A visit to Powers Hamburgers in downtown Fort Wayne begs these questions: do you like the taste of grilled onions? Maybe even more important, do you like the smell of grilled onions? Before you answer, a warning: On our most recent visit, we picked up the powerful scent from a full two blocks away! If that doesn’t deter you, you will be rewarded with some of the best burgers in the Midwest.
Powers uses 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.
There is a full breakfast menu and the pies are enticing, but we have always passed on dessert due to others waiting for our seats. Powers Hamburgers is cash only, opens early and closes late every day but Sunday.