In the burger world, oddities can quickly become standards. So when Carl’s Jr. & Hardee’s did their Most American Thickburger topped with potato chips (and a split hot dog), it was out of the ordinary. But in a social-media second, potato chips began showing up on top of burgers. It’s an extension of the larger trend to morph sides—such as coleslaw or French fries—into burger toppings.
Because digital media are global, potato-chip-toppings too became a global phenomenon. Consider the recent Sandinista burger at Hey Ho Garage Burgers in San Pedro, Philippines: A third-pound beef patty topped with beer Cheddar, spiced lamb tomato sauce, Parmesan-breaded eggplant, potato chips and sautéed onions.
Carl’s Jr. certainly wasn’t the first to see chips as burger partners. Kids have been piling their chips on burgers forever. And Bobby’s Burger Palace chain owner and chef Bobby Flay is so devoted to the idea that he trademarked the term “crunchified” for a chip-topped burger. The Burger Palace signature burger is the The Crunchburger (also trademarked) and any burger on the menu can be served topped with chips on request.
So it’s not a new idea, but lately it has become more popular. Just last week West Coast better-burger chain The Counter introduced a new turkey burger it calls “The WTF: Why the Face.” The build: All-natural ground turkey with provolone, salt & vinegar kettle chips, applewood-smoked bacon, pickles and house mustard on a Hawaiian bun.
And why stop with potato chips? The trend has gone international with burger such as The Creation I burger at Notre-Boeuf-de-Grace in Montreal: A 6-oz. fresh ground beef patty with Nutella, hot peppers, jalapeños, house-made plantain chips and bacon. The Jamaican Jerk at Dlux in Madison, Wis., is a third-pound house chicken patty with bacon, mango-habanero salsa, jerk aïoli and goat cheese topped with banana chips. And there are many examples with taco or nacho chips up top instead of on the side.
Here are some other recent examples of burgers that incorporate potato chips as part of the main course and not just a side:
5 Star Burgers, Albuquerque
The French Onion Dip Burger
An 8-oz. all-natural beef patty topped with a house-made French onion dip and our fresh potato chips
DMK Burger Bar, Chicago
Australian grass-fed sirloin tartare, garlic aïoli, salt & vinegar potato chips and a fried egg on garlic toast
Moonie’s Burger House, Austin, Texas
The Texas Cruncher
A hand-formed burger topped with bacon, grilled jalapeños, “crunchified” with Wavy Lays potato chips, finished with house ranch dressing; served on a Moonies Lite Bun
Stuft: A Burger Bar, Windsor, Colo.
The Pub Cheese Burger
Beef patty topped with house-made Brew #2 Pub Cheese, soft pretzel chips, red onion, tomato, lettuce and parsley
Buckeye Beer Engine, Lakewood, Ohio
Nacho Daddy’s Burger
A chargrilled Ohio grass-fed beef burger topped with pepper-Jack, Cheddar, and queso fresco cheeses, ground Andouille sausage, fresh jalapenos, avocado and a heaping pile of chili-lime tortilla chips; served with a side of house fire-roasted salsa, chips, and a fried pickle