Food & Drink

The Best Burgers in Detroit Right Now

Published On 08/11/2015 Published On 08/11/2015
Townhouse Birmingham Detroit
Townhouse Burger | Aly Berman

Detroit, you don't need another list with Miller's, Redcoat Tavern, Motz's, Telway, Green Dot, Bronx Bar, etc., etc., on it. You already know they’ve got great burgers. But there are a lot of new restaurants in metro Detroit, and a lot of other burgers -- some new, some old standbys -- that are worthy of your attention.

Townhouse Burger

Townhouse

Address and Info

Downtown

Have you been to the new mini-Las Vegas in Downtown Detroit? It's called Townhouse, and it's quite the dining experience, right down to the neon and the highly conscious Detroit theme, which is handy in case you ever forget what city you're in. If you thought this new location would be anything at all like the old Birmingham spot, you were so, so, sooooooooooo wrong. One thing the two locations do have in common, though, is the much-applauded Townhouse Burger: 10oz of a proprietary blend of 28-day-aged steak cuts, prepared daily and hand-pattied to order, served on an "authentic Plugra butter brioche bun" (psst, that’s a fancy European-style butter), and topped with bourbon-glazed onions and aged white cheddar. It just sounds sexy, you know? Plus, THAT PATIO.

Ivette Gerstenschlager - Gersh Design

The Taproom burger

Rochester Tap Room

Address and Info

Rochester

There's a new beer bar in Rochester, and it's worth your precious time to visit. With 60 taps -- the most in Oakland County -- the beer selection has a lot of love for Michigan and keeps it interesting with an ever-changing lineup of unique, hard-to-find beers from Michigan and all over the world. A beer program like this deserves a thoughtful gastropub menu that goes beyond standard bar fare, and chef Travis Waynick delivers, especially on the signature Taproom burger: a half-pound Angus patty with aged cheddar, house bacon, stout mustard, and sweet & spicy pickles on an artisan baked roll.

Courtesy of Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery Detroit

JP Burger

Jolly Pumpkin

Address and Info

Midtown

Tart beers pair well with decadent, fatty items... at least that's what you should tell yourself when you order the JP Burger, topped with cambozola cheese, smoked bacon, cremini mushrooms, and tomatoes on a challah roll. That is, of course, once you've figured out how to order it. Follow the "order here" signs. It's not that hard, we promise!

Cornerstone Barrel House

Barrel Burger

Cornerstone Barrel House

Address and Info

Downtown

It's a whiskey bar and a sports bar and (downstairs) a techno bar, and soon, also a jazz bar. OK, so it's a little of this and a little of that, but there is one thing that is consistent: the food. It's a step up from your average whatever bar. The Barrel Burger, made from a Prime custom beef blend and dressed with "Barrel Sauce," aged cheddar, and LTO, is proof.

Courtesy of Campau Tower

Double Tower Burger

Campau Tower

Address and Info

Hamtramck

It's a tower of a burger, for sure, and when you're stumbling from one of the local watering establishments sometime after 2am, it is a godsend. Get it with a fried egg and bacon on top and go all in.

Ale Mary's

Duck Confit Poutine Burger

Ale Mary's Beer Hall

Address and Info

Royal Oak

THERE IS POUTINE ON THE BURGER. And not just any poutine! Ohh, no no no no no. Duck confit poutine. ON the burger! If that's not a reason to eat it, then we're just out of damn reasons.

Gold Cash Gold

GCG Burger

Gold Cash Gold

Address and Info

Corktown

Gold Cash Gold specializes in no-fuss food that secretly has quite a lot of fuss behind it, and that's what makes it all so brilliant. Its burger -- called the "GCG Burger" -- is available on the brunch and lunch menus, and features two grass-fed patties, pimento cheese sauce, iceberg lettuce, Thousand Island dressing, and bread & butter pickles on a house-made pretzel bun. It's a classic burger with a gourmand's twist, and that's really what GCG is all about.

Courtesy of One-Eyed Betty's

Betty Burger

One-Eyed Betty's

Address and Info

Ferndale

Betty's is damn proud of its burger, and it should be: it's been named one of the best burgers in Detroit by a slew of local publications, and has earned every accolade it has accumulated. It is topped with bacon, sharp cheddar, garlic aioli, greens, tomato, and onion, and served with hand-cut fries, and is just the beginning at this multi-tap beer bar with food that goes beyond the usual boring bar fare with a menu that expertly complements its fine craft beers.

Courtesy of Hopcat

Paddy Melt Burger

HopCat Detroit

Address and Info

Midtown

HopCat is always rotating its burger menu, each one more confoundingly delicious than the next. The current iteration: the Paddy Melt. Though we're nowhere near St. Paddy's Day, this burger is just as debaucherous, stacking corned beef on top of two patties with Wisconsin Swiss and cheddar cheese. The beer-laden vegetable toppings, stout carmelized onions and porter mushrooms, follow thematically in tow. While you're there, don't skip the Crack Fries!

Courtesy of Downtown Louie's

The Balkan

Downtown Louie's Lounge

Address and Info

Downtown

If it's lamb you really want, then go with The Balkan at Louie's, which is topped with roasted Hungarian peppers and garlic yogurt on a rustic Old World bun, and served with a side of Albanian salad (made with tomatoes and cucumbers), and really isn’t... sorry’boutthis!... baaaaaaaaaa-ad.

Dime Store

Pork burger

Dime Store

Address and Info

Midtown

So, it's not a beef burger, it’s a pork burger... and that's, like, even better! This sucker boasts a 6oz house-made pork patty with onion, arugula, smoked Gouda, and peach mustard on a brioche bun. If for some reason you're being un-American, Dime Store still has a pretty damn tasty old-fashioned beef burger sourced from Knight's Market in Ann Arbor, which has some of the best beef in the state.

Clubhouse BFD

Nifty's Choice

Clubhouse BFD

Address and Info

Rochester Hills

Clubhouse BFD has made a name for itself with its beer, landing on DRAFT magazine's annual list of 100 best beer bars in the country every year since it opened. It truly has one of the finest beer selections in the state, even with HopCat's 1,000-handle East Lansing location (or whatever). But! It doesn't just take its beer seriously here. It takes everything seriously here, including the burgers. The Nifty's Choice is made with aged cheddar, thick-cut bacon, BFD sauce, and topped with an onion ring. The BFD sauce is Clubhouse's version of "special sauce," which is standard-issue burger fare. BFD's might not be the most outlandish burger on this list, but it is damn tasty and among metro Detroit's best of both the old and new guard.

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Nicole Rupersburg is a freelance writer who lives in Vegas but spends her summers in Detroit eating burgers, presumably, and posting photos to Instagram.

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1. Townhouse Detroit 500 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

Two bars, a wraparound patio, and just over 300 seats set the scene at Townhouse, a bustling pub restaurant in downtown Detroit. It has a sister location in Birmingham, but the only the thing the two have in common is the much-lauded Townhouse Burger: a 10oz blend of dry-aged steak served on a buttered brioche roll and topped with bourbon-glazed onions and aged white cheddar. Though the all-American burger is what's most cited here, the menu boasts an extensive selection of dumplings, sushi, and appetizers served on a strolling dim sum cart.

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2. Rochester Tap Room 6870 N Rochester Rd, Troy, MI 48085

This suburban bar in Troy boasts 60 taps, 100 wines, a cocktail menu, and an extensive list of savory food pairings. The largely Michigan-sourced beer might be the main attraction, but the space itself is a point of attraction: barrels, plush bar stools, exposed brick, and dim lighting all dress the room in a Prohibition-era vibe. It's enough to make you forget all 6,000 square feet are packed into the middle of a strip mall.

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3. Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery 441 W Canfield St, Detroit, MI 48201 (Midtown)

Sour oak-aged ales and brews are the focal point here, but a hearty selection of salads, sandwiches, and pizzas with creative toppings like creamed shiitakes, hand-pulled mozzarella, and Korean short rib with scallions. In the spirit of roundtable pizza dineries, pies, as well as beers, can be consumed at communal picnic tables in a room lined with huge windows that lend the pub an airy and cafeteria-like social mood.

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4. Cornerstone Barrel House 1456 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

Upstairs from the Whiskey Disco in Oslo's old restaurant space is Cornerstone Barrel House, a stylish urban-rustic bar with an extensive selection of whiskeys, bourbons, and Scotches, that'll serve your favorites, as well as rarer labels. It's a go-to spot for bourbon fanatics, but the casual, narrow bar, clad with barrels and a holistic menu of unexpected bar eats (potato pierogi soup, corned beef) is a hit for the whole crowd.

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5. Campau Tower 10337 Joseph Campau Ave, Detriot, MI 48212

Brought to you by the people behind Rock City Eatery, Campau Tower is an old-school diner reborn into decidedly more masculine and gritty digs. Burgers rule this menu at this dive; go HAM on Juicy Lucys, the best coney chili in Detroit, onion rings, tots, and, of course, their own take on the Detroit Dog.

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6. Ale Mary's 318 S Main St, Royal Oak, MI 48067 (Royal Oak)

Designed for the beer aficionado, Ale Mary's is decorated with kegs, beer-related photography, a beer bottle cap wall, and even beer-infused food. Of course, there're also almost 100 kinds of beers in total you can enjoy with it, including generic and niche stouts, ales, IPAs, and porters to fit every palette. And while beer-battered fries and multi-taps are nothing new, a classy and upscale place to enjoy all your beer-related goods makes this spot a novel find.

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7. Gold Cash Gold 2100 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

Gold Cash Gold, named for the pawn shop that previously occupied the space, serves up farm-fresh American fare in the cleverly repurposed space. GCG kept the shop’s iconic exterior murals and signage and even used salvaged wood from the old shop, along with warehouse windows re-welded and set with stained glass, and serves a menu just as timeless and unique. Whether you stop in for brunch or dinner, expect to find upscale dishes like Buttermilk Soup au Lait (pistachio dumplings with a pecorino crisp), dry-aged duck with tequila red beans, pork sausage, sweet potato purée, and chilis, and pickle-brine fried chicken and waffle with homemade ranch. Keep an eye out for the fresh-baked daily doughnut that’s definitely worth the calories.

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8. One-Eyed Betty's 175 W Troy St, Ferndale, MI 48220 (Ferndale)

Answering the prayers of those who crave craft brews and top-notch bar food at 12am on a Tuesday, O-EB's a raucous ale den loaded with communal picnic tables, spacious leather booths, a trifecta of classic pinball machines, a stocked jukebox, and an unfinished beer cap mural you can contribute to.

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9. Hopcat Detroit 4265 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201 (Midtown)

The Hopcat brand is rapidly expanding all over the Midwest, and Detroit's was one of the most buzzed-about openings possibly ever. The bar is located in the former Agave space, with a world-record tap takeover of the wildly popular Short's Brewing Company (120 of the 130 available taps). The two-story beer temple also includes an all-season beer garden; a live music venue, the Huma Room; and it is adorned in world-class art, commissioned from local artists.

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10. Downtown Louie's 30 Clifford St, Detroit, MI 48226

The gray of the exterior evokes classical themes, while the interior might suggest a steakhouse, but the menu, once sampled, is unmistakably traditional American. You wouldn't be docked for trying out this Downtown restaurant for the former two qualities though: the interior space is gorgeous, completely designed with dark wood, and features a second-floor fireplace, a beautiful bar set with yellow quartz, and posh leather cushions. The food here gives you plenty excuse to sink into your seats too, and includes main courses like bistro steak, linguine, and Louie's own take on fish and chips.

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11. Republic Tavern 1942 Grand River, Detroit, MI 48226

Located in the historic G.A.R. Building and overseen by Chef Kate Williams, Republic is a rustic-yet-refined tavern with a menu offering items like aged beef tartare, bone marrow fritters, beef tallow fries, rabbit pot pie, duck pastrami, and a whole roasted chicken for four.

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12. Dime Store 719 Griswold St, Detroit, MI 48226

This American brunch bar, located inside the Chrysler house, offers a trendy downtown meal at an affordable price, packed with gourmet ingredients. The space is high-ceilinged and festooned with eclectic wall art, neon lights, and a bright color palette that evokes mimosas. As if the menu of omelettes and sandwiches weren't telling enough, the meal du jour here is breakfast and lunch, with a side of booze (even beermosas!), and it's all by way of Detroit. If you're curious where any of your courses come from, look to the last page of the menu, which lists all of its midwestern sources. Midwestern gastropub fare

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13. Clubhouse BFD 2265 Crooks Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 48309

With easily one of the best (if not THE best) beer selection in the state, Clubhouse BFD is a shrine to craft beer and proof that microbreweries are well-established in Detroit. While over 180 beers from across the country are on offer, Michigan-based brews are the focus here, including options from Perrin Brewing Co. and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. The clubhouse also takes its food pairings seriously, serving umami-laden bites like the Nifty's Choice burger topped with aged cheddar, thick-cut bacon, BFD sauce, and an onion ring.

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