A visit to Powers Hamburgers in downtown Fort Wayne begs these questions: do you like the taste of grilled onions? Maybe more importantly, do you like the smell of grilled onions? Before you answer, a bit of a warning. On our most recent visit, we first picked up the powerful scent from a full two blocks away! But if that doesn’t deter you, then you will be rewarded with some of the best burgers in the Midwest.
They use fresh, never frozen, ground beef to make mini-burgers, a.k.a. sliders. You can get either singles or doubles, with or without cheese, all of which come on a soft potato roll from nearby Aunt Millie’s Bread Bakery. No matter what you get, your burger will be buried under a dizzying amount of onions that provide a big, almost burnt, caramelized flavor. Usually when eating sliders, I go with doubles to get a better meat-to-bun ratio. Here, the extra meat is needed to do battle with those onions. We have heard people order their burgers “light on the onions,” but we say the more the better!
Powers Hamburgers used to be part of a sizable chain, but this is the only location still in business. The building itself dates back to 1940 and is a tiny, Art Deco gem that glistens at night. The J-shaped counter only has ten stools, but there are more seats along the back wall, plus a two person booth in the corner.
They offer a full breakfast menu and enticing looking pies, but we have always passed on dessert due to others waiting for our seats. Powers Hamburgers is cash only, opens early and closes late everyday but Sunday.