In case you’ve been living under a rock or you’re not a member of any number of Milwaukee food-related Facebook groups where it’s discussed ad nauseam, Kopp’s Frozen Custard has changed its hamburger buns. They were forced to when their huge commercial supplier discontinued the bun. This was not a change by choice, but a change out of necessity. Regardless of the reasoning, many Kopp’s fans have lost their ever-loving shit about the new buns. They’re disappointed and they’re angry.
I get it. I am very change averse, and I’ve been eating Kopp’s burgers since I was a kid (cheeseburger only pickles, please). The new buns are leaving me even more nostalgic for the old buns of my youth. But remember, this isn’t something that Kopp’s decided to do to its customers. This isn’t an attack on your childhood memories. Everything will be all right. Let’s explore why.
1. Kopp’s burgers are still delicious
The bun is different, yes, but different doesn’t automatically mean horrible. I promise! None of the other ingredients appear to have changed, so the overall flavor of Kopp’s is still there. If you tasted this burger blindfolded, you’ll still be able to identify it instantly.
2. The bun is now local
They’re made by Peter Sciortino’s, the Italian bakery on Brady that everyone (otherwise) loves. Of course supporting local businesses is important and great, and now when you eat a Kopp’s burger, you’re supporting two local businesses at the same time. Huzzah!
3. The new buns are actually better than the old buns
Radical, I know, but hear me out. Whereas the old—I’ll give it the respect it deserves and call the old bun “classic” from now on—bun was pretty flat, Wonder Bread-like, and you could peel the top brown part off like a yeasty scab, the new bun is fluffier, thicker, and holds up much better to doubles, the works, and anything else you throw at it. Including that unwieldy KRK Burger. The toasted edges even stay a little crunchy, which adds texture that the classic buns never had. The new bun is like what you’d get in a bakery Sunday morning; the classic is what would be left in the bread aisle an hour before a winter weather warning goes into effect.
4. Everything else is the same
Look, even if you’re the most stubborn person on earth and absolutely refuse to eat a burger with the new bun, guess what hasn’t changed? The custard! The fries! The breaded onion rings! The color coded mics! That fried onion and deep fryer smell you pick up a block away! There are still lots of other reasons to go there, not the least of which is supporting a Milwaukee institution.
5. There’s plenty of other great burgers in Milwaukee
If it really bothers you that much, take a Kopp’s break for a while. Explore your options. Meet new burgers. Use the “me time” to try the lauded burgers you haven’t had yet, like Mazos, Nite Owl, or Crave Cafe. Take a break, and then maybe once you get back to Kopp’s, you’ll appreciate it more.
6. People still love it
As vocal as the new bun haters are, every time I’ve gone to Kopp’s since the switch, it’s been just as crowded as it always has been. Without actually having Kopp’s sales records, it’s impossible to know for sure if their sales have been impacted. But I think it’s a safe bet that Kopp’s will continue on, whether you hate the buns or not. That’s a comforting thought.
7. “New bun Kopp’s” will always be better than no Kopp’s
Let’s put things into perspective: If the new bun has destroyed Kopp’s burgers for you, what was the better alternative? Just shutting down? Giving up? The classic buns were unique, and I doubt many commercial bakers make comparable 5-inch diameter buns. Going with a local option was a great choice, and so was ignoring the haters and continuing to make tasty burgs.
8. It’s been about a year, and the world has not come to an end
The buns changed around the beginning of 2019. Can you believe we’ve been living in a post-classic-bun world for a year already? Crazy!
9. You’ll eventually forget about BunGate
Whether or not you eventually forgive Kopp’s and the classic bun’s supplier, you will eventually forget that this was ever an issue. Either you’ll stop going there entirely, or you’ll forget until you bite into a burger years from now, shrug, and keep eating.
10. We’ll always have their absolute best custard flavor, grasshopper fudge
If they get rid of that, then you can talk to me about a boycott.
Exclusive articles, podcasts, and more. Support Milwaukee Record on Patreon.