Highway to Burger Heaven: Cindy’s Diner

At some point, we have certainly all asked ourselves how far we would go for a burger. Down the street? A 20 minute walk from home? Come rain or sleet?

How about a 2 hour drive up the highway? If you’re reading this from the United States, this idea may seem positively nutty. Why on earth would you need to drive for 2 hours for a burger? But here in Switzerland, where good burgers are scarce, a 2 hour drive all of a sudden sounds reasonable.  And if you find yourself driving on A5 around Bern, make a point to stop and try out a burger from Cindy’s Diner. This weekend, after months of hearing about this place from fellow burger lovers, I finally found myself in that neighborhood and wasn’t going to miss out on this tasting for the world. The verdict? The burger will help fulfill your need for gooey decadence and has the added bonus of being served up in a truly 50s diner setting (well, as authentic as you can get outside the US).

The burger: Needless to say, I had to test out the classic: a cheeseburger with bacon. It came served with lettuce, red onions, their “special sauce” and an additional sauce that was kind of a cross between coleslaw and relish. The overall experience was a flavor bomb of messy. Don’t expect to get out of this meal without asking for a second and third helping of napkins.

The beef patty they served was quite a large disk, about 2cm thick, slipped into a homemade sesame seed, square bun. The beef was of pretty good quality, and certainly tasted fresh. The taste of the burger was great, but it was a bit dry, and very well cooked. The bun was very fresh and held together pretty well against the rest of the very sloppy ingredients… but I would have preferred it if the bun were slightly more toasted (which would also help the sauces from soaking through the bun).

Next up, the toppings: the bacon tends to be disappointing in Geneva, but this bacon was tasty, cut pretty thick, and not oily or greasy.  The cheese disappeared under the influence of the “special sauce”, which was exactly what I look for in a hamburger sauce: a warmly spiced mayo-ketchup mix. And if that wasn’t enough, they had this slaw/relish sauce that seemed to be made of a mix of relished cabbage and mild pickles. It added the prefect amount of slightly sweet acidity that we all love slaw for, though it admittedly contributed to the sloppy experience. Finally, honorable mentions go out to the lettuce, which was very green and fresh, and the onions that were equally irreproachable.

One bacon cheeseburger with fries, coming right up!

The fries: Looking at the photos of the fries on the menu, I hesitated to order them at all. I dislike steak fries in most cases, and this is what they looked like to me. But for the love of the blog, I wound up tasting them anyway, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. These fries were cut thick, yes, but they were not soggy or soft at all. In fact they were light and crispy and not oily at all! And with a little paprika and pepper dusting, they tasted almost like a cross between a french fry and a country fry. Definitely worth a try.

The menu: Gonna keep it short: the menu has a good selection of a few classics, and a few twists, with the quintessential “burger of the month” to keep things interesting. All in all, very accessible and simple, in staying with the diner concept.

The green factor: being that their website is in German, and my German is completely rusted, I actually cannot figure out  anything more but that the products all come from “the region”. Sound suspicious? Could be, could be. They do however boast that their products are extremely fresh, ground fresh, pressed fresh, and eaten fresh. I can confirm, they tasted fresh too.

The setting: Perhaps one of the most attractive aspects of this place is its appearance and decor. Short of being a fully authentic US diner, this place does an admirable job of recreating the diner setting, from the booths to the S shaped bar winding its way back and forth through the restaurant.

Price/Quality: Most burgers alone are about 12chf. Add fries for 5chf. A big glass of soda is 4.50chf.  So in short, you can get out of there for just over 20chf. Again, good for Switzerland! And for the price, you get quick and friendly service, a clean environment, and a really unique setting.

In sum: One of a kind in Switzerland to my knowledge, serving up an old school diner burger the likes of which I haven’t found around these parts. Although not the best patty I’ve had, the sauces make up for it in kind. Only thing missing to complete the experience are the milk shakes!! And the bitter sweet, overworked waitresses serving day old coffee… but let’s face it, beggars can’t be choosers!

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