The United States of Burgers

Every state has its bird, and it turns out that most, if not all, states have their burgers. We think these iconic state-centric burgers deserve their own map. Why? Because it's a big country out there, but we all love burgers, and every corner of that country should get some recognition.

Think onion burgers in Oklahoma, Northern Jersey sliders, or the moose burgers in Alaska that Sarah Palin refers to (we don't actually know anyone who's ever had one of those). The burgers on our map aren't necessarily the best, and we're not telling you the one place to get your burger. It's all about the burgers that represent these united states.

In a few states we had a little bit of fun inventing burgers; even our knowledge has its limits. So we leave the state bird maps to the ornithological sites. But if you want to know more about regional burgers around the U.S. and have some fun where we took creative license, this map is for you.

Ed, Kenji, and the Serious Eats Team


Fried Green Tomato-Topped Burgers

Fried green tomatoes are a Southern staple, and their crisp texture and sweet-tart flavor make them an excellent burger topping, not to mention a classy side dish to take the place of your normal french fries (ok, you can have them in addition to your normal fries).
Photo: Erin Jackson


The Moose Burger

Hey, er, Alaska, hi, how ya doing there? Seen any mooses lately? No? Maybe it's because they've all been turned into Moose-ghetti and Meatballs or Mooseburgers. Or, er. Something. Yeah, all we've got for Alaska is moose. Any help?
Photo: Wild bull moose on Shutterstock


The Frybread Burger

Frybread is a post-Revolutionary War American Navajo staple made by frying lightly sweetened leavened dough in lard. It makes an awesome replacement for tortillas in a taco shell, but it's an even better vehicle for wrapping around your burger, making it essentially an excuse to eat a deep fried hamburger without feeling quite so guilty about it.
Photo: Dugi Jenkins


The Giant Hamburger from Ed Walker's Drive-in

Not only is Ed Walker's Drive-In Restaurant the only place in Arkansas where you can get curbside beer delivery straight to your car, it's also home of the Giant Hamburger: a five-pound, bigger-than-a-baby beast of a burger that's hand pattied, cooked on the griddle, and served on a custom bun.
Photo: Kat Robinson


The In-N-Out Double Double Animal Style

To say In-N-Out Burger, the California-based fast food chain, has a cult-like following would be like saying The Dude only kind of likes White Russians: a severe understatement. And it's with good reason. Their signature Double Double Animal Style comes with two fresh, cheese-topped patties, a slathering of caramelized onions, crisp lettuce and fresh tomatoes, tons of pickles, and their signature sweet-tart spread.
Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt


The Pueblo Slopper

Nobody knows for sure whether the Pueblo Slopper was created at Gray's Coors Tavern or the nearby Star Bar, but we can say one thing: The dish of a hamburger topped bun and all with a handful of grated cheese and a ladleful of rich, spicy Pueblo-style green chili is a dish worth getting sloppy for.
Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt


The Hamburger Sandwich From Louis' Lunch

Louis' Lunch may not be the best burger in the country, but its claim to being the oldest burger joint in the world makes it one of the most important. The big, lean burgers are cooked in antique vertical broilers and come served on toasted Pepperidge Farm bread with a slice of lettuce and tomato and a swipe of cheese spread if you ask for it. Do not ask for ketchup if you know what's good for you.
Photo: Nick Solares


The Half-Pound Burger from Charcoal Pit

A 1950s standy-by, Charcoal Pit serves their lava rock-grilled burgers in two sizes: thinner quarter-pound patties, and fat half-pounders, dripping in juices. It's the latter you want. Just make sure to have plenty of napkins so that you don't get the buttons on the working tabletop jukeboxes all greasy.
Photo: Richard W.


Cuban Fritas

Classic Miami-style Cuban fritas are little hamburgers made with seasoned beef and pork, occasionally flavored with chorizo, but their real defining characteristic is the handful of thin-cut shoestring fries that gets pressed down onto each patty before being topped with a squirt of spicy ketchup. Our backyard grilled version is a little bigger, but the spirit remains the same.
Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt


The Ghetto Burger from Ann's Snack Bar

The "Ghetto Burger" at Ann's has been called "the best burger in America" by the Wall Street Journal. That's a bold claim, but it's backed up by a couple of smash-griddled patties, melted cheese, bacon, griddled onions, and chili all on a super-sized sesame seed bun.
Photo: Todd Brock


The Hot Hawaiian

Perhaps it's a stereotype to say that Spam and pineapple are the most iconic modern Hawaiian-American ingredients, but, well, a fact's a fact. Fortunately, the two go smashingly well together. We've combined them along with a grilled burger patty, a couple slices of Swiss cheese, and a dollop of spicy sriracha mayo for our Hot Hawaiian Burgers.
Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt


Boise Fry Company

Idaho is well known for its top-quality potatoes, so it's only fitting that the Boise Fry Company gets a nod in our list here. With nearly 2,000 combinations of potatoes, fry shapes, seasoned salts, and dipping sauces, it's THE destination for the enthusiast of the hamburger's favorite partner-in-crime. Oh, and the griddled, fast food-style, thin burgers are nothing to scoff at either.
Photo: Adam Lindsley


Steak 'n Shake

There are plenty of great burgers from Illinois, but none has had as wide an influence as the iconic Steakburger from Steak 'n Shake, one of our favorite fast food chains out there. It's the burger that inspired Danny Meyer to start Shake Shack, and the one that Beef Aficionado Nick Solares has described as "primal in architecture and elemental in its preparation—[it] captures the essence and the spirit of the hamburger more than any other that I have had."
Photo: Nick Solares


The Onion Burger from Powers Hamburgers

Fort Wayne is famous for two things: M*A*S*H*'s Major Frank Burns, and Powers Hamburgers. The latter is what we're interested in. An institution since 1940, Powers serves up onion-packed sliders at under a buck apiece that would give any classic Northern Jersey joint a run for its money.
Photo: J. G. Wallace


Loose Meat Sandwich

Also known as a "tavern sandwich," the loose meat sandwich falls somewhere between a hamburger and a sloppy Joe on the messiness scale. Made with finely ground seasoned beef that's piled unceremoniously into a soft hamburger patty, it's the only burger in the world that requires a spoon to eat.
Photo: Dennis Lee


White Castle

The great grandaddy of all fast food chains started in Wichita Kansas, and is arguably the creator of the first true hamburger (they were the first to use soft buns specifically designed for burgers), White Castle's "slyders" have gone on to become not just a household term, but a full-on phenomenon. The original slider is a thin slip of beef cooked over a bed of steaming onions, with the buns steamed in the wafting vapors. A Hamburger Today founder Adam Kuban's love for them is what drove the creation of this very site.
Photo: Caroline Forsythe


The Hot Brown Burger

We can think of few iconic state dishes that work better with a burger than the Kentucky Hot Brown. Usually, it's made with sliced turkey. In our case, we've replaced that turkey with a grilled hamburger patty served on toasted bread, doused with cheesy Mornay sauce that's broiled until bubbly, and stacked with sliced tomato, crisp bacon, and a sprinkle of paprika.
Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt


The Muffuletta Burger

We love Muffulettas with their tangy, pungent olive salad and stack of thin-sliced Italian cured meats. What happens if you take all those flavors and combine them with the tender beefiness of a grilled burger? Deliciousness ensues. That's what.
Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt


The Surf N' Turf Burger

Summer's the season for lobster in Maine, and it also happens to be backyard grilling season. "Why not combine the best of both worlds?," we asked ourselves. Why not indeed? Our Surf N' Turf Burger combines a thick grilled beef patty with a handful of sweet lobster salad, along with some strips of crispy bacon, green leef lettuce, and a ripe tomato slice.
Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt


The Crabcake Burger

Crabcakes are synonymous with Maryland, and the crabcake burger is about as Maryland as a burger can get: a crabcake, seasoned with plenty of Old Bay, of course, on top of a burger patty.
Photo: Baltimore Orioles


The Cheeseburger from White Hut

White Hut in West Springfield has been owned and operated by the Barkett family since at least the early 1940s. They're now in their third generation and continue to serve the same thin, griddled patties topped with slow-cooked onions to the customers in their 12-seat restaurant—over a thousand burgers and 250 pounds of onions per day!
Photo: White Hut


The Cheeseburger from Blimpy Burger

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger in Ann Arbor cook what we call "super-smashed" burgers: the balls of beef are smashed so violently into the hot griddle that sometimes an extra slice of cheese is needed just for the structural support it offers. They can pile on the toppings if you ask for them, but you should try the classic with nothing but cheese, onions, and pickles for a truly great burger experience. Head there soon if you want the original Blimpy Burger experience; the restaurant is moving at the end of August, new location TBD.
Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt


The Jucy Lucy

The battle for burger supremacy in Minneapolis between the Juicy Lucy at the 5-8 Club and the intentionally misspelled Jucy Lucy at Matt's is the stuff of hamburger legend. The burgers at both joints are made by stuffing oozy American cheese into the center of a burger patty and cooking it until it's lava-hot, ready to gush out and burn off your tongue with the first bite.
Photo: Daniel Zemans


The Slugburger

Corinth, Mississippi, is the epicenter of the slugburger, which can also be found in parts of Alabama, and are known in Tupelo, Mississippi, as doughburgers. Another depression-era creation, the slugburger is a deep-fried patty made of beef stretched out with plenty of starch-based filler: bread, flour, potatoes, and crackers are not uncommon additions to the meat. Deep fried bread sandwiched in more bread? A carb-lover's dream come true.
Photo: Amy Evans Streeter for the Southern Foodways Alliance


The Cheeseburger from Town Topic

Beef Aficionado Nick Solares has called the burger at Town Topic "one of America's most important hamburgers," and has said that "to observe the preparation of the sliders at Town Topic's open kitchen is to witness a historical re-enactment, and to consume one of the little burgers is to taste the past." Hyperbole? Perhaps. But one thing is sure: the 1937 burger stand serves up some of the finest onion and pickled-topped sliders around.
Photo: Nick Solares


The Nutburger

Around since 1930, Matt's Place in Butte, Montana, is one of the oldest drive-in restaurants in the state. But that's not what they're known for. They're famous for their Nutburger: a burger patty topped wth coarsely ground peanuts bound with Miracle Whip. As Hamburger America author George Motz says, "It's like eating sundae topping on a burger."
Photo: George Motz / Hamburger America


Corn Fed Beef

The Cornhusker state produces some of the fattiest, most flavorful corn-fed beef in the country, so our pick for Nebraska's burger is a simple hamburger with nothing else to distract us from its beefy flavor. And how to cook it? Why, smashed flat, of course. Just like Nebraska.
Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt


The Rossini Burger from Burger Bar

If Las Vegas is all about lavishness and excess, then the Rossini Burger from Hubert Keller's Burger Bar is the embodiment of that spirit. Coming in at $60, the burger is made with Kobe-style Wagyu beef and comes topped with seared foie gras and truffle.
Photo: Dennis Lee

New Hampshire

The Bacon Double Cheeseburger from Gilley's PM Lunch

Originally a mobile lunch cart that served hot dogs since 1912, Gilley's PM Lunch in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has had a permanent location since 1973 and has been serving their burgers ever since. The one to get here is the bacon double, made with two fresh-ground three-ounce patties and plenty of oozy cheese and crisp bacon.
Photo: George Motz / Hamburger America

New Jersey

The Northern Jersey Slider

Long before burgers became supersized and anything in an undersized bun instantly became a slider, a distinct technique for preparation was established along with a specific ethos: fresh, clean food at a fair price, prepared quickly. The classic Northern Jersey slider is still alive and kicking, with over a half dozen restaurants serving thin griddled patties of fresh ground beef steamed with their buns over piles of thinly sliced onions.
Photo: Nick Solares

New Mexico

The Green Chile Cheeseburger

The Green Chile Cheeseburger is a New Mexico institution, and while the state's most famous green chile cheeseburger joint Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe unfortunately shuttered its doors this year, you can still find them all over the area. The burgers are made with fat patties of grilled, juicy beef, topped with a pile of roasted green chiles, covered in a blanket of oozy Jack cheese. We'll take two, please.
Photo: Chichi Wang

New York

The Cheeseburger from Peter Luger Steakhouse

Shake Shack may be New York's most popular burger these days (and we're big fans), but it's tough to think of New York without thinking of steakhouses, and it's tough to think of steakhouses without thinking of the fantastic cheeseburger at Peter Luger. A study in simplicity, it consists of a fat grilled patty of dry-aged ground beef served with nothing but a slice of onion and melted cheese. And it needs nothing else.
Photo: Robyn Lee

North Carolina

Breaded Hamburgers from Snappy Lunch

The Breaded Hamburgers at Snappy Lunch in Mount Airy are made of a bit of hamburger bound with a lot of biscuit crumbs—a depression-era tactic for spreading out meager supplies of beef. They've also got regular hamburgers at Snappy Lunch, but you'll want to get the breaded version for a real bite of history.
Photo: George Motz / Hamburger America

North Dakota

The Woodhouse

How to tell a noob at The Woodhouse: they sit in their vinyl booth waiting for a server to come take their order. Regulars at this Bismarck institution know to call in their orders directly to the kitchen via telephones installed at each table for fresh ground beef or buffalo burgers with onion rings or thick, hand spun shakes with extra malt.


Sliders from Kewpee Lunch

This depression-era quasi-chain of burger joints is the second oldest chain known in history—second only to White Castle. Originally founded in Flint, Michigan, it made its way into neighboring cities and states with the slogan "Hamburg pickle on top, makes your heart go flippity flop!" The Kewpee in Lima, Ohio, is unique in one special way: they use locally raised beef in their patties.
Photo: Adam Kuban


The Oklahoma Onion-Fried Burger

The Oklahoma onion-fried burger is like a slider taken to the extreme. Born in the Depression, the sandwiches are at least 50 percent onion, smashed into a thin patty of beef on a hot griddle before being flipped to slowly soften and caramelize. The original is from the Hamburger Inn in Ardmore, but you can find them all over the state (and country!) these days.
Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt


The Burger from Le Pigeon

We don't normally jump through hoops for cheffed-up burgers, the but the juicy, slaw-covered burger from Le Pigeon in Portland is one of the finest burgers in all the land. The Cascade Natural Beef is ground in-house, grilled on an open flame, topped with Tillamook 4-year cheddar, grilled onions, housemade ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise, and slaw. Sounds like a lot of toppings, but they all work together remarkably well.
Photo: Robyn Lee


The Cheese Steak (Burger) from Primanti Brothers

Pennsylvania will forever hold a special place in our hearts as the birthplace of Martin's, our favorite burger buns. But for a really iconic experience, head over to Primanti's for a big fat burger (listed as "Cheese Steak" on the menu) made with french fries stuffed directly into the sandwich underneath a layer of fresh coleslaw.
Photo: Marc Sanders

Rhode Island

Stanleyburger from Stanley's

Stanley's has been serving their signature Stanleyburgers since 1932 and according to burger expert George Motz, serves "the only real onion-fried burger outside of El Reno, OK." The small patties come topped with plenty of caramelized onions and pickle slices by default. Other toppings like mushrooms, bacon, and tomato are available if you ask for them, but there's really no need.
Photo: Michele Meek

South Carolina

Pimento Cheeseburger from Northgate Soda Shop

Want to experience a real Back To The Future moment? Step into Northgate Soda Shop, a perfectly preserved slice of 1950s small town America that serves a killer burger topped with that oh-so-Southern of toppings: pimento cheese. Theirs is made the classic way with cheddar, mayonnaise, and diced pimentos.
Photo: Todd Brock

South Dakota

The Eggburger from Hamburger Inn

Though the Hambuger Inn in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, shuttered its door for good in March of 2013 (afer an 82 year run!), the memory of their Eggburger, a griddled hamburger patty topped with a fried egg, lives on. It makes us wonder why more diner-style, griddle-equipped burger joints don't jump into the egg-topping game. You listening people?
Photo: Hamburger Inn on Facebook


Dyer's Burgers

Dyer's is not the only restaurant in America that deep-fries their burgers, but they may be the only restaurant that hasn't changed their grease in over 100 years. That's right. The grease gets topped up, but never discarded. Not only are the burgers fried in the three-gallon cast iron skillet, but ask for a cheeseburger and the whole beef-cheese combo will get dipped back in to melt the cheese.
Photo: Thomas Hawk



If you know what's good for you, you won't say anything bad about Whataburger while you're in Texas. The chain, started in Corpus Christi in 1950 by Harmon Dobson, is known for their wide, quarter-pound, mustard-slathered cheeseburgers. There's nothing particularly noteworthy about the burgers themselves, but nostalgia and parochialism loom large in their legend, adding a touch of uniquely psychological seasoning
Photo: Nick Solares


The Pastrami Burger from Crown Burgers

The pastrami-topped burger from Crown Burgers is inextrically linked with the history of Greek immigrant restaurateurs. The chain got its start in 1978 and has since expanded to seven locations, all owned by members of the Katsanevas family. Their signature burger is a grilled quarter-pound patty topped with a fat pile of thin-sliced pastrami, American cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato, and onion, all on a sesame seed bun.
Photo: David Kover


Any burger topped with Vermont cheddar cheese

The legacy of Vermont is not just in its beef (there are several top-notch beef farms in the state), but more importantly, in its cheese. Simply put, the state produces some of the finest aged cheddars in the world, including the great Clothbound Cheddar from Cabot aged at Jasper Hill Farm, or the Farmhouse Cheddar from Shelburne Farms. Any burger topped with a slice of one of these is bound to turn heads, like the ever-popular cheeseburger at Craigie on Main in nearby Cambridge, Massachussetts.
Photo: Jessica Leibowitz


The Mack from Ray's Hell Burger

The original Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Virginia, is closed, but you can still get the same famously Obama-approved patty of bovine bliss at Ray's the Third across the street. We suggest going for The Mack: ten ounces of beef grilled medium rare, topped with American cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickle, red onion, and Ray's HECK Sauce.
Photo: Robyn Lee


Goop Sauce from Big Tom in Olympia

What the heck is Goop sauce, you ask? It's a combination of mayo, mustard, relish, and salad dressing, and it comes served on top of the Big Tom special at Big Tom in Olympia, Washington. You can also get a side of the special stuff for your fries or tater tots. And as George Motz says, "What could be more appealing or more American than 'tots 'n Goop?'"
Photo: George Motz / Hamburger America

Washington DC

Palena Cheese Burger from Palena Cafe

The Palena Cheese Burger appears on so many "best of" lists for good reason. This densely flavored burger is all about the beef: a juicy, loosely packed, half-pound mix of top round and chuck (and the occasional high quality steak trimming) with a 60/40 lean-to-fat ratio. "The patty practically melts in your mouth without falling apart," according to Serious Eats correspondent Brian Oh. It doesn't need extras, but the accompanying truffled cheese and garlic mayo don't hurt.
Photo: Brian Oh

West Virginia

Wild Game Burgers

West Virginia may be known for its gorgeous caves and the natural beauty of the Appalachians, but hunting plays a large role in its culture as well. So in West Virginia, we'll be making our burgers out of wild game, whether it's freshly ground venison or perhaps a patty made from the groundhog scraps that didn't make it into the stew.
Photo: White tail buck on Shutterstock



Ah, the Dairy State, where squeaky deep-fried cheese curds are a common replacement for your fries, and your burgers come slathered in butter. As if a juicy hunk of meat ain't enough moistness for you, folks around these parts cook the patties in butter and then slather on a hefty dose of the stuff right after it hits the bun. Solly's Grille in Milwaukee is a famous spot for this style.
Photo: Robyn Lee


Lamb Burgers

Wyoming doesn't quite have more lambs than people, but it's one of the biggest lamb producers in the union, so it's only fitting that we use that meat to make some delicious burgers. Our version uses freshly ground lamb shoulder (our favorite out of four cuts tested), simply seasoned with salt and pepper, and grilled on an open flame.
Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt