Disclaimer: No Frogs Were Harmed in the Making of Frög Burger

Burger Breakdown

Frög Burger - Map It!
$8.50
Two grilled cheese sandwiches for buns, Russian dressing and a lifetime of guilt.
$3.00 for regular, $3.75 for unleaded.
6.0/10

"It's a burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches."

"That sounds disgusting."

"What? Grilled cheese sandwiches, dude."

"I really don't want to eat that."

"Dude."

"No."

"It's either that or Wendy's." 

And with that, my uncanny powers of persuasion led us to the new burger stand outside of the Franklin Institute, Frög Burger. Opened by Steve Poses, of egregiously-umlauted Frög and Frog Commissary Catering fame, Frög Burger delivers a friendly, home-cooked, backyard barbecue experience for those of us without barbecues, backyards, homes or friends, making it perfect for the average Philadelphian. Dropped haphazardly on Big Ben's front lawn like it fell off the back of the carny caravan, the burger stand is adorned with metal polls, orange traffic cones and precariously piled propane tanks, creating a quaint "Kosovo refugee" aesthetic.

The Burger: While there are four different burger options at the shack, the only real choice is the Love Burger: an all-beef patty (sourced from South Philly's Esposito Attilio) between two grilled cheese sandwiches, slathered with a secret special sauce. Spoiler alert: the secret is Russian dressing.

Frog Burger's Love Burger

Kyle: It's easy to be misled when ordering this abomination. It's from a renowned Philadelphia caterer, has a unique composition, Ben Franklin said it's cool to use his house for it, and it costs $8.50. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but let me reiterate: it's a burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches. That's it.

Frog  BurgerEach grilled cheese sandwich came out lightly browned, cooked enough to warm up the thick American cheese but not enough to melt it. In this case, the extra consistency is beneficial, since this butter-soaked burger's structural integrity lasts as long as a Higgs-boson particle; the hot grease from the burger and the butter from the bread combined to bleed through the sandwich, the wax paper, the plastic basket, the wood table, the grassy soil, the earth's crust and the fabric of reality before I could take a single bite. While the bottom portion was having its existence debated by Drexel grad students, the top grilled cheese was rich, crisp and buttery; a bit much for my taste, but respectable.

One of the selling points for this burger is that it's grilled over an open flame rather than on a skillet, and in this respect it did not disappoint. The patty is wonderfully, unapologetically misshapen and ugly, a sign that it was actually hand-made from ground beef, and crossed with dark black lines, battle scars proving its time on the grill. The beef was pleasantly seasoned, although overcooked (my medium was on the darker side of medium-well) and more than one bite was met with the unnerving crunch of gristle. The tangy special sauce worked well with the beef, but sticking it between two slices of American cheese doesn't hide that it's obviously secret Russian dressing here to destroy our way of life. These ingredients don't run, or something.

The fries cost $3.00, or $3.75 for the jalapeño fries, which are exactly the same as the normal ones but with shriveled bits of pepper sporadically throughout; the jalapeño flavor was barely noticeable on the store-bought shoestring fries. While crispy and a nice golden color, there's nothing of note here, and the fries are almost certainly the same ones we found at Tweed, in all probability from Sysco.

As intimated above, this is one of the sloppiest, messiest burgers you will ever eat, dripping with grease and sauce and heart failure. Flavor-wise, there's nothing really bad about it, but nothing particularly good, either. If the Love Burger was $5 and came with fries I'd say go for it, but as is, you're paying a premium for a novelty. The best thing to come out of this burger was that Higgs-boson joke. You don't know how rare those things are. Rating: 5/10.


RecursionLaurence: I love Frög Burger, but probably not for the reason you would expect. Surely the proprietors are mathematically obsessed. Why else would they develop a recursive sandwich? A little background on recursion first: For something to be recursive, it must be derived from itself. To define it you cannot exclude the item you are trying to define.

Such is the case with Frög Burger's Love Burger. The Love Burger is a sandwich made of sandwiches. The recipe reads along the lines of, “to prepare this sandwich, first prepare two sandwiches.” It's like sitting in one of those mock '50s era diners with the two mirrored walls facing one another so you see yourself repeated into a glass hall of infinity. Or it's like the acronym for SEPTA: SEPTA Embodies Pathetic Transportation in America.

All math nerdery aside, I was fully prepared to hate the Love Burger. Ironic right? By its description I couldn't image how a gimmick like this could actually taste good. But if working for Burgerdelphia has taught me anything it is that, when it comes to finding the perfect burger, sacrifices must be made. That and Kyle made an ultimatum.

Photo of Frog Burger's Love BurgerI ordered mine medium-well and was surprised that it was cooked just as I had asked. The meat was still slightly pink, had a fresh from the grill smokiness, a seared, salty exterior, and gushed when I took my first bite. The meat was great and the idea of adding grilled cheese instead of a bun worked out surprisingly well. The cheese was soft and rich while the bread was savory with butter but wonderfully crunchy regardless. The flavors, which I had expected to really fight, actually blended nicely. I found all the ingredients to be fresh, maybe not farmers' market fresh, but I was happy to have crisp green lettuce and a sweet, ripe, red tomato. Kyle didn't think much of the sauce, which if it wasn't Russian dressing, used the same recipe that is used to make Russian dressing. Either way, I like Russian dressing. It wasn't bad, and it had a nice sweet and tangy taste that worked well with the rest of the meal.

Overall my experience was positive, and sitting in the shade on the lawn of the Franklin Institute, with a cold beer in one hand and a hot burger in the other, is a fine way to pass a sunny afternoon. It's a totally informal eating experience, and the atmosphere achieves its goal of feeling like a backyard cookout, if your backyard has a plane landing in it and your house is a five-story stone mansion. More importantly, I'd go back and when asked what I think about Frog Burger, I now answer:

I love Frög Burger, but probably not for the reason you would expect... Rating. 7/10.

Verdict: 

Kyle says skip it. Laurence says go, even if you don't get the Love Burger. If a burger with grilled cheese instead of bread sounds awesome to you, you'll probably be happy. If you go skip the fries. They're not great and the burger alone has enough calories to last you a week.

6.0
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