The Best Burgers in America: Top 15 Cities
April 8, 2016
Here's where to stop for the tastiest hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and other burger-based combos across the country.
You voted, and we listened. Whether it's pizza and street food or burgers, barbecue, and yes, vegetarian fare, these are the food-focused cities across the country—and around the world—travelers have chosen as destinations worth visiting. From the 2015 Reader's Choice Awards, these are the best cities for burgers around the country.
1. OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
The caramelized onion-slathered fast food-style burgers at Tucker’s Onion Burgers are at the top of every “best of” Oklahoma City list. But for something a little more creative, check out the gourmet smashed-on-the-grill burgers topped with unique condiments (BBQ aioli, peanut butter, Sriracha ketchup) at The Garage. If you’re craving fancier fare, the lamb burger at Ludivine made with charred leek truffle aioli is not to be missed.
2. MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA
Myrtle Beach’s unorthodox oceanfront sushi bar, Art Burger Sushi Bar, doubles as one of the best burger joints in town: here, artisan burgers are branded and served with liquid nitrogen cocktails. And though River City Café’s burgers are less flashy, you’ll have to figure out how to wrap your mouth around the teetering towers of beef, Texas toast, and doughnut-sized onion rings.
3. ORLANDO, FLORIDA
The theme park capital of the world is also known for a wide variety of burger styles, from the fast food joint where you can top your burger with hot dog slices (Junior Colombian Burger), to the James Beard Award-nominated Pub Burger (The Ravenous Pig in Winter Park). If that weren't enough, there's also a swanky sandwich that approaches divinity with a center of bacon and melted gruyere at The Rusty Spoon.
4. OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND
In Ocean City, you’ll rarely find trendy, burger-centric spots. Instead, there’s Kirby’s Red Onion Grille, located inconspicuously in a strip mall parking lot, where the Beach Burger topped with fresh crab dip is king. Another shopping center is home to the Liquid Assets wine bar, which has an authentic Wagyu burger, widely considered one of the best in town.
5. BRANSON, MISSOURI
The best burgers in the Ozarks are no-nonsense and topped with Miracle Whip, like the classic burgers atDanna’s BBQ and Burger Shop. Nearby, Branson’s Burger Shack is a retro drive-thru known for mammoth portion sizes. The classiest burger in Branson can be found at Level 2 Steakhouse where half a pound of Hereford beef is expertly seasoned, placed on a pretzel bun, and presented to you without artifice.
6. FORT WORTH, TEXAS
Just like most everything in Texas, the burgers in Fort Worth are no-fuss—and seemingly larger than life. AtFred’s Texas Café, chow down on Tex Mex-inspired specialty burgers. The garage-like Rodeo Goat’s burgers are sloppy and overflowing with cheese, while the burgers at the Greasy Bend are true to their namesake. AtDutch’s Hamburgers, the gourmet Bacon Bleu cheeseburger is Fort Worth’s beefy pride and joy.
7. MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN
Your first stop in Milwaukee should be Mazo’s, where the family-run business has been serving house-ground burgers since 1934. Nite Owl Ice Cream Parlour & Sandwich Shoppe is famous for the classic “soda shop burger,” and you can get an upscale restaurant burger at Mason Street Grill or a smoked gouda, bacon, chorizo, and jalapeño-topped iteration at Oscar’s Pub & Grill
8. COLUMBUS, OHIO
Columbus is historically a burger city—it was here, after all, that Wendy’s first got its start. Stop by the rusticThurman Café, serving over-the-top burger masterpieces dripping with egg yolk and melted cheese. For a neater option, there’s the Columbus-based chain, Northstar Café, where the superstar is (surprisingly) the beet-and-bean veggie burger. On the other end of the spectrum is dive bar Johnnie’s Tavern, where the greasy bar burger has been perfected.
9. AUSTIN, TEXAS
A list of the best burgers in Austin wouldn’t be complete without the Texas-based burger bar chain,Hopdoddy, known for its plump burgers paired with craft beers. For a more local option, there’s Wholly Cow Burgers, a customizable burger fast-casual experience with fiercely loyal fans. Contigo serves Texan-style burgers with homemade pickles and bacon, and Swift’s Attic is your best bet for an upscale burger, with a different specialty burger weekly.
10. PARK CITY, UTAH
If you’re sniffing out the best burgers in America’s ski town, start with the oldest bar in Park City, where the gritty No Name Saloon & Grill has been serving bison burgers for more than 100 years. High West, meanwhile, is a trendy, ski-in distillery with a bison-beef blend burger on tap, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s J & G Grill brings classy beef to Park City with his cheeseburger topped with black truffle dressing.
11. DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
In Daytona, beer is just as important as the burger you pair it with. One prime example is at Daytona Taproom, which boasts 50 beers on tap and overflowing burger combinations stuffed between two glazed doughnuts or waffles—if you’re feeling adventurous, that is. Adam’s Egg has another must-try veggie burger made from scratch.
12. VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA
In Virginia Beach, there’s nothing like Iggles Cheesesteaks and Burgers, where the burgers are cheesesteak-inspired—you can also get a grilled cheese sandwich with a burger patty in the middle. For simple but delicious, head to No Frill Bar & Grill, which, as the name implies, serves the classics.
13. MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA
My Burger is the quintessential Minneapolis burger joint; with three locations, kitschy décor, and a proud commitment to greasy burgers, locals say it’s actually worth the hype. Matt’s Bar is a must-visit, and claims to be the birthplace of the iconic Jucy Lucy, an intentionally misspelled cheese-stuffed burger. Parlour, a quieter option, puts forth a toasty specialty burger oozing with white cheese that pairs perfectly with the bar's craft cocktails.
14. NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
Arguably the most popular burger joint in Tennessee is Gabby’s Burgers & Fries, a burger shack serving thick double cheeseburgers. For a more unconventional take, The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden, another of Nashville’s premier burger joints, serves a Russian-inspired stroganoff burger. Burger Republicboasts craft burgers with Nashville flavors like a Jack Daniel’s honey glaze, and at Mason’s, burgers are given the upscale lunch treatment and come with aged cheddar and tomato bacon jam.
15. LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
In Las Vegas, it’s all about the glamorous celebrity burgers. Gordon Ramsay’s BurGR breaks the mold of a traditional burger joint with toppings like duck breast bacon, while Mario Batali’s beef-driven CarneVinoboasts a gourmet lunch burger covered delicately in pancetta, onion, and gorgonzola or cheddar. Other options include theFukuBurger, a food truck burger made with Japanese-inspired flavors like teriyaki and wasabi mayo, and Holstein’s Shakes & Buns, which serves organic burgers paired with—you guessed it—alcoholic shakes.