Nothing says America like a beef patty cooked to perfection, covered with condiments, and sandwiched inside a bun.
We live in a land of burgers, and everyone’s preferences differ. The hamburger was never meant to be a fancy and expensive food, though many attempts have been made to make it that. No, the ideal burger restaurant is one that hasn’t franchised itself to death, that occupies modest quarters usually with minimal decoration, but that brims with personality and has grown into a local institution as well as just a place for food — in other words, a real burger joint. (These are America’s 25 favorite burger joints.)
To assemble a list of the best hole-in-the-wall burger joints in every state, 24/7 Tempo consulted reviews and ratings on a wide range of websites, including Food & Wine, The Daily Meal, Thrillist, Reader’s Digest, Eater, Yelp, Lovefood, Cheapism, Big 7 Travel, and Taste of Home, as well as state and regional restaurant listings for every state.
Several of the places on the resulting list have been serving burgers since before the Great Depression, and continue to use the same methods and recipes they’ve been using since the beginning. Most of them steer clear of gimmicks, instead primarily delivering exceptional burgers with classic toppings. Some sell nothing more than burgers, in fact, with a few sides and drinks. Others have a variety of other things, too, like sandwiches and hot dogs. It’s all quick, easy, cheap, and very good, in any case.
Some of the places on our list are found in big cities — Tampa, Los Angeles, St. Paul — but many are in the suburbs or even in rural areas, on old roads or main streets in small towns off the beaten path. All are worth seeking out if you’re a burger-lover. If you can’t find any of these places or reasonable alternatives, however, these are the best burgers you can get at a fast-food restaurant.
Alabama: Dub’s Burgers
> Location: Athens
Dub’s Burgers has been in business in Athens since 1961. The made-to-order spot sells burgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, sandwiches, and potato-derived sides. What more do you need? Toppings are simple and straightforward and the burgers are cheap. As their website says, when the burgers are gone, they’re gone for the day, but there’ll be more tomorrow.
Alaska: Arctic Roadrunner
> Location: Anchorage
Arctic Roadrunner has been serving up burgers and beyond in Anchorage since 1964. The location features a cozy wood fireplace and walls covered in photographs of good times in the restaurant and beyond. They serve massive beef burgers as well salmon and halibut burgers, sandwiches and milkshakes. There are a variety of burgers so everyone can find what they love or try something new — like a fish burger made from fresh catch.
Arizona: The Chuckbox
> Location: Tempe
The Chuckbox, opened in 1972, cooks burgers to order over an open mesquite fire. The restaurant features some influences of Tex-Mex cuisine and burgers in a variety of sizes (the biggest is a whole pound of beef). They also have all sorts of sides like deep fried mushrooms, deep fried zucchini, and jalapeño poppers, as well as more traditional stuff like fries and onion rings.
Arkansas: Hamburger Station
> Location: Paragould
The menu at this place, located in an old concrete service station, is a bit more expansive than those at many of the other spots on this list, but they’re famous most of all for their “Hum-Burger” — covered in grilled onions and sold in a variety of sizes. They also have things like catfish, chicken salad sandwiches, and chicken strips.
California: Howard’s Famous Bacon & Avocado Burgers
> Location: Los Angeles
Howard’s serves up a variety of foods, including of course the Famous Bacon & Avocado Burger, which is just what it sounds like. In addition, there are chili burgers, turkey burgers, and 2/3-pound cheeseburgers all at reasonable prices, given the cost of most things in Los Angeles. For those looking for something else they also offer sandwiches, hot dogs, tacos, sides, and drinks.
Colorado: Bud’s Café and Bar
> Location: Sedalia
Bud’s, on the edge of the Denver metro area, keeps it simple. Opened in the 1940s, they sell burgers made from locally sourced beef as they have always done. There are very few options and sometimes that’s for the best. At Bud’s what you want is a burger with American cheese on top and pickles and onions on the side.
Connecticut: Louis’ Lunch
> Location: New Haven
How long have hamburgers existed? We’re not really sure but Louis’ Lunch has been around and serving them since 1895 and claims to have invented them in the first place. The restaurant has stayed within the family, and they are currently run and owned by the 4th generation. Their menu is extremely simple and the only foods on it are the original burger, potato salad, potato chips, and homemade pie.
Delaware: Gus & Gus’ Place
> Location: Rehoboth Beach
On Rehoboth Beach’s boardwalk, Gus & Gus’ Place is a staple of this coastal town. They’re known for their fantastic burgers but they also whip up cheesesteaks, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and breakfast. The place has a small indoor seating area but patrons often just order food at the window and take it to go as they stroll along the scenic Delaware shore.
Florida: Thee Burger Spot
> Location: Tampa
Thee Burger Spot is a family-owned restaurant that proudly serves everyone including Tampa Bay Buccaneers players. The restaurant offers classic burgers with more traditional toppings and “gourmet burgers” that have all sorts of wild ingredients. They even have a pizza burger and a bacon cheeseburger that’s served between two Krispy Kreme glazed donut buns.
Georgia: Village Burger
> Location: Dunwoody
Village Burger aims to be more than just a restaurant, offering a family-friendly and community-minded atmosphere. Their menu is simple enough, with classic burgers, a range of cheeseburgers, turkey burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, and the traditional sides, all for a reasonable price. They also serve frozen custard to finish off a meal and wine and beer for those who want to hang out and enjoy the atmosphere.
Hawaii: Kohala Burger & Taco
> Location: Waimea (Big Island)
Opened in 2010, Kohala uses the islands’ abundance of fresh beef and fish to serve up delicious burgers and other food. Kohala emulates the style and taste of 1950s diners while adding its own unique nuances to the classics. The owner grew up working in his family’s Mexican restaurant and incorporates tacos into the menu as well while striving to be as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible.
Idaho: Hudson’s Hamburgers
> Location: Coeur d’Alene
Hudson’s began in a tent in 1907 and is currently on its fifth generation of owners. The classic burgers, served with Hudson’s secret sauce, have kept the place a hit for over 100 years. The menu is simple enough: Besides hamburgers and cheeseburgers, they sell ham and egg sandwiches, drinks, and pie. They mastered the formula to success a long time ago and keep pumping it out.
Illinois: That’s a Burger
> Location: Chicago
Some purists may turn their noses up at the thought of a turkey burger but That’s a Burger on Chicago’s Southside would like you to put your disdain to the test, as such a burger is one of their specialties. The restaurant, in fact, offers a range of turkey, beef, veggie, and chicken burgers. They’re a no-frills place that serves burgers with mustard, ketchup, pickles, lettuce and onions.
Indiana: Triple XXX Family Restaurant
> Location: West Lafayette
West Lafayette is the home of Purdue University and this restaurant is right around the corner from campus. Triple X has existed since 1929, and used to just be a bar. Now it’s a counter that serves all sorts of food including burgers, fries, milkshakes, and beyond. It’s family-owned — surprise, surprise — and known as a popular community gathering place. Even Guy Fieri has visited with his show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”
Iowa: Arty’s Ice Cream & Grill
> Location: Wilton
Yes, we know the words “ice cream” come first in the name herebut that hasn’t slowed Arty’s from also having terrific burgers. Their menu varies some in that they have the traditional options as well as some wacky stuff like a deep-fried pizza burger and a burger with five pieces of cheese and five strips of bacon. (P.S. The ice cream is also amazing.)
Kansas: Grandstand Burgers
> Location: Overland Park
Opened in 2002, Grandstand focuses on delicious ingredients and cooks burgers to perfection on its classic menu while getting creative with its specialty menu. The classic menu is mostly made up of burgers with lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion, ketchup, mustard, and mayo. The specialties feature burgers stacked with a plethora of ingredients, but without getting too wacky. They also have shakes, malts, fries, tots, etc..
Kentucky: Laha’s Red Castle
> Location: Hodgenville
Laha’s has been around since 1934. They have burgers, chili dogs, regular dogs, chicken nuggets, French fries, onion rings, and that’s it! Why reinvent the wheel when you’ve perfected the wheel, right? The food is cheap and the place is relaxed. You get a burger, you hang out, you enjoy life — a timeless formula.
Louisiana: Judice Inn
> Location: Lafayette
The Judice Inn has never been an inn and has always sold burgers, ever since it was built by hand by its founders Alcide and Marc Judice. They’d just returned from World War II and wanted to provide the people with delicious and cheap food. The family business adds a Louisiana taste to its burgers with its secret sauce. They also pride themselves on not selling fries.
Maine: Harmon’s Lunch
> Location: Falmouth
Harmon’s Lunch — or Harmon’s Burgers as it’s often called — is another spot that keeps it simple and delicious. The little white building houses some indoor seating and plain decorations. They offer burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, fries, and onion rings and only accept cash. Harmon’s has the feel of an old-fashioned side-of-the-road lunch spot.
Maryland: Burger Bros.
> Location: Towson
Close enough to Baltimore to win “Best Burger in Baltimore” from Baltimore Magazine, Burger Bros. — tucked away in a nondescript shopping center — doesn’t peddle any gimmicks. They sell burgers, turkey burgers, chicken sandwiches, chicken wings, hot dogs, fries, and onion rings.
Massachusetts: White Hut
> Location: Springfield
White Hut serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast they have standard fare like omelettes and platters full of bacon and carbs. For lunch and dinner they serve burgers, hot dogs, and sides, along with desserts like ice cream, milkshakes, and floats. Their burgers are smothered in cheese, onions and more.
Michigan: Motz’s Burgers
> Location: Detroit
Founded in 1929, Motz’s aims to be a community restaurant that provides delicious food. The family-run spot specializes in sliders, and for under $3 each, customers can really pile them up. They’re smothered in sweet onions and cheese and served on Michigan Bread burger buns. Motz’s also sells chicken and fish sandwiches as well as shakes and sides.
Minnesota: The Nook
> Location: St. Paul
Another place that Guy Fieri has paid a visit to, The Nook has massive burgers that and covered in traditional toppings. Their specialty is a cheese-stuffed burger filled with all sorts of flavor, and they have a burger named after Guy Fieri. The restaurant is connected to a bowling alley so customers can have fun while they eat.
Mississippi: Latham’s Hamburger Inn
> Location: New Albany
Located on Main Street in the small town of New Albany, just up the road from Tupelo, this place serves up towering burgers covered in cheese, mustard, onions, and pickles. They also specialize in burgers with an egg added. The menu also features loaded fries, ham sandwiches, grilled cheese, hot dogs, BLTs and other sorts of traditional diner food.
Missouri: Billy Bob’s Dairyland
> Location: Branson
Billy Bob’s a Branson staple. The establishment harks back to the golden days of diners and doesn’t try to do anything fancy. Burgers come straightforward, with normal fries and with cheese if you want it. They also offer BLT’s, regular or foot long hot dogs, and Frito pies.
Montana: Richwine’s Burgerville
> Location: Polson
“The best burger goin'” is the motto at Richwine’s, a family-owned drive-in restaurant that’s been around for 60 years. Their beef is locally sourced from Montana cattle and hand-ground on the premises, then turned into double or triple burgers covered in the usual toppings. They also offer some seafood options and foot-long hot dogs. The restaurant is seasonal and open from March to September.
Nebraska: Bob’s Bar & Grill
> Location: Martinsburg
Bob’s whips up cheeseburgers, cheeseballs, and hamburgers on Main Street. The plain-enough building houses amazing food and a friendly atmosphere. Bob’s is not the type of place that skimps on the portions or flavors. It’s also reasonably priced and they have a variety of sides like mushrooms, mozzarella sticks, and even gizzards. The place keeps it old-fashioned and only accepts cash or checks.
> Location: Reno
Beefy’s is known for a variety of delicious foods. Besides their fresh-ground burgers, they also have hot dogs overflowing with toppings, smothered fries, piles of onion rings, and delicious chicken wings. The spot is a popular watering hole that has over 40 craft and imported beers. Beefy’s opened under current ownership in 2014 but the building is historic and filled with a comfortable and friendly atmosphere.
New Hampshire: Gilley’s Diner
> Location: Portsmouth
Gilley’s Lunch cart was built in 1940 and was hauled into Market Square each evening to serve locals. It was originally towed by a horse and eventually a truck. Now Gilley’s doesn’t move but the same diner car is used and the truck that towed it is even still attached to the front. The owners have worked hard to retain the original charm even if they’ve added additional space and expanded the menu. They serve up cheap burgers and dogs covered in delicious and classic toppings.
New Jersey: White Rose Hamburgers
> Location: Highland Park
Open until midnight on the weekends, White Rose is a classic diner that’s known for all sorts of food — most definitely including its burgers. The place serves breakfast all day and hamburgers for breakfast if that’s what you really want. The burgers are straightforward and don’t deviate too much from the classic formula. There are also a variety of sandwiches and other specials for those looking to mix it up a bit.
New Mexico: Day’s Hamburgers
> Location: Las Cruces
Great-Grandma Day opened Day’s in 1932 and the tradition is still being carried on four generations later. Another place that goes by the mantra “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” Days serves up burgers that get as large as a triple stack. They come with mustard, onion, lettuce, mayo, and chili on request. There are also hot dogs and burritos and classic sides. In the morning, the place serves breakfast burritos, biscuits, and eggs.
New York: Corner Bistro
> Location: New York City
Corner Bistro claims to be “the last of the bohemian bars in West Greenwich Village,” and has kept its original charm from days long past. Today, the bistro serves up massive burgers, sandwiches and all the good sides. This is the sort of place that’s all about a massive chunk of quality beef topped high with ingredients.
North Carolina: Brooks’ Sandwich House
> Location: Charlotte
Twins David and Scott Brooks opened their restaurant in 1973 and have kept it running since then. These days, the third generation has joined in and hasn’t changed the quality that made it great in the first place. The Brooks’ specializes in burgers, hot dogs, and chili. They have a homemade chili recipe that they’ve perfected over 46 years.
North Dakota: Ironhorse Kitchen + Bar (formerly Dakota Burger Company)
> Location: Minot
The restaurant is owned and operated be veterans. It serves not only unique burgers but also salads and “even grilled salmon.” Customers love the mac and cheese burger as well as the Best Morning Ever burger. People have the option to build their own burger, too.
Ohio: Bob’s Hamburg
> Location: Akron
Established in 1931, Bob’s. named after the German city, is located in a simple brick building in Akron. The restaurant starts the day serving breakfast and has quite a lot on the menu. When it comes to burgers, they have classic options with traditional topping and specialty burgers that get a bit more creative. The place also serves as a community gathering spot and puts on a variety of events.
Oklahoma: Johnnie’s Hamburgers & Coneys
> Location: El Reno
“Fried Onion Burgers Since 1946” is the motto here. Johnnie’s has served up delicious food for almost 80 years. The local spot also does pancakes, omelettes, and full breakfasts to kick off the day. For lunch and dinner they have a range of options but specialize in straightforward hamburgers. The available toppings are all the classics, along with a few wildcards like jalapeños. They also have plenty of hotdogs or coneys as they call them.
Oregon: Big Burger Drive-In
> Location: Molalla
Opened in 1967, Big Burger is a third-generation family-owned burger spot in the town of Molalla, about 30 miles south of Portland. They keep it simple and classic with burgers served with lettuce, pickles, onions, tomatoes and homemade sauce. Besides that, customers can choose to stack on the patties up to three high and add bacon and cheese. Big Burger also sells seafood baskets, chicken strips, and milkshakes.
Pennsylvania: The Burger Shack
> Location: Whitehall
Burger Shack stuffs ingredients inside their burgers to make flavor-blasted patties. Those patties are made of locally sourced, organically raised beef to keep things natural. The place also serves up chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, grilled cheese, pulled pork, and more, including several vegetarian and vegan options.
Rhode Island: Stanley’s Famous Hamburgers
> Location: Central Falls
In 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression, Polish immigrant Stanley F. Kryla opened this restaurant, aiming to sell cheap and delicious burgers — and his successors have kept this dream alive for nearly 90 years. The restaurant continues to offer the original Stanley Burger for less than $3, and has a variety of other variations that add on tomatoes and mushrooms, among other things.
South Carolina: Ike’s Korner Grill
> Location: Spartanburg
Ike’s isn’t shy when it comes to portions, and makes sure everyone gets their money’s worth. The spot sells a variety of food including fried seafood plates and sandwiches as well as burgers and dogs. For the most part the restaurant doesn’t diverge too much from timeless classics but they do have a pimiento cheese burger that adds a local favorite food to an already delicious patty.
South Dakota: Nick’s Hamburger Shop
> Location: Brookings
In 1929 Harold and Gladys Nikalson traveled from Iowa to open a burger restaurant that used a unique tank-fry method. In the 1930s, the restaurant boomed into a small empire of 77 burger emporiums. However, those days are long gone and the only remaining one is in Brookings, home of South Dakota State University. This is another burger joint that has kept it simple and traditional, only selling classic burgers, sodas, milkshakes, and homemade pie.
Tennessee: Dyer’s Burgers
> Location: Memphis
Well over a century old, the original Dyer’s was opened in 1912 by Elmer “Doc” Dyer. The founder took his time to perfect his craft and the restaurant continues to use his methods. The secret is said to be in the cooking grease, which has been transported around as the establishment has relocated several times over the years. Dyer’s serves burgers, wings, chicken tenders, and shakes.
Texas: Grumps Burgers
> Location: Granbury
Founder Collier Albright left his corporate job in 2001 and set out to create a terrific burger restaurant. Grumps operates five restaurants throughout Texas and has won awards and multiple for having great burgers. The menu is simple, but clearly they’re doing something right as they’ve found success in a very competitive market. Grumps sells normal burgers as well some variety options like the queso burger, guacamole burger, and Swiss mushroom burger.
Utah: Milt’s Stop n’ Eat
> Location: Moab
Milt’s is Moab’s oldest restaurant, opened in 1954 in the middle of America’s diner craze. The restaurant has kept the old school diner vibe alive and continues to sell similar food to when it first opened. Classic burgers come with traditional toppings but they are available in both beef and bison versions. There is also a specialty burger menu that features burgers with ingredients like chili, blue cheese, eggs, and beef brisket.
Vermont: Archie’s Grill
> Location: Shelburne
Archie’s was opened in 2010 as a restaurant with great food and also a place for friends, family, and community to gether. The restaurant sells all kinds of food including burgers, sandwiches and seafood. There is also a fairly expansive vegetarian and vegan menu so just about anyone can find something they’ll enjoy. The burgers are sourced from local beef and come with a good variety of toppings including options like horseradish and Frank’s Red Hot sauce.
Virginia: Market Burger Fries & Shakes
> Location: Purcellville
Market Burger serves locally sourced beef for great burgers. They offer more traditional options as well as a newer variety of things. Their specialty “Market Burger” has cheddar, egg, herb mayo, lettuce, and tomato. They also have turkey burgers and a Southwest black bean burger.
Washington: Fat Smitty’s
> Location: Port Townsend
Fat Smitty’s, on Discovery Bay, specializes in burgers and BBQ pork sandwiches. They pile the burgers high and occasionally throw in some extra patties and buns for good measure. The place is cash-only and decorated with dollar bills covering the walls and ceiling. Besides burgers, they also have a variety of seafood, hot dogs, and sandwiches.
West Virginia: Gonzoburger
> Location: Charleston
Gonzoburger, in the Elk City district of Charleston, is the second restaurant by owners Frank and Julia Gonzales. Their first is a Mexican restaurant called Mi Cocina de Amor, but with this one they decided to focus on custom burgers and craft beer. They use 100% certified Angus beef in their massive burgers and offer everything from a classic burger with special house sauce to the spicy El Fuego.
Wisconsin: Solly’s Grille
> Location: Milwaukee
Solly’s has been family owned and operated since 1936 and has picked up several awards for its burgers along the way. Solly’s is another diner that offers exactly the foods you’d expect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. However, they’re most known for their “butterburgers” served all day. During the pandemic they’ve also started offering “Make-at-Home Burger Kits” to keep business going.
Wyoming: Grub’s Drive-In
> Location: Rock Springs
Grub’s was opened in 1946 and has remained a popular local hangout over the decades. Nick Grub opened the restaurant after returning home from World War II. He didn’t want to go to work in the local mines so he decided to serve up burgers and fries instead. Their specialty burger is called a Shamrock and features two patties, cheese, fries, and traditional toppings. Grub’s also has breakfast, sandwiches, and homemade soup.