Burgers dominated the conversation this summer—don't they always. They were also the center of some controversy on Eatocracy, CNN's food blog, to which F&W is a regular contributor. On behalf of F&W, burger titan Josh Ozersky weighed in with two separate top 10 burger lists: One dedicated to American cheeseburgers served on squishy buns; the other list celebrated more unorthodox burgers.
No surprise, loyal Eatocracy readers had strong opinions about which burgers Ozersky left out. So let's talk about the seven burger places that were shouted out the most.
Kuma's Corner; Chicago
The heavy metal burger bar has two locations and burgers named after bands. Black Sabbath features house-made chili, blackening spice and pepper Jack cheese; Metallica is bacon, blue cheese dressing and buffalo sauce. kumascorner.com
• Angelamnichole: "You haven't had a burger until you've had Kuma's Corner in Chicago. I've never heard of Au Cheval, but Kuma's will throw it under the bus, no questions."
• Dave P: "Please, do not waste your time at Au Cheval. Horribly overrated. I've lived in Chicago my whole life and Kuma's Corner makes the best burgers I've ever had in my life. No question. Hands down. Go there instead and you'll thank me."
Port of Call; New Orleans
Opened in 1963 as a steak house on the edge of the French Quarter, Port of Call has a no-frills menu boasting four burgers (from hamburger to mushroom cheeseburger). There are also tropical drinks such as Neptune's Monsoon to wash them down. portofcallnola.com
• Thomas: "NOLA does have a bunch of great burgers: Company Burger, Lüke, Yo Mama's...but Port of Call is and always will be my favorite."
Ray's Hell-Burger/Ray's to the Third; Arlington, VA
Ray's to the Third is the newest incarnation of the now-shuttered Ray's Hell-Burger—a place that got a lot of attention after President Obama started having working lunches there. The Big Devil is a 10-ounce burger made from aged, freshly ground steak cuts. Options like grilled onions and charred jalapeños are free; luxury toppings like smoked bacon and runny butter-fried egg are going to cost you something. raystothethird.com
• Examiner: "Ray's Hell-Burger in Arlington, Virginia, is awesome. Great selection of toppings, made from ground steak, etc. Best I have had in country. Good enough for Obama, Russian officials, etc."
Hodad's; San Diego area
The word hodad allegedly means "a nonsurfer who spends time at beaches masquerading as a surfer; see also, poser." Hodad's burgers are straightforward: burger, cheeseburger and bacon cheeseburger. The charity-minded owner, Mike Hardin, works with The Messlords—a group of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives alumni who travel around the world to cook for US troops in spots like Japan, Guam, Egypt and Dubai. hodadies.com
• Craig: "I didn't see Hodad's on the list of top 10. That just means that you missed the best burger and only listed the runner-ups."
BURGER CHAINS get a lot of love, too.
In-N-Out Burger; California and four other western states
• Joanie768: "The IN-N-OUT burger is the BEST EVER...no one can top it...EVER."
• Jeff: "In-N-Out is ‘just the poor man's Steak 'n Shake'? I think my eyes just melted out of my sockets at such silliness."
• Johnny J: "In-N-Out is a poor man's Steak 'n Shake?? Are you freaking kidding me? I am from Arizona (where there is no SnS but tons of InO) and I now in Florida (the opposite). I enjoy both chains and I can tell you with 100% certainty the In-N-Out blows Steak 'n Shake out of the water."
Whataburger; Texas and the Southern US
• RichardHead: "Everybody in Texas knows that Whataburger is #1. If they would only make a chili-cheeseburger with white onions, I might set up a tent in the parking lot."
• Forrestal: "Hamburgers are grunt food. Keep your pretentious $15 hamburgers off my plate! I'll grill one myself or drive down the street to McDonald's. Cheap, tasty and you always know what you're going to get."