I ate at the Bagger Dave's in Grand Rapids Michigan yesterday; it was the first time I had been to a Bagger Dave's. I really love a good burger and and I had heard they makes a good one. Before going I talked to multiple friends and read quite a few reviews.
Friends were split between liking it or saying it was OK or nothing special. Most of the reviews for the Grand Rapids location were negative citing cold food, rude staff, incorrect orders, long waits when picking up orders, and other complaints. I decided I would take my kids yesterday, and two of them were avialble so off we went arounbd 4:45 PM.
We were greeted and seated quickly and our waitress was there as soon as we were in our chairs. She asked if we had even been to a Bagger Dave's before and we told er it was our first visit She proceeded to tell us how things worked there. One of the things that I liked was by default all burgers had two patties. One thing I did not like as the server explained, was nothing extra came with the burgers or sandwiches. You want fries? That's extra. The same thing for building your own burger for things like meat, cheese, chili, etc. Even sour cream and cheese on a small cup of chili is another 80 cents.
In addition to the menu they have these little cards for making a custom burger and/or an order of fries to go with it. I chose this route picking three beef patties, lettuce, tomato, raw onions, cheddar, bacon, their Santa Fe Chipolte sauce, and Mayo. In reference to what I said above about everything costing extra, in my opinion there was not enough of the premium toppings such as cheese and bacon on my burger to justify the cost.
My daughter picked their Bacon BBQ Burger, my son their Peanut Butter, Honey, and Banana sandwich. We all ordered their Fresh Cut Potato Fries, and soda.
Our food arrived and I was very pleased to find all three orders of fries were pipping hot, and I have to say they were incredible! You could almost justify the trip for those alone! Another area I was impressed with was the service. Our server was very attentive, and fast, and seemed like she knew when we would something, and she just appeared at our side. The soda was well carbonated and tasted very good.
The first problem I had was with my burger; they had forgotten the Santa Fe sauce and the onions. A quick chat with one of the servers fixed that. Another issue was my son's sandwich; he said the way the banana was cooked left it like mush with a bad consistency and no taste.
My daughter and I enjoyed our burgers; I wish they did not have to cook everything medium well however. I like my burgers pink on the inside and the patties in both mine and my daughters were kind of dry. At least with the sauces we had chosen they were still very tasty, but they could have been so much more so if they could have been cooked a little less and had some juices left in them. If the kitchen is following safe handling practices and they are using good product, there is no need to so cook a ground beef patty to this extent. I will say, and I hate to use this phrase but I feel I must; their Santa Fe Chipolte sauce is to die for!
We decided to order a dessert and we shared one of their Sinfully Sweet Brownie Sundaes. The one disappointment in this otherwise fine dessert was the brownies tasted like those cheap ones you get out of vending machines or low cost multipacks, with each one wrapped in cellophane. They were obviously not baked on the premises, and we all agreed they were of a lower quality which affected the rest of the dessert which was very, very good.
The bill came, and I was able to see how quickly all the extras added up!
One of my friends had asked how this compared to Smashburger. I mentioned it was different. Same thing as trying to compare it to a double bacon burger at Culvers or Steak & Shake; it's different. I could see myself eating burgers from all three establishments depending on my mood at a given time, but I will say the fries at Burger Dave's totally thrash the competition's!
So, the big question is would I go back? I believe I would but I would be more careful; I'd order one of the stock burgers and just an order of fries, and I'd skip their dessert which should help keep the cost down. Perhaps a beer or two would have helped and made me a little less critical, but alcohol should enhance a good meal and not masquerade its shortcomings.