You have to have a Fergburger if you're in Queenstown''.
I've been emphatically told this on numerous occasions by many Kiwis and Aussies alike as an absolute must-do when visiting the alpine resort town. It was hard not to wonder if the hype and gushing testimonials would live up to expectations. With so many gourmet burger joints popping up around the place, I'll readily admit that I wondered whether I'd notice much of a difference. Since trying my first and only Fergburger, I am happy to report that I've now joined the ranks of people the world over raving in an almost cult-like manner about these wondrous creations.
Fergburger is special in that it is a one and only. A Queenstown institution since 2001, its popularity outgrew its previous location and the same could now be said for its current location on Shotover Street since Ferg sells more burgers per day than the local McDonalds. On our visit there was standing room only and a line out the door, not to mention over a 20 minute wait. We tried not to be discouraged, however, by the hordes of hungry patrons because I knew one of the golden rules of choosing a place to eat: when somewhere is this busy, it must be good.
Even while run off their feet, Fergburger's employees look like they're having fun
With clever names like Chief Wiggum (pork belly, apricot seeded mustard) and Bun Laden (felafel, lemon yoghurt) plus other gourmet ingredients to match, deciding on a burger from their extensive menu became quite a challenge. Props must go to the menu writer as simply reading the menu had my mouth watering before I even knew what I was in for. I settled on the mega Cockadoodle-Oink burger, $14, (crumbed chicken breast, American-style streaky bacon, avocado, aioli, lettuce, tomato and red onion) which was personally recommended by the ex-Queenstown locals I was sharing my Fergburger experience with.
Ferg's descriptive menu has your mouth watering before you even know what you're in for
Despite the huge amount of orders, the mainly hip-looking and young employees worked very effectively in a production line and didn't seem put off by the number of eyes watching their every move. I'm guessing they must be used to it, and even with the number of orders they seemed to be having fun. When our burgers and rosemary and dill seasoned chips were ready we scurried out of the packed place, eager to find a place to sit and enjoy them in peace, away from the hungry and jealous eyes still waiting for their turn.
The Cockadoodle Oink burger with crumbed chicken breast, American streaky bacon, aioli, avocado, lettuce, tomato and red onion
Even though the burgers were all a mammoth size, such deliciousness could not be left unconsumed and we hacked away at the burgers on a park bench overlooking Queenstown's stunning alpine and freshwater lake backdrop. It seemed the seagulls knew about Fergburger, too, as they quickly swarmed our seating area hoping for a sympathy morsel. None came however as Fergburger was far too good to share and we sat in happy silence until there was nothing left.
In that moment I felt completely satisfied and content, pleased that the burgers lived up to the hype and am happy to be Fergburgers' newest convert. Sadly, though, I might have to wait a while till my next one, but at least now I yet have another reason to visit beautiful Queenstown.