Ten Best Hamburgers
In the words of Charles Kuralt, “You can find your way across this country [U.S.] using burger joints the way a navigator uses stars.”
1. The Apple Pan ( Los Angeles, California)
Counter seating is the only kind available at this Westside joint. The signature steak burger is a juicy, medium-thick patty on a seedless bun piled high with all the fixings—mayo, sweet relish, crunchy dill pickles, crisp iceberg lettuce, and a slice of half- melted Tillamook cheddar. For an extra wallop, the hickory burger comes drenched in barbecue sauce. Come prepared to get messy. And leave room for apple pie.
2. In-N-Out Burger (California, Arizona, Nevada )
In-N-Out franchises—a California institution—are known for their eye-catching yellow-arrow logo and red and white interiors. Bucking the diversification trend of many fast-food chains, In-N-Out serves only fries, beverages, and three types of hamburgers. These all-beef burgers are topped with fresh vegetables and Thousand Island-like dressing and served on
griddled buns with optional American cheese. Fries are freshly cut on-site.
3. Big Nick’s Burgers and Pizza (New York, New York)
This wildly popular Upper West Side burger and pizza joint is a New York classic: loud, fast-paced, and full of character. The big, juicy hamburgers are among the best in New York.
4. Lotaburger (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
On July 9, 1952, Blake Chanslor opened a simple little hamburger place in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Serving excellent food at reasonable prices‚ the restaurant soon expanded to 75 locations in New Mexico. The green chile cheeseburger is the best in the world.
5. Burger Bar on Macy’s Sixth Floor (San Francisco, California)
Master chef Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys has inaugurated Burger Bars in San Francisco, Las Vegas, and St. Louis, giving connoisseurs the opportunity to build their ultimate burger with an amazing variety of condiments and sides. Kobe beef, sweet potato fries, caramelized onions, blue cheese, and farm- fresh vegetables are among the offerings at Burger Bar.
6. Gott’s Roadside (St. Helena, Napa, and San Francisco, California)
Gott’s Roadside (formerly Taylor’s Refresher) offers a slice of roadside heaven for burger aficionados. It’s a classic burger- and-fries stand, with shady picnic tables out back, screened-in windows for ordering, and parking. The juicy burgers here are messy affairs, complete with lettuce, tomato, and lots of Russian dressing-style sauce. The French fries and onion rings are fresh-cut and golden fried. For a twist, try the ahi tuna burger or the garlic fries. It truly is “Tray Gourmet.”
7. Burgermeister’s (San Francisco, California)
This family-owned and -operated business in the San Francisco Bay area uses only local ingredients, including the finest quality organic beef, to make its hamburgers. One taste of the avocado cheeseburger and you’ll be a fan for life.
8. Rare ( New York, New York)
This favorite haunt of the office crowd (now open in Chelsea as well) serves up a flavorful beef patty on a toasted brioche. Upscale burgers include the pesto-mozzarella burger or the Mexican topped with black-bean spread and guacamole. Experiment with a basket of “frickles”—deep-fried pickles.
9. “21” Club (New York, New York)
Celebrities and captains of industry like to take friends to the exclusive Bar Room. The “21” Burger, with its special sauce and pommes soufflés, is one of the best around.
10. Shake Shack (New York and beyond)
Danny Meyer’s famed Union Square Hospitality Group— home to some of New York’s best restaurants—has established an exclusive chain serving classic favorites. Using the very best local ingredients, Shake Shack features cooked-to-order burgers, flat-top dogs, Yukon Gold fries, and frozen custard at locations on the East Coast (and in the Middle East).
Excerpted from The 10 Best of Everything, Third Edition by Nathaniel Lande and Andrew Lande. Copyright © 2012 by Nathaniel Lande and Andrew Lande. Excerpted by permission of National Geographic, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.