The Burger. By definition, “a dish consisting of a round patty of ground beef, or sometimes another savory ingredient, that is fried or grilled and typically served in a split bun or roll with various condiments and toppings.” Otherwise known as…one of the most delicious things to ever be created in the history of food.
In the world of burgers, the options are endless. Seriously, think about all the different variations of this traditional combination of a beef patty and a bun. Sure, there is the simple lettuce and tomato preparation, but that is only the beginning. Caramelized, fried or raw onions, mushrooms, bacon, pickles, and fried egg are just a few of the zillion topping options out there — and do not even get us started on all the cheeses and sauces you can add on! Then there are the actual patty options; you can make a burger using only one kind of ground beef, or blend together a few different types. There are turkey burgers, chicken burgers, salmon burgers, shrimp burgers, tofu burgers, veggie burgers, burgers made out black beans, chickpeas or quinoa… There is no wrong way to eat a burger, but there are a million right ways. Like we said, there are endless options when it comes to burgers!
When the craving hits, a well-made burger can make all the difference — especially when you’re out riding. After a long day of being out on your bike, it is likely that you will work up a hefty appetite. Sometimes, a big, juicy burger is just the thing you need.
No matter where you find yourself out on the open road, there are bound to be a few restaurants nearby where you can stop and grab a quick bite. However, if you’re not just looking for a regular ol’ order of burger and fries, you might have to do a little more research to find the best burgers out there.
Don’t worry though — that’s what we are here for! We took the time to do the research, turning to two of the highest regarded names in food recommendations, to bring you a list of the top places in the US to get a burger on your bike. Let’s be honest… We made this list not only for you, our amazing and loyal NBT Clothing customers and fans, but for ourselves too, because, well…do we really need to explain ourselves?
According to the Food Network, the five best burgers in all of America can be found in Chicago, New York, California and Oklahoma. If you are lucky enough to call any of the places home, or they are close enough to get to by motorcycle, these are five burgers you are probably going to want to get your hands on ASAP.
The number five spot goes to the Mission Burger at San Francisco’s Mission Bowling Club, a full restaurant and bowling alley, which automatically just sounds like a fun place to make a pitstop during a ride. The patty is a blend of organic brisket and chuck, seared in beef fat and topped with housemade caper aioli, caramelized onions and Monterey Jack cheese. We checked the Mission Bowling Club website’s menu, and it says that you can add on french fries, avocado or bacon, or if you are a vegan or vegetarian, the Impossible burger is available as a patty alternative.
Fourth place goes to the Onion Burger, found at Sid’s Diner in El Reno, Oklahoma. The star of the show here are the Spanish yellow onions that are sliced super thin and then added right onto the patty before cooking. If you check out the reviews on Yelp, it’s very clear that this is one burger worth seeking out. Sid’s seems like the perfect spot for you and your motorcycle crew to ride up to while out in El Reno. From the photos, it is exactly what you’d expect out of a diner.
Pie ‘n Burger in Pasadena, California gets the bronze medal. Apparently this place has been serving the same exact burger to its customers for over 50 years, so it must be doing something right. It seems pretty classic with a fresh ground beef patty and American cheese, but it must be the homemade Thousand Island dressing that puts it over the top. From the photos, we can tell Pie ’n Burger has a very “homey” and charming neighborhood feel to it — and from the name, we are assuming its pie is just as good as its burger.
Travel back over to the east coast for the second place winner: the Steakhouse Burger at Brindle Room in New York City’s East Village. The Food Network article tells us that the burger patty is made using a pretty epic trio: 30-day-aged beef neck, fresh beef, and white fat. You wouldn’t know this just by looking at the restaurant’s menu, but that’s why researching these burgers is critical! That incredible sounding burger is cast-iron seared and topped with American cheese, caramelized onions and a homemade spicy hot sauce.
Is your mouth watering yet? If not, we guarantee it will be soon.
The first place winner is one of the most popular restaurants in one of the greatest food cities, Chicago. Au Cheval is one of those places that foodies put on their bucket list to visit — it’s also notoriously known for being hard to get into because they don’t take reservations and there is typically always a long line of people waiting to get in. Despite being called a Double Cheeseburger, the Food Network article and other reviews we’ve read confirm that it actually has three patties, and the Single Cheeseburger has two. The patties are topped with cheddar, maple-glazed bacon and homemade Dijonnaise.
Au Cheval’s cheeseburger was named the best in America by Bon Appetit back in 2012, and it’s still turning heads ten years later. So yeah, clearly this is a gold medal winner that we all need to taste. If you ever find yourself riding through the Windy City, it’s well worth trying to get a table at this diner-style gastropub. It is on our bucket list, for sure!
There are lots more delicious top-notch burgers all over the country. In fact, trusted food source, Thrillist, curated a list of the top 50 burgers in America as of this past June. Out of the five burger joints that Food Network highlighted, only one of them made Thrillist’s list: Pie ‘n Burger, noting that it’s just as good even when substituted with a plant-based option.
California definitely seems to be a top contender when it comes to states where burgers reign supreme. Aside from Pasadena’s Pie ‘n Burger, the article also notes eight other restaurants with impressive burger options, including Amboy Quality Meats in Los Angeles; The Balboa Bar and Grill in San Diego with its namesake Balboa burger in a fresh baked crisp bolillo bun; the vegan restaurant Burgerlords in Los Angeles (yeah, that means an entire menu of plant-based burgers for our vegan and vegetarian friends!); Burgers Never Say Die also in LA known for its perfect smashburger; Causwells in San Francisco that Thrillist describes as a “sophisticated In-N-Out Double Burger;” the LA dive bar Hinano Cafe; TK Burgers in Newport; and WesBurger ‘n’ More in San Francisco.
All of these California cities no doubtedly have some great roads for motorcycle riding too, so a Cali burger bike tour could be a fun (and delicious) trip to plan!
Other west coast options include Bless Your Heart Burgers in Portland, Oregon that has a burger named after LL Cool J with guacamole and bacon; the divey Loretta’s Northwesterner in Seattle, Washington; and Cherry Cricket in Denver, Colorado, which has been around for 70 years. Thrillist recommends getting your burger topped with peanut butter and bacon. We will take them up on that suggestion!
Going back to Chicago, Au Cheval isn’t the only restaurant with a drool worthy burger. Thrillist’s list includes two other spots whose burgers have stolen customers’ hearts: The Loyalist, a high-end spot in the West Loop; and Mother’s Ruin, whose original location is in New York City.
We’ve also got Burgar-chan in Houston, Texas, which Thrillist calls a “Cult Sensation;” Louisville, Kentucky’s Grind Burger Kitchen which started out as a food truck; and Nation in Cincinnati, Ohio known for its namesake Nation burger, which is a 6 ounce brisket patty topped with smoked cheddar cheese, crispy onion strings, horseradish aioli and whiskey BBQ sauce, on a buttered challah bun. In Las Vegas, you can find a James Beard-nominated chef-run burger spot inside the Eureka Casino, Fat Choy, that combines the flavors of Asian street food with American diner classics.
Over on the east coast, Thrillist notes Brooks Sandwich House in Charlotte, North Carolina, a true burger joint since the 70s known for its “all the way” burger preparation, which comes with mustard, raw onion, and smoky chili. If you want a more upscale burger, and don’t mind spending a little bit more than usual, The Butcher Shop in Boston has the TBS Burger, which is made with Colorado wagyu beef, smeared with melted American cheese and aioli. New York City’s Corner Bistro in a typical NYC dive bar, where the beloved Bistro Burger comes served on a paper plate; and Washington D.C.’s Duke’s Grocery is a London-style pub with three locations, known for its signature Proper Burger that is served on a brioche bun with gouda cheese, dill pickles, charred red onion, sweet chile sauce, and garlic aioli.
Of course we have to include a few South Florida burgers, since that’s where NBT Clothing is based. Thrillist notes La Traila BBQ in Miami, serving up burgers with a unique BBQ-inspired twist; and Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill in Fort Lauderdale, a family-owned-and-operated spot hidden in a small strip mall that makes their half-pound patties with Certified Angus Beef and has over ten burger options on the menu.
Another Fort Lauderdale favorite is Le Tub in Hollywood Beach, whose burger has been awarded Best Burger in the Nation by GQ Magazine and was also featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show. It’s been a local haven for over 30 years. You can sit right in front of the grill and watch as your burgers are being grilled. If you aren’t already starving by the time you sit down, the smell alone from the grill will certainly spark an appetite! If you’re in the area, this hidden gem with a very Key West-vibe is located right off of A1A, which makes for a great scenic motorcycle ride.
Continue a little further north west in Broward County, and you’ll hit Tucker Duke’s in Deerfield Beach (and even further north in Palm Beach County, it has a sister restaurant in Boca Raton). Tucker Duke’s is known for having a rotating menu of different featured burgers every month, and its most extravagant menu item, the Tanner and the Unicorn, a ¾ pound burger, topped with a dozen house-made onion rings, six slices of bacon, six slices of American and cheddar cheeses, lettuce, tomato and a fried egg. Oh, and instead of a bun, it’s all slabbed between two thick grilled cheese sandwiches. One peek at this mountain of a burger and you will be looking for a knife and fork — and a friend — to help you chow down. Side note, NBT Clothing founder, Nick, says this is definitely one of his favorite burger spots!
If you want more of these larger-than-life burgers, Food Network created a list of the most over-the-top burgers in the country, and you will find that the Tanner and the Unicorn burger is number one on the list! Also featured is a Dorito-fried cheeseburger from Burgertown in Sacramento, the Elvis Burger at Hopdoddy in Austin, Texas, and the Quesadilla Burger at Pincho Factory in Miami, just to name a few. If you love are a fan of the combination of sweet and salty, you would probably love The Sourvein at Kuma’s Corner in Chicago, a 10-ounce burger topped with Applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, a fried egg, a deep-fried chicken tender, strips of Belgian waffle, maple-raspberry aioli and maple syrup.
One more South Florida burger spot worth noting is the award-winning M.E.A.T. Eatery, which has been featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and recently named 2022 Best Burger in Florida by Reader’s Digest. There are two locations, one in Boca Raton and one in Islamorada in the Keys. M.E.A.T. Eatery’s most popular burger is the Inside Out Juicy Lucy, a 7-ounce burger stuffed with pimento cheese and bacon, topped with American cheese, lettuce and tomato.
Now that we have you drooling and craving all the burgers, it’s time to start planning your motorcycle quest for the best burgers in America! For the best functional and fashionable motorcycle apparel while you’re out on the road, NBT Clothing is your number one choice for clothing that proves to be Built for the Journey and the Destination™.
We are committed to providing customers with a collection of riding pants, jackets, and vests that seamlessly blend style, protection, and comfort so you're always ready for the road and always looking fresh. After all, if you’re eating the best burgers in America, you’d better look your best while doing it!