2023’s Best Cities for Burger Lovers

Group of friends sitting on a mountain top, eating burgers and laughing

Where can you find the hottest, juiciest, tenderest burger in America?

To mark National Hamburger Day on May 28, Lawn Love ranked 2023’s Best Cities for Burger Lovers.

We compared the 200 biggest U.S. cities based on four categories. We considered access to burger vendors, consumer ratings, and national recognition, among nine total metrics.

Bite into our ranking below. To learn how we ranked the cities, see our methodology.

In this article

City rankings + infographic

See how each city fared in our ranking:

Note: For presentation purposes, not all ties may be displayed for some metrics above.

Top 5 close up

Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of our top five cities.

Morning light reflects across New York City’s skyline.
No. 1: New York | Overall score: 66.95

Access: 9
Consumer Satisfaction: 23
Recognition: 1
Demand: 1

Local tips: It may be better known for its signature steaks, but Peter Luger Steak House offers a delicious and acclaimed over half-pound Luger-Burger. 

Try the beloved — but not for the frugal — Emmy Burger for $31 from the Brooklyn location of Pizza Loves Emily
Explore the best of the city on a burger crawl during the annual NY Burger Week, or check out the first Smash Burger Block Party in Brooklyn on June 17.
A woman reads on a field looking over townhomes and skyscrapers in San Francisco.
No. 2: San Francisco | Overall score: 52.18

Access: 1
Consumer Satisfaction: 17
Recognition: 7
Demand: 18

Local tips: Make plans with your pals for a fun night of bowling and feasting on fancy caper aioli-topped Mission Burgers at the Mission Bowling Club

Be adventurous and try the monthly burger special at Causwells, or sneak in some greens with their basil aioli-topped veggie burger. 
Two people bike along the river across from the Chicago skyline.
No. 3: Chicago | Overall score: 47.88

Access: 19
Consumer Satisfaction: 20
Recognition: 3
Demand: 4

Local tips: The double cheeseburger from Au Cheval is listed by Food Network as the best burger in the U.S. Other acclaimed burger joints include The Loyalist and Mother’s Ruin.

Experience the 16th annual Roscoe Village Burger Fest in July, and cast your vote for the city’s best burger. 
The Griffith Observatory stands atop a hill overlooking the Los Angeles skyline.
No. 4: Los Angeles | Overall score: 44.94

Access: 57
Consumer Satisfaction: 28
Recognition: 2
Demand: 3

Local tips: Choose from a plethora of options at Hawkins House of Burgers, including the specialty Whipper Burger topped with pastrami and hotlinks. 

A local favorite, Burgerlords, recently reintroduced beef burgers into its previously all-vegan menu. 
Try gourmet burgers — including dishes featured on The Burger Show — at Burger Show host Alvin Cailin’s restaurant: Amboy Quality Meats and Delicious Burgers
Boats float in the Boston Harbor as the city’s skyline glistens in the background on a cloudy morning.
No. 5: Boston | Overall score: 42.73

Access: 3
Consumer Satisfaction: 60
Recognition: 8
Demand: 28

Local tips: Choose from 30 burger options and 14 kinds of fries at Boston Burger Company
Splurge on a tasty Wagyu burger from The Butcher Shop.

Key insights

The gist

Big cities and foodie hubs — such as New York (No. 1), Boston (No. 5), and New Orleans (No. 13) — devour the competition. These cities have plenty of Access to and Demand for consumer-vetted and nationally recognized burgers. 

On the flip side, some places leave burger-loving residents wondering, “Where’s the Beef?” Thornton, Colorado (No. 197), Pomona, California (No. 198), and Miramar, Florida (No. 199), land at the end of our ranking, alongside Paterson, New Jersey, in last place. These cities have low scores across the board, disappointing burger fans in every category.

Standout stats

  • Burger empire: Each of the five New York State cities in our ranking finish in the top 100, with New York City cooking up to first place overall and in Recognition and Demand. NYC ranks in the top three across all four Recognition metrics, including the most establishments recognized by Mashed for serving the best burgers.
  • Chomping through California: Three California cities finish in the top 10: San Francisco (No. 2), Los Angeles (No. 4), and Pasadena (No. 8). Burger vendors in all three cities boast high average consumer ratings and recognition on “best burger” lists. San Francisco also offers the most burger vendors per square mile among all 200 cities.
  • Golden (State) arches: Fill your belly full of burgers in Fullerton, California (No. 61), which flaunts the highest average consumer rating for burger restaurants, followed by Moreno Valley (No. 68) and San Diego (No. 20). Unfortunately, the hometown of McDonald’s — San Bernardino (No. 143) — broils near the bottom with low Access and low-quality patties. 
  • Satisfied stomachs: Emerging foodie hub, Charleston, South Carolina, sizzles to No. 18 with the top Consumer Satisfaction score. Chucktown claims the highest share of top-rated burger vendors and the highest average number of reviews per vendor. New Orleans (No. 13) takes second place in Consumer Satisfaction, followed by San Diego (No. 20), Springfield, Missouri (No. 30), and Savannah, Georgia (No. 29). 
  • Lone Star sliders: Eight Texas cities score in the top half of our ranking, with Houston (No. 14) and Dallas (No. 19) finishing in the top 20. Texans are hungry for burgers — especially in Houston, which has the second-highest number of Google searches for burger-related terms over the past year. Establishments in Dallas and Houston also boast high Recognition in national “best burger” lists. 
  • Regional standouts: Some regions bring their own special spin to the beloved hamburger. The cheese-stuffed Juicy Lucy helped bring Minneapolis, Minnesota, up to No. 6. Bite into a Wisconsin Butter Burger in Milwaukee (No. 35) and Madison (No. 64). Devour a cheeseburger in paradise in Honolulu (No. 23), or try a Loco Moco or spam-topped patty.

Expert take

We turned to a panel of experts for advice on serving up a standout burger. Level up your grill game with their juicy tips below.

  1. What makes a quality burger?
  2. What makes a quality veggie burger?
  3. What kinds of cheese will level up your burger?
  4. Any tips on finding good ground beef in the grocery store?
  5. What kind of beef makes the best burger?
  6. What’s the best burger you’ve ever had?
  7. What burger toppings are overhyped? Which ones deserve the hype?
  8. Do you have any tips for avoiding soggy burger buns?

Ask The Experts

David Tiner, CCE, CEC, CCA
Jason Fridrich ED.D MBA CEC CCE
Associate Lecturer, Foodservice and Lodging Management, Rosen College of Hospitality Management
Milos Bujisic, PhD
Clinical Associate Professor, Integrated Marketing and Communications, Division of Programs in Business, School of Professional Studies
Zach Weston
Teaching Faculty, Chef, Dedman School of Hospitality, College of Business
Michael McCauley
Adjunct Professor, Manfred Steinfeld School of Hospitality
David Tiner, CCE, CEC, CCA
Louisiana Culinary Institute

What makes a quality burger? And what makes a quality veggie burger?

To make a quality burger, it’s all about the bun. You can have well-seasoned meat, fresh vegetables, and lively condiments, but without a good bun it’s all lost. I am partial to a jalapeno sourdough bun.

For a veggie burger, I always go with black beans. The umami flavor of the beans and their ability to take on bold flavors make them the perfect ingredients. I don’t stop with beans, I add in hearty mushrooms like crimini, oyster, shitake, and portabella. These flavors re-enforce the umami flavors.

What kinds of cheese will really level up your burger?

A sharp cheddar is good, but I like to go a bit bolder which is why I love limburger or taleggio on my burgers.

I love introducing students to washed rind cheeses and seeing their faces when I prepare a Limburger grilled cheese to try. My students are amazed at the flavor.

Goat cheese is a great choice because of its sharp citrusy notes. I also love a good blue cheese like buttermilk blue or stilton on burgers as well.

Ground beef? Ground chuck? Any tips on finding good ground beef in the grocery store?

For the meat, I always go for ground chuck. The fat content is just right for making a burger juicy and full of flavor. I prefer buying a chuck roast and grinding it myself instead of buying pre-ground beef. You can purchase a chuck roast in the store and ask the butcher to grind it for you.

I stay away from ground beef simply because I don’t know what cuts of beef are used. For me, ground chuck (choice or higher is my preference for a good burger).

What kind of beef makes the best burger? What’s the best burger you’ve ever had?

To pick the best burger is like picking my favorite child; it’s impossible. However, I will give you my top burgers.

  1. The cheeseburger at BRQ restaurant in Baton Rouge, LA is my go-to burger at home.
  2. The Francis Smokehouse in Saint Francisville, LA has a great burger which I get after hiking in the area.
  3. Margaritaville Casino in Shreveport, LA is good, especially if you add fried jalapeno peppers.
  4. Jack Daniels in L’Auberge Casino in Dulac, LA is a good choice. I like all 12 different burgers on the menu.

What burger toppings are over-hyped? Which creative and/or adventurous toppings should you try on your next burger?

For me lettuce, tomato, and pickles are a mainstay for burgers. I don’t feel any toppings are over-hyped since everyone’s taste is different.

I like to put avocado, fresh or candied jalapeno peppers, sriracha, and an over-easy fried egg on my burgers.

I’ve tried peanut butter and grape jelly on a burger, it was good but weird. I like fried mac and cheese on a burger and even had fried shrimp with pepper jack cheese.

Do you have any tips for avoiding soggy burger buns?

To prevent the soggy bottom, brush a little butter or mayo on the bun and toast it on a griddle. The fat will form a barrier, preventing the moisture from soaking into the bread.

Are plant-based burgers that taste like real meat the future? Or are they a foodie fad like quinoa or avocado toast?

I like avocado toast so I will still eat it even if it goes the way of the dodo. With so many people conscious about eating meat, I think the plant-based burgers are here to stay. They have always been here; they have just gotten better.

Almost everyone likes a good tasting burger plant based or not; enjoy what you like.

Jason Fridrich ED.D MBA CEC CCE
Associate Lecturer, Foodservice and Lodging Management, Rosen College of Hospitality Management
University of Central Florida

What makes a quality burger? And what makes a quality veggie burger?

  • A good quality burger is simply a well-seasoned beef patty, cooked the right way on a fresh bun. It’s better if the meat has never been frozen. The burger should be moist and juicy.
  • The veggie burger should have similar qualities, with a nice smoky flavor.

What kinds of cheese will really level up your burger?

I really enjoy blue cheese on my burgers, the tartness of blue cheese works really well with the meatiness of the beef. One of my favorite burgers is a “black and blue burger” with caramelized onions.

Ground beef? Ground chuck? Any tips on finding good ground beef in the grocery store?

I always use ground chuck 80/20 when making a burger. Ground sirloin also works well but will be more expensive, and there will not be much difference in flavor.

What kind of beef makes the best burger?

Ground chuck. Some chefs mix chuck with brisket. I do not see the need.

What’s the best burger you’ve ever had?

That’s a tough question, I have had so many good burgers. There was a pub in my old neighborhood in Brooklyn called Minskys that I used to frequent, and the burgers there were always fabulous. I always ordered the Mushroom Swiss burger, which is my second favorite burger.

What burger toppings are over-hyped? Which creative and/or adventurous toppings should you try on your next burger?

I have never been a fan of chili burgers. It seems redundant. Also a fried egg on a burger is not a topping I would order.

To me it’s about the beef. I would be interested in sampling avocado, not guacamole, on a burger. I think the texture would be complementary.

Do you have any tips for avoiding soggy burger buns?

Sear the burger over high heat and create a good crust to avoid a lot of the juiciness from leaching out of the meat onto the bun.

Another trick is to have lettuce and tomato on the bottom to keep the bottom bun dry.

Are plant-based burgers that taste like real meat the future? Or are they a foodie fad like quinoa or avocado toast?

I do think there is a market for plant based burgers, my preference is to have a real beef burger, but only once in a while, in moderation.

Milos Bujisic, PhD
Clinical Associate Professor, Integrated Marketing and Communications, Division of Programs in Business, School of Professional Studies
New York University

What makes a quality burger? And what makes a quality veggie burger?

Though some would argue that a high quality burger is primarily about the quality of meat, this does not match with taste tests. Customers are more likely to notice the quality of the bun and the diversity of toppings, and those can even disguise the taste of a burger patty. Thus, a high quality burger is about the balance of the ingredients.

Regarding veggie burgers, there are two schools of thought.

On one end some evaluate the quality of a veggie burger based on how closely it mimics the taste of real meat.

The second approach is about the taste of the veggie burger itself, without trying to replace meat flavor. For example some would even argue that a good, large falafel is a better replacement for a burger patty because of its unique flavor instead of something like impossible meat patties.

I tend to believe that a veggie burger should not replace the taste of meat and should have a unique flavor, but it should try to have texture and shape that most resembles a real thing.

What kinds of cheese will really level up your burger?

Traditionalist approach is to use only american cheese but any cheese that melts well can be used. Some of the best cheeseburgers use higher quality cheeses such as délice de bourgogne, though with this type of cheese you risk overwhelming the flavour profile and hiding the taste of beef, which is usually not desired.

Ground beef? Ground chuck? Any tips on finding good ground beef in the grocery store?

Most commonly ground chuck is used because of the good balance between fat and lean meat but some of the better blends add other fatty parts to the mix, such as brisket and short rib.

Customers should try to avoid purchasing ground beef in grocery stores or as premade patties, and instead should ask a butcher to freshly grind meat for them. Ideally they could try to use a blend of a few parts, but chuck or brisket with a high fat content can serve well.

What kind of beef makes the best burger?

It is more about parts of the animal that are used, but if customers have a choice, some of the best burgers are made with dry aged beef, though they tend to be on a more expensive end and have a flavor that might not be enjoyable by everyone.

What’s the best burger you’ve ever had?

One of the best burgers I had is a burger with gorgonzola in The Pearl in Columbus, OH.

If we expand the definition of a burger to include some more ethnic versions, in that case Serbian style burger AKA “Pljeskavica” from “Cirino Drvce” in Belgrade, Serbia, is the best burger based on the quality and taste of meat patty, type of bread used, and the amazing list of toppings one could choose from.

What burger toppings are over-hyped? Which creative and/or adventurous toppings should you try on your next burger?

Avoid ketchup, it has no place on a burger. If you use high quality patties you want to go light with toppings. Often with a high quality burger, less is more. Having a good thick beef patty and a more adventurous cheese, like cambozola, on a toasted Bavarian pretzel bun is often more than enough.

Do you have any tips for avoiding soggy burger buns?

Buns should be toasted before the patty is placed in them. One advice is to put lettuce under the patty to keep some of the fluids from soaking up the bottom layer. Alternatively you can even put cheese on the top and bottom bun and slowly melt them under a broiler. This would help seal buns a bit and prevent them from soaking up juices once patty is added.

On the other hand, a soggy bun is not always considered to be a bad thing. You may want to try an Istanbul style steamed burger called Islak burger. An Islak burger bun is very wet and soggy, but it is still one of the best late night snacks.

Are plant-based burgers that taste like real meat the future? Or are they a foodie fad like quinoa or avocado toast?

With the increase in the number of vegans and vegetarians, plant based burgers have certainly found their place in the marketplace. On the other hand, some of the mass produced ones are fairly complex products with a long list of ingredients that make them more similar to processed foods and therefore limit their perceived health advantages over traditional beef burgers.

I believe that hand made plant-based burgers should be perceived as a separate type of product and not an alternative to meat based burgers. Good plant based burgers have their own unique flavor and with the correct recipe they can become extremely popular.

Zach Weston
Teaching Faculty, Chef, Dedman School of Hospitality, College of Business
Florida State University

What makes a quality burger? And what makes a quality veggie burger?

The best burger chefs understand synergy and balance, and they use quality ingredients. It is true in the entire culinary world that quality ingredients are the first requirement of quality food.

The goal is not just to create a bunch of great components (though you do need great components). The goal is to create perfect bites, and perfect bites are all about harmony. Harmony across the bun, toppings, sauce, and bread.

Many burgers have moments of greatness, but few create seamless perfection across all components. The patty should be cooked (to a perfect medium), with a strong sear or grill mark on the outside. The toppings should be contained within the bread and not overshadow the patty. The bread should be robust enough to contain the burger without getting soggy. The sauces should complement the burger and not squeeze out the sides each time you take a bite.

The overall salinity of the entire burger is also an important thing to consider – patties and toppings should be seasoned in relation to each other. Nothing in the culinary world should be blindly seasoned without respect for what it’s being paired with.

What kinds of cheese will really level up your burger?

This, again, is all about context and harmony.

The best kind of cheese for any given burger is the one that pairs most appropriately with the toppings, patty, and bread.

For example, if we served a grilled beef chuck patty with pickled red onion, roasted mushrooms, tomato jam, Worcestershire sauce, on a brioche bun, then white American cheese would not contribute to the huge flavors and textures of the other components. We’d want something stronger, maybe a slice of provolone piccante, or even a slab of sweetgrass dairy asher blue.

We could also use the cheese to shift the entire flavor profile of the burger, as would be the case with smoked gouda.

On the other hand, if we had a patty that was blended 50-50 with pork sausage and topped with a fried egg, jalapenos, and bacon, then sharp cheddar would be a homerun.

Ground beef? Ground chuck? Any tips on finding good ground beef in the grocery store?

I prefer a blend of ground chuck and ground sirloin. The best way to be sure you have the best ground meat is to grind it yourself from larger cuts. Commercially ground beef loses freshness faster than large cuts due to the increased surface area and processing.

If grinding your own is not an option, then look for the classic signs of quality ground meat: vibrant color, no residual moisture (moisture will prevent the sear from developing properly), clear labeling, and secure packaging.

What kind of beef makes the best burger?

There’s no absolute, profound truth to be discovered here. The best beef for your burger is the kind that is most desirable to you.

Some people like a leaner, denser burger (go with sirloin), while others like a fattier, juicier burger (ground chuck, ground brisket). Some prefer grass-fed, while others prefer grain-fed.

The best way to answer this question is to experiment bravely and often.

What’s the best burger you’ve ever had?

Like many people, I love burgers and eat them regularly – at least once a week. However, I am not always looking for the same burger experience. Sometimes, I’m crunched for time and opt for a quicker burger experience. Other times, I want to relax and enjoy a handcrafted burger made by true culinarians. So, my answer to this would again be contextual.

With all of that said, I believe Vertigo Burgers & Fries understands the artsy side of burgers better than most. It’s a locally owned burger joint where I live in Tallahassee, FL. Their burgers are delicious and I’ve been known to order 2 when I’m there.

What burger toppings are over-hyped? Which creative and/or adventurous toppings should you try on your next burger?

I don’t pay much attention to what’s “hyped” in the food world. At the end of the day, what matters is flavor, texture, aroma, mouthfeel, presentation, and overall execution – this is the bigger picture of the culinary world at large.

The foods that appeal broadly to the dining public do not change dramatically from one year to the next – trends do. The fundamentals of the culinary world are the climate we exist in; trends are the local weather patterns. It’s important to understand both.

Burgers are an infinitely variable template. They could be as mundane or experimental as you like.

Don’t eat beef? Make a turkey patty and serve it with goat cheese, cranberry ketchup, and arugula.

Don’t eat meat? Experiment with making patties from beans, grains, and vegetables.

Want to get crazy? Make your patty out of ground duck and top it with champagne mustard, foie gras, candied onion jam and Maldon salt.

Do you have any tips for avoiding soggy burger buns?

Understand gravity. 99% of the time that I order a burger, the first thing I do is flip it upside down. This redirects the flow of juices towards the top bun, rather than letting it all soak into the bottom bun.

If you’re making burgers at home, the best way to avoid soggy buns is to rest the patty on a wire rack after cooking. Resting the patty (or any meat) after cooking allows juices to settle back into the meat after being exposed to aggressive heat.

If you skip the resting phase, juices will spill out of the patty as soon as you cut it in half and/or take a bite. Spilled juices = soggy bun.

Fast-paced burger joints generally won’t have time to do this, hence the flipping upside down.

Are plant-based burgers that taste like real meat the future? Or are they a foodie fad like quinoa or avocado toast?

For me, no. For others, quite possibly. Again, I don’t pay much attention to fads because it’s so easy for us to get caught chasing our tails as we try to anticipate where one fad ends and the next begins.

For example, it’s weird for me to imagine that quinoa is a fad given its prominence in several international cuisines. It’s more productive to focus on culinary fundamentals.

If plant-based burger producers figure out how to make burgers that are unquestionably delicious, widely appealing, approachable, and affordable, then there’s no reason to think that they won’t stand the test of time.

However, plant-based burgers will always play second fiddle to meat-based burgers if they can’t make a compelling, obvious, and delicious case to sway the dining public away from meat-based burgers.

Michael McCauley
Adjunct Professor, Manfred Steinfeld School of Hospitality
Roosevelt University

The Golden Age of Burgers

This is the golden age of burgers for sure. What was once simply a fast-food staple, or key offering at a “burger joint” has suddenly been accepted in fine dining restaurants and all manner of gourmet circles.

In fact, some of the best chefs in this town (Chicago—a true burger town) will always brag about their burger. Not long ago, a friend, who is one of the best chefs in Chicago, was telling me about his new restaurant. I casually asked about the burger, and he became instantly impassioned and without solicitation, began espousing every nuance of his burger: “It’s a double patty, fried,” he described, “we cook it fast on a super-hot grill so we get just a hint of char, but still juicy inside…” And on and on. I cut to the chase and pointedly asked, “Is it the best burger in Chicago?” He paused, became very serious, put hands in front of his face and said “I will tell you this. Very few restaurants can compete with our burger…it is right up there…”

Everyone, it seems, has “the best burger in Chicago.” Right at this very moment, a number of national magazines have rated some of our restaurants as having The Best Burger in America. Au Cheval and Smith and The Lawson, have been rated as two of the top five burgers in the country. To me this is highly, highly debatable.

But let’s just talk about what makes a great burger, to me, a kid who grew up in a burger town eating all manner of burgers, from local hotdog places to chains, to now, eating super fine dining. Heck, I order burgers with Red Wine—I did just yesterday at RL, the fancy Ralph Lauren restaurant downtown.

What makes a quality burger? And what makes a quality veggie burger?

Keys to a great burger come in 3S

l. Symphony:

I teach my students that all elements of hospitality must work together, and no detail is unimportant. Like an orchestra, if just one instrument is off key, it blows the whole thing.

Whatever you put on a burger, many ingredients or just a few, make sure they are all the very best and work well together.

As an example, some places spend all this time on the quality of the meat…wagyu, grass fed, or whatever, but then all the other elements are just ok. When in fact, the cheaper cuts like chuck, have a higher fat content and make a juicier burger. Grass fed sounds great in marketing, but any butcher will tell you it’s too lean and the burger will be like a hockey puck.

And on that note, I will say, no fighting. The bun can’t fight with the burger as the star of the show. The bun and burger have to be balanced where one does not outshine the other. Like if you had a flimsy, overdone patty with a beautiful brioche bun, it’s a conflict.

Also, so many places believe more is more and load toppings on to a burger—no. Then it’s like eating a landslide and you can’t get the whole thing in one bite which defeats the whole purpose.

2. Simplicity:

Einstein said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

This is the heart of it with a great burger. Once you’ve got it down to its essence—it’s perfect.

Don’t add to it OR strip anything away. A place I always love is IN and OUT Burger in LA. I absolutely love the burger here. The way the bun and beef are balanced, that slice of iceberg lettuce, the mayo sauce—I love it. Perfect. If they loaded that thing up with Kimchi this or that or a trendy fad topping—forget it.

3. Satisfaction:

Do you know why burgers are so universally loved? They are so damn satisfying. When you bite into a burger—any burger—you must feel instant gratification. Not like a nuanced multi-course dinner that I actually do love. But a burger? One bite. That’s it. You get the whole thing in one: Juicy, savory, sweet, tangy, chewy, crunchy all in one bite.

What burger toppings are over-hyped? Which creative and/or adventurous toppings should you try on your next burger?

The places that have it down for me in Chicago:

Guildhall: Wonderful bistro in the very affluent village of Glencoe, just north of Chicago. Rich, rare, juicy prime beef, havarti, grilled onion, house pickles, garlic aioli, toasted brioche. Not too much of one or the other—perfect balance, the flavor combo, consistency, textures..wow.

Charley Beinlich’s: A Northwoods-looking tavern that only started serving burgers in the 60’s because customers were drinking too much. Super simple, super satisfying. Fresh meat delivered every single day, they add raw egg and proprietary seasonings. Pan fried, American cheese and grilled onions. The buns are also super fresh. The burgers melt in your mouth.

Bistro Campagne: Prime beef patty, bacon, Brie cheese, mushrooms, heirloom tomato, Dijon-rosemary aioli, Brioche bun. It Is fried, perfectly cooked, the brie melts into a kind of sauce. It is amazing, rich, chewy and satiating.

The Wiener’s Circle: An infamous late-night, drive up hot dog shanty on the northside. It is known for its surly and insult-hurtling workers, but the quality is top notch. A large, thick, beef patty char grilled on an open flame, topped with a large, soft, rich egg bun, and grilled onions. Thick, crock-warmed gooey cheddar with tomato and ketchup. Satisfies your soul after an evening of revelry and cavorting.

Edzos Burger Shop: Fresh blend of meats hand ground each morning right at the shop. Griddled double patty, slice of American on each, thick, fresh bun, simple toppings. This burger is dense, chewy, gooey and perfectly seasoned. It’s gooey like a slice of Chicago pizza.

National Chains:

In and Out:

Not big on chains because in Chicago there is a burger joint in every neighborhood, but I absolutely love In and Out. It might be the best burger in the country. So simple, but delicious. Love their special sauce (thousand island dressing), the slice of crispy lettuce, tomato, onion and lightly toasted bun. So full of flavor and perfectly complementary flavors and textures. Fantastic.

Shake Shack:

Not as flavorful as In and Out, but great quality, chewy, juicy, great cheese, bun, perfectly cooked and prepared. Simple, good, satisfying.

Behind the ranking

First, we determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Best Cities for Burger Lovers. We then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into four categories: Access, Consumer Satisfaction, Recognition, and Demand. The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.

For each of the 200 biggest U.S. cities, we then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table.

Finally, we calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 200). Note: The “Worst” among individual factors may not be No. 200 due to ties.


Food Network, Gayot, Google Ads, Mashed, Thrillist, and Tripadvisor

Have it your way: honorable mentions

Grilled, smoked, or flame-broiled, hamburgers always have a way to hit the spot when you’re hungry. They can be made of meat or vegetables, and there’s an infinite number of toppings and sauces to combine and try on your quest for the perfect burger.

Hamburgers are not only a staple of the American diet — they’re a significant cultural symbol, a part of our national (and regional) identity.

Let curiosity reign, and try a regional burger style that’s foreign to you:

Does your lawn need sprucing up before your next backyard burger cookout? Hire a local Lawn Love pro to handle all your lawn care and landscaping needs. 

Media resources

Main Photo Credit: iStock

Sav Maive

Sav Maive is a writer and director based in San Antonio. Sav is a graduate from the University of Virginia and is a loving cat and plant mom.