We first met United States Burger Service on a Friday afternoon behind Wynwood’s Boxelder, and we were hooked pretty much right away. Yes, it had something to do with the several high percentage IPAs we’d just consumed, but it was more because of how delicious these little burgers were.
The patties had that magical crust you get from a perfect sear. There was a runny cheese sauce that sunk into all the burger’s little cracks and charred bits. The buns were freshly baked potato rolls dotted with poppy seeds, and they were so soft that your fingers left little imprints like a memory foam mattress. Plus, the burger fit perfectly in the palm of our hand, which allowed us to easily wash down each bite with another IPA without having to put the whole thing down over and over again, risking a structural burger catastrophe.
We’ve remembered that burger nearly every Friday since, but after a couple of years of the roaming pop-up life, USBS finally has its own space inside The Citadel, a food hall in Little Haiti. And thankfully their burgers are exactly how we remember them.
USBS is currently doing takeout and The Citadel is also open for indoor and outdoor dining (they have a rooftop too). They’ve expanded the menu slightly from their pop-ups days, adding veggie options and a wonderful fried chicken sandwich. But you’re still coming here for the burger. Keep in mind they aren’t the biggest burgers in town - still about the size of your palm - so if you are extremely hungry, you may want to consider getting two or supplementing your order with some other Citadel vendors, like a scoop of one of Frice Cream’s exceptional ice cream flavors.
This is USBS’s standard burger. It comes with two patties (order the “Ground” if you’d prefer one), “government cheese,” and priority sauce. That “government cheese” is more of a cheese sauce with a base of (if we had to guess, American cheese). It mixes with the priority sauce (which is part mayonnaise, if we can keep guessing) and coats both patties beautifully, so every bite is a lovely combination of salty beef and cheese sauce. But even despite all that good stuff, their freshly baked and impossibly soft potato buns steal the show.
This is USBS’s fried chicken sandwich. Unlike most fried chicken sandwiches we’ve tasted recently, this one is made from ground chicken formed into an aesthetically pleasing round patty - rather than a whole fried breast or thigh. The breading is thin but crispy and there’s a crunchy cabbage situation on top that we approve of. This is an excellent little fried chicken sandwich.
USBS offers a couple of veggie patty options and the Snail Mail is their simplest version. The patty isn’t one of those meat imitation patties. It tastes like a black bean burger and it works very well with the cabbage and lemon vinaigrette it’s topped with. And, of course, there’s that bun carrying the whole thing to victory.
USBS has four fry options that come coated in various spices. The “Caribbean Tariff” fries are tossed in jerk spice and come with a spicy mustard. Prioritize them, but if you’re here with someone else, make them get the sazon completa-dusted Cuban Tariff to split.