Best in the Burger Biz
When Washingtonians think back to summer 2008, we might as well just call it the season of the burger. Michael Landrum's Ray's Hell-Burger opened to food-fan raves. Top Chef's Spike opened his burger joint on the hill, Good Stuff Eatery, and was met with masses of media coverage and 47-minute lines. Other shops -- Big Buns, Z-Burger and BGR -- started to come into their own.
Since everybody loves a list and the Friday before a holiday weekend is perfect for a no-nonsense blog post, I've ranked a few of the newer burger joints in order of my personal preference. Young and Hungry columnist Tim Carman did a much more scientific analysis for us a few months back, but since that one didn't include Ray's or Good Stuff, I figured the topic was worth revisiting. After the jump, vote in our poll for the best burger joint around and let us know where you get your burger on.
1) Ray's Hell Burger. Hands down, this burger is the best around for my money. That meat! It's perfectly seasoned and cooked to order. I don't even mind that the place doesn't have fries.
2) Good Stuff Eatery. I wanted to hate you, Spike. I really did. I wondered whether your shop could possibly live up to all the hype. It did. The burger I had here was well-seasoned, juicy and smothered in cheese. The toasted marshmallow milkshake is also pretty much my idea of heaven.
3) BGR: The Burger Joint. Bethesda's addition to the burger field has been known to make me mad. They never seem to pick up the phone. The line can be totally insane (though not nearly up to Spike levels). But, the burger and buttery buns are worth the wait.
4) Big Buns Gourmet Grill. I love these guys. The sweet-potato fries are delicious. The topping and sauce selections are unsurpassed. I even had a nice chat with owner Craig Carey for a story I wrote for today's Express. But, just going by quality of meat patty, I had to bump these guys below BGR on my personal-preference list. Vegetarians and pescetarians, this is your spot, though. Mahi Mahi and portobello burgers round out the menu.
5) Z-Burger. Sorry, hon, but when your best contribution to the burger game is a freakishly long list on milkshake flavors, I don't think you're in the right business. Also, you would think it would be easy to improve upon the ambiance of a former McDonald's. Apparently it isn't.
Call it Washington food heresy, but I think I even put Five Guys near the bottom of this list -- just a notch above Z-Burger. The homegrown chain's well-done patties just never really did it for me and with all these other options to choose from, I'm psyched to spend my burger cash elsewhere.
Anyway, let us know what you think: There are tons of other places that serve burgers around town (Urban and Elevation come to mind, along with plenty of restaurants who -- gasp! -- specialize in other foods in addition to burgers and fries.) Let us know where you go for a burger in the comments below and vote in our burger-joint poll.
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