52 Top Burgers from Coast to Coast
Bite into the best patties across America at these spots serving crave-worthy burgers made of Black Angus, wild boar, shrimp, pork roll and more.
Photo By: Mandy Schaffer, Schaffer Visuals
Photo By: Marc Piscotty ©2016 Marc Piscotty
Photo By: unknown
Photo By: ™™a.`-p ©COPYRIGHT 2015. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Photo By: Andrew Cebulka ©Andrew Cebulka
Photo By: Heather Anne Thomas ©2014 Heather Anne Thomas +1 865-681-6128. All rights reserved unless specifically granted in writing
Photo By: JM Giordano
Photo By: Jesse David Harris ©Jesse David Harris
©Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.
Photo By: unknown
Beef and Beyond
The hamburger may be the all-star of the home barbecue, but don’t overlook these restaurant versions. Chefs have a lot of tricks and techniques to reinvent the traditional ground beef patty sandwich, including new cooking methods, cuts of meat, buns and toppings for truly unique results. From foie gras-topped prime beef and specially designed dry-aged blends to wild game- and seafood-infused patties, here are 52 burgers to try across the U.S.
Photo courtesy of Bart Sasso
The Stand, Phoenix
Go to: The Stand
The Grill at Torrey Pines, La Jolla, Calif.
With a position over the rolling greens of one of the country's best golf courses, the view at The Grill could be the main draw. The Drugstore Hamburger, however, ensures that the food stands up to the atmosphere. Named for its old-fashioned inspiration, the griddle-cooked burger is one of the best in town. Sheathed in glossy Cheddar, the ground chuck — from Niman Ranch — is topped with chipped sweet onion, shreeded lettuce, pickles and tomato, with a swab of homemade mayonnaise and choice of fries or a salad on the side.
Go to: The Grill at Torrey Pines
Au Cheval, Chicago
Ask about the country’s best burgers and one name pops up time and time again: Au Cheval. Locals and tourists flock to this 3-year-old Windy City spot, waiting in multi-hour lines for its excellent patties, which were recently named best burger on Top 5 Restaurants. The place sells about 500 burgers a day on the weekend. Do your visit justice: Order the celebrated double cheeseburger. A slight misnomer, it's actually composed of three 4-ounce prime beef patties, griddled to medium, each one layered with slices of Kraft sharp American cheddar cheese. It’s topped with homemade dijonnaise, diced onions, pickles and served on a toasted, locally sourced white Z Baking bun. Throw on a fried egg or bacon — or both — if you please.
Go to: Au Cheval
Cherry Cricket, Denver
Adam Richman of Man v. Food once called the Cricket Burger the best he’s ever had. He’s not the only one to espouse the merits of this place. Cherry Cricket has been hailed by local and national publications on countless occasions. While much of the menu is a DIY hodgepodge of toppings, the namesake is the most popular. Fresh 80/20 Black Angus shoulder chuck patties are grilled over an open flame, creating a slight char and succulent interior. It’s finished with American cheese, sauteed onions, bacon and an over-easy egg.
Photo courtesy of Marc Piscotty
Go to: The Cherry Cricket
The Blue Duck Sandwich Co., Philadelphia
Go to: The Blue Duck Sandwich Co.
Hay Merchant, Houston
At his Houston craft beer mecca, Chef-Owner Chris Shepherd creates food that’s just as diverse and creative as the extensive list of brews. He offers his own twists on classic bar food like PB&J wings, chicken-fried steak and pig head (not a typo) tacos. His burger, known as the Cease and Desist, is sure to stop you in your tracks with double meat (two seared 3-ounce patties), double American cheese, lettuce, tomato and housemade pickles. Ketchup, mustard and mayo are served on the side.
Photo courtesy of Julie Soefer
Pie ‘n Burger, Pasadena, Calif.
Go to: Pie 'n Burger
Minetta Tavern, New York City
Go to: Minetta Tavern
Father’s Office, Los Angeles
This Los Angeles burger joint, with locations in Santa Monica and Culver City, Calif., has long been a city favorite and is often credited for kicking off the gourmet burger craze. Inspired by French onion soup, the Father’s Office burger starts with 100 percent dry-aged chuck charbroiled to a juicy medium-rare, topped with bacon-onion jam, arugula, blue cheese and Gruyère, all intended to highlight the flavor of the beef. The full lot is placed on a crunchy, garlic-butter-infused toasted bun. Be sure you’re happy with the combination before ordering: Yoon has a strict no-substitutions and no-additions policy on his signature sandwich, and not even ketchup is allowed. But it’s perfectly delicious as is.
Photo courtesy of Katie Burton
Counter Cafe, Austin
Started by Debbie Davis, Whole Foods employee number 23, this “21st Century Authentic American Diner” focuses on serving fresh, local and organic riffs on classics. That’s what makes the Counter Burger so good. Chefs Nick and Steve Cruz start with an 80/20 blend of grass-fed beef from Niman Ranch. It is seared on a radiant grill to medium-rare, with quarter turns for impeccable grill marks. Sharp cheddar is grated atop and melts into the patty. It’s placed on a toasted Sweet Mesquite Bakery bun with red onion, hydroponic beefsteak tomato from Village Farms in Marfa, Texas, and Houston’s Amador Farms' hydroponic Bibb lettuce.
Photo courtesy of Mitch Hallmark/Found Media Group
Go to: Counter Cafe
Holeman and Finch, Atlanta
When this Atlanta pub first debuted its cheeseburger, Chef Linton Hopkins didn’t want the dish to overshadow the rest of the nose-to-tail menu, so the kitchen limited the number to only 24 per night, starting at 10 p.m. That didn’t work out as planned: The cheeseburger developed a cult following of fans who would wait around the dining room until “Burger Time” was called, rallying for their share. Now it’s on the menu with about 75 to 100 flying out the kitchen doors on a nightly basis. So what’s the big deal? Two small beef patties are griddled, then topped with red onion, housemade pickles and American cheese, served on a fresh-baked pan de mie bun from H&F Bread Co., and served with housemade ketchup and mustard — simple, yet oh so sweet.
Photo courtesy of Bart Sasso
Bru Burger Bar, Indianapolis
Originally opened in Indianapolis, this craft beer and burger heaven was such a hit in its hometown that it’s since expanded with three additional locales across three states. You can’t go wrong with any beef-and-bun combo here, but the Stilton Bleu Cheese Burger is the best. The base is a proprietary blend of brisket, sirloin and chuck, which is seasoned with a special spice blend. Ideally served medium-rare, but cooked to diners’ specifications, it’s served on a toasted brioche bun and topped with housemade pear-bacon jam, fried onions, truffle aioli and fresh spinach.
Photo courtesy of Richard Sparr
Go to: Bru Burger Bar
Chez Fonfon, Birmingham, Ala.
At his French bistro-inspired restaurant in Birmingham, Ala., James Beard winner Frank Stitt offers a burger that evokes the flavors of Paris. His Hamburger Fonfon has garnered numerous accolades. To make it, Stitt grinds boneless chuck in-house to form an 8-ounce patty simply seasoned with just olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. The Euro touch comes in the form of Comté cheese, which adds sweet, nutty notes that ooze right into the grilled beef. The patty comes topped with earthy flame-cooked red onion, lettuce, tomato and pickles.
Photo courtesy of Chez Fonfon
Go to: Chez Fonfon
B Spot Burgers, Cleveland and More
These Midwest Michael Symon joints have racked up plenty of acclaim for their succulent patties. The restaurant took home awards from South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s Burger Bash four years in a row. One of the winners was the Fat Doug. Named after Symon’s partner Doug (who is actually pretty thin, by the way), this winning recipe starts with a grilled sirloin-brisket-short rib patty. It’s topped with more meat in the form of pastrami as well as vinegary coleslaw, stadium mustard and Swiss cheese.
Photo courtesy of Michael Symon Restaurants
Go to: B Spot Burgers
Yakuza Lounge, Portland, Ore.
Go to: Yakuza Lounge
Husk, Charleston, S.C.
Chef Sean Brock is like the unofficial porcine king of the U.S. In the vein of Southern traditions, he infuses porky flavor into all manner of dishes. The most-talked-about item is the Husk Cheeseburger. Chuck, flank steak and Benton’s hickory-smoked bacon are ground, then formed into patties. Each one is seared in a scorching cast-iron skillet, then topped with shaved white onions and American cheese. After about 30 seconds, in which the onions warm and the cheese melts, the patty is pulled off the heat; it's then placed on a toasted and housemade buttermilk-sesame bun and topped with bread-and-butter pickles and Brock’s special sauce, a mix of ketchup, mustard, mayo, pickles and jalapenos.
Photo courtesy of Andrew Celbulka
Rhubarb, Asheville, N.C.
Go to: Rhubarb
The Company Burger, NOLA
If there’s one thing anyone should know about New Orleanians, it’s that they know their food. And they like to debate the best of the best. When it comes to burgers, however, there are no arguments. NOLA residents will tell you The Company Burger beats the rest. The namesake dish is a must-try. As the opening chef de cuisine of Atlanta’s burger go-to Holeman and Finch, Owner Adam Biderman modeled his burger after his former employers’ take. Two small patties are cooked to medium on a flat top. Just before they’re pulled off, each one is covered with thinly shaved red onion and a slice of cheese. They’re stacked on a toasted bun with three pickles and nothing else.
Photo courtesy of Pableaux Johnson
Go to: The Company Burger
Set in a renovated 1800s bank building, Alewife features new riffs on American fare paired with 40 rotating craft beers in a chic pub-like space. The spot has racked up numerous nods for its lively atmosphere and its gastronomically inclined burgers. The Smoke Burger is a fan-favorite pick. As the name suggests, it is bursting with layers of smoky flavors. Two thin beef patties are seared on a flat top, accentuated with smoked Gouda, melted onion bacon jam and arugula. A sesame seed bun completes the burger, which comes with a side of fries.
Go to: Alewife Baltimore
Broken Shaker, Chicago
Go to: Broken Shaker
Brindle Room, New York City
Former Chopped contestant Jeremy Spector has garnered a strong local following for his East Village gastropub that features a menu of homemade American comfort fare. His signature Sebastian’s Steakhouse Burger has topped many a best-burger list. Many popular patties rely on short rib or chuck, but Spector uses dry-aged ground neck meat with fresh beef and white fat, which is seared in a cast-iron skillet, sealing in the juices while creating the perfect charred exterior. The patty comes on a regular white bread bun with caramelized onions, a choice of cheese — American is highly suggested — and hand-cut fries.
Go to: Brindle Room
Charm City Burger, Deerfield Beach, Fla.
Go to: Charm City Burger Company
Bowery Meat Co., New York City
Go to: Bowery Meat Company
Go to: Kush
Garden District, Washington, D.C.
Go to: Garden District
Sid’s Diner, El Reno
Go to: Sid's Diner
The Local Craft Food & Drink, Miami
Go to: The Local
Mission, Newport, R.I.
One reason why the burgers at this Newport spot are so good is that the patties are made from whole and half cows delivered regularly from Archer Angus in Chesterville, Maine. Patties are ground on the premises at this whole-animal-cookery restaurant, which also makes homemade hot dogs. The bacon cheeseburger is a must, starting with the fact that it’s topped with the bacon that’s smoked in-house. It comes standard with American cheese, but customers can opt for Swiss, cheddar or aged cheddar instead. Like every other burger on the list, it comes with lettuce, onion and Mission sauce (a housemade aioli made with ketchup, cornichons, capers, herbs and brandy), and a springy and toasted bun.
Photo courtesy of Pat Murphy/Kingslens
Go to: Mission
Cowgirl BBQ, Santa Fe, N.M.
In New Mexico, green chiles make everything better: enchiladas, tacos, stew, burgers. And this Santa Fe barbecue joint offers “The Mother of All Green Chile Cheeseburgers,” as it’s billed on the menu. Ground beef is mixed with local bison and ground applewood-smoked bacon, then formed into a patty and grilled to order. Brie cheese, green chiles, white truffle oil and a slice of heirloom tomato are piled onto the patty, which comes nestled on a locally baked green chile cheddar brioche bun. Truffle fries are served on the side. Pro tip: Pair this burger with a beer.
Photo courtesy of Nicholas Ballas
Go to: Cowgirl BBQ
Owen & Engine, Chicago
Go to: Owen & Engine
J.L. Beers, Fargo, N.D., and More
This Fargo hole in the wall is known for its beer and burgers. This outpost of the Upper Midwest mini chain has just 24 seats in the house, which means it regularly sees customers lining up out the doors. Don’t worry, though. The crowds move quickly through this joint, as it takes less than three minutes to cook and serve each burger. The Humpty Dumpty Burger is the one to order. It’s like a lunchtime and dinnertime breakfast sandwich, with fresh ground beef, a fried egg and American cheese, all served on a featherweight signature bun.
Photo courtesy of J.L. Beers
Go to: J.L. Beers
Villedge, Greenville, N.C.
Go to: Villedge
Burger Bob’s, Bozeman, Mont.
Go to: Burger Bob’s
BRGR Kitchen + Bar, Kansas City, Mo., and More
This Kansas City joint offers new takes on American comfort classics in the Power and Light District. The menu includes a wide range of entrees and snacks, but its namesake burgers are what draw the masses. Each beef burger is made with a fresh chuck and short rib blend that’s formed into a half-pound patty. One of the top-sellers is the Number 3. Peppered bacon is mixed into the patty, which is grilled on a flat top and then placed on a brioche bun. White onions, bread-and-butter pickles, triple American cheese and special sauce kick it up another notch.
Green Dot Stables, Detroit
Local boy Jacques Driscoll left Detroit for the warm, sandy beaches of San Diego. After several years there, he and his wife, Christina, headed home to open a restaurant, Green Dot Stables; locals are sure pleased they did. The equestrian-themed restaurant and beer bar offers a wide selection of affordable burgers in miniature form. Of particular note are the sliders tweaked with international flavors, such as the Korean. This option features a thin beef patty that’s set on a soft white bun and accented with peanut butter and locally sourced kimchi (from The Brinery in nearby Ann Arbor). The combination may sound odd, but the flavors meld together like pickle brine and whiskey.
Photo courtesy of Clark + Aldine
Go to: Green Dot Stables
Paradox Grille, Gateway Canyons, Colo.
Resort food has long held the reputation of being an afterthought (aka frozen mass-produced junk). Like everything else in the food world, however, that notion has been changing as destination hotels up their dining game. One would be hard-pressed to find beef fresher than what’s served at this Colorado resort, which sources its meat from a ranch located just around the bend. The Grilled Angus Burger’s beef patty is thick and juicy with a beautiful brown crust. It would be great on its own, but the toppings really make this patty pop. Sweet-and-spicy corn-green chili chutney, smoked onion, honey mustard and sharp cheddar punch up the patty, which is served on a toasted bun.
Photo courtesy of Gateway Canyons Resort
Go to: Paradox Grille
Heartland, St. Paul
Mission Bowling Club, San Francisco
Go to: Mission Bowling Club
Saison, Richmond, Va.
Saison owners Chef Adam Hall and Jay Bayer are two rural Virginia boys who share a passion for travel, Southern fare and homebrewed beers. They’ve brought those elements together at their Richmond place. Here they combine old and new techniques with flavors and styles that honor the South and its many global influences. The Saison Burger leans toward the all-American side of the menu. It starts with local sirloin ground by JM Stock Provisions. Rather than source the cheese, Hall makes his own smoked American, a combination of smoked cheddar and white wine set with carrageenan and sodium citrate. The cheese-smothered patty comes topped with housemade ranch dressing, pickles and Bibb lettuce. Hand-cut fries finish the plate.
Jake’s Burgers, Brookfield, Wis.
The Local Restaurant and Bar, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Go to: The Local Restaurant and Bar
Nosh Kitchen, Portland, Maine
Go to: Nosh Kitchen
Swinery Meats, Seattle
This tiny butcher shop offers some of Seattle’s best cuts for home cooks. It purchases whole animals from within 300 miles of the storefront and breaks down each one in-house. For those who aren’t a fan of do-it-yourself meals, the onsite Courtyard Grill offers the most-coveted sandwiches and snacks in town. The Swinery Burger slays: Made with a one-third pound of freshly ground Painted Hills beef, this patty has a light texture. It’s topped with caramelized onions, tomato, fresh greens, crisp house pickles and rich Swinery sauce. A layer of cheese adds to the richness — options include cheddar, provolone, bleu and Swiss.
Photo courtesy of Case Alex James
Tony’s Burgers, Cathedral City, Calif.
Drive 10 minutes away from downtown Palm Springs to take your pick from more than 50 composed burger choices at this unfussy restaurant. The joint’s sparse appearance (picture black booths and red vinyl-topped tables inside and a handful of seats on the outdoor patio) belies its abundant combinations of inventive toppings. The menu is like reading War and Peace. Here’s a pro tip: Order the La Vida Loca (but expect to get messy). Ortega green chile, avocado and ghost pepper Jack cheese are stacked atop a thick beef patty. Underneath are lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickle chips and Sriracha mayo, all nestled on a fluffy white bun.
Burger Bar, Roy, Utah
Go to: Burger Bar
Bachi Burger, Las Vegas
Go to: Bachi Burger
High Life Lounge, Des Moines
Go to: High Life Lounge
Game, Louisville, Ky.
Set in Louisville’s historic Irish Hill neighborhood, this rustic restaurant offers a wild spin on traditional meat dishes. It’s a mecca for carnivores, with a menu that focuses on wild game; the establishment specializes in burgers. Guests can order composed burger plates of rare animal proteins like elk and kangaroo. Opt for the wild boar. This burger comes with a mix of sweet and tangy elements that highlight the natural flavors while subduing any harsh, overly gamey notes. A wild boar patty is nestled on a flavorful everything bun with fresh greens, tomato, goat cheese and a cranberry jalapeno jam.
Photo courtesy of Louisville CVB
Go to: Game
Go to: Gabby's Burgers and Fries
Hawkins House of Burgers, Los Angeles
Go to: Hawkins House of Burgers
Cotham’s in the City, Little Rock, Ark.
Go to: Cotham's in the City