Zippy Burger: A decent option, but not mind-blowing

Alberto Farino | Staff Writer

It’s the end of a long day, and I feel like eating a burger. I should note that I ate a burger about an hour ago. Does that stop me from still craving a burger? I wish the answer were yes. Unfortunately, I follow my appetite, which brings me to Zippy Burger, the new burger place located on Melville Avenue.

I find Zippy Burger thanks to its big, bright sign in the exterior. I’m surprised by the tiny size of the place—almost like a hole in the wall. It’s a rainy Tuesday afternoon, so it is empty except for two guys sitting together.


The cashier welcomes me as I approach the counter to take a look at the menu on the wall. It doesn’t take long for me to decide what to order. The menu is surprisingly straightforward: You could either get a “double” or a “single” burger. Equally surprising are the inexpensive prices. The “single” is only $3.39 and the “double” is $4.89. I go for a “double” and a side of fries, the only other item on the menu.

I grab a seat in the table nearest to the counter, where I get a good view of the entire space. It’s a small place with only five tables. The atmosphere is very laid back. As I recognize Eminem playing in the background, I look around and see the graffiti-covered walls. One wall is painted with the St. Louis skyline (okay, the Arch) and another tagged with the word “Zippy” in graffiti.

Less than four minutes pass when the cashier brings my order to the table in a bright red tray. The presentation is very simple: the burger in a white wrapper and the fries in one of those paper baskets.

I try the fries first. They taste like your standard fries at a standard fast food restaurant, which does not mean they are bad. Indeed, they are golden, crispy and hot. Just a pinch of salt will do to enjoy them.

I’m excited. This could potentially be my go-to burger place. Cheap menu? Unpretentious atmosphere? Friendly staff? Fast service? On the Loop? Not a dream? What could possibly go wrong? Well, the burger.

As I grab the burger to take my first bite, I notice how boring-looking the buns are. It’s okay. I’m still optimistic. You know what they say: Don’t judge a burger by its bun. And so, I don’t. Instead, I judge it after I take the first bite. I was disappointed by the bland combination of ingredients.

The meat patties are skinny but well-cooked. The rest of the ingredients consist of a “special sauce,” onions, tomatoes, lettuce and American cheese. Nothing truly stands out except for the sauce, which gives it a much-needed edge to this otherwise dull sandwich.

Granted, I wasn’t expecting one of those juicy, fat burgers you always see Guy Fieri eating. After all, it was all less than six dollars. Yet, for a place called “Zippy Burger” with a bold two-item menu, I wanted something just as interesting. Instead, it was all rather generic. This is not to say it did not taste good (I did finish it all), but it had the potential to be better than good.

Nonetheless, Zippy Burger is a place to keep on your list—its low prices and fast service are very convenient. If you are craving a Big Mac but don’t want to feel the shame of going to McDonald’s, then Zippy Burger is the spot to go.

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening at Washington University and beyond.