Combine two bread-y buns and a beef patty, and you've got one of the most quintessential American dishes, the burger. And while the burger is about as ubiquitous as dish as they come, metro Phoenix restaurants offer enough creative of versions of the entree to keep things fresh and interesting.
From simple burgers executed well to ones that feel like an all-out smorgasbord, here are 10 of our favorite burgers in metro Phoenix.
10. Burger Brulee at Paradise Valley Burger Company
North Valley's Paradise Valley Burger Company is a casual place complete with a sombrero on the counter and a poster signed by Guy Fieri, who featured the spot on his show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, on the wall. Although the Brûlée Burger sounds like it might be gimmicky, it actually proves to be refreshing take on a classic dish. The buns come coated inside with burnt sugar, giving this burger a sweet and slightly crispy crunch. The fried egg, bacon, onion, and havarti are comfortingly familiar and help balance out the unexpected, sugary touch.
9. Zinburger at Zinburger
Sam Fox's burger chain, Zinburger, offers diners an undeniably appealing combination of wine and burgers. So it's fitting that the spot's signature creation, the Zinburger, features Zinfandel-brasied onions. And these onions aren't just for show — they give the burger an irresistible flavor boost. Like the red wine they're soaked in, the onions taste a little spicy and a touch sweet. The 100 percent Angus beef patty is also served with lettuce, mayonnaise, and Manchego cheese for a simple, but slightly elevated burger.
8. Regular Burger at Rocket Burger & Subs
Rocket Burger is a West Valley staple that's decked out with colorful vintage soda bottles and other retro decor. A front half of a vintage cruiser even sticks out on one side of the cash register. The restaurant's casual atmosphere is complemented by the simple and tasty burgers, and when it comes to the Regular Burger, you'll get a 100 percent Angus patty topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and the restaurant's own tangy rocket sauce. We hate to be cliche, but the secret really is in the sauce. There's just enough of it to give this burger an extra kick without being overwhelming. Pair it with the fresh, yet simple ingredients, and you've got a winner.
7. Hangover Burger at Rehab Burger Therapy
From the surf boards on the walls to the salt and pepper shakers shaped like Corona bottles on the tables, Old Town's Rehab Burger Therapy has a decidedly beach-y vibe. In fact, if it weren't for the cars driving by on Scottsdale Road, you'd probably swear you were in a coastal California town. Rehab's creative burger menu is just as playful as its decor. The Hangover Burger comes topped with a fried egg, bacon, Colby Jack cheese, and hatch green chili making it a spicy and Southwestern take on the usual bacon burger. The menu advises this is the perfect dish for a "tummy tainted from the night before," but we think it'll do just about any time of day.
6. The Southwest Burger at Joe's Farm Grill
Joe's Farm Grill in Gilbert manages to feel both retro and modern at once. The sleek gray exterior and vintage-looking neon sign are complemented by an industrial looking, open-air interior and sweeping patio. After ordering, you'll wait for you pager to buzz before picking up your food at the counter. And what do we love best about the spot's Southwest Burger? That it tastes so fresh. Sliced avocado and pico de gallo sit on top of a thick patty that's served with a heaping side of lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes — in fact, this burger comes with so many vegetables, it almost feels healthy. To boost things with a little Southwestern flavor, the burger patty comes covered in taco rub and smothered in a layer of chiptole mayo and pepperjack cheese.
5. Zinc Burger at Zinc Bistro
If it weren't for the Kierland Commons shoppers strolling by, we'd swear Scottsdale's Zinc Bistro was smack dab in the middle of Paris. The wicker chairs, tiny tables, and Eiffel Tower model inside all contribute to this spot's romantic and charming feel. Then again, we're almost positive Paris doesn't have burgers this great. The restaurant's signature burger is perfectly balanced. The kitchen sends it out open faced with a moist, thick patty topped with your choice of bacon blue cheese or truffled gruyere. The near-perfect patty sits on top of fresh tomatoes and lemon and garlic arugula, and it's all sandwiched between thick broiche buns. Our only advice: Make sure you head out early to get this burger since it's only served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
4. The Standard at The Stand
The Stand is one of the Arcadia neighborhood's dining staples thanks in part to its convenient drive-thru. The gray exterior of the wooden eatery off Indian School Road gives way to a light-filled interior that's sparsley decorated. And the menu here is about as small as the building it occupies. You can order tacos, burgers, shakes, and that's it. But sometimes that's all you need. The Standard burger features two beef patties topped with onions, lettuce, and The Stand Sauce—a Thousand Island-esqure sauce that adds a dab of tangy sweetness to the whole thing. From start to finish, each bite provides a satisfying crunch and classic flavors.
3. Delux Burger at Delux
Delux is a sleek, longstanding bar and restaurant on Camelback Road that gives the strip mall it calls home a welcome dose of glamour. Guests can choose to dine alfresco on the patio, at the blue-lit bar, or at one of the high-top booths . The menu will let you know that the beef on the signature Delux Burger is sourced from Niman Ranch and a toothpick stuck into the bun will drive home the point even further — not that you'll need to be reminded; you'll taste the difference after the first bite. Expect a rich patty that's topped with caramelized onions, pieces of applewood smoked bacon, a blend of Gruyere and Maytag blue cheeses. And because we're dealing with a glam-ed up burger here, it also comes topped with baby arugula and sandwiched in between a demi-baguette.
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2. Ultimate Dirty Burger at Wimpy's Paradise
Located in a tiny store front in downtown Chandler, Wimpy’s Paradise occupies a quieter, more narrow space than some of the area's other glitzier dining options. Step inside and you'll spot families, teenagers, and regulars on a first-name basis with the chatty owner, Randy. And when this spot's Ulimate Dirty Burger comes out on a paper plate, your first question will probably be: Where’s the beef? The answer is it’s buried under the spot’s signature spicy bean chili and topped with French's fried onions. It comes with a fork and knife so you can eat all the chili, then start on the two thick burger patties underneath. The entire thing is an indulgent delight. The chili provides just enough kick. The patties are moist. And somehow, the buns don't manage to get to soggy despite the weight of it all.
1. The Ramen Burger at Bitter & Twisted
The inventive cocktails at downtown's swankiest cocktail spot, Bitter & Twisted, are perfectly complemented by chef Bob Tam's creative food menu. The bar's take on New York's infamous ramen burger makes for one indulgent treat. The buns, made out of ramen noodles, give a satisfying crunch that's balanced out by a thick burger topped with egg, sesame soy, Sriracha soba, caramelized onions, pepper jack, and jalapeño mayo. Warning: Eating this burger gets messy. Every bite drips from the yolk and soy sauce, but that's why the folks at Bitter & Twisted provide a handy moist toilette to help you clean up.