Food & Drink

Seattle's Most Unbeatable Burgers

Published On 12/08/2015 Published On 12/08/2015
8 oz. Burger Bar
8 oz. Burger Bar | Chona Kasinger/Thrillist

The first thing you’re probably thinking is “Dick’s, duh.” But Seattle has myriad burger joints serving up juicy, greasy meat-discs placed delicately betwixt two soft buns and served up smothered with cheese, lettuce, and tomato. That said, not all burgers are created equal, which is why we scoured The Town for places serving the city’s very best burgers, from those topped with peanut butter to ones made with deep-fried meat.

Build your own burger

8oz. Burger Bar

Address and Info

Capitol Hill

This Cap Hill spot turns out a ton of half-pound signature burgers, but the pro move is to do what we did and build your own monstrous meal -- topped with things like short rib, candied bacon, pork belly, a fried green tomato, a fried egg, and much, much more.

Chona Kasinger/Thrillist

The Kit N Caboodle

Giddy Up Burgers

Address and Info

Ballard

This counter service-style burger joint on the increasingly busy strip between Ballard and Fremont (Frallard? Freeball?) makes a massive burger loaded with all the fixings: a one-third-pound patty, haystack onions, bacon, cheddar cheese, ranch and BBQ sauce, lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes, all on a house bun.

Christopher Poetter/Katsu Burger (edited)

Mt. Fuji

Katsu Burger

Address and Info

SoDo

Katsu Burger combines Japan's juicy Katsu-style fried meats with American-style burgers in a brightly colored counter service spot where, among other more manageable options, you can score the Mt. Fuji: a burger with beef, chicken, and pork patties, plus three types of cheese & bacon.

Lil Woody’s

The Pendleton

Lil Woody’s

Address and Info

Capitol Hill

Helmed by the guy behind one of the city’s best rooftop bars and a multitude of other happening Seattle spots, this much ballyhoo’d burger restaurant throws out can’t-miss specials every week, as well as a dozen or so mainstays -- highlighted by the BBQ sauce- & onion ring-topped Pendleton -- all served on incredibly buttery buns.

Chona Kasinger/Thrillist

The A Burger

Quality Athletics

Address and Info

Pioneer Square

Served with a generous pile of housemade potato chips, and complemented with sharp cheddar cheese, housemade bacon, pickled onions, and New Hampshire sauce, the A Burger from this Pioneer Square sports bar really brings its... hold on... A-game! Thank you. I’ll be here all week. Please stop booing me.

Bradley Foster/Thrillist

Monsieur

Uneeda Burger

Address and Info

Fremont

Housed in a former garage (from which it also stole its name), UB doles out burgers made with all-natural beef sourced from Painted Hills (or grass-fed Wagyu from Crescent Harbor for a few dollars more), the best of which is the Black Forest ham-/Gruyere-/truffled shoestring potato-topped Monsieur.

Chona Kasinger/Thrillist

Beef burger

Loulay Kitchen & Bar

Address and Info

Downtown

This upscale French restaurant, from Seattle's famed Chef In The Hat, does this quintessentially American dish right: the beef burger comes with a heaping side of fries, aioli, and bacon-onion jam. Oh, and for the right price, you can even add a duck egg or foie gras to go with it.

Chona Kasinger/Thrillist

The After School Special

King’s Hardware

Address and Info

Ballard

This After School Special isn't about making sure latchkey kids don't talk to strangers on the way home from school. No, it's about putting two of the world's best foods, bacon and peanut butter, on an already amazing piece of meat.

Juicy Lucia

Beardslee Public House

Address and Info

Bothell

Chef John Howie has plenty of experience stuffing cheese in burgers (the lunch-only Juicy Lucy at his flagship Bellevue restaurant has graced previous versions of this list), but at his latest venture -- a sprawling pub/brewery/distillery/restaurant -- he's stuffing American and fontina cheeses, AND roasted jalapeños, inside some quality beef, then topping it with some chipotle mayo.

Lunchbox Laboratory

Homage to Dick’s Deluxe

Lunchbox Laboratory

Address and Info

Ballard

You’d think it couldn’t get better than the classic Deluxe from Seattle’s iconic drive-in Dick’s, but you’d be wrong. The gloriously gluttonous Lab is taking it to the next level with an “homage” to the original made with “super-beef,” American cheese, bacon, Lunchbox onions, and LL’s top-secret burger sauce.

The Double

Great State Burger

Address and Info

Laurelhurst & South Lake Union

Launched earlier this year, and already boasting two locations, this counter service-style burger operation from prominent Seattle chef Josh Henderson (the man behind Westward and Quality Athletics, the latter of which you may recognize from, well, this list) serves up delightfully retro crinkle fries and shakes alongside two burgers made with organically raised beef: the Single, or the Double. Guess which one you're getting.

Tom Douglas Restaurants

Bacon Bacon Cheeseburger

Dahlia Lounge

Address and Info

Downtown

Sure, the classic burger at Tom Douglas’ Palace Kitchen might be more celebrated, but this new-ish lunch-only burger surpasses it with some help from a bacon/beef patty that’s topped with even more bacon, white cheddar, pickled green tomatoes, and DL’s special sauce, which isn’t a “secret” sauce per se, but they’re still keeping the recipe on the down-low apparently.

Fat Albert

The Escondite

Address and Info

Capitol Hill

Hidden inside the mainstay music venue Chop Suey, this perfectly named operation (Escondite means "hideout") actually started in Los Angeles in 2011, but brought its creative brand of burgers -- like the provolone, bacon, and maple syrup-topped Fat Albert, served on a doughnut instead of a bun -- and other not-so-good-for-you eats to Seattle a few months ago, and just may be giving The Town's famous hot dog a run for best thing to eat on Capitol Hill at 1am.

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Bradley Foster is a former Thrillist editor who admits he hasn’t actually tried all these burgers, but only ‘cause that one from 8oz. wouldn’t fit in his mouth.

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1. 8oz Burger & Co. 1401 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122 (Capitol Hill)

8oz Burger & Co. emphasizes local and sustainable ingredients more than the average burger chain -- the house-blended patties are made from grass-fed beef that’s sourced from cattle farms in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and the brioche buns are baked daily at a nearby bakery. That said, you can’t go wrong with the signature 8oz Burger, a fanciful combination of arugula, balsamic onions, bacon, cheddar, and truffle aioli. There’s also the option to build your own burger that, when tailored to your personal tastes, can be as sophisticated (aged gruyere, fig jam, prosciutto) or basic (white American cheese) as you like.

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2. Giddy Up Burgers 4500 Leary Way NW, Seattle, WA 98107 (Fremont)

This Western-themed counter-service joint is serving up gourmet burgers that are both fresh and local. Their signature patties come in poultry, seafood, and vegetarian varieties, too. Consider going for the one-third-pound Kit N Caboodle burger, stacked with onions, bacon, cheddar cheese, ranch, and BBQ sauce, and then hit the salad bar (yes, you read that right) to ease your guilt about what you just consumed.

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3. Katsu Burger 6538 4th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108 (Sodo)

Japanese Katsu-style fried meats and the American-style hamburger unite to form Katsu Burger, a colorful counter-service joint. They have signature burgers like the Wabi Wasabi (grass-fed beef katsu, pepper jack, wasabi mayo, and tonkatsu sauce) and mega-burgers that practically require a strategy to eat, like the Mt. Fuji (beef, chicken, and pork patties, plus three types of cheese and bacon). If you have room, be sure to add a side of fries with nori (roasted seaweed flakes).

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4. Li'l Woody's 1211 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101 (Capitol Hill)

There's nothing "li'l" about these burgers -- they're served up large and luscious in six signature specialties. The scrumptious creations at Woody's range from the quarter-pound Li'l Woody (Tillamook cheddar cheese, chopped onions, pickles, ketchup, and mayo) to the Fig and the Pig (a scoop of Boat Street pickled figs, Hills bacon, mayo, and crumbled gorgonzola cheese). You'll find sandwiches that come in breakfast (served all day), salmon, and buttermilk fried chicken varieties, too. Chow down in this industrial-chic space with a Full Tilt handmade shake on the side.

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5. Quality Athletics 115 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104

This upscale sports bar in Pioneer Square has it all: tons of flat screens, a slushy machine, a rooftop garden, fire pits, and an AstroTurf bar out back. And that's before you even get to the food and drink. Quality Athletics is backed by restaurant giant the Huxley Wallace Collective, so although the food follows bar food norms (wings, nachos, burgers, BBQ), it's prepared by a top-notch chef. Its local craft beer selection ain't bad, either.

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6. Uneeda Burger 4302 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103 (Fremont)

This Fremont burger joint serves up everything from the fancy to the messy, and if a burger doesn’t suit your fancy (why are you even here?), Uneeda Burger also has a hefty selection of sandwiches, soups, and salads. Equipped with a patio out front, you can chow down and tan at the same time.

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7. Loulay Kitchen & Bar 600 Union St, Seattle, WA 98101 (Downtown)

At Loulay, Chef Thierry Rautureau reinvents the French food he grew up on, bringing an unexpected twist to familiar classics. There's the beef burger with aioli and bacon-shallot jam, which you can and should add a duck egg or foie gras to, and hot chocolate with toasted brioche and salted butter, based off a recipe passed down from his grandparents. The name of the chic three-level restaurant pays homage to Rautureau's childhood, too, specifically his hometown in France: Saint Hilaire de Loulay.

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8. King's Hardware 5225 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 (Ballard)

King's Hardware is decked out with taxidermy and stocked with regional brews, but the rustic pub's main attraction is its tasty and creative burger options, like the peanut butter and bacon-based After School Special. Aside from classic and specialty burgers, there are hot wings, onion rings, and similar greased-up "sidekicks" on the menu. You can bring your beer and burger outside and chill on the patio, or stay inside and challenge your friends to a round of skee-ball.

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9. Beardslee Public House 19116 Beardslee Blvd #201, Bothell, WA 98011

This brewpub from acclaimed restaurateur John Howie is a colossal 10,000-square-foot space with concrete floors, garage doors, and metal chairs, and holds 230 seats in its dining room -- so feel free to bring plenty (or all) of your friends. You'll find an equally expansive list of house-made ales to throw back while you nosh on beer-inspired dishes like stout-infused deviled eggs, Greenleaf IPA & jalapeño hummus, and a soft pretzel made with grains from Beardslee beer.

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10. Lunchbox Laboratory 989 112th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004

Lunchbox Laboratory is a down-to-earth eatery that reinvents classic, American comfort foods. Every week, they concoct new "experiments" -- menus that add an inventive twists to old favorites, ranging from mac & cheese to burgers to shakes (including boozie ones). You're in for surprise nearly every time you stop in, but don't worry, their creations are consistently tasty.

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11. Great State Burger 3600 NE 45th St, Seattle, WA 98105

Great State Burger is a good ol' fashioned American burger joint in Laurelhurst (there’s a second downtown location, too). You'll find tasty burgers, rich milkshakes, crinkle-cut fries, and speedy service inside this minimal, contemporary space. They keep their burgers simple and offer them as singles and doubles -- all of them made with grass-fed, organically raised beef. House-made pickles are an optional add-on, while organic chocolate and vanilla shakes are a must.

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12. Dahlia Lounge 2001 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 (Belltown)

One of super-chef Tom Douglas' signature establishments, Dahlia Lounge dishes out fresh Pacific Northwest-inspired classics, like the customer-favorite Dungeness crab cakes and coffee-braised beef short rib. Their triple coconut cream pie has made them the talk of the town -- you'd be remiss not to top off your meal with a slice. Be sure to take advantage of their happy hour, too, with deals on oysters, cocktails, and other treats.

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13. The Escondite Seattle 1325 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98122 (Capitol Hill)

Hidden inside funky music venue Chop Suey, Escondite (literally, "hideout") is an LA import that flips an inventive menu of burgers, including the Fat Albert, which is topped with provolone, bacon, and maple syrup and is served on doughnuts instead of buns. Looking to go even greasier? You can also order some mozzarella sticks, fried pickles, and grilled cheese on the side.

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