10 New Burgers to Try Right Now

By Danya Henninger  |  October 21, 2013
Credit: Danya Henninger

Burgers hold a special place in America’s culinary canon, from classic, thin-patty standards to gargantuan gourmet creations. (Even vegetarians get excited about their copycat versions.) We took a look around and found 10 recent entries in the Philly meat market that will more than satisfy that new burger itch. Dig in.

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Mildred Burger at The Mildred

    After a year in business in Bella Vista, chef-partner Michael Santoro has at last added a burger to his upscale tavern menu - a nod to neighborhood folks who've been asking for one nonstop. A blend of ground short rib and brisket is topped with confited oxtail, pickled padron peppers, bread-and-butter pickles, and a special mustard dressing. A side of tots completes the deal, which is a good one ($14; 267-687-1600).

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    The Death Star at

    Once you learn what’s on this brunch creation at the Rittenhouse bistro, you might suggest that chef Val Stryjewski rename it the Death Wish. An 8-oz. burger is stuffed with a 3-oz. slice of burrata, then the whole thing is chicken-fried, topped with Fontina cheese and an egg, and served on a housemade English muffin in a bowl of bacon gravy. The chef swears he's seen people finish the whole thing in one sitting... may the forks be with you ($18; 215-825-7030).

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    Bacon Burger at Nick’s Old City

    At this Old City joint, the patty gets a pork belly upgrade - it’s made of a blend of 35% Esposito bacon and 65% beef, ground together in-house. Order it on a brioche roll with classic lettuce, tomato and onion, or get wild with toppings: go Southwestern with fried pickles, salsa and jalapeño, or South Philly-style with sharp provolone, long hots and onions ($12 with a side of fries; 215-928-9411).

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    Jalapeño-Apple Burger at Lucky Old Souls

    "It's pretty hot... be careful," Matthew Feldman warns, handing over his new special burger of the week. Not to worry - as spicy as the pickled Three Springs Farm jalapeños and aji amarillo peppers are, they're tamed by the scoop of sweet caramelized apples set on the challah bun. Both play second fiddle to the beef patty, smothered with a slab of cheese and flavorful as ever ($9.50).

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    Stoli Burger at Headhouse Crab & Oyster Co.

    At his new post on South Street, chef Mike Stollenwerk is going with the “keep-it-simple” philosophy to let the custom “Mike Stoli” LaFrieda blend shine (fatty beef belly is one of the secrets to its rich, juicy flavor). The 6-oz. patty is topped with the classics: American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, all on a Big Marty’s sesame seed bun. A side of fries and housemade pickles finish the plate ($10; 215-418-0600)

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    Long Hots Burger at Kraftwork

    The special dry-aged beef blend for the patty hasn’t changed much since this beer haven opened on East Girard four years ago (and if it had, the burger’s fans would be plenty upset), but there are several new topping choices. Our current favorite is a pile of fried long hots and peppers - watch out for the sneak spice hit - and a slab of melting cheddar ($12.50 with garlic herbed fries, salad or a little of both; 215-739-1700).

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    The Lotus at Spot Gourmet Burgers

    The pink bun might be a bit unsettling at first glance, but just remember that this special of the month benefits breast cancer awareness nonprofits, and dig right in. Josh Kim’s mobile prep talents are fully evident in this teriyaki patty topped with avocado, pickled red onion, comice pear and horseradish mayo ($12).

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    Tailgate Burger at Village Whiskey

    Through the end of October, stop into the Jose Garces tavern in Rittenhouse and find this stadium-inspired beast. 8 oz. of Angus beef are topped with roast pork slices, sautéed broccoli rabe and sharp provolone. Instead of being overkill, the combo works: the added texture in each bite is welcome, and the cherry pepper aïoli on the brioche bun adds a spicy kick ($16 or $22 with Old Bay fries and a PBR pounder; 215-665-1088).

  • Veal Burger at Black Powder Tavern

    At this brand-new Wayne tavern with an Americana theme, veal parmesan gets the deconstructed treatment and shows up as a burger. Chef Mark Porcaro uses Provimi veal (ground in-house), topped with peppers, onions, housemade marinara and provolone. In this case - in a fun twist on the original - it's the cheese that gets breaded and fried instead of the veal ($15 with chips or fries; 610-293-9333).

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    50/50 Burger at Bar-Ly

    With Chinatown’s first serious craft beer bar (60 taps, what?) come the burgers to go with. Instead of the regular grass-fed beef option, go for this one, which mixes the beef half and half with ground pork belly for an ultrajuicy blend. It’s topped with the regular lettuce, tomato and onion, but don’t expect anything close to boring in these bites ($9 with a side of fries; 215-922-2688).