The burger, America’s quintessential comfort food, can now be enjoyed in an impossibly endless number of ways. There are round-the-clock burgers at 24-hour-roadside joints and ephemeral late-night burgers sold out in mere minutes; burgers grilled in hundred-year-old cast-iron broilers and burgers steamed in state-of-the-art ovens; burgers crafted from Kobe beef imported from Japan and burgers made with Black Angus beef from just down the road. It’s clearly a great time to love the burger. Food & Wine has singled out the best.
New York City: Shake Shack
Signature Burger: ShackBurger (Black Angus beef patty topped with American cheese, tomato, lettuce, and “Shack Sauce,” served in a grilled potato bun).
Uber restaurateur Danny Meyer’s beloved mini empire has a cult following among Gotham burger geeks. Must-order items include the ShackBurger (served with American cheese, tomato, lettuce, and “Shack Sauce” in an old-fashioned wax paper wrapper) and a “hand-spun” chocolate-and-peanut-butter custard shake.
Ohio: B-Spot Burgers
Signature Burger: Lola Burger.
Michael Symon, F&W Best New Chef 1998, specializes in “meat on meat” burgers at his Ohio-based chain B-Spot. Named after his Cleveland flagship, the Lola Burger could almost double as a breakfast sandwich since it’s piled high with bacon and a fried egg (in addition to pickled red onions, cheddar cheese and mayo).
New York City: Minetta Tavern
Signature Burger: Black Label Burger (topped with caramelized onions).
Minetta Tavern’s excellent burgers use a beef blend—dry-aged rib eye, skirt steak, brisket and short rib—from famed purveyor Pat LaFrieda, and buns from Balthazar Bakery.
Atlanta, GA: Holeman & Finch
Signature Burger: Burger (two cheeseburgers on a house-made bun).
Star chef Linton Hopkins announces “burger time”—10 p.m.—with the ringing of two bull horns; that’s when two dozen grass-fed beef burgers are up for grabs and consistently sold out within minutes. The burgers are also available on the Sunday brunch menu.
California: In-N-Out Burger
Signature Burger: Cheeseburger.
Even superstar chef Thomas Keller is a fan of the West Coast chain—and with good reason. The cooked-to-order burgers are made with beef from Southwest ranches and served with hand-cut fries. For a messier, more indulgent experience, order your burger “Animal Style” for extra sauce and chopped grilled onions.
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