Where Can I Find America’s Best Hamburgers?
I’m about to take a month-long road trip with a couple of buddies. We’d like to turn it into a junk food tour of America. Where can we find the best hamburgers?
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
A road trip isn’t a road trip unless your cholesterol levels hit the roof by the end of it. I, too, am a big fan of eating ground cow when I’m traveling. The following trusty burgers are practically worth the drive by themselves. And as a bonus, I’ve provided an adventurous side trip for each stop to help you work off the calories.
America’s Best Hamburgers: DuMont Burger
Where better to start a hamburger road trip than New York City? DuMont Burger, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, puts a fancy face on America’s favorite sandwich by serving it on a tasty (but not too bready) brioche bun and giving you the option of adding upscale toppings like avocado salad and gruyere cheese. (dumontburger.com). The restaurant is cozy and most of the seating is at counters, though there’s some outdoors too. Crowds can form if you don’t go early.
Work off the calories: Very little in New York City is cheap, which makes the free kayaking on the East River, offered at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, that much better.
America’s Best Hamburgers: Hillbilly Hot Dogs
Just north of Huntington, West Virginia, in the town of Lesage, you’ll find Hillbilly Hot Dogs, a down-home country joint known for colossal dogs like the 15-inch Home Wrecker. But its burgers are just as amazing (and gluttonous). The Bubba Single Wide is made from a five-pound beef patty. Dining options include outdoor picnic tables, or the inside of two old church buses joined together.
Work off the calories: Woodsy 3,100-acre Beech Fork State Park is one of the most popular mountain bike areas in the region. The rollercoaster trails are rooty and challenging. Jeff’s Bike Shop in Huntington can provide more information.
America’s Best Hamburgers: Booches Billiard Hall
The first time I stepped into Booches, in Columbia, Missouri, was when Mrs. Adventure Adviser was a student at the University of Missouri. When people told me the burgers there were “famous,” I thought maybe throughout the county, not the country. Boy, was I wrong. This little college-town dive serves their tiny, sloppy, juicy cheeseburgers on wax paper, not plates. The biggest challenge is knowing when to stop popping them in your mouth. Cash only.
Work off the calories: Take a run on the Katy Trail, a rail trail covered in crushed limestone that skirts town as part of its 237-mile course across Missouri’s mid-section.
America’s Best Hamburgers: Cherry Cricket
Though gimmicky toppings are usually the sign of a bland burger, that doesn’t hold at the Cherry Cricket in Denver. There are 25 different toppings you can place on your half-pound Cricket Burger, ranging from the usual (white cheddar) to the interesting (herbed cream cheese) to the downright peculiar (peanut butter).
Work off the calories: Go for a trail run on the seven-mile Green Mountain loop, just outside the city in 2,400-acre William F. Hayden Park in Lakewood. You’ll climb 800 feet to the 6,800-foot peak along the way. You’ll be running through rolling grasslands, not woods, so bring sunscreen.