I love food. It’s not something you usually think about, but I really do love food. I love eating it, I love cooking it and I certainly love writing about it. I love it so much that it has led me on a quest to find the best of the best.
Of all my food quests, one has been more hard fought than the others. That quest is for the perfect hamburger.
I have eaten my fair share of burgers. From the east coast to the west, I’ve spent years searching for what sets the good from the bad and the ugly. I have also spent time studying chefs to see what they do to make the burger supreme.
In an article written by the New York Times, chef Geoffrey Zakarian explained the exact thing I have sought in burger perfection.
“People really over-complicate hamburgers,” Zakarian said. “They substitute complication for proper cooking technique.”
This article isn’t talking about the extreme burgers or the burger challenges, though I have eaten my fair share of extreme burgers. I am focused on pure burger simplicity—meat cooked to perfection, bun fresh and condiments that perfectly compliment everything in-between.
Here is my shortlist, and take note that these places are on my list for one reason only—they get it right.
Burger Bar, Roy Utah
This restaurant gets to be on my list for one simple reason, nostalgia. This is the place that inspired me to look for the best burgers, and they do it right.
They have all the connections for the freshest produce to a bakery that provides the buns that they use. Burger Bar’s all-beef hamburgers are flavorful, and you can taste each component in harmony with the others. They believe in simplicity in what they do, and even carry that motto over to exotic meats.
Steak and Shake, various locations in the US but one in Centerville Utah
I hate burger chains, but only to a point. The mass production of burgers has created an abomination that is hard to overcome. Yet, of all the chains out there, Steak and Shake gets it right.
Most of their menus are limited to three to four sandwich options and no major frills. Just burgers and fries. Because they keep simplicity as a key, they are able to mass produce high quality food, and that to me is above all else.
Lucky 13 Bar, Salt Lake City Utah
Now, the other two restaurants are amazing for their quality burgers. But recently I found a place that in no small words is the best place for burgers period. If it were the last thing I had to eat, I would die happy. This is a true bar right next to Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City. At first glance, you wouldn’t think that they had anything but beer to offer, but the oversized check on the back wall tells the weary burger quester that the journey has come to an end.
That check is from winning the world burger championship in 2012, and they are still winning in the hearts of many hungry fans.
“We won’t serve anything unless it is perfect,” bartender Meredith Hernandez said. “Everything is locally sourced, every piece of bacon is smoked in house and if its on the menu, you are guaranteed to love it. All of that from a kitchen smaller than your bedroom.”
It is really that good. ‘Perfect’ is the only word I can use to describe it. From the first bite to the last, it will be a burger you savor forever. For me, I have found my burger nirvana, and boy is it amazing.