Restaurant News & Reviews

Spangles’ new peanut butter and jelly steakburger elicits strong reactions (+video)

2015: Wichita Eagle Couch Potatoes Sample Spangles PB&J Burger

Peanut butter & jelly burger with bacon & jalapenos (June 26, 2015)
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Peanut butter & jelly burger with bacon & jalapenos (June 26, 2015)

I was excited to order the new Peanut Butter and Jelly Steakburger with Bacon and Jalapenos at Spangles. But before I could even muster the words, as if reading the sparkle in my eye, the cashier called out the new burger’s name.

The burger lives up to its premise: Crunchy peanut butter spread on a sourdough bun underneath the patty, while the jelly and jalapenos jiggle for supremacy on top. Small slices of bacon writhe inconsequentially in this soup of jalapeno jelly.

It looks unappetizing. Do not lift the top bun off the burger before biting.

I ordered burgers number seven and eight at a downtown restaurant just after noon Friday. The workers behind the counter had tried it and liked it. The manager said he loved how the peanut butter melted into the burger. “Not the whole thing” another worker exclaimed when I asked if she had just tasted it or eaten it whole.

My co-workers were shocked as well when I brought it back to the office. “I expected it to taste like feet,” said one caustic observer. “But it was not that.” Another editor, however, could be spotted chucking her half-eaten bite into the trash bin.

Finally, brave and courageous education reporter Suzanne Tobias tasted it on her way to lunch, reportedly not Spangles, and described it as “heavenly.” This burger is not for the faint of heart, especially if you don’t like jalapenos. Tobias could not stop raving about the jalapenos.

My chief concern was the jelly. Peanut butter tends to work just about anywhere – with bananas and honey or even with pickles in a sandwich. But can sweet jelly be just as flexible? I once tasted bacon ice cream at Tusk and Trotter in Bentonville, Ark., and loved it. But that was just two bold flavors: meaty and sweet. This was hot and greasy and hardy – and sweet.

It’s hard for me to remember the joy I felt in that first bite, with so many loud, brash flavors trying to one-up each other – because now I am so full. But at the moment it was a disco party. It was as if you got the class president, the captain of the cheerleading squad, a black belt ninja and William Shatner in a room and asked them all to sing you their favorite songs simultaneously.

It should not have worked, but it did. Will the surprisingly harmonious flavors rise to the top of Wichita’s food of the summer charts? Probably not. But maybe it will crack the top 100.

Carpe diem, this burger.

But I might scrape off a little jelly next time.