Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
Americans are the world’s burger experts. If you doubt this for one minute, consider the way they do things at Burger King Japan.
Novelty burger options include a pizza-sized burger that’s almost nine inches and costs $33.
In April, BK Japan offered a deal, where, for $1.37, you could add 15 strips of bacon to your burger, at which point your burger disappears. One customer took things way too far and added 1,050 bacon slices to his Whopper (spoiler alert: He didn’t finish it).
The newest BK Japan special is a five-patty Whopper. You can’t help but wonder if that same guy will try to order a 1,050-patty burger.
As I was saying. Americans are the burger experts, and our top ones are the best of the best. Here are some of the country’s (and therefore the world’s) most outstanding burgers.
Holeman & Finch Public House - Atlanta, Georgia
This gastropub has one of the country’s best bars; it’s also one of the country’s great late night burger spots. At 10 p.m. every evening, the bullhorn blast signals the start of burger time (generally, people start arriving at 9 p.m.; by 9:50, the place is full). H&F sells only 24 burgers nightly; some nights they sell out by 10.01.
To make their double patty cheeseburgers, chef Linton Hopkins uses freshly ground grass-fed chuck and brisket, topped with melty American cheese served on house-baked buns; condiments include house-made ketchup, mustard and pickles. The accompanying fries are destination-worthy as well.
Get the recipe for Holeman & Finch's famous cheeseburger
B Spot Burgers - Cleveland area
Michael Symon isn’t just the winner of Iron Chef America. He’s also won the Best Burgers in America title from the South Beach Wine & Food Festival an astonishing three years running. To check out why he’s king, go to B Spot Burgers, which has five locations in the Cleveland area, including the Horseshoe Casino. If you’re winning, you probably want an awesome burger. And if you’re losing, you probably want an awesome burger.
Symon is expert at meat-on-meat burgers: the Yo! (topped with fried salami, coppa, hot peppers and provolone); Symon Says (topped with bologna, coleslaw, whip sauce and American cheese); and Symon’s personal favorite, the Fat Doug (topped with pastrami, Swiss and coleslaw). Football fans can rejoice that Symon is opening up a B Spot in Browns stadium later this summer.
The Spotted Pig - New York City
April Bloomfield’s burger is outstanding in its simplicity. Here’s how the description reads on the menu at the Pig: “Char-grilled burger with Roquefort & shoestrings.” The divinely juicy, two-handed burger on a baked-in-house bun is a secret blend created for Bloomfield by celebrity butcher Pat LaFrieda. LaFrieda told New York Magazine, “We must’ve come up with 25 different blends before she chose one. Twenty-five! First she wants more short rib, then less, then more.” (I believe the mix is brisket, rump and chuck.)
There used to be a firm no substitutions rule in place; now you can order the burger without the layer of blue cheese topping. But don’t try to sub in another cheese - that’s strictly prohibited.
Father’s Office - Los Angeles, California
There are two places to get chef Sang Yoon’s outstanding burger: Santa Monica and Culver City, in Los Angeles. The Office Burger is topped with applewood bacon compote, caramelized onions, both Gruyère and Maytag blue cheese (why aren't more places brilliantly combining two kinds of cheese on a burger?), and, because this is California, arugula. Yoon uses a blend of dry aged beef for his burgers, which ups the meatiness quotient; that bacon compote helps too. Yoon is another chef who doesn’t believe in burger substitutions: There’s a no-ketchup policy in place.
If you visit their website and click on the Office Supplies tab, you can find F.O. skateboards for sale as well as F.O. Periodic Table Beer T-shirts. “We feel that great beer is an essential element of life,” they explain.
Shake Shack - New York City; Miami; Washington, DC; Westport, Connecticut; Philadelphia; and other locations
It’s kind of hard to believe that lines have been forming at the original Madison Square Park kiosk since 2004, or before that if you count the time before the “shack,” when it was just a cart. Now you can use the website’s real-time Shack Cam to see just how long that line is.
Depending on the location and the cooker, some burgers will be better seared than others, but at their best, a single patty Shack Burger - made with hormone-free beef with melted American cheese spilling over the top of it, plus crisp lettuce, tomato and the all-important Shack Sauce - is a great thing. The newest location in Philadelphia is the only one to feature the new SmokeShack: a cheeseburger topped with Niman Ranch applewood-smoked bacon, chopped cherry peppers and, of course, that Shack Sauce.
More from Food & Wine
Best Burgers in the U.S.
America’s Most Over-the-Top Burgers
Best Pizza in the U.S.
America's Best Bars
Summer Grilling Recipes
All National Cheeseburger Day coverage
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It's NEVER too hot to grill a burger!! The best burger joint is... my kitchen! Bison, Elk, Grass-fed Beef, Venison... these burgers rock my socks off!! All sandwiched between two grilled slices of eggplant, ha, yes I am a low carb eater. Mmmm can't wait for tomorrow!
Yeah, it's too hot to grill outside, so I guess I'll get in the car and drive 11 hours to freakin' Atlanta for a hamburger.
one of the best burgers ive ever had in my life was from a street vendor in Rome, Italy. it was the middle of the night near the Mattatoio (old meat packing district) this was about as far as you could get from the tourist zones, and it was so good i immediately ordered another, to the delight of my Italian friends. sadly, i was never able to locate this guy again.
that said, i normally prefer to grill at home, no matter the temperature outside. when dining out, i prefer a burger grilled over a wood fire. greasy flattop burgers rank a close second, and i do not enjoy burgers over a gas grill very much at all.
L.A. is full of amazing burgers and Father's Office is certainly up there. That said, I still think that Umami Burger is the best in town!
FIVE GUYS...game over!
L.A.'s listing seems like foo-foo burgers [arugula & bacon compote???]... In-N-Out, Fatburger, Knowlwoods [O.C.]- now, THERE's a listing of where to get good burgers.
In-N-Out & Fatburger? Fast food chain joints for the BEST burger? LOL. That's just laughable.
Ethan...go to FIVE GUYS and see if a chain burger is good...maybe even great.
Five Guys is a great chain, but you'll probably find a better burger at any county fair in America than at any chain.
the best burgers are probably the the places that you never heard of or are underground.
Brother Ethan- your pretentious foodie is showing. It doesn't matter how many times you post. It doesn't mean your opinion is more accurate or better than the multitude who think otherwise. I speak as someone who's eaten at top restaurants around the world.
why on earth would my comment be "awaiting moderation"?
Because you said "pretentious foodie" on an eatocracy thread?
Slip in Kirkland, WA is also fantastic.
I couldn't grill or fry a hamburger at home worth eating if my life depended on it! how do you home grillers do it?
Hack off the horns and the tail and slap it on the grill until it stops moooing.
Oh, wait, that's my steak recipe.
what? no Wendy's?
LOL. Good joke.
A Dick's Deluxe from Dick's in Seattle. Or how about Red Mill in Seattle. Some of the best burgers I've ever had.
A rare sight on the Interwebs.
Someone who actually knows Dick.
My favorite is grill at home Turkey burger marinated with Mesquite BBQ flavor packet, with avocado spread and all the fixins on a toasted whole wheat bun!
The best burger in America is found in San Clemente, California at the Rider's Club Cafe. http://www.ridersclubcafe.com/
Sorry Burger Joints: my favorite is grilled at home; Costco patties, chibatta bun, gooey melted Tillamok cheese and my own secret sweet pepper and onion relish. Yummmmmy! :P
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