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Posted at 12:45 PM ET, 09/26/2007

The Best Burgers

By Erin

The Food section ran a tantalizing article about burgers getting the star treatment at some of the area's top restaurants. I concur that you can nab a mighty fine burger at Central, Palena and the top-notch steakhouses -- in fact Palena was among our top Guru picks in last year's Best Bets Contest -- but let's talk about the burgers that you can enjoy in your sweats: the cheap, greasy burgers. You know the type; they're often sold half-price and are the perfect companion to beer.

Whitlow's on Wilson is hard to beat on Mondays, when every burger is half-price. Beyond the basic half-pound patty, you can sub in a veggie or turkey patty and pay extra for toppings like bacon, bbq sauce, chili and guac. The burgers come with fries, but you can pay extra for onion rings or mac and cheese.

I am a fan of the burger at Tonic. You'll get 10 ounces of perfectly grilled beef (you can also sub in chicken or a veggie burger) on a toasted bun. You can top your patty with the standards -- chili, onion, tomatoes, mushrooms -- if you're feeling classic, or with more creative combinations like brie and ham, bleu cheese, kalamata and caramelized onions or mashed potatoes and gravy. Oh, and it's half-price Monday through Friday from 5 until 7 p.m.

Ollie's Trolley is reliable for the basics. I'm happiest with the standard Ollie Burger, which is topped with the "special sauce," a close sibling to standard thousand island dressing. You'll get your onions, tomato, lettuce or you can jazz it up with bacon, chili or a turkey or veggie patty, but I like the deliciously basic greasy burger.

I always go on and on about the super grilled cheese at Stoney's, but those burgers should not be overlooked. You can order versions that drip with a fried egg and swiss, chili or barbecue sauce, cole slaw and cheddar, but the classic, an eight-ounce patty with the Stoney's special sauce, is pretty delicious. I am not a fan of the chalky fries, but top them with chili cheese and you'll be good to go.

Other favorites include Trusty's, the Reef, Cafe Saint-Ex and Lindy's Red Lion.

When I'm looking to go just for the burger, Elevation Burger is my favorite and the shakes are transcendent.

If it's a bargain you're after, check out our list of half-price burgers in the Interns' Guide.

Where do you go when your burger cravings kick in?


By Erin  | September 26, 2007; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  
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Definitely Whitlows. I miss the burgers that they used to serve at Ray's the Steaks back in the day when they were open for lunch.

Posted by: Washington, DC | September 26, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Ben's Chili Bowl, of course!

Posted by: Kirstin | September 26, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

A new place called Dad's Backyard Burgers just opened in Merrifield - for anyone out in VA it's definitely worth a try!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I second Dad's.... especially the fries, they are addictive.

Posted by: Falls Church | September 26, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I just had a fantastic burger at Col. Brooks' Tavern in Brookland--homemade with a wide range of topping options (bleu cheese!).

Posted by: marnie | September 26, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I know it's a chain, but I love the burgers at Cheeburger Cheeburger: deliciously sinful...And that damm frings basket :P Enough to make you need to go to the gym for HOURS afterwards...or before :)

Posted by: ChickieBaby | September 27, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I know it's a chain, and a cheap one at that, but I looove Wendy's burgers.

Posted by: SMC | September 27, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Hands down the best burgers are at Southside 815. Even better - they are half price during football games on Sundays.

Posted by: Alexandria | September 27, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

They're not cheap ($11) but Houston's burgers are fantastic! The beef is ground and made into patties every morning.

Posted by: mcsquared | September 27, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

double wildcatter with onion rings on the side from Lindy's. simply does not get better.

Posted by: WashCircler | September 27, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm a big fan of the burgers at Chadwick's in Georgetown

Posted by: Anonymous | September 27, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised Five Guys hasn't been mentioned yet. I know they're a chain, but with roots in the DC area you'd think you'd hear more about them a discussion like this. Soak those fries in vinegar and cover them with Old Bay and I'm in heaven!

Posted by: Catherine | September 27, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

big buns burger in ballston is new and quite good!

Posted by: jeff | September 28, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Shooter McGee's by Landmark Mall. I believe that they still have half priced burger night on Monday.

Posted by: Tom | September 28, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

there's always fuddruckers, consistently good!

Posted by: jp | September 28, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Theismann's and SHooter McGees rate the best in Alexandria, with Chadwick's not far behind. Good 'ol SAloon's still exist!

Posted by: cliff | October 2, 2007 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Five Guys is consistently good. Real meat, real ingredients, real good, and even after they read the Franchising For Dummies book, I've yet to get a bad burger at a Five Guys. Dad's Backyard Burgers, on the other hand, gets a HUGE thumbs down. People say the first night was OK, but I went last night and I'll never go back. Ever. I didn't get what I ordered and what I did get was horrible (one burger was rare and the other came with BBQ sauce, blue cheese and heaping gobs of mayonnaise ... Mmmm, mmm :-) ... 30 minutes to get two burgers and there were only 4 customers in the store. And the real kicker was the price ... a whopping $18 for two burgers and fries. Go to Five Guys. Honest.

Posted by: 4allisons | November 22, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

What about Foster's Grille? Anyone have an opinion?

Posted by: bmb | January 7, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

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