Chefs know a good burger and that's why on this very last day of Burger Week, Eater has reached out to chefs across the country — and abroad — for their burger recommendations. Some of them love a burger with a strong kick to it, while others love oozy, gooey burgers with unusual toppings. And then, of course, there's a certain appreciation for the simple, straightforward burger made well.
Here now, Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton & Greg Denton (Ox, Portland), Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena), Paul Berglund (The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis), Daniel Rose (Spring, Paris), Tim Maslow (Strip-T's, Boston), Chris Shepherd (Underbelly, Houston), Anthony Martin (Tru, Chicago), and Andrea Reusing (Lantern, Raleigh) share where they like to grab burgers and why.
Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton & Greg Denton
"Our favorite place for a burger is in Chamonix, France. It's a little hole in the wall called Midnight Express that sells crêpes and panini. We discovered their version of a burger (l'Americain avec frites) one afternoon after a long Alpine hike, and we were ravenous. This thing comes on a double-wide bun with lettuce, tomato, and a fancy, dijon-spiked pink sauce. There's also cheese — could it possibly even be American? — and then the pièce de résistance: smokin hot pommes frites. They take all of that, including the fries and a griddled patty, and they finish it in the panini press. You are presented with a glorious, oozy Alpine-Americain hybrid of a burger that's big enough for two. To have this robust taste of Americana, with French fries fused into it, makes this place a comforting home away from home in the middle of an idyllic French mountain town."
Wisconsin Sourdough on the left. [Photo: Will A./Yelp]
"Gott's Roadside in St. Helena. A classic, and convenient because it's right in town. My favorite burger is the Wisconsin Sourdough with bbq sauce and onion rings. But sometimes just a regular cheeseburger does the trick, on this awesome toasted egg bun. It's fast food, but everything is made fresh, they use quality ingredients and grow a lot of their produce. When I can sneak out of the kitchen, sometimes I swing by Gott's and grab my wife a cheeseburger, which usually helps my cause when she's mad at me. Gott's breakfast was the first meal we had in the hospital when Daisy (our daughter) was born, and I'm sure I'll be taking walks with her in town to grab a burger in the years to come."
Val's Burgers burger. [Photo: Masashi S./Foursquare]
"My measure of a great burger is all in the bun — if I'm halfway through and the bottom bun has disintegrated, that's my kind of burger! Here in Minneapolis, Haute Dish serves incredibly juicy burgers every time. To boot, a larger-than-life painting of Fernand Point watches over you, approving of your order.
"The best burger I've ever had is at Val's Burgers in Hayward, CA. It's a simple burger. Really simple, actually. That's what's wonderful about it. No adornments. I'm able to appreciate the really fresh beef that much more. Order a malt with it. It's important."
Chuck Wagon's Niki [Photo: Facebook]
"I'm sitting here in my Paris appartement jonesing for a burger. I'm thinking about all of the burgers and everything else I've eaten in nearly 36 years and there are really only a few things that stand out. If they are still making it like when I was a kid (and all evidence points to 'yes') I'd go out of my way for a Niki Special at the Chuck Wagon in Wilmette, IL where I grew up. I've just called them and they are indeed still making them. Same recipe. A cheeseburger with gyros piled on top. I always had mine with grilled onions. Surely even more delicious in my memory seasoned with heaping spoonfuls of nostalgia, but I'm sure delicious all the same.
The other best of was a more or less anonymous burger stand in Cuernavaca, Mexico that I discovered at age 16 during an extended stay. The 'Hawaiano' had a fat piece of sweet grilled pineapple and bacon on top. I can still remember the taste. Discovered a few days after I kissed a girl for the first time — making it delicious and very memorable."
Paul's Da Burger Joint [Photo: Karin R./Foursquare]
"Pauls Da Burger Joint for me is somewhat special. When I first moved to NYC 11 years ago, in an amazingly cliche fashion, I didnt have a lot. So I sustained on staff meal. But when I did have a few bucks to my name, I'd hit up Paul's. I always walked by that silly burger statue, I would salivate over that damn eastsider burger. I'll be back for one soon!
Shake Shack made me a believer in the mayo-based burger sauce. I was always a ketchup purist. I'm not a big mayonnaise fan to begin with. But it's hard to compete with a very well executed burger. It's like if McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's didnt decide to say 'fuck it, lets just serve shit. Americans will never notice anyway.' I applaud the super friendly service, quality products and attention to detail (they serve 'lobstah shell' a north end specialty and Revere's Tracks ice cream). I'll wait 40 minutes for a burger anytime."
Yo Mama's Bar & Grill burger [Photo: Official]
"Yo Mama's Bar & Grill in New Orleans, LA. They have the best chargrilled burger and tequila selection around. Go for the Peanut Butter and Bacon burger. It sounds odd, but it's worth every bite."
The Hurt Burger. [Photo: Foodspotting]
"I absolutely love the 'Hurt' burger on the secret menu at M Burger. I get the 'second degree' so it is not crazy hot, but definitely has a good kick of heat. It has raw jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, spicy bbq sauce."
Holeman & Finch burger. [Photo: Facebook]
"I love burgers. I don't eat them all the time, but when I do I really love the style of burger at Holeman & Finch. There's something about that kind of like pure meat style burger with the bun that just disappears. It's really my favorite one to eat. I think there's something about the whole way they do it in terms of the limited quantity that adds a lot of excitement to the experience, too. I've had them a bunch because whenever I'm in Atlanta, I'm usually working and I end up out with other cooks at night.
I think the first time I ever had one, I was with a couple of other cooks and we were coming from an event. We had texted Linton and he had gotten back in touch with us and we were like racing there. We had two between us and I was the only girl and I was probably like less than half the size of either one of the guys. So it was the three of us standing there with two of them, you think it would have been enough, we weren't hungry or anything, we just really wanted that burger. They were gone in two seconds. And eating them standing up in that great scene and being able to see them on the griddle and the way they slice the cheese. They have that big log of cheese. It's great burger theater and it's also a great burger.
It just really embraces the best aspects, it's what we all love about a hamburger. It doesn't mess around with too much other stuff. It's an achievement in its total simplicity and not cheffiness. I don't know how they get their buns made, they must make them at the bakery because they have a bakery. But it's so impossible to make a junk food bun. I don't know if you've ever tried, but it's just really really hard to get that kind of soft industrial bread vibe. And they managed to do it. But it's still delicious."