Looking to roll out of bed and position yourself in front of a really, really good, practically unforgettable burger? We’ve rounded up the very best of what’s between buns in 12 different DMV neighborhoods, so you'll always have a great burger nearby. And if you're feeling mobile, these meat wads are definitely worth traveling for, although you won't feel much like moving once you're done.
The Proper Burger
Duke's Grocery (address and info)
Recently dubbed one of the 33 best burgers in the nation by a certain leading publication, this double-patty pleasure is swimming in accolades AND sweet chili sauce. Also topping your Creekstone Farms beef is Gouda cheese, charred red onions, dill pickles, arugula, and garlic aioli. Don’t stop there -- pay a little extra for both a fried duck egg and mound of chicken liver pâté.
Le Diplomate (address and info)
Up the street is another double-decker beauty. Le Dip’s Burger Américain is dressed up in a creamy sauce most akin to Thousand Island dressing (which, let’s face it, is still a mystery), plus pickles, red onion, and Land O’Lakes American cheese. It’s all stuffed into a home-baked bun, and we all know how good the bread department is at Le Dip.
Food Wine & Co. (address and info)
Do some jaw stretches en route to Bethesda, because the restaurant’s most talked about burger is a tall leaning tower of all things truffle. Pickled and crispy onions, roasted garlic truffle aioli, portobello mushroom, local greens, and truffle cheese dress up a patty of prime Angus. If you reach for a knife and fork, you've already been defeated.
The Jalapeño Burger
The Black Squirrel (address and info)
This burger den cranks out deceitfully decadent whoppers: they use gourmet Creekstone Farms beef that's ground in house and blended with duck fat. Then, the burgers are cooked in a cast iron pan (with more duck fat!) forming a crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside bite. Opt for the Jalapeño Burger because it comes with guacamole and two grilled jalapeños stuffed with ground lamb and blue cheese. The boardwalk fries with Old Bay are also a win.
Big Belly Burger
Old Glory BBQ (address and info)
The BBB tastes like the camping trip you no longer have the time to take. That’s because it’s cooked over real burning wood, not gas. It’s topped with pimento cheese, green chili verde, a fried egg, and most importantly, a borderline dangerously thick strip of house-made pork belly. God bless America.
American Kobe Hamburger
BLT Steak (address and info)
This burger is too rich for the chef making it. "I just can’t do it," says Jeremy Shelton. That’s cool, more for us. He takes 100% Wagyu skirt steak, strip steak, and ribeye and grinds it to a perfect 75% meat-to-fat blend. Then, as if that weren’t enough, he goes and plops it on top of a thick slice of pastrami. The expertly cooked fried egg drips down, bringing it all together for a whopping (but worth it) $27.
Red Apron Butcher (address and info)
Located in the same space as The Partisan, the newest Red Apron Butcher serves up a lot of Dino Burgers. A spicy cotechino pork burger is draped with broccoli rabe, funky Fontina cheese, and tomato aioli on top of a Kaiser roll. You can also get this guy at Red Apron’s other locations in Union Market and Merrifield, VA.
The Big Bad Wolf
Kangaroo Boxing Club (address and info)
The three little pigs were most DEFINITELY harmed in the making of this burger. The Kangaroo Boxing Club crew assembles the Big Bad Wolf by starting with their Costanza Burger, made of ground Angus mixed with pastrami. Then they add pulled pork, peppered ham, and bacon. You’ll huff and you’ll puff and you'll... quite possibly collapse shortly thereafter.
Prez Obama Burger
Good Stuff Eatery (address and info)
POTUS loves burgers so much that Spike Mendelsohn named one for him. Actually, there’s more to the story behind the Prez Obama Burger, which is smothered in horseradish mayo and adorned with applewood bacon, onion marmalade, and Roquefort cheese. The burger’s origin dates back to the 2008 election when Spike pitted an Obama burger vs. a McCain burger. The McCain burger was loaded with fiery ingredients like Southwestern chipotle mayo, corn and roasted red pepper salsa, and jack cheese. You know, because McCain was so hot and spicy. Right?!
Smoke Stack Burger
The Satellite Room (address and info)
Stinky blue cheese and smoky bacon balance each other out in TSR’s Smoke Stack Burger. It also gets a boost from savory chipotle BBQ sauce. If you’re still feeling like your stack is too empty, add a fried onion ring, fried egg, or sautéed onions. Have one while you play giant Jenga, or between boozy milkshakes.
The Bison Burger
Granville Moore's (address and info)
This pick isn’t as baller as some others on this list, but the fact that it comes with some of the best fries in the District, plus Belgian beer, ups its awesome quotient. Oh yeah, and the fact that it’s a damn bison! GM’s Bison Burger has a bit more flavor than beef, and it’s a little leaner too. All you have to do is pick your cheese and enjoy the Dijonnaise for dipping, dunking, and spreading.
Ray's To The Third (address and info)
There are almost too many burgers to choose from at Ray’s To The Third, especially since you can customize your own masterpiece -- adding toppings like seared foie gras with truffle oil or Ray’s Purgatory Chili. We’re recommending that you embrace a little decadence by going with The Dogcatcher: a relatively simple patty served alongside a massive beef bone. Use your knife to spread the marrow on the bun before taking a bite. There’s a reason people call it "God’s butter".
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1. Food Wine & Co.7272 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda
2. Duke's Grocery1513 17th St NW, Washington
3. Le Diplomate1610 14th St NW, Washington, DC
4. The Black Squirrel2427 18th St NW , Washington, DC
5. Old Glory3139 M St NW, Washington
6. BLT Steak1625 I St NW, Washington
7. Red Apron Butcher709 D St NW, Washington
8. Kangaroo Boxing Club3410 11th St NW, Washington
9. Good Stuff Eatery303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington
10. Satellite Room2047 9th St NW, Washington
11. Granville Moore's1238 H St NE, Washington
12. Ray's To The Third1650 Wilson Blvd, Arlington
From a multi-concept owner turning his burning desire for a "man den" into restaurant reality, the Co.'s a 175-seat beef/beverage-heavy chow zone, decked out with wrought-iron railings and massive, rustic leather stools.
You're in for some monster sandwiches and burgers at this bi-level East London-inspired spot in Dupont. Take the Proper Burger, for example, which is stacked with two griddled patties and topped with a list of flavorful ingredients that includes smoked Gouda, charred red onions, and a Thai sweet chili sauce. Beyond the Proper, their chalkboard menu offers an array of tasty dishes -- from curries to homemade pastas -- that are all made from scratch in their cozy kitchen. The laid-back neighborhood-pub vibe lets you kick back while you sip on a craft brew or cocktail.
Le Diplomate is a Logan Circle brasserie from acclaimed restaurateur Stephen Starr, meaning you can count on its traditional French dishes to be consistently excellent. From hors d'oeuvres like fresh oysters and steak tartare with quail egg to entrees including moules frites and beef bourguignon, the menu is brimming with classic, perfectly executed plates. There's even a killer cheeseburger on a house-baked brioche bun. Be sure to secure a sidewalk seat for that extra Parisian feel.
This massive, Adams Morgan beer hall pours 'em tall, dark, and handsome. Black Squirrel offers a plethora of domestic and imported draft and bottled beers in all ales and stripes. Feeling peckish? The in-house kitchen serves up some seriously insane burgers, and the topping list is just as varied as the beer menu-- goat cheese jalapenos on your bacon burger? Yes please.
This G-town BBQ joint slings serious smoked meats and some of the tastiest wings in Cap City.
There are six different cuts available at BLT, but for over-the-top extravagance, the upscale modern steakhouse offers four cuts of American wagyu. It’s not just the steaks that make this place great, though: chef Mar Hennessy changes the menu each season. The menu also features selections from the raw bar and its signature warm popovers.
Start with a quality butcher that's got all the meats and provisions you could ask for, add a delicious menu of specialty breakfast and lunch sandwiches, mix in some coffee from Ceremony, and you've got yourself Red Apron Butcher. Speaking of their breakfast sandwiches, all of them are served on tigelle -- a tasty Italian flatbread reminiscent of an English muffin -- and come in varieties that you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in DC, like the Southern Comfort with tasso ham, egg, and spicy pimento cheese.
As its name suggests, this Columba Heights restaurant and bar errs on the side of quirky. KBC does great things for barbecue, and its dinner menu is packed with smoked meat platters, BBQ sandwiches, and burgers, plus a few vegetarian options for the meat-averse. At weekend brunch, the signature smoked brisket and pulled pork get topped and scrambled with eggs. Though you'd certainly be missing out if you didn't order any food, KBC is the kind of cool and laid-back place to grab a drink, especially when the sidewalk patio is in full swing.
This family-run restaurant specializes in American fare done right, including handmade burgers, fries, and ice cream shakes. They also utilize biodegradable products whenever possible, and almost the whole restaurant was constructed from recycled materials.
This diner-bar has some classic American favorites with a Mexican flair. There's chorizo and potato hash, build-your-own burgers, and spiked shakes, like the Hollywood-inspired Vincent Vega, a creamy vanilla and Bulleit bourbon fusion that should become a routine nightcap.
A self-pronounced "gastropub with a healthy Belgian fetish", you can bet that Granville Moore's pumps out a ton of mussels and french fries, along with hosting a great weekend brunch with cheap, restorative drinks.
Proving that the only thing he has more of than delicious steaks & burgers is clever puns, Michael Landrum's Ray's To The Third: a minimalist Arlington eatery (granite bar, basic wood tables) that lets the mouth-watering steak frites do the talking, especially if you get them ultra, ultra rare.