All summer long, I have searched the Valley for the best burgers that this place has to offer -- from Gilbert's Agritopia to the west side of Phoenix.
Despite the wide range of burger joints I tried, there were still places I, unfortunately, was unable to get to. Rehab Burger Therapy, Delux, and Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers were just a few places I planned to visit. While I may be done writing this column, I will hopefully check off every last one of those restaurants sooner rather than later.
And after numerous burgers, fries and onion rings, I think a recap is in order, so here are some of the best burgers in town, ranked by category.
Best Patty: Bink's Midtown Out of all the burgers I tried, there was just one that wasn't solely based on ground beef. Now, I love a nice slab of ground chuck, but to infuse bacon into the patty is, just as they say in the South, lagniappe. Both Zinc Bistro and the Grind made things interesting with their blend of hamburger and spices. Yet, neither could compete with the tender, succulent bacon burger. I mean, there was bacon in the patty. That's just tough to beat.
Best Toppings: The Attic Though I didn't care much for the overcooked beef, I still enjoyed The Attic's mounds of toppings. Along with mixed greens and tomato, there were the succulent bacon strips, a chipotle mayo for a little kick, the crunchy fried onions, and, of course, the fried egg. And once the yolk breaks and starts dripping off the side, it's definitely a tough burger to set down.
Best Bun: Zinc Bistro It seems that the brioche bun has become the choice of most restaurants as a hamburger bun, and who can blame them, but no one seems to do it better than Zinc's. The Attic's salty pretzel bun was a nice change of pace, but it can't compete with Zinc's. A soft, fluffy exterior, along with a bold, rich flavor make these buns the optimal home for a patty.
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Best Side: Rocket Burger Out of all the categories this was by far my hardest decision. Joe's Farm Grill's garlic fries and Zinc's pomme frites with smoke paprika aioli were both heavenly, but Rocket Burger takes the cake for their cornmeal-battered onion rings. The sweet and salty coating combined with tender strings of onion is served best right alongside a burger.
Best Price: Bink's Midtown The price during lunch may creep up to $12, but during happy hour, which at Bink's is from 2:30 to 6 p.m., the price drops all the way to $8, which is absolutely absurd. But if you're more of a conventional lunchtime eater, then Joe's or Rocket Burger is the place to go, where $10 can take you a long way.
I would like to thank those who continued to read my column through the thick and the thin. (And, especially in the beginning, I know it was a little thin, or thick -- depending on the definition.) I have enjoyed writing about and devouring all sorts of burgers and couldn't think of a better way to spend my summer.