Posted by: greatfallsgirl | May 23, 2011

Burger Master

…or I’ll Gladly Pay You Tuesday for a Ramp Burger Today

I saw a posting on Greater Falls from a former Burger Master employee that had the recipe for the ramp sauce.  I shamelessly begged for the recipe in the comments…still haven’t heard from them.

From Greater Falls: Burger Master saying goodbye

I loved going to Burger Master when I was a little girl.  Before we moved to Great Falls from Fort Benton when I was in 3rd grade, I would know I was getting close to going to Burger Master as soon as I saw the Anaconda stack in the distance.  I loved Burger Master before there were flying things.  My mom would always get a green river.  I vaguely remember a brown cow…might have been a purple cow too…in my hands.  I loved their burgers and as I grew up I gained an appreciation for the Ramp Burger, my mom’s favorite.

On trips back to Great Falls, one of my first stops would be Burger Master.  It was in the 1990’s that I would be up from Butte (going to school at Montana Tech), and noticed the change in the amount of customers they had.  Back in the mid to late 1960’s and 70’s, it seemed like Burger Master was always crowded…both locations.  It wasn’t so much in the 90’s.  I’m not sure why, but I suppose the writing was on the wall for the eventual closing.  Polished, fun-looking chain restaurants, hawking their menu on television frequently I suppose pulled some away, patrons not really caring about just what they were eating, but where.  The ramp on the 10th Avenue South Burger Master was looking aged, not real spiffy.  But nobody could beat the onion rings there. 

From Greater Falls: The ramp at the 10th Avenue South Burger Master

I was very sad when Burger Master closed down.  I am not sure just where I will automatically run to as a first stop the next time I come home.  I am still hopeful our friend in Los Angeles shares the recipe for the ramp sauce…but until then I will keep sweet memories of Burger Master on my mind.

Meanwhile, here is the inside scoop on their onion rings, I found somewhere a couple years ago:

Last week’s request for onion rings like the Burgie made brought a prompt phone call from the Great Falls cook.  Sharon‘s niece was a co-owner of Burgermaster at one time. So Sharon knows what she’s talking about.

To duplicate the Burg’s onion rings here’s what she said to do.

“Mix Krusteaz’s Bake and Fry Mix with water to desired thickness. Toss onion rings in a little flour before dipping them in the batter. Fry in hot grease.” Sharon noted that a home cook will probably not achieve the golden brown hue of the Burg’s onion rings because the oil will not be as well used as a drive-in’s.

Here is one place to find the mix she talks about:  click here.

Click on the two pictures for more information about Burger Master from the Greater Falls website, where the pictures came from.  Click here if you want to see the menu.  Also, here is more information that was published in the Great Falls Tribune.  I saved the article after I read it, in shock, in the online edition which I try and read everyday:

Burger Master soon will serve only memories

By ERIN MADISON • Tribune Business Writer • July 18, 2008

On Saturday, cars will make their way up the Burger Master ramp on 10th Avenue South to order flying pizza burgers, shakes and onion rings for the last time.

After the last burgers are served, the restaurant, a longtime Great Falls staple, will close its doors.

Owner Anne Knapstad said it was a series of unfortunate incidents that led to the restaurant’s closure, which will leave 10 or 11 employees without a job.

Knapstad and her husband, Keith, who live in Denver, bought Burger Master five years ago. Anne’s sister ran the restaurant until she became ill. Anne stayed in Great Falls for about a year to run the restaurant and care for her sister. She said she is ready to return home.

“I just can’t keep it going anymore,” she said.

The Knapstads own both the westside and 10th Avenue South locations. The couple closed the westside restaurant last year after it became difficult to produce a high-quality product while running two restaurants. It was also hard to find workers to staff both locations, Keith Knapstad told the Tribune at the time of the first closure.

The Knapstads put the business on the market early this year, but have yet to find a buyer — though some people have expressed interest. The restaurant is listed for $225,000.

“Hopefully, someone will buy it and take it over,” Anne said.

The Knapstads leased both Burger Master locations, so a new owner potentially could move the business.

Rick Chernicky, a former Great Falls resident who now lives in Florida, has many fond memories of Burger Master.

“I just grew up with the Burger Master,” said the 1975 C.M. Russell High School graduate.

He said he went to the hamburger joint as a young kid.

In high school, it turned into a hangout for him and his friends. They would park their cars at Burger Master and walk around from car to car while sipping cinnamon Cokes, Chernicky said.

Burger Master was still the first place Chernicky went when he visited Great Falls.

His last visit to the Electric City — and his favorite hamburger stand — was in June.

“I’m just glad I got to have my last Burger Master then,” he said.

Rita Walker grew up in Brady. Every time she came to town on the pep bus while in high school, the driver would stop at Burger Master.

“It was a treat,” she said. “It was always the highlight of our trip.”

Walker, who now lives in Great Falls, also frequented the Tastee Freeze and A&W in Conrad, but she said Burger Master was unique.

“It wasn’t the normal drive-in,” said Walker, 58. “For a small town group, that was kind of cool.”

Burger Master isn’t much of a teen hangout these days, but it is a fun place to work, said Teysha Hughes, who has worked there for about 18 months.

“I’m really sad,” said Hughes, a junior at Great Falls High School. “It’s a really great place to work and has great food.”

Chernicky said he once was given some of Burger Master’s recipes by the original owner, and he made them a few times, but they just weren’t the same.

“I hate to see things like this close,” he said.

Saturday will be the last day for the 10th Avenue South Burger Master, a longtime fixture on the busy road. The westside Burger Master closed its doors in 2007.



  1. The Ramp sauce is 8 big cans of cream of mushroom soup and a bottle of cooking sherry

    • YAY! I knew it had something to do with that mushroom soup but didn’t know what else was there. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

      • What r measurement on mushroom cans n what size cooking sherry 4 rampburger burgermaster. Thanks

        • Hi Lori, sorry it took a while to reply. The cans are the large soup cans (not the regular small ones). I think they are about 16 ounces. I am assuming the bottle of cooking sherry is 750 mL, so whenever I make a batch, I use one can and an eighth of a bottle of cooking sherry. Much nicer amount to have on hand.

          • I just use two cans of regular mushroom soup(10oz) half to one stick of butter and up to four oz. of cooking sherry (start one once at a time and taste to your flavor) cook the burgers put sauce on top while in pan and a slice of American cheese and steam with lid. It is pretty decent close

          • my mom kay koehmstedt run the 10th ave one for years I would love the rec for the onion rings thank fot

  2. Hey! Back in the day, when I carried the unfortunate title of “Bun Boy” at Burgermaster, I watched Mrs. A. (Betty Anderson) make Ramp Sauce. She used large cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup (can’t remember how many) a stick of butter, and WHITE wine (can’t remember what kind.) (Sometimes, after all the adults left, the kids working would have a “wine tasting” if there was any left!) Morty Boyd told me that Bob at 10th Avenue had a slightly different recipe using less, or no, wine. We have made it at home many times and fool with the amounts of each of the three ingredients to get it to our liking. Also, don’t forget to use seasoning salt on the burgers to get that Burgermaster flavor. I recommend Johnny’s. Enjoy!

    • Do you know what was in the Lynn Sauce, I lived in GF back in the mid 70’s and could only afford a Lynn on paydays. Loved them and would like to have the sauce receipe to let it live on.

  3. Thanks John! One of my friends thought there might be butter in the ramp sauce.


  5. I would like to bump this thread hoping someone out there has the recipe for a Lynn Burger.

    • The sauce on the Lynn Special was called work sauce. It was simply ketchup, mustard, and relish mixed together. It was also used on the Bob Special, Burger Master, and regular burgers. The Lynn Special is 2 patties seasoned with seasoning salt, work sauce on both patties, pickles on one patty, onions on the other patty, top the bottom patty with a slice of ham with cheese melted on it and a squirt of tangy bbq sauce, and top the top patt with lettuce, tomato, and mayo on it – all on a toasted bun.

  6. Was there some kind of cheese in the rampburger sause?

    • No cheese in the sauce for the ramp burger. The sauce is cream of mushroom soup, melted butter, and cooking sherry. Top a seasoned patty with that sauce, place a piece of american cheese on top of the sauce, and then steam it with a lid over it to melt it together. Then put it on the bun.

  7. What was in the Pizza Burger Sause?

  8. Hi All You Burger Master Lovers:
    I used to exist on the Pizza Burger. Extra sauce and extra onions, and order of tater tots and a Green River. Could anything in life be any better? I don’t think so.
    My question, just like that posed by Terry Campbell is: Does anyone have the recipe for the Pizza Burger Sauce?
    Just writing about it makes my mouth water.

  9. It’s been since 1980 since my last flying burger, fav was the flying mushroom burger. Been searching for years lookong for a press like the one’s they used, made them perfect as it sealed the juices inside the bun, very unique, not seen one before or since that would do that. A lot of good memories in Great Falls and Eagle Mountain Country Club.

  10. Is the ramp sauce what they put on the regular hamburgers? I loved their hamburgers. My husband worked at Robinson Insulation, a long time ago, and sometimes would drive across the river and get a hamburger for lunch. He loved them, too.

    • Work sauce was on the regular burgers. Ketchup, mustard, and relish mixed together. That’s all.

  11. The closest thing for the Pizza sauce I have found is Chef Boi Ardee pizza sauce with added chunks of sauteed onions.

    • Hey, thanks for your reply. I can only say – “could it be?” My beloved, cherished Pizza Burger is merely some crappy canned sauce. Say it isn’t so. Sadly, though, you could be right. I’ll have to experiment to try to replicate the burger.
      Thanks a lot for you reply.

  12. We still crave a good pizza burger, like the burgs. Miss that place every time we drive by on 10th

  13. I also have very fond memories of Burger Master on 10th. I remember as a kid looking forward to flying pizza burgers and a large green river!

    With the flying pizza burgers in mind, does anyone have any info on how to make these? If it’s your own recipe that you came up with, or if someone knows how these were made, I would like to encourage you to share with the die hard fans, so that this great tradition of food can live on.

    A previous post about the irons that they used to make these sparked my interest, and I think I actually found a place that makes something similar to what Burger Master used. Here’s the link if anyone is curious:

  14. Was there ANY cheese on the Pizza Burger…..or just the sauce and onions?
    Thanks to any of you GF natives with any help.

    • Both grated parmesan and white american cheese

  15. The Pizza burger had the pizza sauce, grated parmesean cheese, onions, and white american cheese.

    The Ramp burger had the mushroom sauce (melted butter, sherry, and cream of mushroom soup) and yellow american cheese.

    The sauce on the Lynn Special was called work sauce. It was simply ketchup, mustard, and relish mixed together. It was also used on the Bob Special, Burger Master, and regular burgers. The Lynn Special is 2 patties seasoned with seasoning salt, work sauce on both patties, pickles on one patty, onions on the other patty, top the bottom patty with a slice of ham with cheese melted on it and a squirt of tangy bbq sauce, and top the top patt with lettuce, tomato, and mayo on it – all on a toasted bun.

    The Bob special was a smaller version of the Lynn with no lettuce, tomato, or mayo.

    • What kind of pizza sauce was used.

      • I don’t remember exactly, but I’ve had good luck with using the Chef Boyardee pizza sauce.

      • It was Pizza-Burger System Inc. Out of Muskego Wisconsin.

  16. Having been born and raised in Great Falls, I was surprized other natives had missed some obvious things I remember about the town I grew up in. I grew up living on Fair Addition, which is now 6th Street NW. And walking to downtown, across the bridge passing the old brewery. On the other end was the Import Depot, (the old Milwakee depot). We spent hours there exploring all the different things from far away places. Then on to Central Ave. I made this trip countless times, for various reasons. Like watching a matinee from the balcony of the Liberty theater. The over to Woolworths on the corner, where they had a lunch counter complete with ‘soda jerk’. And up the street to Jack’s pet center to watch the monkeys. We would occasionally go to the Paris department store, where they also had a lunch counter. We were usually chased out of there, as we didn’t fit in. Then going a bit further where we would get a cone at Bailers Ice Cream Parlor. Sometimes we would wander over a couple blocks and check out the pets for sale at Gram & Ross. As I grew older, my facination with Central Ave was to ‘cruise the strip’, turning around at Zandy’s to make another pass to check out all our friends and the hot rods. With a couple a times heading out to Bootlegger Trail to settle their differences putting the rubber down. These are just a few of the fond memories from my past. I hope they made someone out there remember too.

  17. Burgermaster ramp burger sauce reg mushroom soup real butter cooking sherry then old English cheese

  18. ONION RING question: The rings were always so large in diameter and there never seemed to be small rings. What kind of onion did the Berg use? Thanks greatly

  19. I want to bring it back
    Which one is the best 10 ave south or smelter ave

  20. I want to bring it back
    Which one is the best 10 ave south or smelter ave

  21. First time I went to the Burgermaster was in 1965. It was a regular stopping place for us when cruising Central Ave – Ford’s on one end and Burgermaster on the other. I last ate there when visiting in 2004. Sad to think that it had to go away.

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