Eat + Drink

Burgers, Get in Place: These Spots Put a Local Spin on the All-American Classic

There is, of course, the all-American burger. It’s got pickles. It’s got ketchup (or, as some spell it, catsup), lettuce, raw onion, a red-enough slice of tomato. Thankfully, though it’s a classic, one burger does not America make. When it comes to burgers around the U.S., one size definitely does not fit all.

So, in celebration of all that makes the nation delicious, here are some of the many ways to burger-up around the country.

Butcher & the Burger, Chicago

There’s no simple beef burger here. You can get the prime beef, the grass-fed prime beef, the sirloin steak or non-beefy sorts of burgers. This is Chicago, after all — they know from beef in the Midwest.

But one of the truly cool things about the Butcher & the Burger is that they don’t just go big on their meat offerings; the place is a showcase for how worldly Chicago is these days and how much of a food city it’s become.

Choose your meat and then let your server know your seasoning preference: traditional Chicago-steakhouse spices, or perhaps a taste of Louisiana via a Cajun spice blend, or maybe you’re up for coconut curry? Wait, how about the Greek seasoning?! Oh, just go back daily until you’ve tried them all.

Bareburger, NYC (and around the country)

best burgers in america
Bareburger has long been a favorite in the city and beyond. (Photo: Courtesy of Bareburger)

Started by residents of Queens, this national chain retains its NYC cred. New Yorkers like to be in on the secret, and the Bareburger people understand that. Their menu is all about antibiotic-free proteins, organic vegetables and other as good for you as burgers can get kinds of ingredients.

Since this is an NYC brand, and New Yorkers are always ahead-of-the-game when it comes to food trends, you can, of course, skip the carbs in favor of getting your bison or boar burger served on a blanched collard green leaf instead of a traditional bun. It is a tasty way to go. (Since you skipped out on the bun, get a milkshake. They’re made with Blue Marble ice cream. So good.)

Burger & Beer Joint, West Palm Beach

If you’re the type of person who gets a smidge overwhelmed when you have too many choices, take a deep breath before eyeballing this menu. You will not want for choice at Burger & Beer Joint — in fact, your options even go beyond the standard beef.

Or dive right in with a sure thing: in Florida, fish rules the day, so order The Ocean. Then decide if you want your catch of the day broiled, blackened or fried. The Key lime mayo will have you thinking about the islands. The caramelized lemon? Sunshine on the bun.

best burgers in america
Why not pump things up with a fried egg on top? (Photo: Getty Images)

Mahaloha Burger, Honolulu

You thought we were going with fish here, eh? Nope. Here’s the beef: Get the Loco Moco Burger. The specialty burger pays homage to one of Hawaii’s most-loved plate lunches (which is, of course, another Hawaiian tradition of its own).

But instead of a plate of white rice, hamburger, gravy and a fried egg, Mahaloha Burger skips the rice and throws all that yum onto a bun. (Still want fish? OK. The mahi-mahi burger is waiting for you.)

Paradox Cafe, Portland

Whether you’re a fan of “Portlandia” or not, you know that Portland has a bit of a rep for being — how to put it? — a sensitive-to-sensitivities kind of food city. A beyond awesome-food city, too.

To celebrate all that Portland does for eaters, raise one of the country’s best vegan burgers high. The Firehouse, loaded with onions, jalapeños, bell peppers and, naturally, guac, is a four-alarm flavor fest. (Yes, you can get it on a gluten-free bun.)