May is National Burger Month so each week, DNAinfo is bringing you the story of a unique burger and its maker.
WEST RIDGE — To batter and deep-fry a burger is to plunge, head first, into state fair territory. It’s thumbing the nose at your cardiologist, an open invitation for Guy Fieri to saunter in and scream, “Flavortown!” It is America on a bun.
Ivan Resendiz, owner of VPT, 5754 N. Western Ave., had none of this in mind when he and/or his wife, Veronica — the couple still debate who came up with idea — put a deep-fried burger on the menu.
Reporter Janet Rausa Fuller describes VPT's deep-fried Blackhawk burger.
“I was hungry. I just wanted something deep-fried that day,” Ivan Resendiz said.
“I actually made it the first time,” Veronica Resendiz said.
Formally the Blackhawk Burger, it dates back to April 2013, when the Chicago Blackhawks made it into the Stanley Cup playoffs and the couple’s restaurant, Vince’s Pizzeria and Taqueria, was in its previous location on Devon Avenue. (They moved to Western Avenue in fall 2015 and shortened the name to VPT.)
It was only meant to be a Burger of the Month special, but customer response was so swift and favorable, the hefty burger earned a permanent spot on the extensive menu.
There are textures and bursts of flavor to the Blackhawk Burger that at first glance don’t seem possible.
The Blackhawk Burger at VPT, 5754 N. Western Ave., is stuffed with cheese and jalapenos and deep-fried. [DNAinfo/Janet Rausa Fuller]
It starts with two balls of Angus beef (never frozen and ground in-house daily, Resendiz said), each about the size of a schoolkid’s fist. Resendiz flattens them, sprinkles over a mixture of spices he won’t reveal and gives them a quick spray of something — again, he won’t say what — from a bottle.
Atop one, he lays sliced jalapenos and a scoop of Merkts cheddar. He puts the second patty on top, crimps the edges shut, dusts the puck-like patty in flour and dips it in beer batter.
In it goes into the fryer for — how long?
“I just kinda know. Once you start hearing the sizzle,” he said.
“It also will rise,” his wife added.
Beer-battered pickles fried with the patty, avocado aioli, lettuce and a bun stamped with the signature VPT logo round out the $7.99 creation, which typically ends up just past medium-rare.
More men than women — about a 70-30 split — order the Blackhawk Burger, Ivan Resendiz said. First-timers often ask if it’s pre-made.
“We show them how we make it and they’re blown away,” he said.
The Blackhawk Burger isn’t the top-selling burger at VPT, but it is in the top five, the Resendizes said.
Nor is it the only deep-fried one. VPT's Pizza Burger is wrapped in pizza dough, then fried.
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