Fletcher Davis’ face should adorn money. In 1885, Mr. Davis, of Austin, Texas, invented the hamburger sandwich. His creation? A fried ground beef patty on white bread generously topped with mustard and Bermuda onion. Davis served it with a pickle on the side. His burger would eventually become the ersatz national food…and a passion for Money Examiners staff.
Now, as summer 2018 comes along, we sought out the best hamburger in the land. What criteria did we use?
First, we ruled that only burgers served in multiple places could apply. There’s a great burger in Slidell, Louisiana. But, most of our readers would feel teased if we listed that one. Our burgers are accessible by thousands.
That said, we did not include ubiquitous chains. No Whoppers or Big Macs here, but neither deserves a spot. Big Macs are a forgettable lunch. Our burgers are events.
Second, as a trusted financial site, we took care that our burgers are affordable. As such, our list is food, as well as travel savings. We found a hamburger costing $100.00 at an unnamed San Francisco eatery. It had no chance to make the list, even if it was great! We saw it, and feel safe in declaring it not great.
Finally, we savor a great burger. Our list of burgers is savorable, as well. Today, we warm you up with Part One. Next week, find Part Two. The following week, Part Three and the winner.
9) “The Burger,” at BGR: The Burger Joint: Burger Joint founder Mark Bucher designed his masterpiece after cookouts he remembered from his Philadelphia childhood. It’s 1/3-pound prime beef with tomato, pickle, onion and a mojo sauce (ketchup/mustard mashup with a slight horseradish kick). Brioche completes it. There are twenty-two BGR locations mostly in the east.
8. “The Umami Burger” at Umami Burger: Umami means “fifth taste” in Japanese. Over there, they call it the taste beyond flavor in a place near the soul. That’s a lot to ask of a burger, but the Umami tries. It’s sold in twenty-five locations, mostly in the Los Angeles Basin. Start out with a split Portuguese bun. Add a sliced and grilled shitake mushroom, along with parmesan cheese, roasted tomatoes, and caramelized onion. Add Umami dust, aka kombu and dried mushroom.
7. “The Crunchburger” at Bobby’s Burger Palace: The eastern seaboard is well-represented in our hamburger Hall of Fame. Bobby’s can be a lunchtime stop all the way from Florida to Connecticut. Food Network star Bobby Flay is “Bobby”, giving the Burger Palace celebrity cachet. Not that it needs it, because THERE ARE POTATO CHIPS ON THIS BURGER. Sorry, we get excited by genius. Two patties, melted American cheese topped by a potato chip tower.
6. “The Original Double ‘N Cheese” at Steak ‘n Shake: Steak ‘n Shake opened their original location in Normal, Illinois in1934. It has since spread east to Florida and west to Los Angeles. With 549 Steak ‘n Shakes across the country, it’s the easiest burger on our list to locate. Truth told, it almost did not make the list because of its immense national scope. We decided it deserved a spot, simply because it’s splendid. The patty isn’t standard brand ground beef. It’s ground steak, and the burger comes with cheese if desired. It is topped with your choice of green leaf lettuce (not bag o’ salad lettuce), fresh-sliced ripe Roma tomatoes, onions sliced beautifully, crunchy pickles, and a thousand island-type sauce. Placed lovingly on a toasted potato roll bun it is the lunch you return to again and again as you drive cross-country.
Hungry yet? Just wait, because we’ve only just begun.