Culver’s, more than a burger chain, offers a taste of the Midwest in South Florida

Culver’s Lake Park

Culver’s, a Midwestern gem that’s a major step up from your average fast-food chain, appeals to both savory and sweet taste budsThere are three locations in Palm Beach and Broward Counties, each with a menu built around ButterBurgers, crispy chicken and pork loin sandwiches, cheese curds and frozen custard.


I’ve joined a cult – the cult of fans of Culver’s, the Midwestern fast-food chain.

Honestly, I am not usually a fan of fast-food restaurants, but Culver’s lineup of ButterBurger hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and soft-serve frozen custard turned me into a devotee of a chain that few outside of the Midwest are familiar with.

Inside dining in Lake Park Culver’s.

Outdoor seating in Culver’s Lake Park.

From its start in 1984 as a family-owned restaurant in Sauk City, Wisc., Culver’s has expanded to nearly 800 restaurants across the US, including three eateries in South Florida – Lake Park, which opened in 2018, Margate, which arrived two years later, and Jupiter, which has been open since 2016.

To be sure, Culver’s no longer is completely family owned. In 2017, the Culver family sold a minority share to Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based equity firm with holdings in the company that owns Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and CKE Restaurants, which owns Carl’s Jr/Hardee’s.

The Lake Park store has become my lunchtime destination of choice when I am in the area, usually while my daughter is scuba diving in close by Riviera Beach.

The restaurant, on N. Congress Ave., just south of Kohl’s (also a Wisconsin-based business), features lots of blue umbrella-topped tables on an outside patio and on the inside, wood-paneled walls, exposed brick, rugs, and large screen TVs.

Double ButterBurger with Cheese. 

Crispy chicken sandwich with side of cheese curds.

Culver’s menu board, which take up the entire wall behind the ordering counter, offers an extensive swath of Midwestern favorites in addition to burgers. There’s a fried pork tenderloin sandwich, pot roast, a Reuben, cheese curds, soups and chili, salads, shrimp, fish and spicy chicken, frozen custard, milk shakes and root-beer floats.

Culver’s signature ButterBurgers ($3.29 for a single) are fresh, handmade beef patties served on a lightly buttered bun – hence the name ButterBurger. You can order a single, double, or triple, with or without cheese or toppings. Alas, they are not cooked to doneness requests. They taste fresh but they’re a tad smaller and thinner than those served at some of Culver’s more upscale competitors, among them Five Guys. Gluten-free buns are available at extra cost.

Culver’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich ($5.59) is made with a whole white meat chicken breast that’s coated in a Southern-style breading, seasoned with onion, garlic and a pinch of cayenne. It’s tender and juicy and served with lettuce, tomato and pickles on a toasted Kaiser bun.

Skip the crinkle-cut fries and instead order the cheese curds ($4.09 for medium), which are breaded and fried bites of white and yellow cheddar (sort of a mini mozzarella stick). The cheese curds are fried to a light golden brown and are pull-apart gooey. Be sure to order ranch dressing for dipping.

Culver’s also differentiates itself from competitors with its fresh frozen custard, a Midwest staple since the 1930s. Frozen custard differs from ice cream in that it has egg yolks in it, which give it a creamier, richer texture than ice cream, and less air, so it has a dense, smooth character.

From left, shake, sundae, concrete.


Culver’s makes its frozen custard fresh in batches throughout each day and limits production to just three flavors – vanilla, chocolate and a unique flavor of the day that varies by location. The custard is available in cones and dishes ($2.49 single), in sundaes ($4.19 single), in milkshakes ($4.09 medium), malts ($4.39 medium) and classic root-beer floats ($3.99 medium). There also are what is known as Concrete Mixers ($4.79 medium)super-thick milkshakes with candy and cookie mix-ins. However you have it, some will be hard-pressed to settle for any other soft-serve ice cream ever again. (Sorry, Carvel fans.)  Both the chocolate and vanilla are redolent with flavor and just the right level of sweetness.  A large shake will last you long after the last bite of your ButterBurger.

Because Culver’s cooks each burger to order, it’s not going to be lightning-fast service. After ordering, you’ll get a plastic number tent to put on your table and a staffer will bring your food to you.

Culver’s without a doubt is a Midwestern fast food gem that’s a major step up from your average fast-food chain. It will appeal to both your savory and sweet taste buds.  The chain’s ButterBurgers, chicken sandwiches and cheese curds are good enough to warrant occasional patronage, but it’s really the frozen custard that makes me want to return.

Culver’s-Lake Park

260 N. Congress Ave., Lake Park, FL 33403



5510 W. Copans Road, Margate, FL 33063



 1108 Military Trail, Jupiter, FL 33458






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