San Diego is home to many excellent burgers, but few make an impression equal to the seven mammoth beef and bun creations outlined below. All of these glorious (and more than a little dangerous) burgers are big enough to haunt your dreams (and possibly nightmares). From full-pounders named after mythical sea creatures to plus-size creations stuffed with bacon and mashed potatoes, these seven giant burgers are waiting to meet you.
High DiveAddress and Info
Designed by bar owner Ingrid Alvarez and her husband Yuseff Cherney (COO and head brewer of Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits) during a Bloody Mary-filled brunch, this burger behemoth stars a 1lb patty of Angus chuck topped with grilled onions, four strips of bacon, and about a cup of blue cheese. Instead of the standard-issue bun, it’s sandwiched between two PB&J sandwiches -- sriracha-infused peanut butter and strawberry jam on toasted bread, that is. It’s savory, it’s salty, and it’s sweet, but most of all, it’s shockingly delicious.
"30 Buck Chuck"
The Patio on GoldfinchAddress and Info
Made with a 10oz patty of hand-formed Kobe, filet mignon, and prime rib, this burger from The Patio delivers on size and quality. On top, there’s Huntsman cheese (a gourmet variety that looks a bit like layer cake), Iberico ham, a sunny-side-up duck egg and fancy veggies (heirloom tomatoes and frisée). With the black truffle brioche bun and side of fries taken into account, it could very well be worth the $30 price tag.
Double bacon cheeseburger
Hodad’sAddress and Info
Ocean Beach, East Village, and Petco Park
This deeply satisfying burger that landed on our round-up of San Diego bucket list foods weighs in at just shy of a pound of meat, bun, and toppings. If you want to make it more manageable, ask for your onions grilled (which significantly decreases the burger’s height). For the full experience, fries (or frings) are also recommended.
Slater’s 50/50Address and Info
Guests are encouraged to build their own burger by piling on everything like beer-battered jalapeños to garlic rosemary Parmesan bacon at this craft beer and burger joint. If you really want to go big, start with a 1lb meat or veggie patty. There are nine options to choose from, including bison, turkey, and the signature 50/50 (half bacon, half beef).
Hash House A Go GoAddress and Info
Hash House is all about big food, so it’s no surprise it also serves some of the bulkiest burgers in San Diego. Head here to try everything from bacon and mashed potatoes to roasted red pepper and griddled smoked mozzarella sandwiched between two half-pound patties. The rosemary sprig stabbed through the bun does an impressive job of holding everything together, but plan on fork and knifing it -- this isn’t the type of burger you can hold in your hands without serious spillage.
The Ultimate Burger Challenge
Nicky RottensAddress and Info
The regular burgers at Nicky’s are a perfectly respectable size, but they look downright puny next to this 2.5 pounder that’s yours free (provided you can clean your plate in under 30 minutes). Made with 2lbs of Brandt beef, American cheese, Rotten Sauce and a super-sized bun (plus fries on the side), it’s not an easy beast to slay. Judging by this photo gallery, quite a few contenders have attempted the feat. Even if you lose, at $24.95, the burger is still reasonably priced, given its size and because Nicky definitely knows how to turn out a damn fine burger.
Lumberyard TavernAddress and Info
Lumberyard Tavern’s 4x4 burger is another fun and delicious way to test your stomach’s capacity. The pretzel-bunned burger features four half-pound patties, four slices of cheese, four strips of bacon, and a fried egg (plus lettuce, tomato, red onions, and pickles)... and oh yeah, a pound of fries. Take it down in 30 minutes or less and you’ll receive a personalized plaque on a special trophy marking your achievement, a commemorative T-shirt, and more. Fail and you’ll owe $25.
1. High Dive Bar & Grill1801 Morena Blvd, San Diego
2. The Patio on Goldfinch4020 Goldfinch St, San Diego
3. Hodad's945 Broadway, San Diego
4. Slater's 50/50 Liberty Station2750 Dewey Rd, San Diego
5. Hash House a Go Go3628 5th Ave, San Diego
6. Nicky Rotten's100 Orange Ave, Coronado
7. Lumberyard Tavern967 S Coast Highway 101 Ste 101, Encinitas
The name of this Bay Park restaurant might hint at an old dive, but its food and drinks offerings, as well as its kid-friendly menu, suggest a more community-friendly vibe. Those who wander in are immediately greeted by hanging Christmas lights and flashing pinball machines that echo the space's energy, all supported by an especially friendly and attentive staff. As if that weren't convincing enough, 20 craft beers on tap and an extensive burger list (the breakfast burger is a hit) will definitely transform you into one of High Dive's regulars.
Equal parts neighborhood space and destination restaurant, this welcoming venue serves up modern American cuisine in a casual environment. And to add to your breezy patio experience, you can choose from more than 80 tequilas and another 35 Mexican spirits, including mezcal, raicilla, bacanora, and sotol. You can forget sucking that lime dry after a shot of tequila, because the best chaser is sangrita, and the Patio's got at least 5 options.
A legendary burger dive, Hodad's has been serving face-sized burgers and even larger milkshakes to San Diego locals since 1969. You can choose to order your burger in mini, single, and double sizes, and be sure to pile it up with extras like cheese, bacon, and pastrami. The beachy interior is decked out with surfboard tables, memorabilia, and license plates. You'll likely have to wait in line, but for one of the top burger joints in the country, it'll be time well spent.
50/50 boasts 50 flat screens and 111 taps, but the biggest draw's a burger made from 50% Sterling Silver beef and 50% ground Mohawk bacon. Try their award-winning "Peanut Butter and Jellousy Burger", which comes with vanilla freaking ice cream.
This place is all about big plates, so make sure to come hungry.
This is one our our favorite burger joints in San Diego.
Take the 4x4 Challenge at Lumberyard and attempt inhale a burger with 4½ lb. patties, four slices of cheese, four pieces of bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, and a fried egg on a pretzel roll alongside a full pound of fries in 30 minutes or less. The rules are strict: no modifications, no substitutions, no utensils, and no napkins -- but if you can pull it off you get a photo, your name on a plaque, and a T-shirt.