Food lovers, rejoice! Summer is here! If you’re like me, you’ve made plans to hit the patio is once again to get some sun and some breeze. But the best part of this time of year? It’s time to fire up the grill! And nothing goes better on a grill than a good burger.
Actually, Another Food Critic has a milestone to celebrate! As of this most recent post, I’ve reviewed 100 burgers around the country. We Americans love our burgers! See every burger I’ve reviewed here.
I’ve actually been inspired on this journey through the burgers of America. Last year, The Daily Meal released a list of its 101 Best Burgers in America—some from restauranteurs considered the best in America, others from little dive bars in its rural parts. I have since made a point to try a few of these burgers in my travels. Every single one I tried absolutely blew me away. You’d think a burger is a burger, but what some folks are making…is way above and beyond.
But even with 101 burgers to pick from, our friends at Daily Meal were destined to miss a few. Only one in Ohio even got a mention!*
Let me tell you about five burgers that I tried on their list of the 101 best, and let me tell you about five more up-and-coming restaurants with unbelievable burgers that I think deserve a try.
TDM’s No. 82: Thunder Burger – Thunder Burger Bar (Washington DC)
I love Georgetown and how ritzy it feels. So it’s hilarious to walk into Thunder Burger Bar, sort of a dive in the middle of upper-class DC. This burger comes medium rare as a rule–and the veggies to top it off add to the juiciness.
Must try #5: Mexicali Burger – Harry Caray’s Tavern (Chicago)
Perched on Navy Pier, Harry Caray’s Tavern cooks up some great burgers with a view. Mexicali is topped with guac, pepper jack and a chipotke aioli that gives it a slight heat.
TDM’s No. 75: The Woodstock – Burger Up (Nashville)
Burger Up is another name in new and rising vibrancy in Nashville. The spot is such a fun little dive. Gourmet burgers, topped with high-quality ingredients, are what get its burgers so many foodie mentions.
Must Try #4: Breakfast Burger – Taste of Belgium (Cincinnati)
This one is sandwiches between two fantastic thick waffles–Taste of Belgium’s signature, with the syrup giving a sweetness, the salty bacon and savory egg only adding to the amazing.
TDM’s No. 64: Double Chili Cheeseburger – The Varsity (Atlanta)
The Varsity is such an easy-to-love Atlanta tradition, it’s impossible to go wrong with the fast-food style burger. The real charm here is in the experience–the schoolhouse-turned-restaurant brings many through its doors and you have to try this place when you’re in ATL.
Must Try #3: Farm Burger – The Pharmacy Burger Parlor (Nashville)
Another giant burger coming from a newly opened burger joint in Nashville’s gentrifying neighborhoods. This one comes with a smoky bacon and crisp egg and I’m reasonably sure it won’t be long before it ends up on the list.
TDM’s No. 19: The Big Devil – Rays to the Third (Washington DC)
This unbelievable burger comes with some seriously unique ingredients — roasted bone marrow? Foie gras? But the real kicker here is that sear — perfect, even on a medium rare burger — and the “hand trimmed, aged in house, fresh ground” patty. There is no wrong way to eat this burger.
Must Try #2: Bistro Burger – CoCo’s Bistro (Dayton)
It’s a simple combo, but it’s perfection: caramelized onions, crispy bacon, and Boursin cheese. A one-two-three combo atop a juicy fresh beef patty that you just can’t put down. A Midwestern charm–with a major upgrade into the gourmet.
TDM’s No. 12: The Lola – B Spot Burgers (Cleveland)
Chef Michael Symon’s Cleveland restaurant empire has expanded into Detroit and Columbus with the much-loved B Spot Burgers. Every burger is cooked to perfection. And this breakfast take is no exception. Bacon, egg, onion, and a deliciously simple patty.
Must Try #1: The Burger – Oakley Pub & Grill (Cincinnati)
This one is locally famous for good reason–the monstrosity of this burger is topped with a simple array of veggies, but that beef patty really knocks it out of the park. You might need a doggie bag — if you can put that burger down.
*I should add that Thurman Cafe in Columbus got a mention in one of Daily Meal’s previous ‘best burger’ lists.