Burgers. Everyone loves 'em. But have you ever noticed the same names come up again and again when people list off DC's best? Palena is great and all, but how about a little variety? You won’t find these burgers written up in the Washington Post, Zagat, City Eats, Gayot, Burger Days, or even this Eater DC checklist of 35 underrated burgers -- that's how under appreciated they are. They’ve flown under the radar for FAR too long, so start making plans to try them today. Then schedule an appointment with your cardiologist.
10 DC Burgers That Aren't on Your Radar But Should Be
What you're getting: Big Belly Burger
This burger tastes like a backyard BBQ for good reason -- it’s grilled over hickory chips without even an ounce of help from gas (most places rely on a combo of both). The BBB is topped with inch-thick pork belly, cheddar cheese, and a fried egg. The green chili sauce is the secret though; it’s the product of a friendly multicultural competition among staff members.
What you're getting: Proper Burger
Let’s talk beef. At DG they use Creekstone Farms, the same stuff served in Michelin Star restaurants in NYC. Piled on top of not one, but TWO patties of haute heifer is smoky Gouda, charred red onions, sweet chili sauce, dill pickles, arugula, and garlic aioli. You can add an XXL egg on top that came from a duck and/or (AND! ALWAYS AND!) house-made chicken liver pâté.
What you're getting: The Great Chicago Fire
Exacting some revenge on the descendants of Mrs. O'Leary's cow, The Great Chicago Fire Burger is dusted in chipotle before being topped with fire-roasted chili and mango salsa, habañero jack cheese, and chipotle aioli. Fortunately there are about 25 beers for extinguishing your mouth. Big Board burgers are also particularly delicious thanks to a marinade inspired by a Navy admiral. For real.
What you're getting: Hamburger
People with hammerhead shark-sized smiles are the only ones who stand a chance of getting a top-to-bottom bite of this mile-high burger. You might need to knife and fork your way through Black Angus topped with smoked jalapeño mayo and bread and butter pickles. It gets better: for extra dollars you can add provolone, a fried egg, avocado spread, and gribenes (fried chicken skin!). Quadruple yes.
What you're getting: Teddy Burger
The chefs at this new alehouse are heavy handed when it comes to incorporating beer into their cuisine. The Teddy Burger, all smothered in Buffalo chili and jalapeño bacon, is topped with a sticky stout barbecue sauce. You should probably eat it with a draft of the same stuff.
What you're getting: Buffalo Burger
We’re surprised that the sweet potato halves masquerading as fries haven’t landed a Meridian Pint burger a top spot on a burger list all on their own. Add a Buffalo sauce-drenched burger topped with house-made bleu cheese dressing and arugula and you’ve got a criminally underrated meal.
What you're getting: Brunch Burger
Bun boredom got you down? Enter the Brunch Burger, served open-faced on Texas toast. It’s got all the makings of a weekend morning: a sunny side-up egg, Benton’s bacon, and cheddar cheese piled high on top of a patty. The whole thing then sits on a bed of thick-cut breakfast potatoes.
What you're getting: Char-broiled Natural Beef Burger
Three words: Pimento. Cheese. Fondue. Lately, this cheese creation -- which used to lean a little low-rent -- is gaining a refurbished reputation and popping up on even the finest of menus. It oozes off the burger, transforming the fries on the side to cheese fries before your very eyes. Bacon-flavored jam always helps, too.
What you're getting: Local Grass Fed Burger
This lunch order makes the list based on bacon alone. There’s nothing wrong with mixed mushrooms, Swiss cheese, roasted garlic-Dijon aioli, or farm-fresh egg. But, the bacon is thick, candied, and screams Southern hospitality. We hope Oprah likes bacon because the chef behind this burger, Art Smith, was her personal chef for 10yrs.
What you're getting: Shrimp Burger
Let’s say you’ve tried all the other burgers on this list and yearn for a taste of the sea. Or maybe you're observing Lent or something. Try a shrimp burger with toppings that mimic a banh mi: jalapeño, shaved cucumber, cilantro, pickled daikon, and carrots. You’ll find this change-of-pace option on Proof’s lunch menu.
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1. Old Glory3139 M St NW, Washington
2. Duke's Grocery1513 17th St NW, Washington
3. The Big Board421 H Street NE, Washington, DC
4. DGS Delicatessen1317 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington
5. Heavy Seas Alehouse Arlington1501 Wilson Blvd, Arlington
6. Meridian Pint3400 11st NW, Washington
7. Shaw's Tavern520 Florida Ave NW, Washington
8. Ardeo + Bardeo3311 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington
9. Art and Soul415 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington
10. Proof775 G St, NW , Washington, DC
This G-town BBQ joint slings serious smoked meats and some of the tastiest wings in Cap City.
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.
Equipped with a screen that displays their changing, demand-based beer prices in real time, brew and burger joint Big Board fleshes out the Wall Street feel with mahogany park benches, a tile "sidewalk" running around its perimeter, and dark gray angular columns meant to evoke skyscrapers. Made with hand-pattied local beef, their burgers are nothing fancy, but they're some of the best in DC, like the Great Chicago Fire burger (chipotle powder, habanero jack cheese, sweet & spicy mango-habanero salsa).
DGS Delicatessen takes the idea from your old Jewish grandmother's kitchen and elevates it with a modern and creative spin that gives this authentic deli-bar new flavor and energy with a homestyle base. Styled after the turn-of-the-century grocery stores, DGS Delicatessen house cures and smokes their all meats and fish as well as crafts their own duck fat matzo balls.
Heavy Seas in Rosslyn is a pirate-themed pub with 15 drafts, two casks, experimental cocktails, and American comfort pub fare that leans towards tasty seafood, expertly prepared using fresh and seasonal ingredients. The rustic-industrial, warehouse-like space is decked out with plank-lined walls, dark wood furniture, and buoyed string lights. It’s great for groups, especially themed parties.
Pint's a bastion of nostalgic Americana, with a basement boasting taps from which you can pour your own beers built into certain tables, and walls/bartops with blueprints of industrial symbols like trains & bridges.
A massive neighborhood watering hole where lanterns light exposed brick walls and an outdoor patio, Shaw's wood-burning oven cooks up fare like roasted branzino (with clams in a warm shellfish vinaigrette), and Granny Smith-topped Vermont pizza. The cocktails are highlighted by an amped-up Bloody garnished with a house-pickled carrot, called the "Pickle Mary" -- good enough to produce a "Jesus!".
Combining the two adjoining Cleveland Park heavy hitters, Ardeo + Bardeo's the aptly named meal-merger from nationally hailed Ashok Bajaj, with an extensive brunch and dinner menu, and a million-dollar facelift.
Art and Soul's complete interior redesign includes herringbone wood flooring among other rustic-ness designed to foster a "contemporary urban market feel". High quality ingredients meet comfort food for delicious dishes like Confit Pork Belly & Pig Head Ravioli and a Fried Free Range Chicken for two.
Proof is an award-winning restaurant located in DC's Penn Quarter. Go for Mediterranean and Asian-influenced American cuisine, and try their famous crispy Peking duck breast. While you're at it, order a fine port from its thousand-plus wine list.