15 American Burgers You Have Eat This Summer
The burger, America’s quintessential comfort food, can now be enjoyed in an impossibly endless number of ways. There are round-the-clock burgers at 24-hour-roadside joints and ephemeral late-night burgers sold out in mere minutes; burgers grilled in hundred-year-old cast-iron broilers and burgers steamed in state-of-the-art ovens; burgers crafted from Kobe beef imported from Japan and burgers made with Black Angus beef from just down the road. It’s clearly a great time to love the burger. Here, we’ve singled out some of the best.
New York City: Brindle Room
Signature Burger: Sebastian’s Steakhouse Burger.
Chef Jeremy Spector’s super-flavorful patties combine a 21-day dry-aged beef blend with fatty deckle. They’re seared on a cast-iron skillet before they're topped with melted American cheese and caramelized onions.
Memphis: Hog & Hominy
Signature Burger: John T. Burger.
Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman (F&W Best New Chefs 2013) pay tribute to food writer and Southern Foodways Alliance Director John T. Edge with this Oklahoma City-style patty that’s smashed and griddled with onions. A genius touch: the shredded lettuce dressed in salt and pickle juice.
Los Angeles: A-Frame
Signature Burger: Double Cheeseburger.
F&W Best New Chef 2010 Roy Choi gives his architecturally impressive burger an Asian twist with toasted sesame seeds in the mayo and fresh shiso leaves on top of the lettuce. In keeping with Choi’s more-is-more ethos, there’s also tomato confit, pickled red onions, hot sauce and sharp cheddar cheese, all on a buttered brioche bun.
San Francisco: Mission Bowling Club
Signature Burger: Mission Burger.
These outrageously delicious burgers made their debut at the short-lived Mission Burger pop-up in the Duc Loi Supermarket in 2009 and have now found another unorthodox home: this six-lane bowling club. Its loose, juicy patties are seared in beef fat, topped with Monterey Jack cheese and caramelized onions and served in buns from Acme Bread.
New Orleans: The Company Burger
Signature Burger: The Company Burger.
From Holeman and Finch alumnus Adam Biderman come two loosely packed, juicy patties topped with American cheese, house-made pickles and red onion.
New York City: Shake Shack
Signature Burger: ShackBurger (Black Angus beef patty topped with American cheese, tomato, lettuce, and “Shack Sauce,” served in a grilled potato bun).
Uber restaurateur Danny Meyer’s beloved mini empire has a cult following among Gotham burger geeks. Must-order items include the ShackBurger (served with American cheese, tomato, lettuce, and “Shack Sauce” in an old-fashioned wax paper wrapper) and a “hand-spun” chocolate-and-peanut-butter custard shake.
Ohio: B-Spot Burgers
Signature Burger: Lola Burger.
Michael Symon, F&W Best New Chef 1998, specializes in “meat on meat” burgers at his Ohio-based chain B-Spot. Named after his Cleveland flagship, the Lola Burger could almost double as a breakfast sandwich since it's piled high with bacon and a fried egg (in addition to pickled red onions, cheddar cheese and mayo).
New York City: Minetta Tavern
Signature Burger: Black Label Burger (topped with caramelized onions).
Minetta Tavern’s excellent burgers use a beef blend—dry-aged rib eye, skirt steak, brisket and short rib—from famed purveyor Pat LaFrieda, and buns from Balthazar Bakery.
Atlanta: Holeman & Finch
Signature Burger: Burger (two cheeseburgers on a house-made bun).
At Holeman & Finch star chef Linton Hopkins announces “burger time”—10 p.m.—with the ringing of two bull horns; that’s when two dozen grass-fed beef burgers are up for grabs and consistently sold out within minutes. The burgers are also available on the Sunday brunch menu.
California: In-N-Out Burger
Signature Burger: Cheeseburger.
Even superstar chef Thomas Keller is a fan of the West Coast chain—and with good reason. The cooked-to-order burgers are made with beef from Southwest ranches and served with hand-cut fries. For a messier, more indulgent experience, order your burger “Animal Style” for extra sauce and chopped grilled onions.
Miami: Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
Signature Burger: Black Angus Burger (served in a brioche bun).
An optional topping for star chef Michael Schwartz’s Harris Ranch Black Angus beef burger: house-smoked bacon.
San Francisco: Zuni Café
Signature Burger: House-ground hamburger (served in a grilled rosemary focaccia).
Instead of traditional cucumber pickles, legendary chef-owner Judy Rodgers accents her burgers with thin-cut zucchini strips pickled in apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds and turmeric.
Chicago: David Burke Primehouse
Signature Burger: 40 Day Dry Aged Prime Steak Burger
In its simplest incarnation, this juicy burger is topped with sautéed garlic spinach, crispy fried shallots and bacon mayonnaise. Additional toppings include fried pickles, a fried egg, superspicy “angry” shrimp and crab-and-asparagus hollandaise sauce.
Buffalo Gap, Texas: Perini Ranch Steakhouse
Signature Burger: Ranch Burger (topped with mushrooms, onions, green chiles and choice of cheddar or provolone cheese).
Self-taught cowboy cook Tom Perini masters the art of open-flame cooking using mesquite coals at his hay barn turned steakhouse, smack in the middle of the state.
Boston: Green Street Grill
Signature Burger: Bacon Double Cheeseburger (two four-ounce beef patties with white American cheese, smoked bacon and Russian dressing in a white bun).
A superb accompaniment to the burgers: house-made kettle chips.