1. P.J. Clarke’s
New York City, NY
After more than 125 years of serving Manhattan’s foodies, P.J. Clarke’s has mastered the hamburger. We recommend “The Cadillac” burger, which comes topped with strips of smoky bacon and a generous slab of cheese. The drinks and ultra-hip vibe are an added plus.
2. Red Mill Burgers
Seattle is a town of gourmands, and Red Mill fashions a burger to please even the most discerning palates. The American cheese is carefully melted, the thick pepper bacon is phenomenal, the soft roll serves as a top-notch bun – and then, of course, there’s the meat. Make sure you order it on the rare side, to really appreciate the juicy patty and flavors.
3. Weber’s Superior Root Beer Restaurant
This joint claims to be the birthplace of the hamburger itself, dating their first burgers back to 1891. In fact, the patties are cooked on the very same griddle that the founder, Oscar Weber, used for the very first batch, giving customers a genuine piece of burger history. The 2/3 lb. sausage cheeseburger will fill you up, and it goes wonderfully with the signature root beer.
4. The Golden State
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles is a place that takes its burgers seriously, and the burgers at Golden State are some of the best. Most people just opt for “The Burger,” a juicy Harris Ranch beef patty, Fiscalini Farms cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, arugula and aioli on a grilled golden bun, with a side of spicy Jalepeno slaw. Prepare to be impressed.
5. Uncle Louie Burgers – Bar Marmont
Los Angeles, CA
This legendary burger is named for a line cook at Bar Marmont, who added bacon, avocado and Russian dressing to the house burger. According to the story, the “Uncle Louie” was once available only to staffers, until a manager ordered a burger “Louie-style” in front of some bar regulars, and word got out.
6. Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage
Sitting in Harvard Square, Mr. Barley’s features a menu with 30 or so wittily-named burgers to choose from. This 60-year-old Cambridge favorite is popular with students and residents alike. We recommend the “The People’s Republic Of Cambridge,” which comes topped with fresh coleslaw and Russian dressing.
7. In-N-Out Burger
CA, AZ, TX and UT
You just can’t talk about burgers on the West Coast without bringing up In-N-Out. This is the fast-food burger at its best. In-N-Out’s cooked-to-order burgers are made with beef from local Southwest ranches and served with fresh, hand-cut fries, plus the option of grilled onions and lettuce in place of a bun.
8. Perini Ranch Steakhouse
Buffalo Gap, TX
Cowboy cook Tom Perini is an expert at open-flame cooking, and he uses mesquite coals at his barn-turned-steakhouse to churn out one delicious burger. We recommend the Ranch Burger, which comes with a thick patty and all the trimmings.
9. Gott’s Roadside
Napa Valley, CA
Brothers Joel and Duncan Gott’s charming ’50s-style diner used to be named Taylor’s Refresher, and for years it’s been a Napa favorite for comfort food and burgers. This is a gourmet burger done right – for a delicious twist on the American favorite, try the seared Ahi burger.
10. White Manna
This old-school diner, sitting on the banks of the Hackensack River, is known statewide for its heavenly sliders, piled high with delicious, thin-cut onions. We’re told they’ve been using the same butcher for the past 50 years, and the quality shows.