Our two time incumbent of the best burger's award in Auckland, Big J's Takeaways in Mount Wellington has continued to surpass all expectations and deliver exceptional quality burgers - no overdone frills here, just honest-to-goodness perfection in a bun. The sauces are saucier, the meat meatier and the satisfaction fever pitch. Despite it's modest location and simplistic setup, Big J's has led the way when it comes to taste - from the most basic of burgers through to the ever-sensational Burger of the Week (of which they led the trend). This is the benchmark when it comes to burgers, and while they've hit some quality bumps in the road from long wait times, fill-in staff and rushed orders (due to the aforementioned excellence and resulting popularity), on-going taste tests indicate they're still setting the bar.
If you could distil your best home-made burger from childhood, the one bedazzled by time and innocent wonder at Dad's creations from the BBQ, this is the closest you'll get.
Taste, satisfaction and innovation - this is where Big J's continues to lead the pack and remain on top. Although we'll be honest, they've never been challenged to such extent before and their supremacy was sorely tested, because the new kids on the block got game.
That they can take what they've got and turn it into something so incredible, and challenge Ponsonby's new darling, is what makes Big J's so special. It's a mark of their skill and dedication that they can outplay the challengers, that I could rip into a steak burger feeling like a man's man, the sauce and juices running down my chin, over my hands and down onto the pavement of Mount Wellington. Similarly, their Burger of the Week innovation (Cajun Chicken with bacon and banana for Christ sake) has yet to be surpassed, although it's never been closer.
While we hate to draw comparisons, given the race between first and second place was literally neck and neck, we feel it's fair to say that while Burger Burger offers a whole lot more, Big J's wins at the humble burger. They offer polar opposite interpretations of what a burger joint should be, and if a hip setup, picture-perfect burger and funky-milkshake is your jam we think you'll disagree with our choice - fair enough. Both are notably streets ahead of the competition, and either will provide nothing but happiness.
But, for 2015, we're proud to announce that Big J's Takeaways remains at number one for providing the pinnacle of classic burgerness - and we think that's pretty choice. The flavour just can't be beat. They're giant, they're juicy and they will take you to burger heaven with a taste that'll linger long in to the night.