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.
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.)