Last weekend we found ourselves on the Westside of town with a three year old who had a craving for French fries. After some consultation we decided to try Calvin’s Hamburger Haven on South Seneca.
This small burger joint has been around Wichita dating back to the ’60s, but has changed hands several times, so there is little nostalgia that remains. Going in at noon on a Saturday I was surprised that we were the only customers there. The interior was dated, but clean and reasonably spacious for a hamburger joint. The walls were oddly adorned with motivational pictures that one might find in a office bathroom. Perhaps they are there to inspire the weekday clientele as they head back to work. I think some inspirational food related quotes are needed as well on the walls. Something like: “Sacred cows make the best hamburger.” – Mark Twain
The menu at Calvin’s is pretty straightforward with hamburgers being the main attraction. Besides the basic burgers, they offer several unique varieties including chili, chorizo, pineapple, and for some ungodly reason PB&J. There are also hot dogs, a pork sandwich and assorted fried sides. We kept it simple and went with single cheese burger combos, while our son wanted a hot dog and fries.
The burgers come standard with mustard, pickles, and grilled onions, all of which I was glad I had ordered because the patty itself was nothing to cause much beefy delight. It was a rather bland meat disc that could have used more greasy goodness. The aforementioned condiments, cheese, and a toasted bun helped to make it an average burger in my opinion. The fries were nothing special and appeared to be of the frozen variety, fortunately they were hot and crispy. Both of our boys enjoyed them with plenty of ketchup. The hot dog came split down the middle and after a treatment on the grill had some nice crispy bits. I think that perhaps one of the specialty burgers, such as the chorizo variety, may have made for a more satisfying experience.
If you happen to find yourself on the south side of town in need of a burger Calvin’s is certainly a better option than a fast food joint. If it is true burger ecstasy you crave this may not be the place, unless of course you need a PB&J burger.