Wendy's Brings Back Fast Food's Greatest Burger

Every morning on cue, our e-mail inboxes are filled with pitches from well-meaning publicists hoping to receive editorial coverage from your friendly Takeout writers. Many of those pitches are about deals and promotions happening at chain restaurants. Almost always, we pass on those, because A) we don't want to be corporate stenographers, B) if we include one, where does it stop?

But sometimes, those deals cross the threshold into newsworthiness, and today, we'd like to inform you about one, if only because we feel it involves what is fast food's greatest burger.

One year ago, I wrote an elegy to Wendy's Giant Junior Bacon Cheeseburger—elegy, because it was only around for six weeks in 2017 before being discontinued. And it was, for the reasons listed in that piece, my favorite under-$5 burger extant.

An excerpt from that piece, about the original Junior Bacon Cheeseburger and why, as tasty as it was, felt off slightly:

There are several layers of crunch [in the original Junior Bacon Cheeseburger], imparted by the lettuce and bacon, which makes this not texturally monotone like the vast majority of chain burgers. Secondly: Beneath the beef and cheese, I've always enjoyed the straightforwardness of the secondary flavors, that of bacon and mayonnaise. In other burgers I'm a fan of the counterpoint bite that pickles, relish, and mustard provide, but I love that the JBC is void of those qualities, opting instead for a simple flavor profile more savory, smoky and rich.

But what has always kept the JBC from being a perfect fast food burger comes down to its component ratio. The buns—I've always found its steamier-than-usual texture appealing—is out of proportion to the scant sliver of beef patty provided. It is slightly too bready, too bun-reliant.

The Giant JBC solved that by increasing the proteins, thereby achieving that ideal sandwich balance. Takeout readers would later inform me I could still "hack" the burger just by asking for double patty, double bacon, double cheese—but I could never bring myself to say those words aloud at the drive-thru window. (I suppose ordering anything with the word "giant" in its name also chips away at your dignity.)

But this week, I received an e-mail from a Wendy's spokesperson, who said that the Giant JBC was back temporarily (at least through the New Year), and that it would be part of a promotion that includes the sandwich, small fries, small drink, and four pieces of chicken nuggets for $5. (Not quite the 4-for-$4 deal now prevalent in fast food.)

Ultimately, we're breaking from our editorial norm to tell you about this deal because, well, we think it's a helluva deal for a helluva sandwich, and very soon the burger will be but a distant memory.