Review No. 28: Burger King-Oak Street
102 Oak Street
- 2 percent finished reviewing Conway restaurants
He Said: Visiting and reviewing every restaurant in Conway requires our dining in all the fast-food stops as well as the rest, and since there are in fact three Burger Kings in Conway, it was darned about time we hit one. So we started with the Oak Street restaurant. This is half a block from the McDonald’s on Oak Street, which we reviewed earlier, so the two kind of face off I suppose, each waiting for the other to blink. Burger King’s sign is elevated some 20 feet higher than the McDonald’s arches, apparently hoping to catch your eye first, especially if you’re coming off the Interstate just to the east, and start thinking, “Oh, there’s the golden arches, I guess I may as well stop there.” If you see the Burger King first, maybe your heart will be set on a Whopper before you catch sight of McDonald’s, and you’ll drive the extra 50 feet into the King’s driveway.
She Said: Location-marketing aside, I wasn’t particularly in the mood for fast-food on the day we were set to go; we’d just been on a 12-hour, one-way road trip, in which I over-indulged in the “road food,” so while I usually feel like fast-food is a rare treat and anticipate our visit, this day I wasn’t exactly in that frame of mind. But that made me more inclined to order from the healthier side of the menu, as you’ll read below.
He Said: Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I was in a Burger King. The inside looks pretty much like every other Burger King looks in my memory: very much like a fast food place. This one doesn’t have much in the way of extras—the only decorations on the walls are posters advertising Burger King food. There are booths along the walls and a lot of tables in the middle. The tables have metal chairs, which I found pretty uncomfortable at my age, and we moved to one of the plastic-seated booths on the side. The dining area didn’t look particularly new, but it was quite clean.
She Said: I’m not sure where you were dining Ruud, as I didn’t find it particularly clean or tidy. In fact, it was a little difficult to find a table that wasn’t messy from previous diners, either with ketchup or something on the tables, or napkins on the seats. But while we were eating, I did see an associate going around picking things up and straightening, so I guess we just got there at the wrong time for lunch (around 11 a.m.). The décor is a little passé, I think, and not as hip or inviting as Wendy’s or all the recently redone Mickey D’s. But I loved the music: It was as if they had tuned into a Jazzercise Pandora station. I could have danced off all the calories I was consuming just listening to their sound system!
He Said: They have Coke products here and you draw our own from the fountain, at which they did have Mello Yello on tap. So I opted for the Mello Yello. Quite rightly.
She Said: I chose unsweetened iced tea, as usual. I ordered a medium, and when the associate handed me the cup, I thought he had made a mistake. It was HUGE. I’m glad I didn’t get a large.
He Said: As with all fast-food places, you probably ought to do a little homework if you want to be careful to eat something relatively healthy. And, of course, I do have to be very careful about my fat intake. Again, as with most national chains, you can find a Website that will give you nutritional facts about each product at BK. I will say that in many ways, Burger King is less outrageous than some other fast-food places, and it is not especially hard to have a low-fat meal here. I had the Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich (which is not on their visible menu, but I found it online, and they made it for me without batting an eye). If you ask for the sandwich without mayo, it is 320 calories but contains only 6 total grams of fat. It comes with lettuce and tomato, and is of course rather bland without the mayo, but you can substitute some mustard and/or ketchup and liven it up some. It was perfectly all right, and tasted, well, like a grilled chicken sandwich. I have a bit of a gripe about the bun, though. It was a plain, white-bread bun that was pretty tasteless, sort of like I was eating grilled chicken, tomatoes, and lettuce between two hunks of dough. Since this is a sandwich most likely to be ordered by somebody looking for a healthy option, I wonder if Burger King might put it on some kind of multi-grain bun or some such thing. They might also have another option besides mayonnaise—say, a kind of barbecue sauce that didn’t have added fat. That would be delicious! But I suppose it’s all a pipedream. Burger King would have to read this column.
Jones and I also shared a small order of fries and small order of onion rings. Neither of these was terribly fatty: the small fries contained 14 grams of fat, and the onion rings 16, so I probably had 15 grams, making my entire meal 21 grams of fat for me. Both the fries and onion rings were very tasty—and not nearly as unhealthy as they could have been.
As I said, though, you do need to be careful. A regular Whopper sandwich is 640 calories and contains 38 grams of fat, about 75 percent of what would be healthy for my pancreas in a whole day. Or you could get a Double Bacon King Flame-Broiled Burger (which sounds like it would taste great!), which is in itself 1040 calories and contains 69 grams of fat—it would be the only thing I could eat today, and I’d also have to skip breakfast tomorrow. So the moral is…be careful.
She Said: Wow! That bacon burger is 1040 calories? I’d have to run 10 miles to work that off, and if I’m going to eat food I have to work off, it’s not going to be from Burger King! In my healthier state of mind after partaking of McDonald’s and Culver’s on our road trip, I perused the Website, as well, thinking I would probably have a crispy chicken sandwich, as I remember liking those when I used to partake of fast food more often. I shied away from that after I saw that it was 660 calories (which is more than the Whopper, even). I was happily surprised to find that BK has a veggie burger, so I went with that, which was 320 calories (without the tomatoes and onions). It was pretty tasty, actually, and quite filling. We eat Boca Burgers at home occasionally, and I thought it tasted richer than the regular-flavor Boca. It’s also on a sesame-seed bun, which was a cut above your bread choice, Ruud. If I order it again, I’ll get it with mayo, not the ketchup that comes with it. That will add calories, but I don’t like tomatoes or tomato-accessories, and I think I would have enjoyed this more if I’d made that substitution. I filled up before I was finished, actually, or I might have just been getting tired of the ketchup flavor, so I probably ate fewer than 300 calories of the sandwich, but I made up for that with the fries and onion rings. I thought the fries were really the best part of the meal. They were pretty tasty, big and fluffy inside and nicely salted. I thought the onion rings tasted too much of the batter without enough onion inside.
He Said: Nothing to complain about here. We ordered from a friendly young man who, as I mentioned, had no problem letting us order things “our way,” as the old Burger King commercials promised, even if what I ordered couldn’t be found on their posted menu. They gave us a number, and we picked up the order just a few minutes later, so nothing took longer even if it was a bit unusual.
She Said: I thought the service was very friendly. I asked about the veggie burger, as I didn’t see it on the menu and thought maybe it was a specialty item not sold at all stores, but he was enthusiastic in his affirmative response, and, as you write, Ruud, took all our specifics in stride. Overall, a nice, helpful dude.
What We Got and What We Paid: A veggie burger with no onion or tomato, a Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich with no mayo, a small order of fries, a small order of onion rings, a medium iced tea and a small Mello Yello, all for $14.67.
He Said: As fast food places go, this Burger King was more than acceptable. I’m not a great fan of fast food, but I do know that if I was on a road and had to stop, I could get a pretty healthy meal at Burger King, and it would be quick and inexpensive.
She Said: Yes, I think I’ll keep BK in mind for car-trips so I can eat cleaner on the road, but it won’t be high on my list at home unless I’m in a hurry. It’s good to know you can get a good veggie burger on the run, though!
So…He Said and She Said: A solid option for healthier fast food on the go.