1. Pizza Loves Emily — Brooklyn, New York
Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to tamper with chef Matthew Hyland’s Emmy Burger. Please note that we are unable to accommodate any dietary restrictions or alterations to this dish. There is a nightly cap on availability. Bloomberg Pursuits’ culinary editor Kate Krader admits she loves a good mess and doesn’t mind the “monumental filling.”
Caramelized onions, Korean chili sauce, and aged Grafton cheddar cheese top a dry-aged beef patty. “But what makes this a perfect burger is the pretzel bun,” Krader said to TODAY. It has a chewy, robust, salty texture. A similar double-patty burger topped with American cheese is available at the restaurant’s West Village outpost in New York City.
2. Chroni’s Famous Sandwich Shop — Los Angeles, California
A former restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Gold, praised the chiliburger here, saying it was “painted with yellow mustard and sluiced with a meaty, emulsified chili a few degrees spicier than the rest; robust, tasting distinctly of the grill, piled high with ripe tomatoes and crisp sheaves of lettuce.” According to Gold, the chiliburger has been a “thing” in Los Angeles ever since the 1920s. Chroni’s, which he called an “Eastside institution,” has been serving the neighborhood residents ever since it opened in 1945.
3. Au Cheval — Chicago, Illinois
This monstrosity of a sandwich is only listed as one “cheeseburger” on the menu, but don’t let that fool you. “Two thin patties, cheese, pickles, and a tangy sauce all come together to form a burger that I still occasionally think about almost four years after trying it,” Hillary Reinsberg, editor-in-chief of The Infatuation and Zagat, told TODAY.
Reinsberg like the burger for more than just its flavor and texture; he also appreciates the large steak knife that sticks out of the top when it’s served. There is a sister restaurant to the one in Chicago’s West Loop in New York City’s West Village, but the burger there isn’t as outstanding, according to Reinsberg.
4. Better Luck Tomorrow — Houston, Texas
“Without a doubt, chef Justin Yu’s Party Melt burger is top in Houston,” Jordana Rothman, the restaurant editor for Food & Wine, remarked. The beef patty of the James Beard Award-winning chef’s burger is topped with caramelized onions, thinly sliced red onions, and crispy broiled cheddar cheese. Rothman said that the burger’s umami punch comes from the fact that the coarsely ground beef is cooked in tallow (beef fat) and that it is sandwiched between two thick slices of handmade bread enriched with Parmesan cheese.
5. Pool Burger — Austin, Texas
Burger lovers in Austin can’t get enough of this tiki bar-themed restaurant housed in a 1968 Airstream trailer. According to Rothman, she is “obsessed” with the location. Rothman’s favorite of the eight available burgers is the one with the most dramatic name: “The Deep End.” It’s a triple-patty burger with Wagyu beef, Swiss cheese, bacon, fresh jalapeos, and Dijonnaise that’s been prepared from scratch.
6. Cecconi’s — Miami Beach, Florida
The “Dirty Burger” is highly regarded for its subtle qualities, despite its ominous moniker. According to Victoria Pesce Elliott, culinary critic for the Miami Herald and contributor to TODAY, “the scorched, lacy Parmesan cheese wheel gives it a brittle crunch that lends super contrast with the thin patty of always juicy grilled ground beef and special sauce.”
The burger was originally made for the Soho Beach House’s members-only restaurant, but non-members can get it from 4-7 p.m. in the bar of the Italian restaurant in the club’s lobby. Pesce Elliott admitted, “I realize that kind of puts some limits on it.” The reassurance that “but it’s worth it.”
7. 4505 Burgers & BBQ Restaurant — San Francisco, California
Ryan Farr, the chef, doesn’t call his signature burger anything fancy. The “Best Damn Grass Fed Cheeseburger” is the only name given to it on the menu. In a sesame and scallion bun, the quarter-pound burger is topped with lettuce, onion, Gruyere cheese, and a special sauce. “It’s always cooked to a perfectly juicy medium-rare,” remarked Hillary Dixler Canavan, the restaurant editor for Eater. “The burger is always delicious, so it’s become one of my regular restaurants.”
8. Little Jack’s Tavern — Charleston, South Carolina
When it comes to the ingredients for his Double Tavern Burger, Little Jack’s Tavern chief chef John Amato keeps things straightforward: American cheese, tavern sauce (essentially well-seasoned mayo), and a sesame bun. Andrew Knowlton, editor-at-large of Bon Appétit, told TODAY that the magazine still comes in the ideal package. Because it can be held in one hand and devoured in only four bites, he deemed it 2017’s best burger. The patty has a 75% lean to 25% fat ratio and contains 4 ounces of chuck and brisket.
9. Pie n’ Burger — Pasadena, California
Food and drink editor for Esquire, Jeff Gordinier, believes that people tend to have a “reverential” level of affection for the burger they grew up with. The Pasadena native was raised a few blocks away from the renowned Pie n’ Burger. Gordinier’s mother is an artist, and the family is such regulars that she painted the restaurant’s counter.
The sauce and crisp lettuce added a wonderful, fresh taste to the cheeseburger, which Gordinier complimented as being compact and juicy. ‘From the perspectives of texture, temperature, flavor, and size, this cheeseburger is excellent,’ he told TODAY.
10. The Cozy Inn — Salina, Kansas
Gold reviewed restaurants for a living in the Los Angeles area, but the slider burgers from Central Kansas were his all-time favorite. They have the flavor of the onion’s abstract concept of an onion. They’re quite cool,” Gold gushed. After White Castle opened in Wichita in 1921, Cozy Inn founder Bob Kinkel began frying his “onion-laden, coin-sized burgers” in 1922.
Because the Cozy Burgers were served on waxed paper and slid down the restaurant’s counter, the name “sliders” stuck. The original price of a burger was a mere five cents. The price of a single Cozy Burger today is $1.19, which is still very reasonable in our opinion.