The Best Burgers
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?
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