The Best Burger In Every State
It's National Cheeseburger Day, and we think a proper celebration is in order.
To commemorate this all-American holiday, we conducted painstaking journalistic research to figure out the very best burger in every state, from mom-and-pop joints to celebrity-chef restaurants and everything in between.
Based on accolades, reviews, and our own stomachs, we came up with a comprehensive list so you can devour a truly great burger anywhere in the US.
ALABAMA: Chez Fonfon — a fancy name for a fancy restaurant. The Birmingham bistro is better known for its French cuisine, but it's widely regarded as the home of the best burger in Alabama. The "Hamburger Fonfon" comes with comté cheese and pommes frites.
ALASKA: Tommy's Burger Stop, which just celebrated its 12th anniversary, serves sky-high beef patties topped with all sorts of goodies from deep-fried jalapeno pepper slices to onion rings to everyone's favorite, bacon. The Stella Bleu Burger alone — a blue-cheese-oozing monster — is worth a trip to Anchorage.
ARIZONA: Holding multiple accolades for its perfectly balanced burgers, Phoenix's Delux proudly serves beef burgers made with grass-fed, humanely raised cattle from local Niman Ranch.
ARKANSAS: Voted one of Esquire's Best Bars in America, Little Rock's Midtown Billiards has the best drunk food, too. The standard Midtown burger comes with your choice of sharp cheddar or zippy pepper jack cheese, but if you order the "gut bomb" variety, you'll get both cheeses as well as bacon, Spam, and a fried egg.
CALIFORNIA: In-N-Out can be found all over the West these days, but it's still a California institution. Part of what makes it so great: the (not so) secret menu items. But because everyone orders their burgers "Animal Style" these days, go for the SUPER secret menu items and try the Flying Dutchman: a cheeseburger in which the burger patties serve as the bun.
COLORADO: Featured on the Denver episode of Travel Channel's "Man v. Food," Cherry Cricket Restaurant's half-pound Cricket Burger can be made basically any way you want; the joint even has a dartboard with a list of all the possible ingredients, from guacamole to cream cheese to fried shrimp, for burger lovers who just want fate to decide their meal.
CONNECTICUT: Home of the original hamburger sandwich, Louis' Lunch in New Haven chose to put its burger between two slices of toasted bread instead of a bun. The simplicity of the burger, with tomato, onion, and cheese, is perfect and perfectly satisfying.
DELAWARE: Union City Grille chars its Angus burgers on the grill and tops them with cheese. Its burgers are so popular that last year it won the People's Choice award in Wilmington's annual Burger Battle.
FLORIDA: Voted the No. 1 burger joint in South Florida, ROK:BRGR has 18 burgers on its menu, each one more exotic and twisted than the last. The Florida chain takes a farm-to-table approach to its burgers.
GEORGIA: Illegal Food grinds its own meat to create succulent juicy burgers, including classic beef burgers, pasture-raised lamb burgers, and a Vietnamese banh mi-style burger with pork, cilantro, Sriracha mayo, and pickled vegetables. The most popular is The Hank, a burger dressed in American cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce, onion, special house sauce, and housemade pickles.
HAWAII: Voted the best burger in West Hawaii for the past three years running, Annie's Island Fresh Burgers is committed to fresh, local, and organic. Each burger is seared to your preferred level of done-ness and comes with hand-cut fries, coleslaw, or housemade purple potato salad.
IDAHO: It only just opened in August, but Grind Modern Burger's Homestead burger has been dubbed the best burger in The Valley by The Idaho Statesman. The Homestead comes with housemade mayo, white cheddar, Spam, roasted tomato spread, white onions, and a fried egg. On the side: amazing fries. It is Idaho, after all.
ILLINOIS: Cooked medium, the burger at Au Cheval is made with high-quality beef and a toasty locally made bun. The Chicago diner also has 30 international draft beers on its menu.
INDIANA: Workingman's Friend in Indianapolis is renowned for its crispy-edge "smashed" double burgers. Though they're flatter than your typical burger and pack an impressive crunch from the grill oil, these burgers maintain a surprising amount of satisfying juiciness.
IOWA: Brick City Grill, winner of the 2014 Best Burger In Iowa contest, says the secret to its victory is to always select the best ingredients. The Ames restaurant seasons its burgers only with salt and pepper so that the beef speaks for itself.
KANSAS: Winstead's serves steakburgers — burgers made from U.S. choice steak — in single, double, or, for the extra-hungry, triple stacks of patties made from U.S. choice steak. The Overland Park joint tops its burgers with ketchup, mustard, pickles, and onions.
KENTUCKY: Tolly-Ho has been providing Lexington with simple yet delicious burgers and shakes since 1971. Its signature burger, the Tolly-Ho, is served on a toasted sesame-seed bun and topped with its housemade secret "Ho" sauce.
LOUISIANA: Company Burger was called the best burger joint in New Orleans by Gambit's Best of New Orleans two years running. Its winning menu item is THE Company Burger, a classic rendition of the all-American double hamburger with American cheese, homemade pickles, and red onion.
MAINE: Halfway between Portland and Bar Harbor, the Owls Head General Store is famous for its epic Seven Napkin Burger. Loosely packed and severely juicy, you'll find out why they call it the Seven Napkin Burger. Or challenge yourself with The Whole Hoot, a burger that uses two grilled cheese sandwiches as the bun.
MARYLAND: Baltimore's Abbey Burger Bistro prides itself on the build-your-own method: you can choose from beef, chicken, bison, kangaroo, and a range of other meats and top to your heart's content to make the burger of your dreams.
MASSACHUSETTS: In Lynn, Massachusetts, the Blue Ox's gluttonous Sin Burger won Boston Magazine's 2013 Battle of the Burger, and for good reason. It features only the highest-quality ingredients, including USDA prime beef, applewood smoked bacon, truffle aioli, and a sweet brioche bun. At $16 it's a splurge of a burger but worth every penny.
MICHIGAN: The burgers at Laura's Little Burger Joint in Decatur are anything but little. Ranking No. 1 on MLive's list of the best burgers in Michigan, the Chapman Burger is seven ounces of beef that's grilled and topped with pepper-jack cheese, bacon, and grilled onions.
MINNESOTA: The Jucy Lucy (or Juicy Lucy, depending on where you order it), a burger that's stuffed with cheese that oozes out at the first bite, is Minneapolis' best burger. Two establishments — 5-8 Club and Matt's Bar — both claim to have invented it, and both are great burgers, but we'll have to go with Matt's on this one.
MISSISSIPPI: LATHAM'S Hamburger Inn in New Albany serves the Southern dough burger, a patty with flour mixed into the meat that is then fried on a cast-iron skillet for extra crunch.
MISSOURI: There's nothing new or out-there about the burgers at Five Bistro, but they're still the best in town, according to St. Louis Magazine. The burger patty is juicy and tender on the inside and caramelized on the outside.
MONTANA: The Blackened Sabbath burger from The Burger Dive in Billings won Red Robin's Best of the Bash Award. The burger is blackened and topped with bacon, beer-battered onion rings, garlic basil mayo, goat cheese, arugula, and Sriracha.
NEBRASKA: The Bellevue burger from Stella's Bar & Grill is made from six and a half ounces of freshly ground beef served with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and mayo. Other toppings include fried eggs, peanut butter, and even donuts for a bun.
NEVADA: The Gordon Ramsay Burger at Gordon Ramsay BurGR stands out as the best burger on the Las Vegas Strip. The burger, which is made with Mangalitsa pork, maple butter, English sharp cheese, and arugula, is cooked over an open wood flame.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: New Hampshire Magazine readers voted The Common Man's burger the best in the state. The burger is made from grass-fed, antibiotic, and hormone-free ground beef and is served on a pretzel bun.
NEW JERSEY: The Left Bank Burger Bar in Jersey City uses all-natural, grass-fed beef in its burgers. Each week it hosts a "burger battle," where it pegs two new burger combinations against each other. The one that gets the most orders in the week faces a new challenger the next week.
NEW MEXICO: Buckhorn Tavern's Green Chile Cheeseburger won a throwdown against grill master Bobby Flay in 2009. Along with the cheese and famous green chile, the burger includes lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, and mustard.
NEW YORK: EATER declared the indulgent Black Label Burger at Manhattan's Minetta Tavern the No. 1 burger you had to eat in New York City before you die. The $28 dollar whopper includes a selection of prime, dry-aged beef cuts served with sweet caramelized onions and crispy pommes frites.
NORTH CAROLINA: Open since 1951, Duke's Grill in Monroe serves a mean Carolina Burger, a patty with chili con carne, coleslaw, mustard, and chopped onions. The joint requires all customers to turn off their cellphones upon entering and has been visited by the Food Network and Travel Channel.
NORTH DAKOTA: For less than five bucks, you can get JL Beers' delicious Humpty Dumpty, which comes with cheese and a fried egg on a soft bun. This regional chain, which originated in North Dakota, recently won best burger by High Plains Reader and other publications.
OHIO: Swensons Drive-In in Akron, Ohio, has been around for 80 years and has been making local Best Burger lists for over a decade. The signature burger is the "Galley Boy," a double cheeseburger with two special sauces and an olive for garnish.
OKLAHOMA: Nic's Grill may be a tiny Oklahoma City shack, but tons of people come to try its delicious onion burgers, which are served with heaps of fries. Nic's was featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins & Dives."
OREGON: Everything (except for the ketchup) is made in-house at Foster Burger, a lively Portland chain. The two standouts are the classic burger and the Burner, a beef burger served with fried onion straws, jalapenos, cheddar and American cheeses, shredded lettuce, and Sriracha.
PENNSYLVANIA: The Royal Tavern in Philadelphia serves only one Angus burger, but it's so delicious that the Food Network named it the best burger in the state. The famous patty comes with bacon, caramelized onions, smoked Gouda, pickled long hots (a kind of pepper), and chili mayo.
RHODE ISLAND: The Abbey in Providence is a little pub known for its burgers and beer. It has 14 different signature burgers, but the best is the "Hair-of-the-Dog-That-Bit-You" burger, a 10-ounce burger smothered in sautéed onions and topped with a grilled sausage patty, fried egg, bacon, and American cheese.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Poe's Tavern is a quirky beachside restaurant that pays homage to poet Edgar Allan Poe. Named after one of Poe's most famous poems, the Annabel Lee burger consists of a patty topped with a Charleston-style crab cake and fresh vegetable remoulade sauce.
SOUTH DAKOTA: The mini burgers from Nick's Hamburger Shop started off at five cents during the Great Depression and today sell for only $1.48 apiece. The Brookings restaurant only has four simple options: double and regular hamburgers, or double and regular cheeseburgers.
TENNESSEE: Located close to Vanderbilt University, Rotier's is famous for its cheeseburger on toasty French bread. According to Food Network, which hailed Rotier's as having Tennessee's best burger, the secret of the flavor is in the 64-year-old flat-top grill.
TEXAS: Texas Monthly rated The Grape's cheeseburger as the No. 1 burger in the state. The cheeseburger comes with a 10-ounce patty, homemade peppered bacon, Vermont white cheddar, Nathan's horseradish half-sour pickles, and Dijon mayonnaise.
UTAH: We couldn't leave Crown Burgers' famous, meat-tastic Pastrami Burger off this list. The Salt Lake City burger is topped with a quarter pound of thin-sliced pastrami, slathered with a thousand-island-style sauce, and topped with tomatoes, shaved lettuce, and onions.
VERMONT: Worthy Burger won Vermont's best burger by Seven Days, a local publication. In addition to serving great burgers, the "Craft Beer and Burger Bar" offers an array of local Vermont cheeses and housemade condiments.
VIRGINIA: Serving hamburgers massive enough to split, Leesburg's super-popular MELT Gourmet Cheeseburgers is the real deal, according to diners. Melt Gourmet won best burger in its county, boasting freshly baked buns and creative concoctions, like the lump crab and Tex-Mex burgers.
WASHINGTON: John Howie Steak's 60/40 Prime Juicy Lucy Burger has a whole lot of goodness going on. The burger is made of ground prime chuck and Kurobuta bacon, and comes stacked with sharp New York cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, caramelized onions, mayo, lettuce, and tomato. The whole thing is sandwiched between a sweet, house-baked bun.
WASHINGTON, D.C.: BGR: The Burger Joint only uses free-roaming, grain-fed cattle with no hormones, fillers, or antibiotics. They grill their beefy patties over an open flame and get their fresh buns delivered daily. Their "Legend" is served with prime, dry-aged beef, and you can add your own toppings like Applewood bacon or grilled pineapple.
WEST VIRGINIA: Locals swear by the West Virginia staple that is Fat Patty's. The popular Born on the Bayou burger is blackened with Cajun spices, sautéed onions and peppers, melted provolone cheese, lettuce, and tomato, and is served with a special honey mustard glaze slathered on the bun.
WISCONSIN: Madison's Tipsy Cow serves the delicious Tipsy Burger, made with two quarter-pound patties, aged cheddar, local Widmer’s brick cheese, bacon, pickles, onions, and a secret "Tipsy sauce."
WYOMING: The Bird is a laid-back bar and restaurant in Jackson that grinds all its meat in-house. Its burgers come on English muffins, and guests are strongly encouraged to order medium rare to get the full flavor. You can have fun ordering the "dirty @*&%" which comes with bacon, a fried egg, American cheese, and pickled beets.
Time to get your munchies on.