By Rachel Forrest
Route 125 between Plaistow and Rochester is a wonderland of funky little diners, rustic coffee shops and summertime clam shacks. I could spend weeks checking out all the spots to sample on that stretch of road, but I love to stop at Wild Willy’s Burgers. There’s a very popular Wild Willy’s in York, Maine, and another in Watertown, Mass., but last year Rochester got its own version of this excellent burger joint. There’s a bit of the cowboy theme here, but it’s not Disneyland overdone. They save the feeling of the West for the great Angus Beef charbroiled burgers — all huge, tender, tasty and juicy.
The toppings are fresh and creative. A Rio Grande is piled with roasted hot green chiles from New Mexico and real cheddar cheese. The Stampede oozes with steak chili and the Santa Fe has ranch dressing, lettuce, tomato and thinly sliced red Bermuda onions.There are plenty of extras to add, so you can have the burger you crave with jalapenos, bacon and even guacamole, all between a buttered and toasted bun. All of the burger selections are only $5.50 before extras. Sides are great, too, with made-to-order, hand-cut Maine potato fries with a light sprinkle of salt for $2.25, or sweet and crunchy onion rings piled high for only $3.25. They do serve beer, wine and draft root beer, but you must try a frappe here, especially the thick and rich coffee flavor. Burgers, fries and a frappe — the perfect New England roadside meal.
Wild Willy’s Burgers, 12 Gonic Rd. (Rte. 125), Rochester
(603) 332-1193, www.wildwillysburgers.com