The Best Burgers in 17 Cities

You voted, we counted — here are the results of our 2015 Burger Survey
November 3, 2015
by Zagat Staff

Burgers represent the culinary sign of the times. In the fast-food explosion of the last century, they were the icons of nuclear families, snatched up quickly at drive-thrus and gobbled down at home. Toward the turn of the century, they gained serious cred in the kitchen, with even chefs at world-class restaurants offering inventive, gourmet twists. These days? It's a little bit of everything, with the lines between high- and low-end becoming increasingly blurred. Read on to find out the No. 1 burger in 17 Zagat cities, as voted on by you in our 2015 Burger Survey, and click through to see the full list for each city. 

Hopdoddy Burger Bar
Burger · SoCo (South Congress) · $$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.2

“Break your diet” for these burger bars where they turn out “amazing” , “inventive” locally sourced patties on house-baked buns, plus fries, “tasty” brews and milkshakes (with spiked versions for adults); it’s “always packed” at peak hours, and while some find the line “just overwhelming” , most maintain it’s “totally worth it.”
Craigie On Main
French · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.4

Guests find “food nirvana” at this “memorable” “must-try” in Cambridge, where chef Tony Maws’ “masterful technique” and locavore sensibility produce “sublime” , seasonal French-American fare, including tasting menus that deserve a spot on every diner’s “bucket list” ; a “well-trained” staff mans the “cool” dining room and bar, the latter of which serves a famous (if “pricey” ) burger in limited quantities alongside its “inventive” cocktails.
Au Cheval
American · West Loop · $$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.2

Some of the "richest diner food in town" can be found at Brendan Sodikoff’s "trendy" West Loop hang known for "creative" , "earth shatteringly good" takes on "homestyle" "comfort food" , including potato hash with duck heart gravy, a "delicious" fried bologna sandwich and, of course, the "absolutely killer" burger; "interesting" cocktails, "excellent" beers and a "dark, sexy" vibe add more "hipster" cred – just be "prepared to wait" since it doesn't take reservations.
Dugg Burger
Burger · Casa Linda · $

At this fast-casual burger joint in the Casa Linda Plaza shopping center, the top half of a bun is hollowed out, then filled with any or all of some 13 toppings and placed atop a hot patty. The menu features hamburgers, fries, wine, beer, soft drinks and a thrifty bread pudding made with the bun stuffings.
Bud's Cafe & Bar

Since 1948, this offbeat and off-the-beaten-track roadhouse in Sedalia has satisfied carnivores with its celebrated single or double hamburgers and cheeseburgers, served simply with pickles, onions and potato chips ( “No french fries, damnit” is written on the menu, so don’t ask). The setting is no-frills, but comes equipped with budget tabs, cold beer and character.
The Republic Grille
American · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.4

This laid-back “neighborhood” "favorite" in The Woodlands offers a casual American menu that’s suitable for the “whole family” , with a good selection of burgers and salads and what some claim is “hands down the best chicken-fried steak in the county” , plus a well-stocked bar offering cocktails, wine and craft beers; a large outdoor patio and rustic accents add Hill Country charm.
Pono Burger
Burger · $

With its beachy vibe and surf-culture decor, this local burger chain draws fans craving a taste of the islands (the owner is from Hawaii). The organic beef, turkey and vegetarian patties are topped with sweet and savory combinations on soft buns, with hand-cut fries and onion rings on the side, thick shakes made with Strauss organic ice cream, and craft beer on tap.
Bowery Meat Company
New American · East Village · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.2

The team behind Burger & Barrel and Lure “bring innovation” to this Italian-influenced East Village steakhouse, offering “interesting” choices (duck lasagna is a “must” ) and “decadent” , “top-cut” chops; a retro '60s vibe gives the space an “inviting” feel, and while tabs are predictably “pricey” , there are many reasons to “return again and again.”
Peter Luger Steak House
Steakhouse · Williamsburg · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.2

“Still the one and only” , this circa-1887 Williamsburg “monument to meat” sets the bar with its “buttery” house-aged beef ( “they define porterhouse” ) served by “cantankerous” career waiters in a “busy” “old-time” German beer hall setting; the “rough-and-tumble” style “only adds to the charm” , but prices are “stiff” and they don’t take plastic, so come with “a lot of cash.”
Jr's Gourmet Burgers
Burger · $

This casual, no-frills staple in Miami Springs cranks out plump, hand-pressed Angus beef patties with a slew of tempting toppings, plus creatively seasoned sliders and grilled chicken sandwiches. The bottled craft beer selection is a major draw, as is the revolving “Burger of Month” schedule, which remains a secret until the first day of each month.
The Blue Duck
New American · Northeast Philadelphia · $

'Sandwich' is only part of the story at this light-and-bright BYO spot in a Northeast Philadelphia strip mall, decked out with gray wainscoting, colorful plate groupings on the wall and a large wooden farm table. Its American menu also includes playful mac 'n' cheese creations, a ground pork roll and a chuck burger finished with a fried egg, plus entrees like fried chicken.
Rocky's Crown Pub
Bar · Pacific Beach
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

“Old-school classic burgers” , fries and “cold beer” are the name of the game at this "friendly neighborhood dive" in Pacific Beach; despite the "no-frills" atmosphere it's "always busy" , especially at lunch so “get there early if you want a table” ; P.S. cash only.
The Swinery
Sandwich · West Seattle · $$

Fine local meats draw fans to this charming West Seattle cafe and butcher shop on a busy stretch of California Avenue. In addition to sustainably raised meats, housemade charcuterie and takeaway deli items, the unassuming counter dishes out hearty lunches (think juicy burgers and pork-belly BLTs) at its quaint, no-frills courtyard.
WesBurger n' More
Burger · The Mission · $

Burger fans know to look for this indulgent yet wallet-friendly burger joint, where a local Burger Brawl champion churns out juicy, cast-iron-skillet-cooked patties stacked with toppings; veggie options are available.
Duke's Grocery
Bar · Dupont Circle · $
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.1

East London collides with Dupont Circle East at this “casual yet sophisticated” spot serving “hearty” sandwiches and specials (i.e. salt beef, “unreal” pumpkin curry) along with a full English breakfast in a “welcoming” row-house setting; it’s best known for its “awesome” classic burger, as well as a double-patty version that’s a “perfect hangover cure.”