From a student’s perspective, WOW’s location close to the Zuidplein metro station and far removed from the city centre is not exactly a plus. Consequently, the restaurant mostly attracts teenagers and parents. They come here to put together their own burger, to eat hand-cut fries and to listen to the occasional Turkish tunes that are played here.
In terms of its interior, the restaurant holds its own against Macdonald’s. In fact, it could have been a copy. That comparison ends when it comes to the food. The restaurant proudly only works with fresh ingredients. You notice this as soon as you reach the cashier. Here you do not get your burger from a warming plate, but a beeper that goes off a few minutes later to let you know that your food is ready.
That makes you hungry. The first burgers – wrapped in aluminium foil à la the award-winning Five Guys – are quickly finished. And that is a good sign. They are tasty, juicy and just a little spicy. The fries too score high on the EM score sheet.
Time to smash
WOW’s owner Oscar Gesöyler – Turkish, surly look – explains the delicate taste. He walks through the kitchen, goes down some stairs and ends up in the cellar of his restaurant. He points to the meat mincer. “Look,” he says, as he turns on the machine. “I carefully take the meat and do not add anything – also no pepper or salt.”
Time to smash the meat. He takes a chunk of meat, goes back to the baking sheet and places the minced meat on the grill. With full force he presses down on it with a mould. And there it is, a smashed burger without any structure, which is why it doesn’t feel like a plastic mouthful. Some other things in the kitchen include a ‘secret’ sauce, Albert Heijn tortillas and Americana Range burger buns.
A Big Mac costs about three and a half euro, and a WOW Burger just a few cents extra. Gesöyler: “But ultimately, it is cheaper here. Because here you are really full after you have eaten.” The entrepreneur is considering opening a branch in the centre of the city, but that is going to take at least a year.
Our assessment: faster would be better.
The good news
Daniëlle Hoogendijk (44) is eager to tell us what the burger tastes like. The ‘good news’ must be spread. “Better than MacDonald’s. You can taste that the meat has been freshly prepared.” On this Thursday evening, Hoogendijk, whose friend has come to Zuidplein from the centre of town especially for the occasion, puts her teeth into a chicken burger. This is not the first time. “I come here every weekend and I will continue to do so
His eyes light up when Gabriël Rodriguez (17) is served the burger he ordered. The freshness, the ingredients: to him there is no better burger in the city. “A friend once let me taste a piece of WOW chicken. I asked him: buddy, where did you get this from?” Since then, he now walks past the McDonald’s yellow arches: “At Mac’s you know from the word get-go that you are eating junk food. You can feel it in your stomach. That is not the case here.”
For the German Tom Langsenkamp (22) it is pure coincidence that he ended up with a WOW burger in his hands. He happened to come past here on his way to the Ahoy exhibition centre. “The meat is fantastic. I would recommend it to anyone.”