25 Best Burgers in the US

The burger may be even more American than apple pie itself. The bar has risen, however, with the burger’s undeniable popularity. The following are the 25 best burgers around the country and where to find them. If that’s not incentive for a road trip, what is?

California: In-N-Out Burger

Signature Burger: Cheeseburger

Even superstar chef Thomas Keller is a fan of the West Coast chain — and with good reason. The cooked-to-order burgers are made from Harris Ranch beef and served with hand-cut fries. For a messier, more indulgent experience, order your burger “Animal Style” for extra sauce and chopped grilled onions — they’ll know what that means. www.inandout.com

New York City: Minetta Tavern

Signature Burger: Black Label Burger (topped with with caramelized onions).

Minetta Tavern’s excellent burgers use a beef blend — dry-aged rib eye, skirt steak, brisket, and short rib — from famed purveyor Pat La Frieda, and buns from Balthazar Bakery. www.minettatavernny.com

Atlanta, GA: Holeman & Finch

Signature Burger: Burger

Star chef Linton Hopkins announces “burger time” — 10 p.m. — with the ringing of two bull horns; that’s when two dozen grass-fed beef burgers are up for grabs and consistently sold out within minutes. The burgers are also available on the Sunday brunch menu. holeman-finch.com

Arlington, VA: Ray’s Hell Burger

Signature Burger: Basic Beef Burger (served in a brioche bun).

There’s no sign, yet dedicated fans — a certain president included — come here for the freshly ground burgers with and complimentary toppings like grilled onions and mushrooms sautéed in sherry and Cognac. Ray’s Hell Burger

Boston, MA: Craigie on Main

Signature Burger: Beefburger

Star chef Tony Maws adds bone marrow and dehydrated miso to his Bar Burger, and cooks it in a low heat CVap oven, followed by a quick char on the plancha. www.craigieonmain.com

New Haven, CT: Louis’ Lunch

Signature Burger: The Original Burger (prepared with a combination of chuck and sirloin beef).

Many restaurants claim to be the birthplace of the hamburger. Louis’ Lunch, in New Haven, Connecticut, since 1900, is a leading contender. The meaty hand-shaped patties are grilled on antique cast-iron broilers over an open flame. www.louislunch.com

San Francisco: Zuni Café

Signature Burger: House-ground hamburger (served in a grilled rosemary focaccia).

Instead of traditional cucumber pickles, legendary chef-owner Judy Rodgers accents her burgers with thin-cut zucchini strips pickled in apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds, and turmeric. www.zunicafe.com

Memphis, TN: Dyer’s Burgers

Signature Burger: Dyer’s Cheeseburger

The legendary patties here are pounded thin before they’re cooked in a cast-iron skillet filled with grease for a deliciously crisp exterior. www.dyersonbeale.com

Chicago, IL: Custom House Tavern

Signature Burger: Custom House Burger (short rib, sirloin, and ground pork patty topped with aged cheddar cheese, and shaved onion, served in a sourdough brioche bun).

The “Custom House Burger” — available only on the lunch and bar menu — comes with house-made steak sauce. www.customhouse.cc

Miami, FL: Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

Signature Burger: Black Angus Burger (served in a brioche bun).

An optional topping for star chef Michael Schwartz’s Harris Ranch Black Angus beef burger: house-smoked bacon. www.michaelsgenuine.com

New York City: The Spotted Pig

Signature Burger: Spotted Pig Burger

When the Pig opened in 2005, it was known mostly for its celebrity owners — Jay-Z and Mario Batali, to name two. Now April Bloomfield is famous in her own right for her excellent gastropub menu, which includes an excellent burger made with brisket, rump, and chuck, topped with Roquefort cheese. www.thespottedpig.com

California: Gott’s Roadside

Signature Burger: Ahi Burger (seared Ahi tuna burger topped with ginger-wasabi mayonnaise and Asian slaw, served in a toasted egg bun).

Brothers Joel and Duncan Gott’s witty, reimagined ’50s diner recently changed its name from Taylor’s Refresher, but it’s still the undisputed favorite for comfort cravings — especially burgers. www.gottsroadside.com

Decatur, GA: Farm Burger

Signature Burger: Farm Burger (topped with Grafton smoked white cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and a special house sauce).

This farm-to-table burger spot grinds its grass-fed, dry-aged, and locally sourced meat daily. The “build it” option includes unexpected toppings like cured lardo, oxtail marmalade, and roasted bone marrow. www.farmburger.net

Los Angeles: Father’s Office

Signature Burger: The Office Burger (dry-aged beef patty topped with Gruyère cheese, Maytag blue cheese, arugula, and applewood-bacon compote).

Sang Yoon’s noodle bar Lukshon might be getting a ton of buzz, but the provocative chef first made his name with his dry-aged beef burgers. Among the finest in the country, they justify the strict no-ketchup policy. The 36 craft beers on tap change seasonally. www.fathersoffice.com

New York City: Little Owl

Signature Burger: Bacon Cheeseburger

Chef Joey Campanaro gets his beef from famed Manhattan purveyor Pat LaFrieda and tops each burger with pickles from Gus, but the buns are house-baked, with just a hint of molasses. www.thelittleowlnyc.com

Washington D.C: Palena Café

Signature Burger: Palena Cheeseburger (Kobe beef patty topped with Sottocenere al Tartufo truffled cheese and garlic mayonnaise, served in a house-baked roll).

Former White House chef Frank Ruta’s much-lauded burgers can be had in the boisterous front room. www.palenarestaurant.com

Meriden, CT: Ted’s

Signature Burger: Steamed Cheeseburger (prepared with Vermont cheddar).

Ted’s has been serving its steamed burgers — a regional specialty — since 1959. www.tedsrestaurant.com

Dearborn, MI: Miller’s Bar

Signature Burger: Miller’s Cheeseburger

The popular no-frills burgers here have been served since the late 1940s. www.millersbar.com

Boston, MA: Green Street Grill

Signature Burger: Bacon Double Cheeseburger (beef patty with cheddar cheese, smoked bacon and Russian Dressing in a white bun).

A superb accompaniment to the burgers: house-made kettle chips. www.greenstreetgrill.com

Healdsburg, CA: Healdsburg Bar & Grill

Signature Burger: HBG Burger (fresh-ground Meyer Natural Angus beef patty topped with Alexander Valley Gourmet pickles, served in a toasted Costeaux Bakery sourdough bun; roasted garlic mayonnaise on the side).

For his terrific burger, star chef Douglas Keane uses a 70-30 lean-to-fat ground beef ratio. www.healdsburgbarandgrill.com

New York City: Shake Shack

Signature Burger: ShackBurger (Black Angus beef patty topped with American cheese, tomato, lettuce, and “Shack Sauce,” served in a grilled potato bun).

Uber restaurateur Danny Meyer’s beloved mini empire has a cult following among Gotham burger geeks. Must-order items include the ShackBurger (served with American cheese, tomato, lettuce, and “Shack Sauce” in an old-fashioned wax paper wrapper) and a “hand-spun” chocolate-and-peanut-butter custard shake.

Buffalo Gap, TX: Perini Ranch Steakhouse

Signature Burger: Ranch Burger (topped with mushrooms, onions, green chiles, and choice of cheddar or provolone cheese).

Self-taught cowboy cook Tom Perini masters the art of open-flame cooking using mesquite coals at his hay barn turned steakhouse, smack in the middle of the state. www.periniranch.com

Hackensack, NJ: White Manna

Signature Burger: Cheeseburger (topped with onions, served in a soft bun).

This old-school diner has built its reputation on heavenly sliders piled high with thin-cut onions. It’s been using the same butcher for the past 50 years.

Chicago, IL: Duchamp

Signature Burger: Duchamp Havarti Cheeseburger (topped with Havarti cheese and tomato rémoulade, served in a dill roll).

Chef Michael Taus’ burger comes on a dill roll prepared from his Czechoslovakian grandmother’s recipe. www.duchamp-chicago.com

New York City: Peter Luger

Signature Burger: Luger Burger (served with raw onions and house-made steak sauce, served in a sesame bun).

The broiled “Luger Burger”— prepared with a porterhouse and prime chuck blend — at this legendary steakhouse is served only during lunch. www.peterluger.com



June 27, 2011. June.

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