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Born on this day!! Actor Tony Lo Bianco (“The French Connection”) is 86. Artist Peter Max is 85. Actor Michael Gambon (“Harry Potter” films) is 82. Actor John Lithgow is 77. Singer Jeannie C. Riley is 77. Singer Patrick Simmons of The Doobie Brothers is 74. Actor Annie Golden (“Orange is the New Black”) is 71. Talk show host Charlie Chase is 70. Singer-keyboardist Karl Wallinger of World Party is 65. Singer Jennifer Holliday is 62. TV host Ty Pennington (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”) is 58. Singer-guitarist Todd Park Mohr of Big Head Todd and the Monsters is 57. Actor Jon Favreau is 56. “South Park” co-creator Trey Parker is 53. Comedian Chris Kattan (“Saturday Night Live”) is 52. Singer Pras Michel of The Fugees is 50. Actor Omar Gooding (“Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper”) is 46. Country singer Cyndi Thomson is 46. Writer-director Jason Reitman (“Juno”) is 45. Actor Benjamin Salisbury (“The Nanny”) is 42. Actor Gillian Jacobs (“Community”) is 40. Actor Rebecca Ferguson (“Dune,” “The Greatest Showman”) is 39. Singer Zac Barnett of American Authors is 36. Actor Ciara Renee (“Legends of Tomorrow”) is 32. Actor Hunter King (“The Young and the Restless”) is 29.


1781 – British General Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown, Va., bringing an end to the last major battle of the American Revolution.
1812 – French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte began their retreat from Moscow.
1960 – The United States imposes a partial embargo on goods exported to Cuba.
1983 – The Senate passed a bill (78–22) making Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, birthday a public holiday.
1987 – The stock market crashed on what came to be known as “Black Monday.” Stocks dropped a record 508 points, or 22.6%, topping the drops on October 28 and 29 in 1929 that ushered in the Great Depression.

Today Is: BRA Day, Evaluate Your Life Day, Hagfish Day, Information and Misinformation Overload Day, International Pronouns Day, LGBT Center Awareness Day, Medical Assistants Recognition Day, Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce, Thank Your Cleaner Day, Unity Day, World Statistics Day

Primetime TV (All Times Eastern)

CBS – 8:00 –  Survivor  /  9:00 – The Real Love Boat  /  10:00 – The Amazing Race
NBC – 8:00  – Chicago Med  /  9:00 – Chicago Fire  /  10:00 – Chicago PD
ABC – 8:00 –  The Conners  /  8:30 – The Goldbergs  /  9:00 – Abbott Elementary  /  9:30 –  Home Economics /  10:00 – Big Sky
FOX – 8:00 – The Masked Singer  /  9:00 – LEGO Masters
CW – 8:00 –  DC’s Stargirl  /  9:00 – Kung Fu

TV Talk Shows

Jimmy Fallon: Margot Robbie, Bobby Moynihan, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (R 9/19/22)
Stephen Colbert: Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Armando Iannucci, Dermot Kennedy (R 10/3/22)
James Corden: Vin Diesel, Ed Sheeran, Maisie Peters (R 6/28/22)
Watch What Happens Live: BravoCon: The Reading Room
The View: Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall, Sean Patrick Thomas, Chinonye Chukwu, Amber Tamblyn
The Talk: Rebecca Romijn
Live with Kelly and Ryan: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Kelly Clarkson: Eddie Redmayne, Emily Deschanel, Dara Yu, Liz Parker
Tamron Hall: Amy Loughren, Sarah Perry
Drew Barrymore: John Stamos, Kaitlyn Dever
Jennifer Hudson: Adam Lambert, Jalyn Hall

WHAT ARE YOU TALKIN’ ABOUT? Here are today’s PPM-Friendly Topics!

QUESTION: Ever been “ghosted,” but in a SEXUAL way?? Texas couple insists their house is HAUNTED.. and the ghosts are getting FRESH and FLIRTING with them!!


QUESTION: Does your dog think you’re STUPID?? They watch you make mistakes, and they’re JUDGING YOU… but only if your dog is FEMALE!!! (We know… it figures!!!!!!!!)


QUESTION: Guess who’s BACK?? It’s the CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW HALLOWEEN COSTUME, selling like hotcakes after Johnny Depp spanked Amber Heard!!!!!!!!


QUESTION: Why are these high school kids dressed like ADAM SANDLER?? Schools are having “Adam Sandler Day,” and everyone dresses like Adam!! Why? Don’t know!!
McHenry, Illinois, high-school juniors Reilly Baron and Charlotte Alexander were "really excited" to wear their comfiest clothes for Adam Sandler Day.

QUESTION: Want to buy an electric car to SAVE THE PLANET? Then you’ll want one of the new CADILLAC CELESTIQ SEDANS, for a mere $300,000!! (or buy a house)

Front view of Cadillac’s upcoming Celestiq flagship model

Selma Blair Leaves DWTS

Selma Blair has exited Dancing with the Stars due to health concerns.  She appeared in her final episode of the ABC reality dancing competition series Monday after getting MRI test results amid her battle with multiple sclerosis.  In a pre-taped segment, Blair told her dancing partner Sasha Farber that she didn’t want to risk injury by competing further.  “You know I’ve been monitored and in touch with my doctors this whole process,” the actress said. “I had these MRIs and when the results came back, it just all adds up to I can’t. I can’t. I can’t go on with the competition. I pushed as far as I could.”  “With a chronic illness, you do have special considerations and my body is definitely taking a hit,” she added. “It’s way too much for the safety of my bones. There’s just intensive bone trauma and inflammation among rips and tears so I could do extensive damage that of course, I do not want.”  Blair was diagnosed with MS in August 2018 and has been open about her health struggles on social media.
*****Wait. Dancing With the Stars is on??
*****Wait. Selma Blair has been on the show??
*****Wait. Who is Selma Blair????

70’s Show Star On Trail For Rape

That ‘70s Show” actor Danny Masterson is facing three women in court who said he allegedly raped them between 2001 and 2003.  Danny, who is also a Scientologist, has been accused of allegedly raping the women in his Hollywood Hills home amid his rise to fame. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.  The three women were members of the Church of Scientology; however, they have left since Masterson’s alleged actions. He has been free on a $3.3 million bond since his June 2020 arrest.  One of the women was Masterson’s longtime girlfriend. Another was a longtime friend, and the third a newer acquaintance.  The accusers argued that the church’s insistence that it deals internally with problems between members made them hesitant at first to go to authorities.  “This is not going to become a trial on Scientology,” Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo asserted at a pre-trial hearing. But she said she would allow its discussion as a reason why the women delayed reporting to authorities.
*******He’s the Harvey Weinstein of the small screen!!
*******Ever notice that in religious cults, the women always end up on the short end of the stick??

The Stones Have A New Album In the Works

The Rolling Stones are reportedly set to release their first new album of music in 18 years next summer.  The news follows the death of longtime band drummer Charlie Watts in 2021. They spent this summer performing at numerous venues across Europe in honor of their 60th anniversary as a group.  “I’m told Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood teamed up in New York over the past fortnight for recording sessions, alongside a raft of world-class session musicians to complete the initial recordings for their first output of original material in 18 years,” a source close to the band told The Sun on Monday.  The source added, “After Charlie’s passing there was some uncertainty about what to do next. They had stadium dates scheduled so pressed ahead, but afterwards it wasn’t clear what the future looked like. But now they’ve had time to reflect; they all feel it’s the right thing to keep doing what they’ve always done as a band, make new music and hopefully hit the road again to perform it to their fans.”
*****They’re hoping for a posthumous release!!!
********Keith said, “Has it been 18 years?? Time flies when you’re mulching!!”
******They’ve been together so long that their first album has traveled 100,000 light years away.. and bounced back!!
********If they wait a few more months, they’ll be able to reunite with Charlie, and bring Elvis into it!!

Meghan Markle Says She Felt Like A “Bimbo”

Meghan Markle quit her 2006 job as a briefcase girl on “Deal or No Deal” because she felt she was being “reduced to a bimbo.”  She reflected on her time, admitting she was “really grateful” to have a job that could pay her bills but felt there was “little substance” to the role.  “I ended up quitting the show. I was so much more than what was being objectified on the stage,” she said on the latest episode of her podcast, “Archetypes.”  “I didn’t like feeling forced to be all looks and little substance, and that’s how it felt for me at the time being reduced to this specific archetype: the word ‘bimbo.’”  Markle appeared on “Deal or No Deal” from 2006 to 2007 before becoming a regular on USA Network’s “Suits” in 2011.
*******If you feel like a bimbo, look like a bimbo and act like a bimbo, what are you?? A bimbo!!!
******Now you have to take her seriously.. she’s the wife of someone important!!
*****It cuts both ways. The governor of California is a “himbo!!”
Meghan Markle opened the episode reminiscing on her "fascinating" experience as a briefcase girl on "Deal of No Deal."

Wendy Williams May Be Opening A Restaurant

A friend of Wendy Williams, Rosanna Scotto, says that she is planning to open a restaurant and has been picking her brain about the hospitality business.  Scotto has run the star-studded Fresco by Scotto since 1993 and has apparently inspired Williams, who has had some extra time on her hands since her much-loved show went off the air in February.  “She loves the meatballs at Fresco,” the similarly beloved “Good Day New York” co-host says, “and the last time I talked to her she’s like, ‘OK, Rosanna, I am coming to Fresco and I want the meatballs and then you’re going to help me open up my own restaurant.’ And I’m like, ‘What, sister, you wanna take my people away to your restaurant?”  “I don’t know if she wants me to waitress or what,” Scotto kidded, “but she did tell me she wants to open her own restaurant and she wants me to help… If there is [a restaurant] from Wendy, it will be big competition but I love her.”
********Her place will be called “Wendy Williams LOTTA FOOD!!”
******She has to watch what she eats because she’s got gravy disease!!!
*********She’s smart… she grabbed her friend by the meatballs!!!

James Corden Is “Un-banned” From Restaurant

James Corden has “apologized profusely” after a New York City restaurant owner called him out for allegedly being a tough customer.  He can once again visit the famed Balthazar restaurant after owner Keith McNally said he received a gracious phone call from Corden.  “James Corden just called me and apologized profusely,” McNally wrote on Instagram Monday. “Having f—ed up myself more than most people, I strongly believe in second chances.”  He went on to joke: “So if James Corden lets me host his Late Late Show for 9 months, I’ll immediately rescind his ban from Balthazar.”  McNally also explained that he understood and had been prone to his own faults in the past, writing, “anyone magnanimous enough to apologize to a deadbeat layabout like me (and my staff) doesn’t deserve to be banned from anywhere. Especially Balthazar.”  Earlier Monday, McNally has shared a post on Instagram to write that he had “86’d” Corden from his restaurant for being “the most abusive customer to my Balthazar servers since the restaurant opened 25 years ago.”
*********He called him a “tiny little cretin of a man, scaramouch, scaramouch, can you do the fandango!!!”
********You would think a roly-poly guy wouldn’t be picking fights!!


Ripping The Tabloids (Throughout the week, we’ll give you the stories from that weeks tabs!)
**Please Credit Publication!

Goops!  Gwyneth Reigns As New Queen of Mean!-(National Enquirer)

Greedy Goop honcho Gwyneth Paltrow is the boss from jhell, according to insiders.  The wacky wellness goddess is a penny-pinching tyrant who plays favorites with her staff and pushes employees to work long hours while grossly underpaying them, sources say.  “Working at Goop is far from the dream job that people would expect it to be!  In fact, it’s a nightmare!” sniped a source.  “Gwyneth is rolling in the dough.  But hardworking Goop staffers make peanuts and she couldn’t care less.”  A slew of former staffers hit the employment website Glassdoor to complain about “bullies” and “mean girls” who rely on “fear-based management!”  Gwyneth, 49, launched the wellness website in 2008 and it’s now valued at more than $430 million.


Jen Aniston Is Back on Prowl-(Globe)

Hapless romantic Jennifer Aniston claims she’s finally “ready” to look for love again-more than three years after her bust-up with ex-husband Justin Theroux!  The “Morning Show” stunner, 52, tied the knot with the “Leftovers” hunk in 2015-a decade after cheating first hubby Brad Pitt ditched her for Angelina Jolie!  But Jen and Justin hit the rocks in 2017 and now the former “Friends” cutie-who was said to be seeing Brad on the sly after her divorce-recently revealed she’s now open to finding a special someone.  “I think I’m ready to share myself with another person.  I didn’t want to for a long time, and I loved really being my own woman without being a part of a couple,” spills Jen.


Kaia & Jacob:  Super Serious-(Us Weekly)

They may be young, but Kaia Gerber, 20, and her beau of almost two years, Jacob Elordi, 24, are in it for the long haul.  “This romance has opened their eyes to what love really is,” an insider says.  “They’ve wildly attracted to each other, and also best friends.”  According to the insider, the model’s parents approve:  “Cindy [Crawford] and Rande [Gerber] see that Jacob is an intelligent, loyal guy.  They want them to stay together.”


Meghan’s Informercial Deal!-(Star)

Meghan Markle, QVC Queen?  Speculation ran rampant after The Daily Mail revealed that the Duchess has made several visits to the palatial home of informercial king Bill Guthy-and hitched a ride on his private jet-following her move to California with Prince Harry.  The 66-year-old businessman has amassed a $500 million fortune helping celebs like Cindy Crawford cash in on their cachet with direct-to-consumer products.


Elton John:  Went Bankrupt!-(Life & Style)

The singer, 74, had to say goodbye to more than the yellow brick road in 2002.  That’s when he filed for bankruptcy after an alleged spending spree that saw him splurging $2M a month.  A finance expert weighs in!  “Celebs often are going broke because they finance everything-homes, vehicles, jewelry, vacations,” says an author.  “When or if the income stops the debt payments continue.”  His advice?  Invest in “assets that produce cash flow!”



“It allowed me to earn money and stay home.”-Jamie Lee Curtis, on why she did Activia commercials for seven years.

“I think my house’s resume is probably longer than mine.”-Alyson Hannigan, on her Los Angeles home being rented out for film and TV shoots.

“Obviously I do live on planet Earth, and her impact was so immense and emotional, even for somebody who was 7 when she passed away.”-Kristen Stewart, on Princess Diana, who she plays in the film Spencer.


Number of the Week-(In Touch)


-years in a row Heidi Klum has been forced to cancel her famous Halloween party, due to the pandemic.  (Last time she did the party, she and husband Tom Kaulitz were Shrek.)



Florida Woman Stuck in Massage Chair

Firefighters in Florida conducted an unusual rescue when they were summoned to assist a woman whose foot became stuck in a massage chair.  City of Naples Fire-Rescue said firefighters responded to a report of a person with their leg stuck in a massage chair and they arrived to find the woman’s foot was stuck in a part of the chair intended to massage the legs.  The firefighters cut off the power to the chair and used a grinder to cut through the steel rods holding the chair’s rollers in place.  The woman was examined by paramedics and released at the scene.  See the video HERE.
*********She said, “Now that you’ve got my legs out, can you work on my ass???”
*******This woman is so fat, she jumped in the air and stuck!!”
*******This chair really rubbed her the wrong way!!

Weezer Responds To Billboard

A Utah man who went viral for renting out a Salt Lake City-area billboard to read “WEEZER” received a billboard response from the band four months later.  Cory Winn, CEO and founder of online T-shirt retailer Lucca International, took out a billboard near 5800 S. State Street in Murray in June and had the advertisement read simply “WEEZER” in comic sand font.  Winn told KSTU-TV he and his business partner Creed Stump thought it would be funny to put the band’s name on a billboard in the “worst font ever.” He said the stunt, which went viral after he posted a video of the billboard to TikTok, was inspired by a shirt sold by Lucca.  “It actually has the band members of Weezer on it in cartoon form, but it says ‘I love One Direction’ on it,” Winn said.  The billboard has now received a response from the band itself, with a new billboard being erected about a mile away with the message: “Thanks to whoever bought the billboard down the road. -Weezer.”  Weezer shared photos and video of the new billboard on its Twitter and TikTok pages. See the billboards HERE.
**********Ah… radio used to do a lot of billboard stunts!! Whatever happened to that???

Deer Crashes Thru Police Chief’s Window

A deer caused a mess Monday morning when it crashed through a window into a police chief’s office.  Hinesville Police Chief Lloyd Slater said he was using a vacation day, but he stopped by in the morning and was headed toward the building’s conference room when he was told there was a deer in his office.  The deer had crashed into the office through a window and made its way to the conference room.  The Georgia Department of Natural Resources responded to remove the wayward animal.  See the video HERE.
**********We know for sure that some deer are shortsighted!!!
********The cops told him, “Next time, bring donuts!!”

Florida Man Was Ready To Start A War

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said it arrested a man who planned to “start a war” on Sunday morning.  Deputies said Glen Ressley armed himself and intended to start an “active shooter” situation with deputies and “start a war.”  The sheriff’s office said Ressley was angry because deputies had seized his driver’s license during an earlier traffic stop because it was suspended.  Several deputies went to Reslley’s home in Interlachen to check on him after hearing about his threats toward law enforcement officers.  A deputy using night vision spotted Ressler approaching deputies and wearing a tactical vest while armed with four firearms and extra ammunition, the sheriff’s office said.  Deputies said they were able to disarm Ressley “through dialog, exceptional skill and tactical planning.”  Ressler was taken into custody without incident, deputies said.
**********No high speed chase??? No apocalyptic gun battle?? Florida is slipping!!!
******This is why California is still the most entertaining state!!!









Fast-Food Burger Power Rankings



Let’s just launch right into the exhaustive and extremely correct Fast-Food Burger Power Rankings. I’ve evaluated burgers from large, national chains in this ranking, making a couple of notable exceptions for California-based chains. I’ve tried to put these burgers into context: I’m not picking the best burger in general. I’m picking the best fast-food burger, which is an important distinction. (To get a better idea of what I mean, please refer to this piece I wrote last year about chicken nuggets versus chicken tenders.)

A great fast-food burger should taste good, of course, but it should also be convenient. It can have toppings — lots of toppings — but it shouldn’t be overly busy. It should be compatible with eating inside a moving car, ideally with one hand only.


23) Burger King

Honest question: What do people like about Burger King? Is it the paper crowns? The French toast sticks? The unsettling mascot? Some people obviously love it: The Florida-based chain has many thousands of locations. But what’s the appeal? There are better fries and there are certainly better burgers.

Maybe last place is too harsh, but I honestly don’t know what’s keeping the lights on at Burger King. This judgment could be, more than anything else, a reflection of my disappointment in the five burgers I tried — a Whopper, Whopper Jr., Impossible Whopper, Bacon King and a regular cheeseburger. The meat patties were insipid or dry. Even the grill marks seemed like they were phoning it in, though the meat did taste a little like liquid smoke. The Whopper relies strongly on its image of freshness and abundance — thick onion and tomato slices, hearty lettuce leaves, fat slices of pickles. But mine had somewhat sad and flavorless vegetables, as well as the overpowering signature flavor of a Whopper — that of ketchup and mayonnaise. The creamy sweetness was slightly nauseating and begged for something else — mustard, more pickles, something — to balance it out. Unfortunately, that help never arrives.

Recommended burger: Whopper Jr.
Value/Affordability ranking: 9


22) Jollibee
You don’t really go to Jollibee for burgers — you’re there for the spaghetti or fried chicken. So I don’t feel too bad saying this: The burgers at Jollibee aren’t great. The meat was gray and tasteless, and there was a desperate need for something sharp or acidic. The big pineapple ring on the Aloha Yumburger could have done that, but it tasted like any kind of spirit or enthusiasm had been blasted out of it during the cooking process.

Recommended burger: Aloha Yumburger
V/A ranking: 21


21) Wienerschnitzel
Wienerschnitzel, the funny little chain known for (1) not serving Wienerschnitzel and (2) being housed inside what looks like giant versions of Snoopy’s doghouse, is known primarily as a hot dog destination. The burgers are beside the point and, well, it certainly shows.  They’re approximately what you’d expect from an average hospital cafeteria, although the chili cheeseburger, with a sloppy joe-like sauce, wasn’t too bad. (Shout-out to Original Tommy’s, which I adore but, with only 33 locations, was not a big enough chain to make this list.)

Recommended burger: Chili cheeseburger
V/A ranking: 5


20) Sonic
I like the idea of Sonic, the non-hedgehog-related chain founded in Oklahoma more than six decades ago. (Speaking of which, apologies to videographer and Oklahoman Mark Potts for not including the chain Braum’s. I couldn’t make it out to Tuttle.) I like the parking and ordering at the kiosks; I like the carhop experience of having food brought to your vehicle.

What I don’t love is the food itself. When I ranked French fries a few years ago, I wondered if the Sonic I went to was maybe just having a bad day. And visiting again recently, I was forced to wonder if that Sonic was just having a bad day. A cheeseburger that was supposed to have ketchup and mayo had only mayo. A Chophouse cheeseburger that was supposed to have fried onions and peppery aioli had only the (pretty good) aioli. Overall, a decent choice if you’re looking for witty banter in the car, but I’d pass otherwise.

Recommended burger: Chophouse cheeseburger
V/A ranking: 12


19) Rally’s

Rally’s, which you may know as Checkers depending on where you live (you’ll mostly find Rally’s in California but only Checkers in Florida, for example), isn’t the best burger you’ll ever eat but does provide decent value. The Double Fry Lovers burger attempts to create a Primanti Bros.-style sandwich by putting fries on top of the burger. Unfortunately, there are bewilderingly few fries included (how much could a few extra fries cost?). The patties on the burgers I tried had a slightly oily/greasy taste to them.

Recommended burger: Smoky BBQ Bacon Buford
V/A ranking: 4


18) Del Taco
Here’s another case of “this isn’t what you came for.” The fries are surprisingly good, but this isn’t the place to get a burger. Del Taco’s burger could be greatly assisted by the addition of some pickles, but you’ll have to make do with some of its Del Inferno hot sauce.

Recommended burger: Double Del Cheeseburger
V/A ranking: 8


17) White Castle
I couldn’t find the word “burger” anywhere on White Castle’s menu and it’s just as well, as the sliders it serves don’t really resemble burgers in any recognizable way. They are simply sliders — communion-wafer-thin disks of meat served on buns so insubstantial they’re consumed in bags of 10. A thicker specialty burger called the 1921 Slider is fine but sort of defeats the point. The White Castle Original Slider might be the only fast-food burger in the country that costs less than a dollar.

Recommended Burger: Cheese Slider
V/A ranking: 1


16) Dairy Queen

One of the more amusing policies in the world of fast-food came from Dairy Queen, which once promised to flip your Blizzard upside down in front of you or you get the next one free. (This policy is now instituted on a store-by-store basis.)  Ice cream will always be the strong suit of DQ, which operates only a certain number of stores as “Grill & Chill,” meaning they have a wider menu of hot food options, including burgers. Its best burgers feel somewhat gimmicky, but I’ll allow it: The FlameThrower Stackburger is a decent bacon double cheeseburger with a slightly piquant aioli, but you’ll want to get the Loaded A.1. burger, which I’m pretty sure is the only fast-food burger I’ve had that includes the unique sweet-spiciness of A.1. sauce.

Recommended burger: Loaded A.1.
V/A ranking: 17


15) Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box is a fitting name for this franchise, as it’s a jack of all trades, master of none. This is by design, I’m sure, but I think it will ultimately lead to an identity crisis for the brand. Jack in the Box, what are you good at? Do you need burgers, chicken sandwiches, teriyaki bowls, fajita pitas, mini pancakes, eggrolls, cheesecake and loaded tiny tacos on the menu? What is your aspiration in life?  On the other hand, there’s no other fast-food brand that screams “stoner” louder. The Stacked Grilled Cheeseburger is just that, anthropomorphized, with an entire grilled cheese sandwich serving as the top bun of this cheeseburger. On days you haven’t eaten half a package of gummies, however, a Sourdough Jack will do just fine, with bacon, beef and cheese shelved within slices of buttery, toasted bread.

Recommended burger: Sourdough Jack
V/A ranking: 10


14) Steak ‘n Shake
The venerable chain, founded in Illinois during the Great Depression, fell on difficult times during the pandemic but still has hundreds of locations throughout the country (if you’re in L.A., though, you’ll have to drive out to Victorville to find one). And it still makes a pretty good burger. A Garlic Double Steakburger, with a tall bun shaped like a popover and literally dripping in garlicky butter, steps over the line into excess. I’d stick with the regular butter burger, which toes the line.


Recommended burger: Butter Double Steakburger
V/A ranking: 11


13) The Habit

California-based burger specialist the Habit, which walks that line between fast food and fast casual extremely closely, probably deserves to be a little higher. More important, it hits a sweet spot, providing a good-quality burger at a fair price ($4.99 for its standard Charburger). The burgers are extremely lettuce-heavy, however — even on the patty melt, which seems inappropriate.

Recommended burger: Teriyaki Char
V/A ranking: 3


12) Wendy’s

Wendy’s, the brand known for its square patties and beloved “Where‘s the beef?” commercials from the 1980s, is probably best known these days for its celebrated, sassy Twitter persona, which posts memes and roasts brands with awesome put-downs. Epic win!  Just kidding, guys. Do not engage with the brand. Evaluate the brand on its burger quality, which is, for the most part, decent but not much more. Wendy’s is pretty dependent on bacon in its menu: The one nearest me currently has 20 different burgers, 13 of which include bacon. I don’t know — it feels a little like cheating.

Recommended burger: Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger
V/A ranking: 7


11) A&W
A&W may not be the brand it used to be, but put some respect on the name: Founded in 1919 in Lodi, right between Stockton and Sacramento, it became a thriving international chain based entirely on root beer, the drink that is palatable only when you put ice cream in it. (Fun fact: Marriott International started as an A&W stand in Washington, D.C.)  The burgers are good — there’s a solid bacon cheeseburger (A&W claims to have invented it in 1963) — but I recommend just the simple cheeseburger. With a thick, pillowy bun, cheese melted to a practically liquid state and plenty of pickles, it’s a solid prototype for the category.

Recommended burger: Cheeseburger
V/A ranking: 15


10) Shake Shack
I won’t wade too deeply into the Martin’s Potato Rolls/Doug Mastriano controversy — you can read plenty about it online. But I will say this: I’ve never much liked potato rolls for sandwiches and burgers. They’re a little too gummy and soft, like chewing a memory foam mattress.  Shake Shack doesn’t make a bad burger by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s the “pick me!” franchise of the bunch — it tries a little too hard. Its best burger, the Roadside Double, with Swiss cheese and caramelized onions, is ultimately too messy and ungainly to be a go-to fast-food burger.

Recommended burger: Roadside Double
V/A ranking: 20


9) Smashburger

Owned by Jollibee, Smashburger offers a premium burger — certainly better than the ones served at Jollibee itself. Is it nitpicky to complain that the meat patties didn’t really have those fine, sharp edges characteristic of a smashed burger? Tasty enough but not great value here, with a single-patty specialty burger costing $10.99.

Recommended burger: Classic Smash
V/A ranking: 23


8) Five Guys
Five Guys, the Virginia-based chain founded in 1986, really pioneered the whole move from fast food into fast casual — the simple strategy being to charge more money for a better product. It worked — there are now Five Guys in every state except Alaska.  Five Guys has solid burgers, like you’d imagine having at a backyard barbecue. My one, picky complaint is that when ordered “all the way” — their version of “everything on it” — the burger becomes unwieldy with grilled onions and mushrooms. Again, these are pricy burgers. A bacon cheeseburger (double patty) set me back $12.99. Would you rather have five double cheeseburgers from McDonald’s, give or take? I could see both arguments.

Recommended burger: Cheeseburger
V/A ranking: 22


7) Culver’s
My dad once told me that when he was a kid growing up in rural Illinois, he and his family used to order pizza and slather butter on the slices. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Midwest has also given us Culver’s and butter burgers, burgers cooked in butter or with butter put on them (Culver’s serves its ButterBurgers on a buttered bun).  What else do you want me to say? It’s a buttery burger. It’s delicious.

Recommended burger: The Culver’s Deluxe
V/A ranking: 16


6) Whataburger

I’ll resist the urge to make a joke about the vastness of Texas, but the burgers at Whataburger, a favorite in the southern United States, really are big. They’re flat and wide, making them difficult to handle with just one hand. They’re good but not particularly cheap — the specialty Bacon Blue Cheese Burger costs $8.99. An uncustomized Whataburger comes dressed with vegetables and mustard only — a refreshing change in a ketchup-happy society.

Recommended burger: Double Meat Whataburger with cheese
V/A ranking: 18


5) In-N-Out
I’ve always maintained that In-N-Out is overrated — but that doesn’t mean it’s not good, especially if we’re just talking about the burgers. The Double-Double is a California icon — and I’m making a concerted choice to use the word just once in this entire piece. It’s a great burger. I love the too-toasted bun, the embrace of raw onion and the watery iceberg lettuce.  The meat has never been the strong suit in In-N-Out burgers, but the tangy ketchup-mustard-mayo-pickle combo of the special sauce has always rendered that point fairly moot. Once possibly the best deal in fast food, a Double-Double is not as cheap as it once was — it’s now more than $5 at the location near me — but it’s still a bargain. Just skip the fries.

Recommended burger: Double-Double
V/A ranking: 2


4) McDonald’s
No matter what you may think of the corporation or its effect on the world, did you really think McDonald’s wasn’t going to make the top five? The Quarter Pounder With Cheese is the model. Competing chains hate it. Other burgers want to be it. McDonald’s could serve nothing but Quarter Pounders, Double Cheeseburgers and fries and still make billions a year — it has mastered the art of simplicity.  Gimmicky specialty burgers? No need. Throw bacon on everything? We’ll pass. The simple formula of onion, pickles, cheese, ketchup and mustard is oft repeated, but no one does it quite like McDonald’s.

Recommended burger: Quarter Pounder With Cheese
V/A ranking: 6


3) Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers

This quickly growing, Wichita, Kan.-based chain is not exactly a household name in California, but it may just be a matter of time, as some private equity guys bought the company last year.  The smashburger-style place serves patties with pleasantly crisped-up edges and a smart, concise menu. Honestly, there are worse things we could be subjected to — the burgers at Freddy’s are very good. There’s a patty melt, an In-N-Out rip-off — ahem — homage called “California style” and its best burger, Freddy’s Original Double, with cheese, generous pickle slices, onion and mustard. We’ll talk about frozen custard next time — it’s popular in the Midwest.

Recommended burger: Freddy’s Original Double
V/A ranking: 19


2) Carl’s Jr.

The hypothesis: The Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger is one of the best-tasting fast-food burgers ever created, full stop. The rebuttal: Wouldn’t anything taste good slathered in barbecue sauce and topped with bacon?  Maybe so, but it doesn’t make the sandwich less delicious. Carl’s Jr., or Hardee’s as it’s known in some parts of the country, almost took the top spot due to the excellence of not only the aforementioned burger but one nearly just as good: the Jalapeño Angus Burger, with pickled jalapeños (which make anything taste better) and remarkably crisp and fresh-tasting vegetables. There are cheaper chains: Those burgers run around $8 at my local store.

Recommended burger: Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger
V/A ranking: 13


1) Fatburger

You may say there’s a whiff of civic bias in making this chain, founded in South Los Angeles 75 years ago, No. 1 — a little home cooking from the paper of record. But I will not apologize for this pick. I will simply say to the states that don’t have Fatburger — and that’s most of you — this is currently the best burger out there. And now you have another reason to visit Los Angeles.  The paper-wrapped burgers are indulgently thick, as the name would imply. The meat on a Fatburger, pressed fresh onto the grill, develops a wonderful, crusty meat lace like you see on some of the better smashburgers. The default toppings (“the works”) are lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, relish, mustard and mayo. And it’s those last four ingredients that are the difference makers. The inclusion of both pickles and relish gives an exceptional amount of tang and acid to the burger. And while I don’t disapprove of ketchup on a burger per se, the use of mustard only is the right call here, further helping to cut through the heaviness of a thick burger.  A regular Fatburger is probably the way to go, but the Western Bacon BBQ is very good, using actual Swiss cheese (what is the point of processed Swiss cheese?) and fairly substantial onion rings. Extra points for having a good turkey burger too. Fatburger isn’t perfect — I don’t love the gloppy Thousand Island burger — and the longish wait time for food definitely blurs the line between fast food and fast casual. But I’ll happily go to one over any other chain, anytime.

Recommended burger: Fatburger
V/A ranking: 14


The preceding material was compiled and edited by Brandon Castillo.  The Editor-In-Chief is Gary Bryan.  The Radio Genius Show Prep Service is licensed for use on-air only by subscribing radio stations.  Other means of redistribution is forbidden.
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