Red Wagon Burgers

The Great Burger ChaseOlympia

Legend has it you will find Olympia’s best burgers at Red Wagon. That’s a bold claim, but then, I suppose the competition isn’t crazy stiff around these parts, where I’ve yet to be wowed by a burger.

Red Wagon comes close. So very close to being a wow had it just not been for a fumble at wherever you’re not supposed to fumble in football. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There are plenty of things to enjoy about the Deluxe Bacon Cheese Burger.

It might come across as a backhanded compliment calling the burger McDonald’s-esque in style, but that’s not my intention. The classic Quarter Pounder® with Cheese is conceptually sound; it just lacks in execution. Red Wagon takes the essence of the idea and carries it out well. Their Deluxe Bacon Cheese Burger is, for all intents and purposes, a Quarter Pounder® with additional fixings done right.

Illustrative image

The ingredients are what someone on a burger hunt should expect — all very fresh. The bun, while not necessarily something I’d eat by itself (which sometimes is the case), passes the test of being something more than a vessel. Crispy lettuce props the patty, with two slices of cheese and thick-ish, juicy bacon on top. Add the tomatoes and sautéed onions, and you got the makings of a solid burger.

So what muffles the wow? Doneness. That old trap, the doneness. The burger might not be hockey-puck charred, but it is well past medium. With that, the potential for a top-tier entry comes crashing, and it’s hard to recommend the burger unconditionally.

Conditionally, you owe it to yourself to at least give it a shot. Red Wagon is more of a good food done fast type of a location than a sit-down restaurant, so it’s not all that surprising not getting perfectly cooked meat. If you can live with the downs, you’ll have a better than average meal, with a side of excellent fries. The spot is well worth a revisit.

Close to the wow it was, if only that patty had been a little further on the pink side.