Vegan No Vegan Queenstown Challenge: Devil Burger vs Ferg Burger

  • Due to a hard drive crash, most photos from our Devil Burger visit have been lost, but will be replaced soon!

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Okay, so my buddy Yuri and I really wanted to figure out where in Queenstown makes the best burger.  We decided to head straight for the two notorious burger joints that both locals and tourists love around here: Ferg Burger & Devil Burger.

I’m a vegan (duh, we all know that) and Yuri ain’t no vegan.  We teamed up on this mission from both sides of the fence to really get to the bottom of this eternal Queenstown debate.

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Which one prevails!?

Well, let’s see… 

We put on our judge-panel caps and wrote down a bunch of categories we should base our visit on.  We went with:

  • Ordering wait time

  • Price

  • Food prep wait time

  • Available options (meat/veg)

  • Size options

  • Customer service

  • Taste

  • Overall score

I know for sure I went in with a pre-conceived opinion, but came out pleasantly surprised.  Yuri was pretty indifferent, but definitely ended up picking a favorite. 

Let’s see how we got on:

In corner 1, we have DEVIL BURGER!

Located on Church Street, this well-marketed spot (the devil concept is brilliant) always has a good buzz around it drawing you in to sit by the fire or at a people-watching window seat while you enjoy a dang good burger.

There’s primarily indoor seating and some outdoor seating (we counted approximately 36 seats like a pair of nerds).  There are seven different seating areas in the place along with a fireplace, TVs, and tap beer (which is unrelated to the seating, but you can drink one in any of the areas, haha).

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Here are the stats:

Ordering wait time: 0 seconds!

Cost: (Yuri) Mary’s Little Lamb: $15.00 * (Kelsey) The Funguy: $13.00

Food prep wait time: 11 minutes 4 seconds

Options: Meat – 21 ~ Vegan – 3

Size options: 2

Customer service: 4.5/5

Taste: Meat burger – 3.5/5 ~ Vegan – 4.5/5

Overall score: 4/5

 

THE BUN BREAKDOWN

Ordering Wait time:

Devil Burger is often really busy, but their register people know how to plow through a line of customers.  I never remember having to wait long in a Devil Burger line, but this time we lucked out and didn’t have to wait at all in line to place our order.  We walked right up to the till and started drooling.

Cost:

We all know Queenstown can be expensive, but when we broke down the cost of our burgers, we thought the Devil Burger pricing was an honest one for the large-sized burger.  Well done, Devil, you’re not so evil after all.

Food prep Wait time:

This was a bit scandalous for our time at Devil Burger because Yuri actually got the wrong burger the first time our food was ready.  After a normal wait time of 11 minutes and 4 seconds, Yuri and I grabbed our burgers and got right into them (after a few nerdy blog photos were taken, of course).

Yuri took a few bites and realized he was not eating what he had originally ordered.  He asked the guy at the counter handing out the food about it and the guy denied giving him the wrong burger!  You can see why they didn’t get a perfect score in customer service, but the manager did go above and beyond to make things right.  After another 11 minutes and 30 seconds, Yuri got the right burger and was happy as can be. 

Options:

The meat options were:

17 mains + 4 wraps = 21 options.

The vegan options were:

2 mains + 1 wrap = 3 options.  (Which, unfortunately, is to be expected at a burger place even though I wish it was the other way around.)

Size options:

Two side options: regular and large. Nuff said.

Customer service:

As I alluded earlier, we had a touch of less than 100% good customer service while we visited Devil Burger, BUT we chose to focus on the great interactions instead.  The girl who took our order at the register was lovely and the manager went over the top to remake Yuri’s correct burger and gave me avocado instead of cheese free-of-charge!

We think they’re a great crew in there and one mistake isn’t the end of the world.  If you’ve worked in the service industry before, you know they happen, so there’s no point in placing blame on innocent human error, just don’t deny it!  They got a 4.5/5!

Taste:

Lamb burger according to Yuri:

Score: 3.5/5

  • “It’s a classic kiwi burger, you can’t go wrong with the basic ingredients: lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli, relish.”

  • “The burger wasn’t dry, I liked the sauces.”

  • “The lamb was just a bit bland, but a good size and everything together tasted pretty good, so I was happy.”

The Funguy according to Kelsey:

Score: 4.5/5

  • “It packed a sweet punch of ‘savoriness,’ which I really like in a burger.”

  • “The mushroom was a good size and the sauces complimented the flavors well.”

  • “I’ve grown to love all things mushrooms in the recent past…I swear my taste buds have changed since I went vegan, so I had to get this infamous burger amongst the vegan crowd.  Devil did not disappoint!”

Overall score:

In order to determine this score, we worked it out by reasons Devil Burger wouldn’t get a perfect score, as in…perfect until proven imperfect.  As much as we’d like to overlook the meal mix up and denial snafu, we do need to take that into account during our experience there.  We also noticed that the burger buns aren’t toasted, but that may be personal preference (and also most normal people probably never notice that detail).

The vibe in the place is really cozy and the staff members behind the counter seem to always have a great time working together, which makes customers happy and feel welcome.  The fire was blazing the day we went in, which we appreciated after hours of working outside in the cold and the action sports on the TVs add to the ski town vibe Queenstown is notorious for.

After two tasty burgers from a vegan and meat eaters points of view, we believe a 4/5 is a badass score for this blazin’ burger joint.

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In corner 2, we have FERG BURGER!

This Queenstown icon is allllways going to have a zillion fans banging on the door to get in.  After a few prime time media features, this burger spot is a tourist magnet, though you’ll often find a local lurking around the ordering window after a few late night pints at the pub.

If you figure out the sweet spot between meal times, you can work your way to the till a bit quicker and see what the fuss is all about sooner.  There’s some indoor seating that’s prime for watching the burger-ordering-process unfold in front of you as well as street-side seating great for observing wide-eyed foreigners walk by.

Here are the stats:

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Ordering wait time: 0 seconds! (MAJOR FLUUUKE! THIS IS NOT NORMAL!)

Cost: (Yuri) Ferg Deluxe: $14.90 * (Kelsey) Holier Than Thou: $12.90

Food prep wait time: 11 minutes 31 seconds

Options: Meat – 16 ~ Vegan – 2

Size options: One size fits all.

Customer service: 5/5

Taste: Meat burger – 5/5 ~ Vegan – 5/5

Overall score: 5/5


THE BUN BREAKDOWN

Ordering wait time:

I feel like I need to lie here about the wait time because we had the flukiest chance of not having to wait in line at all.  We rocked up to Ferg Burger just after work ready for a minimum 20-minute line.  We were mentally prepared for it!  When we didn’t have to wait, we were weirded out.  The whole “thing” about Ferg Burger is their line; they even employ people just to control the queue.

My point is, expect a wait.  And if you don’t have one, you’re a lucky bastard. 

Cost:

Like I said with Devil Burger, Queenstown is a tourist town, so you can expect to pay tourist prices.  Don’t let that defer you from hitting this must-see burger spot, but expect to pay $12-$18 for a meal.  You gotta do it and you’ll be glad you did.

Food prep wait time:

We sounded like a bunch of hooligans when our number got called at Ferg because we were watching the clock to see if they’d beat the Devil Burger meal prep time or if they’d lose real bad. They came in just after Devil Burger clocked in, BUT they got both orders right on the first try. So who’s the real winner here?!

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Options:

The meat options were:

14 mains + 2 breakfast = 16 options

The vegan options were:

2 mains = 2 options

Size options:

One size fits all.

Customer service:

We know, we know.  Five out of five is ridiculous to just give out like that, but we debated and discussed and finally decided they deserved it.  Perfect until proven still perfect.  Our experience was delightful from the moment we locked eyes with our order taker (in a non-creepy way) to our very last bite (and licking of fingers).

The girl covering the register was super charismatic and didn’t think we were crazy when we asked to get a photo with her (we kinda pretended we were tourists at that point).We all had a laugh, she made some suggestions for my vegan order, which I appreciated, and made the interaction just stinkin’ nice.

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Taste:

Classic Ferg Burger according to Yuri:

  • “Love the sauce, it was very well balanced and it wasn’t a generic BBQ.  I’m not usually a fan of BBQ, but I think it was well put together.”

  • “I could taste all the ingredients even the fact that the bacon was crispy just like I asked.  I asked for crispy, it came crispy.  Not everyone cares about that detail.”

  • “I’m just going to say it, it was perfect…and I wasn’t expecting that.”

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Holier Than Thou according to Kelsey:

  • “My first bite was like the first sip of a cold beer on a hot day.”

  • “It was the perfect combo of salty & sweet & crunchy & soft.”

  • “The girl at the counter asked if I wanted a mango sauce instead of the aioli and she nailed it. It made it all just right.”

  • “I’ve never had tofu like that as a burger, so I’ll never understand why people don’t want to give it a try.  Ferg’s tofu burger is INCREDIBLE!”

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Overall score:

Again, 5/5 seems unreachable, but you can absolutely tell that Ferg Burger is a well-oiled machine.  I mean…they’ve got their systems so solid that their long line is made way less painful knowing a quick, tasty burger is going to be delivered at the end of it.

We honestly ate our burgers so fast that we barely spoke to each other during the process and we kept making sex-like noises the burgers were that good.  There was a really good crew on crowd control and the kitchen staff were having a laugh, but hustling at the same time.

If we had to make any suggestions, it would only be that the atmosphere is kinda noisy. But, hey, that’s to be expected with Queenstown’s most iconic burger place (according to the guide books).  More seating would also be ideal, but Ferg is the kind of place you can grab a burger and go sit in the park or at the beach to chow down.

WINNER: FERG BURGER!

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Conclusion:

As I mentioned earlier, I already had an idea that a certain winner would come out on top before this competition even began.  I was in Devil Burger’s corner all the way.  After my experience at both places using a watchful, tasteful eye, I can’t deny that Ferg is now my top contender for burger choices.

I’m pretty sure Yuri didn’t care one way or the other who the winner was going to be, but by the end of it he proclaimed Ferg Burger was the dominator in this competition through and through and he’d certainly be going back.

Being totally honest here, people, you will definitely be happy whichever burger joint you choose.  Ferg Burger has the long line, don’t forget, and Devil Burger doesn't toast their buns.  Ferg is iconic, delicious, and fresh; Devil is off-the-beaten-path, provides more vegan options, and has a really cool atmosphere.  They each have their strengths and weaknesses, but ultimately, you’re fortunate enough to be in Queenstown chowing down on a burger, so go out and enjoy the hell out of yourself while you’re here.

Happy travels and go vegan! ;)

Kelsey PowellComment