clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

The 38 Essential Burgers Across the Country

View as Map


It's a good time for hamburgers in the US. In recent years, a burger renaissance has taken place across the country as restaurants amp up beef quality and tinker with custom blends. New chains have popped up and high-end restaurants are taking a chance on a dish that is almost the definition of quick and casual. It seems only right that hamburgers would be the focus of Eater National's first-ever 38, a list of essential restaurants the local sites have been doing for years. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the Eater National Burger 38, the 38 essential hamburger restaurants across the country.

There are thousands of decent-to-excellent hamburgers across the country, and getting the list down to mere 38 was not an easy task. So to start, the list was limited to new classics; decades-old landmarks were not considered. (That is, with the exception of In-N-Out. More on that in the map.) Much like the 38 Essential Restaurants lists on the local sites, the list has been tailored to allow for both geographic diversity and a variety of burger styles. The Burger 38 focuses on beef hamburgers: things like fries, shakes, and ambiance are nice but were not dealbreakers.

After composing a longlist of likely candidates, Eater consulted with a panel of curators consisting of television hosts, book authors, magazine editors, food writers of all stripes, current and former Eater editors, and other folks who are simply well-traveled burger fans. They didn't agree on everything. In fact, more often than not, they disagreed on everything. When there was a general consensus on a restaurant, it either made the list or was vetoed. In other cases, the most passionate voices won out. Either way, true fans of the art form vouched for the burgers below.

If the panel couldn't always agree on which restaurants to include in the 38, Eater certainly doesn't expect you to do so. Take a deep breath and air your grievances in the comments.

Special thanks to all of those who helped inform this list: Andrew Zimmern, George Motz, Lockhart Steele, Kat Kinsman, Rachel Khong, Francis Lam, Josh Ozersky, Zach Brooks, Mike Thelin, Ben Leventhal, Amber Ambrose, Jennifer Zyman, Ari Bendersky, Allecia Vermillion, Lauren Hendrick, Kyle Nabilcy, Hannah Sayle, and current Eater editors.

And now, without further ado and in alphabetical order, the Eater National Burger 38.

· Eater's 38 Essential Burgers Across the Nation [Foursquare]
· All Hamburger Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Burger Week 2013 Coverage on Eater [-E-]

Read More
Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process. If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Au Cheval

Copy Link
[Photo: Au Cheval / Facebook]

Bernie's Burger Bus

Copy Link
[Photo: Bernie's / Facebook]
[Photo: Bocado / Facebook]

The Brindle Room

Copy Link
[Photo: Brindle Room / Facebook]


Copy Link
[Photo: Burgatory / Facebook]

Burger Bar

Copy Link
[Photo: Burger Bar / Facebook]

Burger Guys

Copy Link
[Photo: Burger Guys / Facebook]

Butcher & The Burger

Copy Link
[Photo: Butcher & the Burger]

The Company Burger

Copy Link
[Photo: Company Burger / Twitter]

Craigie on Main

Copy Link
[Photo: the_sbk / Eater Boston Flickr Pool]

Edzo's Burger Shop

Copy Link
[Photo: Edzo's / Facebook]

The Golden State

Copy Link
[Photo: djjewel / Flickr]

Good Dog Bar & Restaurant

Copy Link
[Photo: Good Dog Bar / Facebook]

The Grape

Copy Link
[Photo: The Grape / Facebook]

The Grind

Copy Link
[Photo: The Grind]


Copy Link
[Photo: Gruner]

Holeman & Finch Public House

Copy Link
[Photo: Holeman & Finch / Facebook]

Hungry Cat

Copy Link
[Photo: Hungry Cat]
[Photo: Husk]

In-N-Out Burger

Copy Link
[Photo: russelljsmith / Flickr]

Kuma's Corner

Copy Link
[Photo: toothrot / Flickr]

Latin House Burger & Taco Bar

Copy Link
[Photo: Latin House Burger / Facebook]

Lure Fishbar

Copy Link
[Photo: slice / Eater NY Flickr Pool]

Ma’ono Fried Chicken & Whisky

Copy Link
[Photo: Ma'Ono]

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

Copy Link
[Photo: MGFD]

Minetta Tavern

Copy Link
[Photo: ulterior epicure / Eater NY Flickr Pool]

Mission Bowling Club

Copy Link
[Photo: Mission Bowling Club / Facebook]
[Photo: Nopa / Instagram]

The Old Fashioned

Copy Link
[Photo: Old Fashioned / Facebook]

Off the Hoof Burgers

Copy Link
[Photo: Yelp]

Off-Site Kitchen

Copy Link
[Photo: Lockhart Steele]

P. Terry's

Copy Link
[Photo: P. Terry's / Facebook]
[Photo: Palena / Facebook]

Park Burger

Copy Link
[Photo: Park Burger / Facebook]

Shake Shack

Copy Link
[Photo: Shake Shack / Facebook]

Skillet Diner

Copy Link
[Photo: Skillet / Facebook]

The Spotted Pig

Copy Link
[Photo: The Spotted Pig]