Much like a sandwich, there are few rules governing what is or is not a burger. It used to be that ground beef was a mandatory element, but the rise of plant-based alternatives and other shifting tastes now mean that a “burger” is pretty much a protein plus whatever you can dream of putting between two buns. Want an egg in there? Go for it. Mac and Cheese? Why not.

To truly push the boundaries of burger making these days, you need to borrow a page from the Taco Bell playbook and think outside the bun. For whatever reason, that seems to be exactly the ethos behind TGI Friday’s towering Loaded Burgers. Offered in two particular “flavors” that are already pretty loaded on their own, each big burger grafts an appetizer onto the bun for maximum height and flavor.

Perhaps created in an effort to save excess Guinness from becoming Christmas tree fertilizer, the Guinness Pub Burger incorporates the classic Irish stout into the burger’s seasoning. That beef is then topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, cheddar and a beer cheese sauce just to reiterate that this is a beer-based burger. That potato skin up top also has bacon and cheese, which, while tasty, is a bit redundant.

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If you want fries both inside and on top of your burger, the Loaded Cheese Fry Burger’s the ticket. Its combination of the usual all-American burger fare plus poblano queso and loaded bacon cheese fries sit beneath another Loaded Potato Skin. You honestly might want to skip the side of fries in favor of a side salad if that’s an option, because how many more potatoes do you really need?

To sample a Philly Cheesesteak that’s actually a burger, well, today is your lucky day. The Philly Cheesesteak Burger smashes roast beef, bell peppers and melted cheese between two buns. Then there’s a Philly Cheesesteak Egg Roll on top, because why settle for a cheesesteak inside your burger when you can also have one on top of it.

While this kind of culinary excess is worthy of compliments, how well will burgers topped with appetizers travel? I suppose there’s only one way to find out. 


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