The single best beef-delivery device in Philly? The cheesesteak, obviously... but burgers are a close second. The problem, though, is that with so many good burgers -- and new ones showing up all the time -- picking the best of them can be tough. If only someone would put together a list of the best burgers in Philadelphia right now, or something... Oh, wait! We did that.
Revolution TacoAddress and Info
There’s a not-so-secret burger on the menu at Revolution Taco: the Revolution Burger. Available only if you ask for it -- and limited to six per day -- the burger is made with a blend of Indian Ridge local dry-aged rib-eye and T-bone cuts and topped with house bacon, Cooper cheese, roasted poblano crema, and avocado chimichurri sauce. The bacon is made from Stryker Farm pork belly that's cured in-house with garlic and cascabel chilies, all served on a brioche roll from Breakin Bread Bakery. Hungry yet? Thought so...
Village WhiskeyAddress and Info
For a limited time (think end-of-July-ish) you can try the All-American burger at Village Whiskey, a souped-up take on your standard backyard BBQ burger. It’s topped with smoked cheddar, house-made whiskey-cured bacon (two things we really like), caramelized onion aioli, and a side of onion rings. Y-yeah… that's exactly what we’re making in our backyard...
Beast of Northeast (Philly)
The Blue DuckAddress and Info
The folks at The Blue Duck have always made some of our favorite burgers in the city, and the new(ish) Beast of Northeast (Philly) is no exception. Featuring a patty made with a mix of house ground beef and wild boar, the burger comes on a brioche bun and is topped with sweet tomato jam, smoked Gouda cheese, crispy Sriracha fried onions, and bacon. It’s the second-most popular burger on the menu, behind perennial favorite, the Pork Roll Burger.
Shake ShackAddress and Info
University City & Rittenhouse
Unless you’ve been living under a rather large rock, you’ve probably had Shake Shack at this point. It is, after all, one of the fastest-growing burger chains in the country. And there’s a reason for that meteoric rise: the burgers are damn good. Our current pick at Shake Shack is the Bacon CheddarShack, which combines two of our favorite things, bacon and cheese. You won’t win any hipster cred by eating at Shake Shack, but who cares... you’ll be perfectly contented with your choice when you're full of delicious meats and cheese.
Fountain PorterAddress and Info
Fountain Porter might be the perfect neighborhood bar. There’s a great selection of rotating craft beer, a long wooden bar with stools (essential for any respectable establishment), and one of the best burgers in Philly. It’s not overly complicated -- just a quarter-pound of meat, lettuce, tomato, and American cheese on a potato roll -- but holy hell, is it good. Salty, a little bit crispy where it needs to be -- this is a classic burger worth seeking out. And that’s without mentioning that it’s only $5. Nothing this good should be that cheap.
P’unk BurgerAddress and Info
It's likely blisteringly hot outside right now… like, surface-of-the-sun hot ("heat dome"???). And while some think you should only eat cold food when the temps are high, science tells us that we should actually be eating hot things to cool down our core temperature, or something. We'll take the bait, particularly because of our love of P'unk Burger's Jalapeno burger, a spicy collab with the folks at 1732 Meats. The organic patty is topped with 1732’s jalapeño bacon, jalapeño jack cheese, cilantro, and house-made pico de gallo.
Royal TavernAddress and Info
Unfortunately, Royal Tavern’s run of Bob’s Burgers-inspired creations has taken a temporary hiatus. While we eagerly anticipate its return, you’ll have to settle for either one of its other rotating special burgers, or the always-available Angus Burger with caramelized onions, smoked Gouda, pickled longhots, and chile mayonnaise.
Sassafras BarAddress and Info
Almost unassumingly nestled on 2nd St in Old City is Sassafras Bar, and while it may be better known for its live jazz music and old-school vibe, its kitchen is turning out some mean burgers, with options ranging from traditional to more unconventional choices like bison and ostrich. Go with the ostrich -- the lean cut makes for an excellent, still-juicy alternative to the standard beef burger we've all had 1,000 times.
Weekly burger special
Rex 1516Address and Info
We’d like to tell you which burger is the best at Rex 1516, but by the time you're reading this, the special will have changed. Here’s what you need to know: every Tuesday, chef Justin Swain will announce the George Thorogood-inspired burger, beer, and shot special for $15. Regardless of when you go, it’s gonna be a damn good burger.
Whetstone TavernAddress and Info
Even though Whetstone Tavern has only been open for a few months doesn’t mean it can’t compete with the city's burger heavyweights. In fact, the new restaurant from the team at Brauhaus Schmitz has a legitimate claim to the burger throne with Dad’s Burger, available as a single or a double, with Cooper cheese, a tomato slab, crispy pickles, and refreshing iceberg "slaw" on a potato roll. Don’t wuss out; order the double. You'll be happy you did.
P & K Cheeseburger
Pub & KitchenAddress and Info
Long gone are the days of the Windsor burger -- a crowd favorite -- but the kitchen at P & K still makes one of the best meatwiches in the city. Made with house-ground chuck and topped with lettuce, onions, sharp cheese, and pickle, it’s another classic combo done really, really well.
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1. Revolution Taco2015 Walnut St, Philadelphia
2. Village Whiskey118 S 20th St, Philadelphia
3. Blue Duck Tavern1201 24th St NW, Washington
4. Shake Shack3200 Chestnut St, Philadelphia
5. Fountain Porter1601 S 10th St, Philadelphia
6. P’unk Burger1823 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia
7. Royal Tavern937 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia
8. Sassafras Bar48 S 2nd St, Philadelphia
9. Rex 15161516 South St, Philadelphia
10. Whetstone Tavern700 S 5th St, Philadelphia
11. Pub & Kitchen1946 Lombard St, Philadelphia
Revolution Taco in Rittenhouse is an unassuming, fast-casual newcomer that serves fresh tacos (and a hidden burger) with surprising fillings, including beef tongue and pork shoulder. This place will satisfy all palates, from the tenacious “I only eat beef” to the adventurous “Gimme all you got.” There are tasty tofu and mushroom options for vegetarians, too. The servings are heartier than typical tacos and come in four degrees of spiciness, and there's also a BYOB policy at this counter service spot.
Village Whiskey is an American gastropub vision of James Beard Award-winning Chef Jose Garces. Standing proudly on a bustling corner of Rittenhouse, this old-school pub with a masculine air does two things best: Burgers and Whiskey. Together. There are a few bar snacks and entrees on the menu alongside a full raw bar, but what the people really want from this place is the simple yet entirely indulgent All-American Burger with (of course) whiskey-cured bacon to match their 200+ bottle selection of whiskeys and prohibition-era cocktails.
A popular brunch, lunch, and dinner spot inside the West End's Park Hyatt, the Blue Duck Tavern offers up hearty fare with the likes of pork belly, short rib hash, and apple pie on the menu. Herald the arrival of spring by brunching al fresco on their outdoor patio, where you might sneak a peek at some seasonal flora and fauna (including a small family of those eponymous ducks!).
The New York City equivalent to Los Angeles' In-N-Out, Shake Shack is the modern-day answer to the 50s soda shop and burger joint. The influx of college kids from the nearby UPenn campus will tell you, this is the chain to devote yourself to, for its ideally palm-sized, paper-wrapped, utterly Instagram-able burgers alone. The branded bag you get with your to-go order (with the milkshake flavor of the week, of course) makes an accessory any New Yorker would be proud of as you step across the block to eat in Hill Square.
This classic little corner spot in Dickinson Narrows doesn't bother much with aesthetics: it's wood-paneled walls remains almost bare after years, and its short, simple menu barely lays claim to the restaurant's brand at all, but that's the charm of Fountain Porter. You always know what you're getting here, and the taste speaks for itself. The daily happy hours will get you a tall, frosty local brew and one of the city's best burgers for just a couple bucks.
Given its name, P'unk Burger is much brighter than you'd expect it to be with striped green walls and light-green painted chairs. The Passyunk (ah, we see what they did there) spot does, however, have one quality that is utterly punk-rock -- authenticity. Their patties are made from entirely grass-fed beef and hormone- and pesticide-free produce (they offer vegan and veggie options, too). Even their ice creams and sodas are locally sourced or fair trade.
The unassuming, minimally labeled outside of this Passyunk place gives way to a classic, deep red pub on the inside where the Angus Burger reigns king. The small, laid-back crowd of regulars who know about Royal Tavern line the full-service bar in the afternoon and late night to get a bite of rare beef and bacon, caramelized onions, smoked gouda, pickled longhots, and chile mayonnaise. They don't dare forget the side of thick, crispy fries with a sprinkling of Old Bay, either.
A true bar for old souls, Sassafras Bar's Old City spot feels like the Baz Luhrmann Great Gatsby film with a combination of 20s sophistication and modern-day glamour. It calls itself, "your father's bar," but that doesn't stop numerous crowds of all ages from gathering here for a classic cocktail made with old-school bartender showmanship -- and probably to get their hands on one of the beloved, rare tenderloin burgers.
From the crew behind Jet Wine Bar, Rex 1516 is a breezy 35-seater that pairs an interior reminiscent of a derelict mansion (wrought iron chandeliers, antique mirrors, distressed woodwork) with a Mobile-bred, chef-prepped menu that covers all the Deep South culinary bases. With ongoing whiskey specials and a killer burger (and a home run mac n’ cheese), you get both killer food and drink under one roof.
Queen Village's most delightfully polished brasserie hosts an airy space bedecked in white, pastels, and gold metallic accents, and lends itself to European-inspired dishes with just as much flair in presentation. Seared duck breast, rabbit tetrazzini, and even the house specialty Dad's Burger are just as pleasurable to look at as they are to eat -- but given their unbeatable taste and the the three classically trained chefs who prepare them, you probably won't be looking for too long.
Pub & Kitchen's name pretty much says it for you -- this chic corner eatery in south Rittenhouse houses a homely kitchen and restaurant in the front of house, serving a simple menu of bar snacks and game- and vegetable-heavy dishes like rabbit meatballs and cornish chicken. In the back of house lies a dark, polished pub decked in black paint and wall-to-wall brown leather booths, serving up the same dishes from the kitchen plus a handful of wines, draft beers, and seasonal specialty cocktails.