Top Ten Burgers in Greater Phoenix
David LaChapelle, Death by Hamburger (2002)
You can thank the St. Louis World Fair of 1904 for being the launching pad for the hamburger as we know it (at one point, it was called the hamburger sandwich). Today, the round patty in a bun is the primary way in which the Western world consumes beef. When it comes to burgers in the greater Phoenix area, we're offering up 10 of our favorites.
10.) Tijuana Torpedo from The Chuckbox
According to Paul Marquardt, supervisor of this legendary burger joint in Tempe, no one at the restaurant, which has been in business nearly 40 years, knows where the Tijuana Torpedo came from. The ingredients don't seem like much -- two patties, jalapeño jack cheese, and green chiles -- but this smoky, fragrant burger has two secrets to its success: a mesquite charcoal grill and "Magic Dust," a secret blend of spices whose origin, like the burger itself, is a mystery.
9.) Pica Rico Burger from Gallo Blanco Café
This messy yet marvelous creation comes courtesy of chef Doug Robson's Southwestern-inspired fare at his casual eatery inside the Clarendon Hotel in Central Phoenix. Featuring seven juicy ounces of in-house ground chuck, fire-roasted chiles, gooey sharp cheddar cheese, Aji aioli, and thick slices of avocado that pair nicely with the smoky flavor of the chiles, this burger may be a bit too bulky, but it's definitely worth the effort.
8.) Pittsburger from Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers
As one of several half-pound creations at this North Scottsdale restaurant from the same folks who own Arcadia Tavern, the Pittsburger holds its own as a gourmet burger. A staff favorite, the patty is tasty and piled high with french fries, crunchy slaw, a flavor-packed grilled tomato, and American cheese between an artisan bun that's crispy around the edges. And with over 70 beers to choose from, there shouldn't be any problem finding something to wash it down with.
7.) The Arrogant Bastard Cheese Burger at Orange Table
A perfect match of brew-meets-burger, this creation from the eatery in the Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza uses a splash of Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale to simmer a half-pound of ground Angus into a juicy patty. A slathering of mayo and signature BBQ sauce -- along with melted provolone, bacon, red onion, tomato, and lettuce on a grilled bun -- complete the burger, but the real bonus is being able to buy the rest of the 22-ounce bottle of Arrogant Bastard for just four bucks more.
6.) Fontina Burger at Joe's Farm Grill
When you get your ingredients right outside your front door (at the Farm at Agritopia), freshness is just part of the package for this gourmet burger, featured on the Food Network and available at the retro-futuristic food stand and ex-home of owner Joe Johnston in Gilbert. Grilled and smoky, the six-ounce burger of locally raised beef is topped with roasted red pepper, mushrooms, fresh field greens, oozy fontina cheese, and tasty pecan pesto -- house-made of course.
5.) Whiskey King from Old Town Whiskey
Sheer indulgence may be the best way to describe this burger at the new restaurant from chef Jose Garces inside the Saguaro, the Scottsdale hotel that opened in November. At $26, this patty packs a hefty price tag, but its simply seasoned meat -- eight ounces of three cuts of Angus beef, triple-ground in-house, and with a fat cap of Wagyu added to the grind -- along with maple bourbon-glazed cipollini, Rogue Bleu cheese, and applewood smoked bacon topped with perfectly seared foie gras, might mean making up a reason to indulge.
4.) Sweet and Spicy Burger at The Grind
Being cooked in a 1,000-degree coal-fired oven, which creates a savory crust on the meat, is just the start of what makes this distinctive and delectable organic burger worth a visit to the Arcadia restaurant named one of the best new burger spots in 2010 by Bon Appetít. The juicy, two-handed creation gets even better thanks to unique toppings such as candied jalapeños, fried ratatouille, and heaps of watercress stacked on a brioche bun.
3.) Big Butter Burger from Matt's Big Breakfast
Matt Pool's popular downtown nook may be best known for its a.m. offerings, but his use of expertly prepared quality ingredients translates to his burger, too. With a name that would make some swoon and others squirm, Pool's Big Butter Burger gets its moniker from the Angus chuck patty being grilled in butter before being topped with American or, for a little extra scratch, Maytag blue cheese. Worth standing in line for.
2.) Big Burger at Renegade Canteen
Formerly the Big Ass Burger at Roaring Fork, then Bob's Big Burger before its creator, James Beard Award-winning chef Bob McGrath, left Renegade Canteen, this tower of taste still packs a punch under its new name at its North Scottsdale address. Stacked with a thick, two-third-pound patty of sirloin and chuck, cheddar, peppery bacon, tomato, lettuce, a poblano chile, and grilled onions ringing 'round a long toothpick barely holding the entire creation together, it's a two-handed affair best for big appetites or sharing.
1.) Hamburger at Christopher's & Crush Lounge
James Beard Award-winning chef Christopher Gross may be best known for his command of French cuisine at his stylish restaurant in CenPho, but what most folks may not know is that he makes a damn fine hamburger, too. With several toppings to choose from for the eight-ounce patty of premium beef, our favorite combination is bacon, Mimolette cheese, egg, sautéed shallots, and house-spiced ketchup and mustard grain aioli between wood-fired baked bread. It's a sumptuous flavor sensation -- just don't call it a "cheeseburger."
What do you say, burger biters? Got a preferred patty that didn't make the list? Let us know.
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