Best cheesburger
March 1, 2005 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Which restaurant serves the best cheeseburger in the United States?

One of my drinking pals thinks Port of Call in New Orleans, jonmc mentioned Jones Cafe in New York. I've never been to many places, though. Where would you recommend?
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket to Food & Drink (50 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's a crowded hipster hellhole, but the burgers at Corner Bistro in NYC are the best I've ever had.
posted by saladin at 7:41 AM on March 1, 2005

I would argue Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger, but what the hell do I know.
posted by mealy-mouthed at 7:45 AM on March 1, 2005

Nancy's Airfield Cafe at Minuteman Airfield in Stow, MA. No matter how you get there: fly, drive, bike, run, or walk, it's worth it.

Plus, you can watch airplanes land and take off while you eat.
posted by bondcliff at 7:48 AM on March 1, 2005

The bleu cheese and bacon burger at Barnaby's Cafe in Houston is pretty good. The best burger I ever had was the old-fashioned burger all the way at Cotton's in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I think they're out of business now, sadly.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:55 AM on March 1, 2005

the best cheesburger i've ever had was from Carms ( at the corner of Polk and Carpenter in Chicago near UIC. i denied them their glory for an entire 4 years, until finally walking in there last fall. they're just amazing.
posted by quadrinary at 7:57 AM on March 1, 2005

Also a good question for chowhound or egullet.

As a resident of the DC area, all I can tell you is: it's not here. We have some decent places, but not the best.
posted by casu marzu at 7:59 AM on March 1, 2005

the North Dallas burger from Sonny Brians in Plano, TX is a force to be reckoned with. 4 cheeses, 3 meats (beef, ham, bacon), loads of toppings. mmm. my heart hurts now.
posted by Mach5 at 8:00 AM on March 1, 2005

The Owl Bar in San Antonio, New Mexico (Yes, I mean NM and not Texas.) has the best cheese burger I've ever tasted. It's got loads of green chile and you can order it with chile cheese fries too. My arteries harden at the memory, but I'm still drooling.
posted by onhazier at 8:02 AM on March 1, 2005

Steamed cheeseburgers at Ted's in Meriden, CT, are remarkably good. Get a couple with everything. 1046 Broad Street, Meriden, Conn.
posted by scratch at 8:02 AM on March 1, 2005

In Dallas, I would have to make a strong case for EZ's Brick Oven Grill on Northwest Highway. I haven't had a better burger anywhere.
posted by Benway at 8:05 AM on March 1, 2005

How about Red Mill Burgers in Seattle. Damn good!
posted by zardoz at 8:09 AM on March 1, 2005

Proud Mary's, Dana Point, CA
posted by matteo at 8:10 AM on March 1, 2005

See, a cheeseburger is not just a cheeseburger when you get into the stratosphere of best ever. The atmosphere can lend a good deal to cheeseburger experience. My two submissions are from establishments that drip with atmosphere. It is like asking an adult to name their all-time favorite song; it can be nearly impossible unless you can break it down into genre. That more than one is great does not take away from another but instead lends to the joy of living.

For a great burger that can be grabbed quickly, I would find it tough to beat a double-double from In-n-Out Burger's.

I am currently in China and I hate you for bringing up food I cannot have but in Sacramento, my hometown, there are two burgers that haunt me in my absence.

The Squeeze Burger at the Squeeze Inn is one of those glorious bugers that you had better roll up your sleeves for and not plan on putting down until you have finished. It is artery-hardeningly glorious and you will not want to put it down but rather enjoy it in such rapid manner as to not make it a task.

The other burger that is so great as to be missed is the Jiffy Burger at Fanny Ann's in Old Sacramento. A beautiful flame broiled burger dressed with Jiffy peanut butter, a dab of barbecue sauce, a single slice of red onion, two slices of bacon, and a slice of Jack cheese is so amazingly good that when I was I bartender across the street it was not uncommon for me to order and pay for Jiffy Burger deliveries in order to spread the gospel of the Jiffy Burger.
posted by geekyguy at 8:10 AM on March 1, 2005

I am a big fan of the burger at Cedar Tavern on 12th and University just off Union Square in NYC.

I would also go out on a limb and say that the FatBurger, as served in the L.A. chains in the early 90s, is virtually unbeatable when it comes to quality for money. Haven't had one in over ten years tough so I don't know if they've stood the test of time.

And of course, for the traditionalist, there is Peter Luger's burger in Brooklyn. Classic, and very hard to beat.
posted by spicynuts at 8:11 AM on March 1, 2005

The Juicy Lucy at Matt's Bar in Minneapolis. "South Minneapolis's contribution to world cuisine, made by crimping two beef patties together around a hunk of cheese and grilling until the cheese melts."
posted by Arch Stanton at 8:19 AM on March 1, 2005

Little Rock: Cotham's
Charlottesville: Riverside Lunch (late night on The Corner: Gusburger at the White Spot)
New York: Big Nick's
Philly: Uhh....we eat cheesesteaks, not cheeseburgers.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 8:19 AM on March 1, 2005

Mr. K's. Located on South Blvd. in Charlotte, North Carolina. Darn fine milkshakes and fries also.
posted by marxchivist at 8:22 AM on March 1, 2005

Boston Blackie's in Chicago has fantastic burgers, and they're huge.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:27 AM on March 1, 2005

If you're ever in Memphis, check out Dyer's hamburgers. If you have an extra heart to spare, eat the triple triple.
posted by absalom at 8:37 AM on March 1, 2005

casu marzu: are you that underwhelmed by Five Guys?
posted by patgas at 8:44 AM on March 1, 2005

The $17! cheeseburger at The Bristol Lounge in Boston's Four Seasons. Sinfully tasty, but worth $17?

Also the steamed burgers at Sunset Bar and Grill in Allston (with 112 beers on tap), and Bartley's Burger Cottage in Harvard Square are durned good as well.
posted by FreezBoy at 8:48 AM on March 1, 2005

Paul's, 2nd Avenue between 7th & St. Marks, New York Muthafuckin' City. White Hut in Springfield, Mass. is pretty damned good, too.

(jones cafe is crawfish and cajun food, I've never had their cheeseburger).
posted by jonmc at 8:51 AM on March 1, 2005

Port of Call patties are too thick for my liking, the bun is too squishy, and the cheese is piled on like an afterthought. In New Orleans, I prefer the burgers at Camellia Grill, with their thin patties (get a double if you want more meat) and cheese melted on the grill.
posted by hartsell at 8:59 AM on March 1, 2005

Chicago: the Wiener Circle (Clark St near Wrightwood). The place is a slimy little pillbox with rude, impatient staff. Killer char-burgers and fries.

Austin: Casino el Camino (6th St). Actually, Casino is just a bar, but there is a kitchen in back, Hell's Kitchen, that serves up some righteous burgers. Extremely large--I don't know how they hold together. Extremely slow service, but Casino does have a good jukebox. If the service were faster, I'd eat there with an unhealthy frequency.
posted by adamrice at 9:16 AM on March 1, 2005

Burger Joint, found hidden within the Parker Meridien (deja vu!), NYC.

jon - I'll have to try Paul's. I always walk by there but never been in. How do their fries stack up to Pomme Frites?
posted by Remy at 9:17 AM on March 1, 2005

The Owl Bar in San Antonio, New Mexico (Yes, I mean NM and not Texas.) has the best cheese burger I've ever tasted. It's got loads of green chile and you can order it with chile cheese fries too. My arteries harden at the memory, but I'm still drooling.

I couldn't disagree more. I was just there weeks ago and I've had better burgers at Wendy's. Tiny meat patty with supercold iceberg lettuce and tomato served on a Wonderbread bun. Totally forgettable.

Now, Moody's on Broadway in Chicago... that's a burger. Gecko's bar & grill on Central in Albuquerque... also yummy.
posted by FlamingBore at 9:25 AM on March 1, 2005

How do their fries stack up to Pomme Frites?

They don't. They're just basic steak fries. My advice is to get your burger a la carte, run next door for the fries, stop at Ray's on avenue A for an egg cream, then eat the whole mess in Tompkins Square Park.
posted by jonmc at 9:26 AM on March 1, 2005 [2 favorites]

2nd Port of Call in New Orleans. Still best burger I've had anywhere. Of course the seaport dive bar atmosphere, ability to order an Abita Amber, and the huge baked potato as a side add to the total experience. Hell once I even got to buy "Ruthie the Duck Girl" a drink there.
posted by white_devil at 9:54 AM on March 1, 2005

Five Guys is the best I've ever had. I was really reluctant to admit this since I'm a life-long In-n-Out fanatic, but Five Guys beats 'em out. It's the freshness of ingredients.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 9:56 AM on March 1, 2005

Flamingbore, wow I'm really disappointed to hear that the Owl's burgers are not what they used to be. It's been a couple of years since I've been there.
posted by onhazier at 10:03 AM on March 1, 2005

Ball's Hamburgers in Dallas, Texas. Remember, Dallas is where Elvis went when he wanted to eat cheeseburgers... and I think the man knew a thing or two about cheeseburgers.

Or you could forget quality and go with quantity and order up a six pounder from Denny's Beer Barrel Pub in Pennsylvania.

Man, am I hungry. Mmm...
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:08 AM on March 1, 2005

I'm stuck in Cleveland so most of these burgers are just dreams of mine. I have had a burger with foie gras that was pretty tasty. A patty melt is a cheeseburger, right? I've had a pretty good patty melt at a local place called Your's Truly. Also the best hamburger is probably the one you make yourself. Try freshly chopped meat with a fried egg and some fried onions. When is In-and-Out coming to Cleveland?!?!

I think I found this on MeFi: The Luther Burger. Bacon, cheese, served on a Krispy Kreme donut.,0,1114595.story?coll=sns-ap-health-headlines

Ted's, mentioned above, is also included in a documentary called Hamburger America . All the burgers described on the web page look amazing, although they're not all cheeseburgers. One standout is the butter burger at Solly's. They've also got a recording from The Billy Goat Tavern.
posted by stuart_s at 10:12 AM on March 1, 2005

There has already been a Memphis post, but Ernestine and Hazel's is a great late night burger and a very special environmental experience. Nothing like it.
posted by vianetman at 10:20 AM on March 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

There are a lot of "damn good" burgers out there. For "just about perfect," I'll second the Corner Bistro in New York. Big, messy, on a paper plate, with a plate of fries--exactly what a burger should be. Corner Bistro is physically overwhelmed these days, but the burgers haven't changed in 10 years, and it's worth the fuss. (I last went for lunch on July 4th to avoid the crowds.)
posted by werty at 10:21 AM on March 1, 2005

patgas & TheGoldenOne - Five Guys has good burgers, but don't you find that the buns are too weak? I usually order to go, and the burgers fall apart when you eat them. If they could just fix their buns, I'd be much happier.

The undercooked soggy fries don't lend much to the experience, either.

I'd still take an In-n-Out burger over Five Guys any day. I wish they would just franchise
posted by bh at 10:36 AM on March 1, 2005

I would hesitate to label anything the best, but Island Burgers in NYC's Hell's Kitchen has amazing burgers. (Look at that menu willya??)
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:41 AM on March 1, 2005

I usually order to go <--- that, there, is your problem, bh.
posted by crunchland at 11:03 AM on March 1, 2005

FatBurger in L.A. is indeed great -- I've only been here for about 4-1/2 years, though, so I can't attest to how the quality compares with years past. On the fancier-schmancier end of things, The Farm of Beverly Hills serves a damn fine cheeseburger too.

My personal favorite, however, came courtesy of a little dive bar in Iowa City called George's -- spectacular (and cheap) burgers that helped get me through grad school. Mmmmmm....
posted by scody at 11:15 AM on March 1, 2005

I can't believe there have been two Dallas mentions and nobody has brought up Who's Who Burgers in Highland Park. Completely worth dodging the Hummers for.

Mmmm...I'll be back in Dallas next week and the first thing I want is Freebirds. After that? Burger!
posted by amandaudoff at 11:17 AM on March 1, 2005

Pearl's Phat Burger just north of San Francisco, in Mill Valley, CA. Of course, I'm vegetarian, so what does my opinion matter?

They make incredible burgers that everyone raves about, and you can substitute a veggie patty into any burger. I personally love the Spicy Sly Burger, but sometimes go for the Pesto Cheeseburger. Highly recommended if you can ever get out this way.
posted by xorowo at 11:27 AM on March 1, 2005

For NE Ohio- Swenson's.

multiple locations, but hardly a chain. not a fatty-burger, but unstoppable. the "galley boy" is a double cheeze with sweet n' sour BBQ sauce and tartar sauce, much better than it sounds.
posted by Swampjazz! at 11:29 AM on March 1, 2005

for san francisco, i like the burgers at Zeitgeist (bonus: it's really a bar -- and a trashy biker/bicycle bar at that -- not a burger joint, so it's a good place to have a beer.)

i will have to try Sacramento's Squeeze-In, which I've been hearing mysterious rumours about ever since i moved back. I've heard it's located somewhere in South Sac, so it's already got that going for it.
posted by fishfucker at 11:41 AM on March 1, 2005

I'm not underwhelmed by Five Guys -- I ate there for lunch yesterday. It is hands down the best fast food burger in the D.C. area (fwiw, the unqualified best burgers around here are at the Colorado Kitchen and Palena Cafe. Neither of those is fast food).

I just don't think Five Guys is the best in the country. For one thing, there's the whole doneness issue. Sometimes you can get them cooked medium, but that's about as rare as they'll go. The double patty is the secret that prevents it from being a total loss. Furthermore, you need to qualify Five Guys by location. They are heavily franchising now, and not all locations are equal. The original Kind Street location is still the best and most reliable, but some of the others are pretty variable. The Howard U. location is usually good these days. The Chinatown location outright sucks. Also, as they expand and franchise, their supply chain is obviously changing. You may notice that at some locations, the board that tells you where the potatoes came from always says the same thing now.

The fries are excellent when you get them at a location that knows what they're doing -- but this is also variable. Sorry you got a bad batch, bh.
posted by casu marzu at 11:42 AM on March 1, 2005

casu marzu - Not a bad batch, I've eaten there many times. Mostly in Springfield and Manassas. Always bad buns and soggy fries. Too bad, because the burgers themselves are good.

I'll have to try some other locations.
posted by bh at 12:16 PM on March 1, 2005

Hmm. Maybe those locations don't know how to do the fries. As I said, it varies. When done correctly, they are crispy on the outside and golden brown.
posted by casu marzu at 12:19 PM on March 1, 2005

The Glacier Burger at the Glacier Drive-In on the Spit in Homer, Alaska. The fries are so-so, but pair the burger with a chocolate-peanut butter shake, and I am in heaven.
posted by rhapsodie at 12:54 PM on March 1, 2005

The answer is simple for me: Mo's in San Francisco. I've tried pretty much every competitor in SF (ie, Zuni Cafe, which a lot of people love), but I really think Mo's has them all beat. Mo's also has every burger I"ve tried in Boston beat, although good ones can be had in Boston at Bartley's in Harvard Square and Audubon near Kenmore. There are others I need to try, but so far nothing touches Mo's...
posted by swank6 at 3:53 PM on March 1, 2005

What Swampjazz! said. Swenson's Drive-In is one of the few good things about Akron, OH.
posted by redfisch at 4:17 PM on March 1, 2005

None of the other Dallas-area burgers compare to Scotty P.'s in Frisco, Plano, and Allen, TX. Really. And I've eaten a lot of cheeseburgers.
posted by lnicole at 4:28 PM on March 1, 2005

Tom's Tavern, Boulder Colorado!!
a burger any way you like,
vintage car history on the table mats,
and for some reason no screaming babies.
posted by Viomeda at 5:53 PM on March 1, 2005

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