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In South Florida’s eclectic food scene, even the most American dishes take on cultural twists. So, when we rose to the challenge of finding the area’s best burgers, it was apparent we wouldn’t be tasting your average beef+cheese+lettuce+tomato combo. Our staff members stuffed their bellies with all things served between a bun in order to stuff this list with the area’s 15 most powerful patties.
The Drunken Pretzel Burger, ROK:BRGR Burger Bar + Gastropub Deals
On Mondays, all burgers are $10 and craft beer is $5 ROK:BRGR presents its sandwiches on metal trays, but the dining experience at its Fort Lauderdale location is far from what’s expected in a high school cafeteria. The Drunken Pretzel Burger ($15) wears three house-made beer mustard fried onion rings under its puffy, artisan pretzel bun. Below both layers, aged Vermont cheddar coats a thick, juicy patty. To the side of the burger, which won first place at the 2014 Coral Gables Burgerlicious Championship, sits a metal basket of hand-cut truffle fries coated in truffle oil and Parmesan. And to complete the experience, the restaurant’s red brick building hosts a full bar, with wine, craft beer and cocktails for sipping between bites.
ROK:BRGR Burger Bar + Gastropub, 208 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale; 954.525.7656;
Cowboy-Style Burger, Charm City Burger Company
When the conversation turns to burgers (which happens a lot in our office), this place consistently comes up as one of the best. Charm City may not look like much, but it serves up an impressive, seemingly neverending list of burgers—and all at great prices. Our favorite? The Cowboy-Style burger ($6.95) served with thick-cut bacon, aged cheddar, sauteed ’shrooms and grilled onions. Plus, you get to top off an amazing burger with a thick and creamy Blue Bell milkshake. But beware, parking and seats fill up fast, so take your order to go or stop in during off-peak hours.
Charm City Burger Company, 1136 E. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach; 954.531.0300;
BAMF, Bite Gastrotruck
If unfamiliar, you’ll have to Google the acronym BAMF (the name Bite Gastrotruck gave this savory burger) on your own, since it’s a bit too obscene for us to print. However, after popping this $8 patty with bacon-onion jam, American cheese and chipotle mayo in your mouth, you’ll agree the name was given appropriately. It’s hard to believe this burger is served from a truck window. Bite Gastrotruck patties are made from Creekstone beef and have won Fort Lauderdale’s Burger Battle three years in a row and the Boca Burger Battle in 2013, in addition to recognition Eater.com’s on Top 100 Burgers in America list. Pair it with a $5 shake, made with Blue Bell ice cream in flavors like Key lime pie and Krispy Kreme doughnut, or add a side of $4 hand-cut fries with toppings like lemon-garlic aioli or cajun spice.
To find out where Bite Gastrotruck will be parked this summer, visit bitegastrotruck.com or call 305.394.3575
Stout Lamb Burger, Stout Bar & Grill
As far as lamb burgers goes, this one rises to the top. It might sound odd coming from a traditionally Irish restaurant, but if you know anything about owner Simon Kearney, it’s that he takes pride in the food served at his restaurant—even if it’s a burger with a Greek twist. The ground lamb burger ($14.95) is served with arugula, red onion, feta cheese and tzatziki sauce. It’s a Mediterranean take on your traditional pub burger. Plus, it pairs well with one of Stout’s craft beers. Our favorite? Wells Banana Bread.
Stout Bar & Grill, 3419 N. Andrews Ave., Oakland Park; 754.223.5678;
Sirloinburger, The Le Tub Saloon
There are no bells and whistles at Le Tub—just darn good burgers. The gas-station-turned-burger-joint along the Intracoastal is a place only locals would know of if not for its 13-ounce Sirloinburger ($11), which GQ Magazine ranked the nation’s number one burger in 2006. Our readers still concur. We polled our audience online, and found that as flashy, exotic burgers are birthed across South Florida, locals prefer a classic burger with no added frills. Crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside, the massive ground top sirloin is seasoned and charbroiled before it’s plated on a bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and an option of swiss or American cheese.
The Le Tub Saloon, 1100 N. Ocean Drive, Hollywood; 954.921.9425;
Veggie Burger, Eat the Tea
Here’s an oxymoron—healthy burger. Yet Eat the Tea, a swanky, low-key vegetarian/vegan spot in Fort Lauderdale, has mastered the paradox. The veggie burger ($11.99) made from an assortment of nuts, herbs, seeds, carrots, garlic, onions, black beans, bread crumbs and oat flour, is not only delicious, but it also offers a great deal of health components, like protein and fiber. And, it comes infused with green tea—hence the eatery name. With almost every meal, diners literally “eat the tea.” Completing the sandwich is a mound of sprouts and a dollop of the restaurant’s special vegenaise, and holding it all together are two slices of Gran Forno multi-grain bread. To combat the burger’s usual side of fries or potato chips, Eat the Tea plates a side kale salad sprinkled with nuts and veggies. The best part—you’ll return to work after this lunch break with more energy than when you left, skipping that usual 3 p.m. crash.
Eat the Tea, 900 NE 20th Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 754.200.8355;
Chef Steve’s Burger, Sea Level
It’s hard to imagine that you’d need another reason to visit this tucked away waterfront restaurant known for its ocean views and quiet ambience far from the hustle and bustle of Fort Lauderdale Beach’s A1A. But if you do, we’ve got it for you: Chef Steve’s Burger ($17). Sea Level offers a handful of gourmet burgers, but this one rose to the top with its presentation and taste. The burger arrives open faced, with one side loaded with a gourmet blended patty, smoked cheddar, smoked bacon, fried onion and topped with a sunny-side up egg. If that’s not enough, what really makes this burger a showstopper is the maple-bourbon aioli. We approve ordering this breakfast burger anytime of the day.
Sea Level, Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, 3030 Holiday Drive, Fort Lauderdale; 954.525.4000;
The Culinary Monsterpiece, Burger Craze at the Wyndham Deerfield Beach
The sight of this burger will blow your mind; and its consumption will blow the top button off your jeans. We encourage those attempting to stomach this 8-pound sandwich to use safe discretion, and to wear pants with an elastic waistband. For $40, diners can enter the Burger Craze challenge and attempt to eat the massive patty, bun, onions, tomatoes and lettuce within 45 minutes for a comped meal and recognition on the restaurant wall. For those who know their stomachs’ limits, chef Tulio Castilla also offers nearly 20 other normal-sized burgers, like the Over the Top, made with Kobe beef, foie gras pate, arugula, truffle oil and raspberry jam; or The Caliente, with ground chorizo, pepper jack cheese, guacamole and jalapeño.
Burger Craze, 2096 NE Second St., Deerfield Beach; 954.596.5949;
Shula Burger, Shula Burger
Shula Burger offers more than a dozen burgers and sandwiches, but sometimes you can’t beat a classic. Having a bad day and in need of comfort food? The Shula Burger ($6.99) is a go-to. It’s perfectly seasoned and served with American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. To wash it down, order one of Shula’s hand-dipped Häagen-Dazs milkshakes. We guarantee the combo will brighten your day.
Shula Burger, 1515 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale or 14917 Lyons Road, #114, Delray Beach;
CEO Burger, The Office
Here’s a reason to head into work—The Office’s CEO Burger ($19) has the boss’ stamp of approval. Literally—the top of the bun is branded with the smoky word “Office.” Below, a generous serving of tomato jam, bacon, Gruyère, blue cheese, arugula and “office sauce” dress a juicy patty. To hold it all together, a toothpick spears the ensemble with a grape tomato and pickle on top. Add some “Assistants” to the meal, like the Fancy Mac and Cheese made with cheddar, fontina, Gruyère, Gouda, Asiago, smoked bacon, Vidalia onion and buttered Ritz Crackers, or the crispy Brussels sprouts mixed with cherry peppers, warm maple bacon vinaigrette and caramelized apples. Scarf it all down sitting on a cowhide or red leather chair below bookcases and mirrored walls.
The Office, 201 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach; 561.276.3600;
The Tucker Duke, Tucker Duke’s Lunchbox
We’re so glad that chef Brian Cartenuto decided to open a Tucker Duke’s satellite location last year in Deerfield Beach, and that he brought with it his famous Tucker Duke burger ($10). The burger comes as it is, whether you like it or not. The menu proudly states “No modifications—for anyone.” But you’d be crazy to mess with this winner—it comes piled high with fried onion rings, American cheese, Tucker sauce, lettuce and tomato. And if you’re still hungry, the restaurant receives rave reviews for its mac and cheese.
Tucker Duke’s Lunchbox, 1101 S. Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach; 954.708.2035;
Meatball Sliders, YOLO
It’s hard to think up something better than a meatball caught between the top and bottom of a bun. At YOLO, the restaurant’s notable tomato gravy soaked meatballs sit atop a layer of arugula and below scoops of herb ricotta cheese, which is all packaged into mini buns. It’s no big surprise that YOLO, which predominantly serves contemporary American cuisine, serves a great meatball, considering its sister restaurant, Fork and Balls, specializes in the crafting of meaty spheres. Each meatball slider at YOLO goes for $4 and is the ideal appetizer, or accomplice to a cocktail at the bar.
YOLO, 333 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.523.1000;
The Prohibition Burger, Tap 42
Deal: $5 Burger Night on Mondays It’s no secret that Tap 42 is one of Fort Lauderdale’s, and soon to be Boca’s, most popular restaurants. As much as we like to discover hidden, unknown dining establishments, we have to give credit where credit is due. Tap 42’s Prohibition Burger is hard to beat in terms of both price and taste. The burger normally sells for $13.50, but on Monday nights the white-cheddar and applewood-bacon burger is available for a fraction of the price—$5. Plan to go early—the restaurant fills up fast.
Tap 42, 1411 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale; Coming soon to 5050 Town Center Circle, Ste. 247, Boca Raton; 954.463.4900;
The Portabella Mushroom Burger, Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille
Deals: $1 oysters with your meal every day from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
We’ll let you in on a little secret—The Portabella Mushroom burger at Las Olas’ Wild Sea Oyster Bar debuted in May as a special, but chef Toby Joseph will still prep it for any diner who asks. The goat-cheese-portabella-mushroom combo is what does you in, paired with roasted red peppers, watercress, caramelized onions and truffle aioli inside a butter brioche bun. On the side are fresh, unprocessed sweet potato fries with no additives or preservatives.
Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille, 620 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.467.0671;
Miami “Heater” Burger, American Social
Deal: $5 American Social Burger and Fries on Monday
There’s a reason this blend of chuck, brisket, short rib, caramelized onions and marinades earned the “2014 Burger Battle Winner” award. Make sure to have a stack of napkins nearby when you bite into American Social’s Miami ‘Heater’ Burger ($16). It’s stuffed with Boursin cheese, wrapped in jalapeño bacon and topped with truffled shiitake mushrooms creating a messy, gooey, delicious meal. To ensure every bite is flavorful, it’s served on a toasted onion bun with pesto mayonnaise. Trust us, it’s a masterpiece you won’t want to miss.
American Social Las Olas, 721 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.764.7005;
Robe Vasquez, 28, has worked as a bartender for Tap 42 since it opened three and a half years ago. Here, he gives tips for choosing the right beer for your burger.
1. Don’t judge a beer by its color.
Vasquez says he often sees people avoiding dark beers believing they have a strong flavor. This isn’t always the case, he says, as some dark beers are sweet.
2. Always try a beer twice.
You can’t always tell if you like something from one taste, so Vasquez says diners should give brews a second chance. Customers should request to sample beers before deciding which one is right for a meal.
3. It’s the condiments that matter.
It’s the additional flavors you put on the burger that determine what type of beer is best, Vasquez says. For a burger that’s spicy, go with a pale ale or a porter beer. Pales ales, such as Saison beer, go well with burgers with a lot of spices, such as a veggie, black bean or falafel burger. Dark beers, such as nut brown ale, bring out a turkey burger’s sweet, smoky flavor. Tap 42 also features a sweeter burger, The Drunken Goat, which has purple haze raspberry jam. To combat the sweetness of the burger, Vasquez recommends a malty beer.
4. Try pairing a fatty burger with a pale ale.
Vasquez’s favorite beer/burger pairing is Tap 42’s Prohibition Burger with a Funky Buddha Hop Gun beer. The subtle bitterness of the beer cuts through the fattiness of the bacon, Vasquez says.
– Caitlin Ostroff
We asked our readers on to tell us their favorite local burgers. These five kept popping up. Add them to your burger bucket list.
Mind Your Manors
Try the MYM Burger
“The burger itself is so tasteful and has to be one of the juiciest burgers I have ever had in my life, and I love food. Then you add the combination of sweet caramelized onions and applewood smoked bacon and creamy melted Brie cheese; and then garlic mayo on a challah bun. How does that not have a place in heaven?” Josh
2045 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors
Gilbert’s 17th Street grill
Try the Louisiana Beef Burger
“Cooks it just right every single time, and the Louisiana hot sauce is cooked within the burger.” Gary
1821 Cordova Road, Fort Lauderdale
Try the Breakfast All Day Burger
“It has the perfect combination of flavors and textures. It’s like a perfect little meal in one burger. It can get a little messy—as a good burger should—but not sloppy to the point where you can’t enjoy it.” Celina
Multiple locations between Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach
Jack’s Old Fashion Hamburger House
Try the Big Jack ½ pound Hamburger
“The freshness of the meat [makes it great], and the mustard sauce is to die for!” Stuart
4201 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale; 591 S. Cypress Road, Pompano Beach
Burgers & Suds
Try the Prospect Burger
“Awesome blend of beef, always juicy and awesome bun.” Karyn
360 SE 15th St., Pompano Beach