The Triad got its first Culver’s on Aug. 30 with the opening of a franchise restaurant at 2973 Fairlawn Drive.
The new Culver’s is between Reynolda Road and Silas Creek Parkway, next to Sheetz and across the street from Lidl.
Culver’s is a chain based in Wisconsin that is known for its “butterburgers” and frozen custard.
Butterburgers, or the addition of butter to beef patties, is a Wisconsin tradition that dates at least to 1936 and Solly’s Coffee Shop, which melted a dollop of butter on top of its burgers. Culver’s does its butterburgers a little differently, buttering the top half of the bun before serving.
Culver’s prides itself on its burgers, made from fresh beef and cooked to order. “We cook everything to order. That’s what we hang our hat on,” said Chuck McGill, a financial business consultant for Culver’s.
Culver’s was founded in 1984 in Sauk City, Wis., by Craig and Lea Culver and Craig’s parents, George and Ruth Culver. The company now has more than 800 locations in 25 states, including 12 in North Carolina.
The Winston-Salem Culver’s is owned by franchisee Vikramkumar Patel of Charlotte.
Culver’s is offering drive-thru service only at the moment but will eventually have dine-in counter service. Customers can use the outdoor patio, which has about 40 seats and umbrellas.
Patel also said that online ordering will be available in a few weeks but that Culver’s does not use a mobile app or delivery services.
A butterburger features thin patties of about 2.75 ounces that are pressed and cooked quickly to order. A single costs $2.89 and a double costs $4.49. Customers can customize the burgers with three kinds of cheeses: American, cheddar and Swiss. Toppings include mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles and onion (grilled or raw). Premium toppings, available for a few cents extra, are tomatoes (20 cents), bacon (50 cents) and mushrooms (50 cents).
Culver’s offers a handful of specialty burgers — starting at $3.19 for singles and going up to $5.59 for doubles — including the Culver’s deluxe, mushroom and Swiss, and sourdough melt.
The restaurant sells chicken tenders ($5.69 for four pieces) and a handful of sandwiches ($3.99 to $5.69) that include spicy crispy chicken, cod, Rueben melt, beef pot roast sandwich, pork loin and veggie burger.
The menu also includes several dinners ($7.19 to $12.99) for chopped steak, pot roast, shrimp and cod that each come with two sides.
“The cod is one of our most popular items,” McGill said. “That (tradition) comes from Wisconsin, where they have a fish fry every Friday.”
Regular sides that come with the dinners and sandwich value baskets include French fries, coleslaw, mashed potatoes and gravy and steamed broccoli. Premium sides include onion rings, fried cheese curds (another Wisconsin specialty) and pretzel bites.
The restaurant also has several salads.
Many people come to Culver’s for the freshly made custard, which is available in cones, cups, sundaes, shakes, malts and floats. Culver’s also sells “concrete mixers” of ice cream mixed with such extras as M&Ms, strawberries, nuts, cookie dough and hot caramel.
Ice cream is churned daily in small batches every two hours. Culver’s offers only three flavors on any given day: chocolate, vanilla and the flavor of the day. Culver’s makes its flavor of the day on a set schedule, which it publishes online and in stores. Flavors for September include turtle cheesecake, blackberry cobbler, salted double caramel pecan and strawberry chocolate parfait.
Ice cream starts at $2.39 for a single-scoop cone or dish, $3.09 for a sundae or $3.29 for a concrete mixer.
Patel said he is interested in opening more Culver’s stores in the Triad. “We’re working on it,” he said. “But we’ll take a couple months for things to settle down before we start looking aggressively.”