The best burger? There is always a controversy (see below). My new #1 burger is actually in Atlanta! (See the bottom of this page for more details) While reviewing this Top Five list, you must be careful to differentiate between the best burger and the best burger experience. The latter would include the character of the establishment, the fries, etc. The list, however, considers only the buns and everything in between them.
And, you must differentiate between what I call “The Suburban Burger” (also known as California Style) and “The Steak House Burger”. The former is about everything in the burger: the sauce, the meat, the American cheese, the lettuce, the raw onion, the tomato, the pickles, and, of course, the bun. The latter is all about the meat…and maybe one or two other things. I have to admit that my bias is towards The Suburban. After all, I grew up in CA and just love mayo.
Anyway, the results:
- Chesseburger, Holeman & Finch Public House, Atlanta, GA
- Double Shack Burger, The Shake Shack, NYC
- The Lamburger, The Breslin, NYC
- 112 Cheeseburger, 112 Eatery, Minneapolis, MN
- Bacon Cheeseburger, Vitae, NYC
You might wind up having a burger at Holeman & Finch for dessert. And even after an insane protein and parts meal, it will still reign supreme. At 10:00 p.m., the entire kitchen stops everything it is doing and everyone focuses on the production of the burger. They only make 24. You have to get there and ‘reserve’ your burger. If you are there at 7:30, you are golden. If you show at 9:30 with hopes of grabbing one, you’re toast. This is all a bit gimmicky, but that doesn’t matter because the burger is pretty much perfect. But I hear the sell them with reckless abandon at Sunday brunch…just not sure if they taste as good as when you wait for 3 hours drinking rye whisky and eating veal heart… (On the Ultimate List).
The Shake Shack? Just dropped to #2 on the U.S. list, but still holding on to #1 in NYC. But competition is tough these days. Yes, wait in line for the best burger in NYC. It might not be a purist’s burger, but, to me, it is everything a burger should be. Perfectly cooked and salted meat. American cheese that melts into the meat. Great sauce. A grilled bun that is crispy on the inside and soft on the outside. Roma tomatoes. Lettuce. Make sure to ask for raw onion. If it’s summer in the city, this is the burger you dream of.
And the Luger Burger at Peter Lugers used to be on the list. It is definitely worth the trip to Brooklyn! The White Label Burger at Ai Fiori is so close to the top 5. In fact, it made it in for a while, but the last time I had it, it was not as good. I also like the BLT Burger with a fried egg at BLT Burger.
Ever in Minneapolis? You must, MUST, go to 112 Eatery for the 112 Cheeseburger. Super crispy English muffin, think juicy beef patty, melted brie, and housemade spicy pickles. This burger might start climbing the list…
And if you find yourself in Greenwich, call ahead to Rebecca’s and see if they can make your their near-perfect burger ($28) ground from steak. Served only at lunch if you call ahead (not on their menu yet!)
An honorable mention goes to Five Guys, which came to Manhattan the Fall of 2007. Clearly, the In ‘n Out of the East Coast. And you cannot go wrong with Corner Bistro. Or the burger at Del Frisco’s.
Gotta get to Minetta for the Black Label. Just went. The burger meat was Top Five for sure, but the rest of the burger did not blow me away
DBGB, and JG Melon’s are also pretty solid…
PJ Clark’s was over-rated.
Fast food burgers? I think that the quality has slipped so much that I cannot even offer an opinion! Except for In ‘n Out, which you know I like! (See Fast Food List)