Burgers, Cheeseburgers and stuff… Yes a website about Burgers.

Travel + Leisure Names Top Burger Cities

By • May 15th, 2011 • Category: Burger Blog

Back in my very first post for this site, I asked (hypothetically… or so I thought) if there was a Burger Capital of America. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one wondering. In their May edition, Travel + Leisure magazine has published a list of what their readers consider to be the 20 Best Burger Cities in the nation. Only 35 large cities were included in the running, so smalltown burger meccas like New Haven, CT (home of world-famous Louis’ Lunch) were out of contention. But this isn’t a list of great burger restaurants; it’s the city’s burger scene as a whole that’s put under the microscope. So here they are, the 20 Best Burger Cities, according to the readers of Travel + Leisure.

20. San Francisco: The City By the Bay, foodie-famous for The Fisherman’s Wharf and the renowned French Laundry (15 tables, 2-month waitlist) comes in 20th when it comes to burgers, perhaps in part to the quality of the beef from nearby Niman Ranch.

19. Atlanta: Living here, I’m clearly biased, but with a preponderance of world-class burger joints, many of which receive regular national attention, I find it hard to believe that there are 18 cities that are across-the-board better for burgers than the ATL. Miss Ann cannot be happy about this.

18. Charleston: She-crab soup? Yes. Lowcountry shrimp and grits? You better believe it. But T+L readers must also think of burgers when they think of this historic South Carolina city.

17. San Antonio: They do know a thing or three about beef in Texas, as four cities from the Lone Star State made the Top 20.

16. San Diego: Either the surf-shack-cool burgs at Hodad’s are totally rad enough to carry the whole city, or there are enough other great burger joints in town to put San Diego at #16.

15. Kansas City: The city is best known for its barbecue, but apparently there are more than a few good burgers that qualify as KC masterpieces, too. And any town where you could see the above vehicle out on the streets deserves a spot on this list.

14: Dallas/Fort Worth: I’ve been impressed with the burgers I’ve had in Dallas (Cowboys Stadium notwithstanding) and always look forward to going back to Big D for more. And now they have In-N-Out

13: Phoenix/Scottsdale: Seems the only Phoenix-area burgers I ever hear about are the ones at Heart Attack Grill. But then again, the only time I hear about the Heart Attack Grill is when they’re suing yet someone else for using the term “coronary bypass.”

12. Los Angeles: A shocker, given how integral the cheeseburger has always been to LA’s laid-back beachside culture. I would have thought In-N-Out‘s rabid fanbase alone would put them higher on this list. Umami Burger‘s also getting a ton of buzz these days… but not enough for the City of Angels to crack the Top 10.

11. Portland: Oregon may not seem like much of a culinary capital, but I trust that the city that gave us Voodoo Doughnut can do some wicked things to a burger as well.

10. Savannah: There’s charm and history almost literally dripping from the magnolia trees in this Georgia port city, but I’ve never heard anyone come back and rave about a burger.

9. New York City: Wow. The home of the legendary Shake Shack and gourmet burgers from celebrichefs out the wazoo ranks only ninth?!? I thought if you could make it here, you could make it anywhere, but there are still eight cities to go…

8. Minneapolis/St. Paul: They single-handedly invented the stuffed-burger genre with the Jucy Lucy. And they had those knuckleheads who landed their airplane on a frozen lake in the middle of the city just to make a lunch run. Yeah, I guess MSP counts as a solid burger town.

7. Nashville: One of just two cities anywhere in which Krystal and White Castle peacefully co-exist. But I gotta hope T+L readers had some other burger joints in mind when they gave it 7th place.

6. Chicago: Another burger giant with a seemingly low ranking. Between the Billy Goat Tavern, Kuma’s Corner, and a zillion other places, I assumed Chi-town would be in the Top 3.

5. Austin: The Texas capital has a rep for being kooky and funky and weird, all things to everybody. So did Austin end up at #5 based on hamburgers or simply for being a city that people love to love?

4. Denver: I’ve never been there, save for an hourlong layover in the airport once. So maybe. But I’ve never heard much hype for any burger joints in the Mile High City. Are we ranking great burger cities or great travel cities???

3. Providence: I’m thinking that T+L readers got off track the closer they got to the top. Cool city? Probably. Historic? Sure. Quaint and charming? Yep. But the third-best burger city in the US?!?

2. Salt Lake City: I’ve now lost all faith in the veracity of this list. But if the Utah Board of Tourism wants to fly me out to sample the city’s specialty, pastrami-topped burgs, I’ll be happy to reconsider.

1. Houston: No surprise that a Texas town ended up on top, I suppose. But like so many other head-scratchers on this list, I’d have to pay a visit and sample a few dozen cheeseburgers before I go along with this ranking.

We’d love for you to weigh in, Nation. How many of these cities have you been to? How are the burgers? Who got hosed? Who got left out?

Leave a Reply