Nothing says America like a beef patty cooked to perfection, covered with condiments, and sandwiched inside a bun.
We live in a land of burgers, and everyone’s preferences differ. The hamburger was never meant to be a fancy and expensive food, though many attempts have been made to make it that. No, the ideal burger restaurant is one that hasn’t franchised itself to death, that occupies modest quarters usually with minimal decoration, but that brims with personality and has grown into a local institution as well as just a place for food — in other words, a real burger joint. (These are America’s 25 favorite burger joints.)
To assemble a list of the best hole-in-the-wall burger joints in every state, 24/7 Tempo consulted reviews and ratings on a wide range of websites, including Food & Wine, The Daily Meal, Thrillist, Reader’s Digest, Eater, Yelp, Lovefood, Cheapism, Big 7 Travel, and Taste of Home, as well as state and regional restaurant listings for every state.
Several of the places on the resulting list have been serving burgers since before the Great Depression, and continue to use the same methods and recipes they’ve been using since the beginning. Most of them steer clear of gimmicks, instead primarily delivering exceptional burgers with classic toppings. Some sell nothing more than burgers, in fact, with a few sides and drinks. Others have a variety of other things, too, like sandwiches and hot dogs. It’s all quick, easy, cheap, and very good, in any case.
Some of the places on our list are found in big cities — Tampa, Los Angeles, St. Paul — but many are in the suburbs or even in rural areas, on old roads or main streets in small towns off the beaten path. All are worth seeking out if you’re a burger-lover. If you can’t find any of these places or reasonable alternatives, however, these are the best burgers you can get at a fast-food restaurant.