12 Of The Best Burgers In America

Gooey cheese, lacy patty skirts, and all the toppings you could ever want.
12 Of The Best Burgers In America image

We love you, Hamburg, but the burger as we know it was invented (and perfected) in the United States. And if for some reason you need proof of this, just read this guide. It includes 12 of our favorite burgers in food cities across the country, like smoked patties in Texas, the cheesiest juicy lucy in Minneapolis, a blend of koji-cured chuck, brisket, and short rib in Miami, and more




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When you picture LA, maybe you think of traffic and celebrities wearing sunglasses inside. Here’s a better image: you, the beach, wine, oysters, and Dudley Market’s glam, beefy monster of a burger. Say hello to our favorite fancy restaurant burger in Los Angeles—a perfectly pink patty stacked with cheddar cheese, dill aioli, arugula, and caramelized onion-bacon jam, all on a brioche bun. It’s sweet and savory, briny and peppery, and something you’ll remember long after you’re finished. Not only is it the best burger in town, but it’s one to eat when you want to lean into the LA-ness of it all. 

photo credit: Nate Watters


The smashed miso-y majesty at this Guamanian spot in Seattle is coming for all of the burger trophies. Its frizzled edges are so beefy-rich that the patties taste like brown gravy—and meat juice amplifies the effect. The caramelized crust, american cheese, and sauce-seeped bun become one singular essence of burger that all others should look up to. Slow down, however, and you’ll catch the hit of black pepper, a salty swipe of kewpie, or bun bits soaked in drippings. Finely chopped pickles and onions brighten through the grease without getting in the way of what’s important, which is everything else.


Philly's best burger feels like it's hiding on the menu at River Twice, an experimental tasting menu spot that uses ingredients like koji butter, golden trout roe, and Firefly squid in its four-course prix-fixe. What makes the Mother Rucker so special are the crispy edges and perfectly-pink middles on the patties, topped with high-quality american cheese, pickled red onions, and mayo. It doesn’t matter that the prix-fixe is four courses. Go ahead and add this one on, too.


Our current pick for NYC's best burger is the thick, classic, purist’s delight at Red Hook Tavern. Guaranteed to be on every table in this cozy, saloon-like corner spot in Brooklyn, the burger is pretty simple: sesame seed bun, cheese blanket, Big Meat, and slightly sweaty onion. The quality beef patty is so tender that it falls apart like it had a long day and is eternally grateful to be at home in your mouth.


There are a handful of spots in Austin making smoked burgers, but our favorite comes from the barbecue trailer LeRoy And Lewis. Maybe it’s the all brisket patty that’s thick and peppery with a juicy interior. Maybe it’s the springy potato roll, or the chopped grilled onions that add a little sweetness to each bite. Whatever it is, it’s worth waiting in one of Austin’s famous barbecue lines to get your hands on one.


You go to The Louvre to appreciate classic works of art. And you go to Off Site in Miami to appreciate bar food. They both take their respective works just as seriously, as evidenced by this cheeseburger. It might not immediately grab your attention when it hits the table, but as you bite into it, you will be greeted by all the essential cheeseburger flavors, dialed up to 11. This is mostly thanks to the super flavorful patty—a mix of koji-cured chuck, brisket, and short rib.


Beep’s is a San Francisco drive-in burger joint that’s been holding it down with the same old-school setup since 1962. Burgers are cooked to a juicy medium and are embellished with lettuce and tomato, plus tangy Beep’s sauce that drips down the bun. Order a side of the beautifully crispy curly fries that are never greasy, and the creamiest root beer float ever. The whole Beep’s experience is simple and might inspire you to go to a vintage car show, pose with a Mustang convertible, re-watch Grease, or all three.

photo credit: Vivian Leba


Burger Bodega pays a specific homage to the iconic corner stores around New York City, but this place still represents Houston. The space has the city's area code, “713,” plastered across faux corner store products lining every wall. Their glorious smashburger, with wafer-thin, crispy edges and a hint of griddle smoke, comes topped with a mayo-like sauce that melds together with cheese and grilled onions. The dense but soft potato bun supports the double stack without getting soggy.

photo credit: Amy Sinclair



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Holeman & Finch’s legendary burger was once a very-limited-supply item you could only order after 10pm. Actual arguments resulted, relationships ended, and grudges were formed when the kitchen was sold out. Thankfully, H+F currently has a presence in the Braves stadium and another warm, memento-filled location that opened earlier this year. Now their hefty double patty simply topped with red onions, sweet pickles, and two slices of american cheese has become a menu fixture.


The Loyalist is a casual French restaurant hiding out on a quiet side street in Chicago, and the main reason to come here is for the outstanding burger. The patty is made from a mixture of chuck, short rib, and bacon, giving it a light, smoky flavor and incredible richness. The cheese is gooey and the caramelized onions are plentiful. In other words, this is a life-changing burger.


All of the smashburgers at Hill Burger East could be DC’s best burger—perfectly thin (get a double), crispy-edged patties on buns so soft they hold your fingerprints. But if we had to pick just one to order, it’d be the Lancaster burger, which is so good that we’d fake a throbbing headache just to get out of work early and eat it as soon as they open at 5pm. It’s topped with bacon, smoked cheddar, fresh arugula, and pickled onions, and tastes even better with a couple squirts of their homemade hot sauce.  


In addition to being a beloved Minneapolis specialty, the juicy lucy is a heated local controversy, with Matt’s Bar and the 5-8 Club each claiming to be the originator of the cheese-stuffed burger. Although the real answer may be lost to history, Matt’s Bar gets our vote for the nostalgia: they’re still serving it decades later in a narrow, memorabilia-lined space that hasn’t changed much since the restaurant opened in the 1950s. The beef and grilled onions are extra flavorful, probably due to the well-seasoned grill that’s churned out millions of burgers. Just be careful with your first bite: the molten cheese has burned many a tongue.

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