Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Teddy's Hits the Mainland

Teddy's Bigger Burgers
1113 North Harbor Blvd. 
Fullerton, CA 92832

My dad had a minor setback from his hip surgery from earlier this month, so we had to rush up to the hospital to keep the big guy company. He's fine and all, but hates being in the hospital, so we sat and talked with him for a couple of hours. My mom had wanted to eat in the St. Jude's cafeteria, but I'm not really a big fan of hospitals, and couldn't wait to get out of there. So I did a quick search to see what was around, and Teddy's Bigger Burgers popped up.

Teddy's came across my radar late last year when they invited me to their grand opening party. I could not make that event, but made a note to try them at a later date. I was surprised to learn that this is a rather big chain, based out of Hawaii. Started 17 years ago, Teddy's has 18 US locations in five states, and has international outposts in Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines.

They were started by two guys, Ted and Rich, who lamented the fact that they could not get a backyard quality burger in a fast casual restaurant. They spent the next few years finding suppliers and developing recipes. I was excited to give their interpretation of a modern 50's hamburger joint a try.

We got to this, their only California location, at about 7pm on a recent Friday evening. Teddy's is located right off of Harbor, in the same shopping center as Ralph's, and they share an outside dining area with Wing Stop, Subway, and a Flame Broiler. The restaurant was a lot bigger than it looks like from the outside, but we still chose to sit in front of the restaurant to enjoy the fresh air. Ordering is done at the counter, you are given a pager, and then they bring the food out to you.

The menu of course is dominated by burgers at Teddy's. They have many options to choose from. You can build your own burger, get a custom burger, or try one of their other types of burgers, like a turkey, veggie, or salmon burger. They also have chicken sandwiches, chicken strips, and fish and chips. We made our choices and waited for it at our table. This is how it all came out for us.

Everyone on Yelp was going on and on about these Garlic Butter Fries ($3.59), and they were good, but not as good as the hype suggested. They were kind of on the dry side, and the butter seemed to have sunk to the bottom of the basket. They shaved garlic and whatever the green part of this was, had plenty of garlic flavor, but without the butter to help bind it to the fries, it fell off when we tried to eat it. I'd give these another try though.

My mom ordered these Beer Battered O-Rings ($3.99) to go along with her meal. I kind of thought that the portion size for these was a little skimpy, but these were a pretty solid onion ring. The beer batter crust had a good crunch to it, and hung in there with the onion inside. Made even better when these were dipped in ranch, these were a pretty big hit at our table.

My niece Lillie was running around like a maniac for most of our time at Teddy's, showing off her expert use of her new Heelys shoes that she got for her birthday. She only stopped to quickly scarf down this Kid's Combo Corn Dog ($5.99). This kids meal included fries and a drink, and she did a great job of finishing the corn dog, which sometimes can be a chore with this girl.

This Chicken Tenders Kid's Combo Meal ($5.99) did not go over as well with my other niece, Gracie. She's a picky eater though, and did not really enjoy the chicken tenders that much, calling them just alright. She did manage to finish one, but only after she was promised a milkshake if she ate it. She did have no trouble polishing off her fries though. Raising kids seems like a real good time.

Now the real reason we were here at Teddy's, the burgers. I went with my old standby when eating in a new burger place, a bacon, avocado and cheeseburger. At Teddy's they call this the Bacado Burger ($10.19). The ordering process for burgers at Teddy's is a little odd. They have three base model burgers, an original burger, a teriyaki burger, and a double burger. Then they have three different sizes of patties, big, bigger, and biggest, (5, 7, and 9 ounces). Then, as if that was not confusing enough, you have the option to make your burger into a specialty burger for between a $1.30 to $3.50 more depending on what you want. Got all that? So what did I think of this burger? Let's start with the obvious first. There was way too much lettuce on here. Of course it's easy to discard, but for some reason they put their special sauce on the lettuce, and when I took it off, I was left with a burger that had no sauce. The rest of the burger tasted fine, but a little bland without a condiment on it. The bacon and the avocado did not really stand out here, which is a shame. I liked the potato bun, it was soft, and held everything in place. The cheese was also a highlight here, as it blanketed the patty perfectly. I'd probably get a different burger next time I came here, and I'd definitely ask for easy lettuce.

I thought Katie would try a veggie or turkey burger, but there she was ordering the Kailua Burger ($9.19). This is Teddy's version of a mushroom and Swiss burger, with teriyaki and grilled onions added. Again, too much lettuce, but at least Katie had the teriyaki sauce to bind everything together. She thought this burger was okay, nothing spectacular. There was plenty of mushrooms on this, and she liked the melted Swiss cheese on here. We had ordered chili cheese tater tots, but when the food came out it was Chili Cheese Fries ($4.69) that we received. These were okay, but I had heard good things about their tots, so I was a little disappointed. The chili here was good and flavorful, and even though I'm not really a fan of cheese sauce, this one was pretty tasty, and well made. The fries did a great job of staying crisp, until the last one was gobbled up. Even though we got these by mistake, it ended up being fine.

My nieces both got Shakes ($4.29), but selfishly I did not get to try either of them. The online chatter about Teddy's raves about the shakes here, but I have been trying to be good, and decided I'd forgo one. That won't happen on my next visit though. I have my eye on the Nutella or the Peanut Butter and Chocolate for next time.

I had higher hopes for Teddy's than this, but it might have just been what I got on this trip. Now that I know the lay of the land at Teddy's, I'm sure my next trip would be a little more enjoyable. I'd for sure ask for no lettuce, and I'd have the ordering process down a little more. I do think that they are a little high for a casual burger place, but it would not prevent me from coming back here again. Everyone we dealt with on the staff seemed to really want to make our visit enjoyable. Even with the few minor hiccups we experienced with the food here, I'm still glad we ate here, instead of the hospital cafeteria.

Out of five grass skirts, (because Teddy's of course started out in Hawaii, and if you've ever been there you have probably been mesmerized by the hula girls wearing these), five being best to zero being worst, Teddy's Bigger Burgers gets 2.5 grass skirts.

For more information about Teddy's Bigger Burgers, go to their website here:

Teddys Bigger Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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