Juicy’s Giant Hamburgers, with its 1982 South Lake Tahoe origin and subsequent relocation to Wells Avenue, is de rigueur when discussing burger options in Reno. The new-ish South Reno satellite of the Wells shop is living up to the original’s reputation, with a menu that is straight-up and to the point.
The standard cheeseburger is a third-pound patty ($6.85), with a quarter-pound “junior” available for smaller appetites ($5.75). I dove into the double cheeseburger ($8.85), a pair of third-pound patties with American cheese melted into the meat, beefsteak tomato, thick-sliced white onion, broad leaf green lettuce and a mayo and mustard blend on a grilled, sesame seed bun. Getting my ample maw around the beast was a challenge, but so worth it.
The burgers are double-wrapped in sturdy paper, with a diagram on the wall demonstrating how to contain the juiciness via burger origami. Don’t be fooled, because there’s no keeping that slippery sucker from dripping down your arms. Napkins are your friend. The patties are hand-formed from fresh ground beef, decently seasoned and cooked medium-well unless otherwise specified. Ask for medium-rare, and you’ll get it. Sour pickle and jalapeño slices are available at the condiment bar, along with ranch dressing and other add-ons.
Despite the burger focus, my friend’s “killer chicken sandwich” ($9, plus ortega chiles for $1.35) was absolutely, completely killer. The chicken breast was pounded and well-seasoned. The combination of lettuce, tomato, onion, smoky bacon and lightly spicy chiles was fantastic.
A grilled cheese on sourdough ($4.50) was just that, American cheese melted between a couple slices of nicely browned bread. The BLT ($5.80) featured four strips of crispy bacon, tomato and lettuce on a schmear of mayo. The quality of the peppery, smoky bacon really came through, though I don’t know why I’d order this in a joint with much better options. The veggie burger ($7.70) was surprisingly good. The seasoned vegetable protein patty had decent texture and was an acceptable substitute.
The burgers are great, but the fries are bomb ($2.70 for a large). They’re not too thin, not too thick, a deep golden brown and uniquely crispy. These days I avoid most fries for dietary reasons, but it would be a crime to visit Juicy’s without ordering these gems. The housemade beef and bean chili ($4.10 for a small) with cheddar and onion is adequate, but it’s a crime to drown those perfect fries in it ($5.60). A cup of coleslaw ($2.80) was a cup of shredded carrot and white and purple cabbage, with sweet and tangy dressing on the side. I’d like a bit more vinegar and salt, but it’s not bad.
A hand-dipped strawberry milkshake ($5.75, also available in vanilla, chocolate and mocha) was thick and good, though a bit pricey for the size. Service was quick, and you can order online for pick-up or delivery. I’ll be back in person to get it hot and fresh, and dig in to the ready supply of jalapeño and pickles.