10 Unique Burgers in Green Bay & The Fox Cities That You Need to Try


In many ways – the hamburger is like a canvas waiting to be painted.

Sure, a good old-fashioned char-broiled burger or cheeseburger can be simply delicious on its own. But there are so many things you can do with that patty, the buns and everything that goes on top or in between.

We found 10 out-of-the-ordinary burgers you can gobble up at local restaurants.

First – let me stop all the angry comments before you write them…

This is not an article about the best burgers in Green Bay and Appleton. Yes we know – Joe Rouer’s is incredible, the butter burgers from Kroll’s West and Kroll’s East melt in your mouth and Al’s Hamburger is legendary. Plus, Northeast Wisconsin may even be the home of the first hamburger.

This article is about the weird and funky sandwiches that happen to be called hamburgers. Here they are…

1. The Luther Burger – The Mad Hatter, Appleton

A Luther Burger isn’t exactly something that’s unique to The Mad Hatter, which recently changed its name from McG’s Tavern because it was too similar to other local establishments.

But as far as we know, this is the only place in Northeast Wisconsin where you can get one.

A Luther Burger is a bacon cheeseburger with two glazed donuts (Krispy Kreme style) replacing the bun. It was apparently named after soul singer Luther Vandross – who may have invented it as well. It might sound strange to some – but imagine the scrumptious combination of sweet and salty. Healthy? No. Delicious? You tell us.

The Mad Hatter also has some other interesting burgers, including the Pittsburger which is topped with fries, and you can get any burger on a pretzel bun for an extra 99-cents.

2. The Lonely Guy Burger – Townline, Suamico/Bellevue

You could also call this one the Bad Breath Burger.

Townline Pub & Grill makes a burger that no breath mint can defeat. The Lonely Guy Burger is seasoned with black pepper and fresh, minced garlic. It’s topped with fried onion straws and pepperjack cheese.

Speaking from experience – if you like your personal space – eating this burger will do the trick. There’s lots of flavor that lasts and lasts.

3. The Surf & Turf Burger – Spats, Appleton

Spats in Appleton has a nice selection of unique burgers, but the most interesting might be their Surf & Turf.

Of course, the turf is the burger itself. The surf comes from the  mini crab cakes, a Spats specialty, which they put on top of the burger. It also comes with a creamy dill sauce.

Spats reserves the honor of getting two burgers on this list. But we should also mention their Berlin Burger (sauerkraut, swiss cheese and 100 Island) as well as the Herbie Burger (nestled inside a grilled cheese sandwich).

4. The Spicy Elk Burger – Titletown Brewing Co.,  Green Bay

This one from Titletown Brewing Co. has two things going for it. First, it’s made from lean, locally raised elk meat. Plus, it’s got a spicy kick.

The Spicy Elk Burger comes with chipotle and jalapeno peppers, plus smoked gouda cheese, spinach and a creamy garlic mayo. Bam – wash that baby down with a Green 19 IPA! If you’re mouth’s not watering – check your pulse.

Titletown was also chosen by some local bloggers as the place to get the best burgers in Green Bay.

5. The Retro Burger – Jack’s Burger Shack, Kaukauna

The next time you stop by Kaukauna for a breath of fresh air, consider dropping in at Jack’s Burger Shack.

One of the unique burgers on the menu harkens back to the days when TV dinners were all the rage. His Retro Burger is an open-faced sandwich on white bread topped with mashed potatoes and gravy. Jack told me it’s based on the classic Salisbury steak dinner.

It’s a comfort burger with a serving a nostalgia.

6. The Veggie Beet Burger – S.A.L.T., De Pere

We had to have one in here for the vegetarians. But even if you’re a meat-lover – this unique burger is a tasty dish.

My wife ordered it when we checked out S.A.L.T. on De Pere’s west-side for the first time. I made fun of her and said she ordered the “Dwight Schrute burger.” But our waitress told us it was the first thing she ever tried at the new restaurant. She loved it, and now she works there.

It’s seasoned very well, and besides beets, it is made of chickpeas and walnuts, topped with goat cheese and tomatoes and served on a pretzel bun. The cool thing is the beets actually color the patty reddish-pink so it even looks like a rare burger.

7. The Chives Burger – Chives, Suamico

Here’s another burger I made fun of my wife for trying. Mostly because the Chives Burger will set you back $12.

I scoffed at the fact that we were out at a nice restaurant with new and interesting dishes, and Ashley wanted to get a stinking $12 hamburger! Then I took a bite. It was worth it. Chives makes one classy burger.

You’ll get a hamburger topped with smoked onions, bacon, and Maytag Bleu Cheese with high-quality beef cooked to perfection. It also comes with Chive’s fries – which are super-light and crispy.

8. The Swamp Burger – White Dog Black Cat Cafe, Green Bay

I have yet to check out White Dog Black Cat Cafe on Broadway in Green Bay. But I’m excited to eat there sometime soon. The stuff on their menu always sounds delicious.

That includes an interesting selection of funky hamburgers. One that really popped out at me was The Swamp Burger. It’s topped with sweet potato fries and pepperjack cheese and includes a “secret sauce.” Anytime I see those two words together my curiosity is piqued.

If you’ve tried this one – let us know what the sauce is like.

Not to be outdone by Spats – White Dog Black Cat Cafe also makes a hamburger in between not one, but two grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s called The Hungry Cat.

9. The Bryce Burger – Spats, Appleton

Here’s the second unique burger from Spats on College Avenue.

The Bryce Burger is named after the restaurant owner’s nephew because it’s his favorite. This one has an Italian theme. There’s Italian beef marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese on a seasoned patty. Mama mia! That’s a burger.

10. The Really Serious Burger™ – Serious Burger, Appleton

You’d expect to find some good burgers at a place called Serious Burger – and you’d be right.

There are a bunch of different hamburgers on the menu at this Appleton restaurant, but I had to pick the one they literally had trademarked.

What you get on this one is Applewood-smoked bacon from Nueske’s of Wittenberg, Wisconsin as well as caramelized onion, aged cheddar with sour cream and ketchup. But the real kicker is the Truffle Fries. If you’re a foodie – you probably know all about the wonders of truffle oil.

Serious Burger also makes other yummy-sounding burgers like The Black and Blue (bleu cheese aoili, balsamic glaze  and charred tomatoes) and the Spicy Italian (topped with pepperoni, marinara and smoked provolone). Sounds like these guys have turned burger-making into an art.

What Did We Miss?

Okay…now is the part where you tell me about all the amazing burgers that I failed to mention!

Go ahead – tell me what I’m missing.

There are also some traditional burgers that you’ll commonly find at local diners, which didn’t make the list. This wouldn’t be a Wisconsin website if I didn’t bring up the Brat-Patty/Burger combination. And another fun one is burgers topped with green olives and mayo.

What’s the weirdest burger you’ve ever eaten? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Image Credit: starela via Flickr Creative Commons License


  1. Ashley, you’re not alone (regarding #7): I went to Chives a few years ago with friends, and also ordered that exact same burger. Same story — the entire table yelled at me for coming all the way to Chives and ordering a burger (my husband still makes fun of me for it), but I tell you what – it was one of the best I’ve had! And I’m glad you mentioned the fries too – definitely worth ordering.

  2. This is a great list. Lots of variety, and some things that are now on my list to try!

    A lot of people in the Fox Cities would belligerently argue with you that Mihm’s is not on here. I would also suggest Rustique in Suamico. Their burger is crazy good!

    The Luther burger (#1) is unbelievably good. I was against the whole idea, but I had to try it. I was surprised as anyone how delicious the combination of sweet and salty is. Trust me, get one!

    • Thanks Chris!

      Mihm’s is an awesome place. I’m planning on a story that covers local dives and diners with amazing food – and it was one of the first places I thought of.

      I’ve only heard of Rustique recently. Just checked out the menu. Saw the burger and the description made my mouth water. Thanks for the great suggestion!

  3. Joe Rouer’s in Duvall, WI! It’s everything a burger should be: moist – almost greasy, handmade, cooked in cast iron skillets, good tasting soft buns that aren’t very big, so its not a bunburger and so flavorful! Best burger between Green Bay and Door County.
    Also how could you leave Kroll’s in Green Bay off the list? Best known NE WI burger in the shadow of Lambeau Field! But maybe you only considered “fancy” burgers for your list…

    • Thanks for the comment Dia – however – I don’t think you read this entire article. You must have just scrolled through.

      At the very beginning I mentioned both Joe Rouer’s and Kroll’s.

      “This is not an article about the best burgers in Green Bay and Appleton. Yes we know – Joe Rouer’s is incredible, the butter burgers from Kroll’s West and Kroll’s East melt in your mouth and Al’s Hamburger is legendary.”

      This was about unique burgers – the funky ones – not the traditional ones we all know and love. But you’re definitely right – those are some good burgers, dude.

  4. Next time your in GB…check out the Gnarly Burger at Syrah Restaunt & Wine Bar on the east side. Pairs great with a nice glass of red Zinfandel!

  5. Peninsula Pub in Door County! The Hangover Burger is out of this world with American cheese, bacon, peanut butter, jelly, topped off with a fried egg. I also love the Missy Burger with pepper jack cheese, tequila sauteed peppers and onions, sauteed shrimp, with home-made Cajun ranch and a shot of house tequila on the side!! There are so many other ones to choose from plus a “Burger of the Day” everyday! http://www.peninsulapub.com/

  6. Since this article was originally posted there are a few new burgers to include to the list: The Ridiculous Burger at Gather Americana in Appleton (includes caramelized onions, mushrooms, truffle oil…) and the burgers at Village Hearthstone (always changing, but always delicious). They are both incredible!

    Peninsula Pub sounds great too!

  7. Stephanie says

    From the south side of the Fox Valley, Fond du Lac’s restaurant, Fat Joe’s, has a GREAT burger called the Sweet and Salty burger. It is topped with swiss, bacon and caramel apples; served on their signature pretzel bun. It is a REALLY good burger and great combo of flavors.

  8. Dave Koshalek says

    Sidekicks in west De Pere, has great burgers, but their brat patty and burger with Swiss, is a big fantastic combo. Top Class with fried onions. Best combo anywhere!!

  9. The Badger at Mad Hatters should have made this list too. That is one of my favorite and I’ve had most on this list.

  10. drift inn (ashwaubenon) has excellent burgers. in fact, i’m eating one now! 😉

    • i agree that the lonely guy at townline should definitely be on the list. i believe they have one (also at townline) called the suamican that is quite unique.

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