There's much more to the dietary habits of Massachusetts than seafood and Fluff. Like any state worth its salt, we've got a wide range of grilled red meat to showcase. From funky to fancy, these are the 19 best burgers you'll be seeking out in the Commonwealth.
The Pub (address and info) Amherst The Pub has been feeding rowdy and ravenous UMass students for almost 50 years, and it keeps the hordes happy with eight substantial burger offerings. The mightiest weapon in its arsenal is the Cheese Excaliburg, both for its tasty heft and its gangsta-Medieval name. Smite your hunger with this classic 1/2lb burger smothered in American cheese and garnished with the basics (lettuce, tomato, pickle). It comes with your choice of hand-cut Idaho Russet Burbank French fries or homemade potato salad.
The Paris Burger
MET Back Bay (address and info) Boston (Back Bay) MET’s Burger Bar, available at lunch in the dining room or anytime at its actual bar, takes you on a trip around the world with six city-themed burgers. Next stop: Paris. The house prime blend, grilled to perfection, supports the decadence of Brie, fried egg, caramelized onions, and truffle mayo. You should also consider visiting Tokyo, an East-meets-West hybrid of avocado, muenster, pickled onions, sticky soy, daikon sprouts, and wasabi mayo.
Post 390 Burger
Post 390 Burger (address and info) Boston (Back Bay) For a Ron Swanson-style evening, pull up a stool at the downstairs dark-wood man-cave tavern, ease into your favorite brew or whiskey, and get your hands on Post’s eponymous burger. This tribute to New England begins with Maine grass-fed beef and Vermont cheddar, but the rest is up to you. Choose wisely between bacon, avocado, bleu cheese, caramelized onions, and/or sautéed portobello mushrooms for $2 each. The golden brown steakhouse fries are 100% legit and will crank your glassy-eyed food buzz up to 11.
Tip Tap Room (address and info) Boston (Beacon Hill) Going to the Tip Tap Room is like going on safari due to the constant stampede of wild game on the menu (ostrich steak, venison loin, etc). You’ll probably stumble upon boar and bison burger specials, but the Steak Burger is always welcoming. The succulent house grind is lightly coated in a tangy trifecta of veal demi, A1 aioli, and Tip Tap dressing, a one-of-a kind flavor combo. In case you require a fourth fixin’, have your patty topped with beer-cheese sauce for $3.
The Bancroft (address and info) Burlington A bona fide chophouse has to have a bona fide burger, and The Bancroft does not disappoint. It's going the direct no-nonsense route with a hulking 9oz prime chuck patty covered in cave-aged cheddar and parked on a brioche bun. Then there’s the house-made ketchup providing vinegary zip to both the crunchy fries and the juicy beef. The most appropriate dessert in this scenario is Bancroft’s Sundae of the Month.
Alden & Harlow (address and info) Cambridge (Harvard Square) Okay, okay… this one isn’t much of a secret anymore, but each component is made with love in-house: 8oz of smoky Creekstone Farms beef (brisket, short rib, & beef plate), a zesty special sauce (inspired by Chef Scelfo’s grandma), bread & butter pickles (grandma’s too), and a crispy Cabot cheese tuile rest comfortably on a toasted bun with onions and Little Gem lettuce. The daily burger supply is limited, so go early for your fix.
The Bar Burger
Craigie on Main (address and info) Cambridge (Central Square) What started as a guarded whisper at the bar many moons ago is now a national sensation bordering on obsession. It’s still not on the official menu, but everyone knows it’s there. The grass-fed beef blend -- sourced from two small local farms -- is umami-rific and includes suet, marrow, and dehydrated miso powder. Once hand-formed, the patty takes a steam bath before being seared on a plancha. It has crispy onions, house-made buns and ketchup, and cheddar… and there are only about 20 of them made each day, so get in early.
Red Nun Bar & Grill (address and info) Chatham and Dennis Port With two Cape locations, you double your chances to score Red Nun’s crave-worthy hamburgers after you hit the beach. The Nun Burger, bundled inside a giant English muffin, comes fully loaded with 7oz of Angus beef, sautéed onions and mushrooms, cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and red onion. Other noteworthy noshes: the Marsala, bathed in mushroom demi-glaze Marsala (plus Swiss and bacon), and the Fire & Ice, a diabolical thriller with avocado, ghost pepper cheddar, and ranch dressing.
80 Thoreau Burger & Fries (address and info) Concord With a showcase of New England ingredients jazzed by French techniques, 80 Thoreau strikes the delicate balance between laid-back and refined, just like its eponymous burger (on the Bar Bites menu). The 80/20 Niman Ranch grind goes down very smoothly with the help of 1yr-aged Grafton cheddar, Thoreau Sauce (spicy mustard aioli), and an Iggy’s brioche bun. The fries and ketchup are made in-house, as are the pickles with seasonally changing veggies. Since you’re treating yourself, sink into an All Right Manhattan with Rittenhouse rye, Carpano Antica, and orange bitters.
Local Break (address and info) Eastham One of the newer joints in Eastham, Local Break has quickly become the go-to spot for burgers on the Cape. The House Burger is a triumph with ground short-rib and chuck, cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, a house-caramelized onion relish, and bacon-mayo on buttery toasted brioche. Standard sides include fries, slaw, baby green salad, or broccoli salad, but a $3 upgrade nabs you sweet-potato fries with Cajun maple dipping sauce. Wash all that down with one of 10+ super-local drafts like Cape Cod Red ale or Newburyport Green Head IPA.
Gibbet Hill Farm Burger
Gibbet Hill Grill (address and info) Groton It’s fitting that this farm-to-fork outfit resides in a renovated cattle barn and sizzles with serious steaks and mouth-watering burgers. The Gibbet Hill Farm Burger pulls double meat duty and features an 8oz patty-and-pork belly confit tied together by a slab of smoked Gouda and roasted red pepper mayonnaise. Natural cut fries and farm-fresh slaw are along for the countryside ride, and you should also order GHG's onion rings… because onion rings.
The Fatty Melt
Max Burger (address and info) Longmeadow If hamburgers were invented for one purpose only, it’s so that the delicious insanity of the Fatty Melt could exist. It's a 1/2lb Certified Humane Angus burger girded by two grilled-cheese sandwiches (with tomato and applewood-smoked bacon). If you're looking for some spice, the BlackJack ignites your taste buds with the fiery merger of blackened burger, jalapeño jack cheese, roasted green chiles, guac, and honey-chipotle onions.
The Old Court (address and info) Lowell Lowell was the cradle of the American industrial revolution, and the burgers at Old Court could start (and feed) a revolution of their own. The very Irish OC piles the proteins on The Old Court Rebel Burger, a flame-broiled half-pounder crowned with bacon, fried egg, and corned beef. So that’s cow, pig, chicken, and more cow nestled under a blanket of melted cheddar. Before you chow down on the whole barnyard, propose a toast with a properly poured Guinness.
The "Sin" Burger
The Blue Ox (address and info) Lynn There’s a reason why people voted The "Sin" Burger as the back-to-back champ (2013, 2014) at Boston Magazine’s Battle of the Burger. Chef Matt O’Neil takes prime beef and dresses it to impress with applewood-smoked bacon, Swiss, truffle aioli, lettuce, and tomato on brioche. Herb French fries and spicy Maitland Mountain Farm pickles are next-level accompaniments for this award-winning sammy. The Blue Ox Burger (two 1/4lb patties stuffed with gorgonzola dolce) is no slouch either.
The Plymouth Rock
KKatie’s Burger Bar (address and info) Marshfield, Plymouth The Pilgrims only wished they had it this good. Here’s how this towering titan stacks up: take one 1/4lb burger and layer it with American cheese and cherry wood-smoked bacon, and repeat that THREE MORE TIMES. Then KKatie’s throws on some crispy onion rings and special sauce for good measure. You’re going to need a spotter, a ton of napkins, and probably a nap.
White Hut (address and info) Springfield When you’re out cruising the scenic highways of Massachusetts and pining for majorly gratifying grub, head straight to White Hut. Since 1939, generations have flocked to this wee old-school diner for its wares, and all those generations can’t be wrong. The real magic happens courtesy of the griddled caramelized onions that grace every bite. It’s cheeseburger nirvana.
R.F. O’Sullivan & Son (address and info) Somerville The pride of Somerville and frequent Best of Boston burger winner, R.F. O’Sullivan’s cranks out 400lbs of burgers each week… and it takes it 20-plus minutes to lovingly craft and grill each order. So be patient when you’re waiting for your Texas Burger. A 1/2lb of fresh-ground sirloin dons a cowboy hat of bacon, tomato, and slightly sweet homemade slaw, while the Texas-sized Sully’s fries ride shotgun. There are 27 other pre-designed options, like the House Burger (ham and bacon) and the Radish Burger (tangy radish sauce), all under $10.
Strip-T’s Restaurant (address and info) Watertown Behind that down-to-Earth storefront, Strip-T’s equally down-to-Earth menu humbly contrasts Chef Tim Maslow’s out-of-this-world Asian-infused cuisine. The Strip-T’s Burger goes intergalactic with chuck, skirt steak, and fatty beef cheek fueled by smoked miso, lemon aioli, and mind-bending house-made pickled onions. It comes with fries, but any expedition to Strip-T’s also warrants some Moxie Wings, gravy fries, and cookies.
The Fix Burger Bar(address and info) Worcester Worcester’s first true burger bar features a comprehensive list of toppers (50+), rib-sticking apps (e.g., Potato Chip Short Rib Nachos), and spiked slow-churned ice-cream milkshakes. Silence your grumbling stomach with The Crunchy, a two-hander maxed out with fried prosciutto, Parmesan crisp, and potato chips on a sesame roll. He who pulls the knife from the burger shall become king!
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