lakes' communities I have seen and I got this impression on just a short visit, I'll definitely be back. As we got lost looking for one spot we came across another place called Bud Willman's, it was all in good luck.
a locals favorite in Manitowoc, WI
Open over 45 years? Opens at 5a everyday? and Hamburgers in their name? I knew it was good right then and there. I made my driver turn around stop on the dime when we saw the place. So we went on in to grab some burgers. My first impression upon entering (aside from the wonderful smell) was that this must be the place where boaters of all sorts eat at before a day or longer on the water and it's probably been that way since 1954 when Bud Willman's first got started. The inside isn't much as far as looks. They have an 'L' shaped counter along the cooks area and a few 1970's era tables and booths rounding out the rest of the place.
We took a look at the menu which was very reasonable and just like the type you would expect to attract alot of local regulars. I never really took a look at much else on it since we were there for the burgers. A single will set you back a $1.25, with a double being a little over $2.50. It was all good from there. We watched as the waitress went into the fridge to grab a container containing fresh balls of beef. I was feeling friendly and asked if she would mind if I took a quick pic of them and was very confused at first as to why. When I explained the deal she and the grill lady were happy to share and glad we were there.
We each went with a double which are two balls of beef patted into each other. I was able to get a video of our burgers being made from where we sat at so you can see how the grill lady smashed these to perfection. The smell and cooking technique reminded me of a long gone place in Chicago called Glenn's I used to frequent with my dad growing up. Glenn would always have a full house of people in his small storefront that sat on Fullerton just east of Ashland and everyone was always there eating burgers for breakfast. It was one of my favorite places to eat at when we got to go. I leaned over and told my guy watch these be the best burgers we've had on this trip yet.
View of the burgers being made from where we sat at
After about five minutes we were given our burgers which we were taking to go for the ride back to Chi. I was already regretting the fact I only ordered one. The smell from the steam coming from the bag was too much to resist so we ripped them open to eat on the hood of the truck right then and there. I'm lucky I didn't forget to snap a pic before I ate this because my mouth was drooling as I snapped a few to share with here.
Bud Willman's double cheeseburger
Upon first bite it took me back to Glenn's, Bud Willman's was everything I remember Glenn's to be. Beefy, cheesy, greasy and potent from those onions smashed into the meat. The fresh beef paired with the perfect cooking technique makes this one of the best most 'simple' burgers you'll ever have. In the end I guess I'm somewhat lucky that Glenn's is no more. If I lived anywhere near old Buddy Boy's, I would be there eating burgers for breakfast until my heart had decided it's had enough. I had never heard of nor been recommended this place before we randomly drove by otherwise it would of been on the list for this trip from the get go. Just further proof of the great burgers to be ate while in the cheese and beer state. Stay tuned for many more winners throughout the Spring and Summer. I love burgers in Wisconsin.
Bud Willman's Lunch
1901 Washington Street
Manitowoc, WI 54220
I grew up in Manitowoc, I haven't lived there for over 30 years, but when I do go back, Bud's is my very first stop. You found a gem, all right, their burgers are legendary !
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