The Best Burgers in Seattle for Takeout/Delivery
In the mood for a little comfort food?
While we were cooped up safely inside, summer swooped in, bringing with it some much needed fresh air and a few seasonal food cravings. Basically: While you slept and started your sourdough bread, burger season descended. But since big backyard barbecues featuring Uncle Brad's special of Costco patties burnt to a puck and served with potato salad that comes in a plastic tub fail to meet distancing requirements, this year requires everyone to upgrade those burgers. The best of the best are below -- all available for pickup or delivery.
Housed in a former garage, making for an easy transition to operating from a low-contact pick-up window, Uneeda Burger cooks up an enormous menu of burgers, most featuring patties made with all-natural beef. The steal of a deal and best move here is always The Classic: a quarter-pound of beef, romaine lettuce, and fresh tomato, pickles, and the house sauce all for just $5.50. Then you still have plenty of spare cash to customize it by upgrading with cheese, bacon, a fried egg, gluten-free bun, or adding extra patties or subbing in bison meat for beef as you please.
Available via ChowNow for pickup
Georgetown (& other locations)
Katsu Burger, which combines Japan's juicy Katsu style fried meats with American-style burgers in brightly colored counter service style spaces, was a huge sensation when then-Mashiko-owner Hajime Soto first opened in Georgetown. Luckily, through new ownership and expansion to six locations, the joy of a deep-fried burger remained unchanged, and Katsu still serves -- among other more manageable options -- Seattle's most ridiculous (in a good way) burger: the Mt. Fuji with beef, chicken, and pork patties, plus three types of cheese, an egg, bacon, and three different sauces.
Capitol Hill (& other locations)
Normally, half the fun of Li'l Woody's is exploring the creative specials every week like the Hulk Smashburger with verde mayo, ranch Ruffles potato chips, jalapeños, Derby Sage Cheddar, and bacon. But with those tempting sirens on a temporary stop, there's never been a better time to work your way through the dozen or so equally incredible mainstays of the menu -- starting with the BBQ sauce and onion ring topped Pendleton -- all served on incredibly buttery buns.
When our national burger critic called the Tavern Burger the fourth best burger in America, it caused something of a stir at this out-of-the-way dive. Suddenly, people who'd never heard of the place showed up en masse to try this utterly simple, but simply perfect combination of cheese, raw white onions, a pale special sauce, and pickles on a soft white bun. With the crowds finally tampered by missing out on the full experience of Loretta's quintessential dive bar excellence, now offers the unique opportunity to focus on the pure divinity of the burger itself.
Available by telephone at (206) 251-2821 for pickup
Seemingly nothing ever changes at this North Seattle gem: not the unironic throwback carpet, not the sassy servers, not the menu full of relics like liver and onions, and definitely not the retro salad that comes with Cheez-It crackers and sliced, chopped salami. Okay, except now: With the dining room closed, the menu slimmed down a bit. But the signature steaks stuck around, and that means so, too, did the burgers they grind in-house from the scraps, giving them the kind of big meaty flavor that seems to have otherwise gone out of fashion with leisure suits and pet rocks.
Available by phone at (206) 523-1115 for takeout and possibly delivery -- just ask
Now is definitely not the time to go traipsing around town for the best burger, but if you happen to be on Vashon Island on a Wednesday and happen to need a truly incredible burger, The Ruby Brink, a combination restaurant and butcher shop, has your back. The restaurant celebrates cheeseburger Wednesdays (as we all should) with a constantly evolving masterpiece, like version eight, made from Kurtwood Farms's Vashon-raised beef, Swiss cheese, and an herb sauce.
Available by phone at (206) 408-7795 for takeout (Wednesday only)
Sodo and Fife
Drive-through fast food spots hold a unique advantage in These Times, having been built to minimize the interaction between customer and employees in the first place. At chains, that often diminishes the character of the entire experience and sometimes the burger itself, as they prioritize consistency over greatness. But when it comes to the few smaller drive-ins that stood up to the test of time, like this aqua-colored wonder from 1949, the reverse happens, and the dedication to making such a simple food shine from a paper package handed through an open window becomes part of what makes it stand out. Also the sub-$2 price tag and malted chocolate shakes.
Available for pickup via Pick Quick website.
In an old storefront, with dim lighting and a hum of excitement at all times, Harry's bar provided Seattle with the precise ambience needed for gossip with old friends, a first date, or a solo night out. While we wait things out at home, though, they manage to do the same with takeout options like a big, messy burger: patty, buns, and onions all griddled separately on the flattop, then stacked with Cheddar and lettuce and slathered with mustard, aioli, and a puree of Mama Lil's peppers. It helps that they also offer natural wines, CBD sodas, and fancy pantry flourishes to go with your burger and fries.
Available by phone at (206) 513-6279 for touchless takeout
When industry veterans who have spent the last decade working under Seattle's best known chefs (Maria Hines, Tom Douglas, the McKracken Tough team, Scott Staples, Jason Stoneburner) commit themselves to creating the ultimate smashburger, sparks fly. Available on weekends only at Ballard's Fair Isle Brewing, the burger stacks a thin crisp of ground brisket on a bun with pickles, onions, American cheese, and their signature sauce. It comes as a single, double or in a Bag o' Burgers. The sides live up to the crew's lineage, too: crisp fresh vegetables with their own ranch and Polish jelly doughnuts in flavors like peach passionfruit.
Available from Rough Draft website for pickup at Fair Isle Brewing on weekends
The best of Southeast Asian flavors have long graced this tiny spot on Madison, first in the form of Little Uncle's superb Thai food, and now as a Laotian restaurant infused with the character of the Pacific Northwest. The Lao burger best exemplifies that cross-continent combination, while also just being a really great burger. Two smashburger style patties come dressed with "jaew bong mayo," reflecting the Lao condiment made of fried galangal, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, and chili. Meanwhile, taro stems emulate lettuce but don't get soggy -- perfect for takeout.
Seattle once waited in endless lines for Renee Erickson's seafood, then scheduled several weeks in advance to get a seat for her steaks when Bateau opened. But the burgers, a latecomer to the menu, made the biggest splash, earning acclaim local and national for the grass-fed, dry-aged ground beef, caramelized onion jam, and garlic aioli. And now there's not just one but two ways to bring that marvelous meat into your own home. Bateau is serving the classic version as part of their cook-your-own burger kit, which comes with fixings for two, including a full pound of beef, house-made burger buns, and instructions for cooking. They also offer a slightly smaller burger on their ready-to-eat menu, called Le Petit Burger, served with Cantalet cheese on a brioche bun.
Available for pickup by phone at 206-900-8699 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Burgermaster's drive-in restaurants have been serving grass-fed burgers in social-distancing-friendly settings since the '50s, when eating in your car was a novelty rather than a requirement. But even as other burger shops moved toward drive-through rather than in, dining rooms, and cutting costs by cutting quality, this little family-owned chain has kept the focus on making great burgers, fries, and shakes -- and bringing them right to you in your car.
Available for in-car dining or for pickup or delivery via DoorDash
Opening a restaurant is always hard, but opening during a pandemic that has everyone scrambling to spend money to save their old favorites is even harder. But Sunny Hill managed to throw open the doors to the North Ballard Pizzeria last month and start slinging the Detroit-style pies they specialize in. But hidden at the bottom of their menu, quietly hanging out with the waffle fries and meatballs, is an interesting idea for a burger side dish: the smash burger, bringing big flavor from frizzled onions and umami ketchup.
Available for scheduled curbside pickup via Tock
Ballard and Kent
Asadero Prime's Sinaloa-style steakhouses show how high-end beef shines in Mexican cooking, serving carne asada, house-made tortillas, and molcajete salsas. But in the switch to takeout, the restaurants added a few new items to keep getting their excellent meat into people's mouths, including a steakhouse burger. The eight-ounce patty, made from USDA prime comes stacked on the brioche bun with Cheddar cheese and bacon. The best part? You can order it with a side of Wagyu beef tacos.
Call (206) 659-4499 for pickup
Sign up here for our daily Seattle email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.