George Motz's 25 Essential U.S. Burgers Checklist

Hamburger America's author notes the 25 burgers you really need to eat first out of the 150 burgers in his comprehensive tome


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By Arthur Bovino
Editor

City Guides


It seems unfathomable that there was a time America's best family-operated burger joints weren't listed in a book with the care and detail that George Motz applied in the original version of his seminal book, Hamburger America. Disagree with him on burgers that should or shouldn't have been included, but as noted in a Daily Meal interview with Motz last October, there are few people as well-versed and respected on the subject as this mutton-chopped burgermeister.

Well, the man has done it again. He's set the standard for beyond-the-bun reporting with the new edition of Hamburger America. The "Completely Revised and Updated" version of this state-by-state guide features 150 burger joints with great photos of burgers, griddle-masters, and non-descript must-make pilgrimmage spots.

Here's the thing though, predictably, the last edition put the author in a certain position of — shall we say, burger priesthood — where the previous edition's 100 burgers were the must-have items of any burger-loving food fanatic across the country. As Motz notes in the new introduction: "Please don't try to be a hero (or a martyr) and eat all of the burgers in this book back to back. One thing that frightened me after the first book was released were the reports I was hearing about people powering through the book, coast-to-coast, in a matter of months. Whoa! Please be careful!"

So, taking this advice to heart, we asked Motz to consider the basics. "The book is full of 150 great burger joints to visit all over America," the author noted, "But here's a list of 25 to get you started."

So, here we go burger-lovers, time for your moment — your time to either check off or create your must-try burger list — at least, unless, you've eaten at all 150 in the book. I haven't. Have you? Check out the full list below (in no particular order), or find out more about 10 of Motz's 25 highlighted burgers in the following slideshow.

Click for 10 of George Motz's 25 Essential U.S. Burgers Checklist.

 

George Motz's Essential U.S. Burgers Checklist:

El Mago (Miami, Fla.)

Meers (Lawton, Okla.)

Zaharakos (Columbus, Ind.)

Workingman's Friend (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Fat Mo's (Nashville, Tenn.)

Apple Pan (Los Angeles, Calif.)

JG Melon (New York)

Triple XXX (West Lafayette, Ind.)

Mr. Bartley's (Cambridge, Mass.)

Folger's (Ada, Okla.)

Guy's Meat Market (Houston, Texas)

Chris Madrid (San Antonio, Texas)

Slick's (Mangum, Okla.)

Taylor's Maid Rite (Marshalltown, Iowa)

Town Topic (Kansas City, Mo.)

Christian's Tailgate (Houston, Texas)

Irv's Burger (West Hollywood, Calif.)

White Manna (Hackensack, N.J.)

Solly's Grille (Milwaukee, Wis.)

The Plaza (Madison, Wis.)

Matt's Bar (Minneapolis, Minn.)

Ted's (Meriden, Conn.)

Bobcat Bite (Santa Fe, N.M.)

Pie 'N Burger (Pasadena, Calif.)

Louis' Lunch (New Haven, Conn.)


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42 Comments

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Any burger I cook on my own barbeque is far superior and significantly cheaper than ANY restaurant burger. The Apple Pan in Los Angeles? Seriously? They fry their burgers!

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I really like hamburger king in Montgomery, AL

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Hey George, what about Redamak's in New Buffalo, MI.? Place is packed with people coming from Chicago. Check it out!

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Original Tommy's on Rampart and Beverly in Los Angeles.

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In NYC the burger at Melon's is pretty good, but the best 2 places to go are Jackson Hole on 91st and Madison (only that location...the others are subpar) and The Corner Bistro in the West Village.
The God of Burgers in NYC remains the 21 Club, but this is a pricier burger!!

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Hamburg Inn, Iowa City, Iowa. I live in Chicago and nothing here comes close.

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Really Matt's Bar? Take the time to go down the street and get a Real Juicy Lucy at the 5-8. More meat more cheese more flavor.

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What about Michael Symon? The Lola Burger is the best burger I ever had. He's got a handful of restaurants around Cleveland, Ohio area. Lola, Lolitas, Bar Symon, and B-Spot. First two are fancy restaurants, last two are burger-joints/bars. You can get the Lola Burger at all four of them. MMM MMM GOOD.

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Port of Call in New Orleans has the best burgers hands down!!

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Plaza burger and Solly's?! WRONG!

The best burger in WI is Sobelman's Tallgrass. Not even close.

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Agreed! Sollys is terrible.

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baltimore md, roland park's ALONSO'S a must for burger gurus

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Pie N Burger in Ca is basically a Denny's chain burger. No honorable mention to Tommy's Famous Burger or In-N-Out makes this list pretentious and not very worthy of attention

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Tommys!!!!!!

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Val's Burger in Hayward CA are to die for!

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Hopefully you guys can go to Five Guy's Burgers & Fries. They are Willy Wonka's of burgercraft!!!!! :)

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I hope the list of 150 contains Dotty Dumpling's Dowry in Madison, WI. I've had the Plaza burger. It's very good, but pales in comparison. And you can't go wrong with Sprecher rootbeer on tap.

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Litton's in Knoxville, Tennessee has the best burgers. Should definitely be on this list.

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ohhh It is not strange that american people its so fat!

have you seen that hamburgers! where the vegatetables are?

I love mediterranean diet!

good luck with that meal! i will see you in your next heart atack!

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You know what they say, if your going to die, die happy!!! Tommys Burgers are the best!!!

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There are about SIX in SW OHIO not on the so called list, bad mistake !!!!!!!!

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I grew up in Cincinnati eating Frisch's Big Boys. Every time I go back I have one and they have stayed scrumptious all these years. They're not gourmet burgers, but they're incredibly satisfying. Frisch's also has dynamite onion rings.

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Butger Bob's at the Granada Golf Course in Coral Gables Florida is the place to go for the best burger you have ever tasted. And the waitresses are nice too.

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Love hamburgers and the best I have had are located Whitehouse Meat Market in Odessa, Texas.

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According 2 Texas Monthly the best burger in Westtexas was @ BurgerFries and cherry on W. Wadley and Loop 250 in Midland.
I prefer Riliy's @ Front and Wall, 100% sirlion 3/8" 2 1/2", big buns, all the toppings and reasonable, less than $5 with change!!!

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The Best Burger... The Green Light Grille in Lone Tree, CO [South Denver].
Don't mess with the others! Puts 5 Guys to shame. Great fries, too... regular & sweet potatoes.

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I THOUGHT NEW ORLEANS WAS KNOWN FOR IT'S SEAFOOD AND GUMBO BUT THERE'S A PLACE CALLED LOVELY STARS SANDWICHES RIBS AND WINGS THAT HAVE THE BEST HAMBURGERS ON BUN IN THE WHOLE WORLD AND IT SHOULD BE AT THE TOP OF YOUR LIST. THE MEAT HAS FLAVOR, THE SAUCE HAS FLAVOR, AND THE BUN HAS FLAVOR.

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I live in Santa Fe,NM where as the bobcat bite is good,i cant see why it made this list, there are far better burgers in Santa Fe then this place

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What about five guys? they have the BEST burgers

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I live in Chicago and have to tell you DO NOT go to Billy Goat. It was made fun of on SNL for a reason it is horrible. The only reason it stays open is because of tourists...

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