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New and updated for 2019!

It’s time to break out your grill and eat some juicy burgers. Whether you’re cooking at home (like the all American champ you are), or you plan to order nothing but burgers from every restaurant in town until summer is over (a noble quest indeed), we have just the guide for you. It’s chock full of our personal burger picks and some very helpful grilling advice (and food porn, of course, lots and lots of food porn).

This is not an all encompassing guide to every place to eat burgers in and around D.C. There are hundreds of places to eat meat between buns. This is a roundup of some of our favorite places to eat burgers, some places with burger specials, thoughts on charcoal vs gas and some tunes to listen to while eating burgers. We’re here to help. We’re open to debate.


Ari’s Diner

  • 2003 Fenwick Street NE

Located right smack in the middle of Ivy City, Ari’s Diner is worth the trek. While the space is small, the menu is filled with something for everyone. There are diner classics like waffles, Monte Cristos, and much more, but we recommend you order the burger. Made with organic ground beef, shredded lettuce, tomato, pickles, and a house sauce all pilled high on a sesame seed bun, this burger isn’t breaking any boundaries. It’s not trying to be fancy of creative, It’s not working with unusual flavor profiles or hard to source ingredients. It’s just a quality classic burger. It’s everything you want from a diner. -Kaylee Dugan

Bar Deco

  • 717 6th Street NW

“When you’re ready to move on to something more substantial, sandwiches are a safe bet. Two of our favorites: the 901, chef Henderson’s “riff on a burger” that stacks a caramelized onion bread pudding biscuit, a medium-rare burger patty, Swiss cheese, and a fried egg (knife and fork required); and the Gouda Short Rib, a decadent mass of braised beef shortrib in a bourbon maple glaze, topped with gouda cheese and crispy scallions on an onion roll that really should come with a “nap may be required” disclaimer.” -Logan Hollers

Ben’s Chili Bowl

  • 1213 U Street NW
  • Reagan National Airport – Terminal B/C
  • 1001 H Street NE
  • 1725 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA
If your burger wasn’t so good it survived a riot, then maybe shut your ass up. When I first moved to D.C. ten years ago, I’d heard the stories about the Ben’s half-smoke, but it was the long counter, old jukebox, and copious containers of ketchup and Texas Pete that caught my eye. It just had that vibe of my hometown diner. Hot Dog King, like Ben’s, was known for its dogs, but true heads knew the chili burger was the move. A heavy fat patty drenched in subtly spiced house chili on a toasted bun that pairs well with Marvin Gaye, cheese fries with onions, and shitty football on a tube TV. –Josh Phelps


The Big Board

  • 421 H Street NE

The Great Chicago Fire. This is my standby – close, great people, solid burger. It’s not grass-fed; it’s not organic; it’s not super fancy. It’s a damn good burger made with local beef dusted with chipotle powder and topped with habanero jack cheese and a dollop of sweet and spicy mango-habanero salsa. I’m not usually a fan of jack cheeses on burgers (American just melts too perfectly not to use), but it works here – the chipotle gives the loosely-packed beef a nice smokiness throughout, and the heat of the habanero keeps you going back in for one more bite, just to alleviate the burn. Then you look down and it’s gone. -Logan Hollers


  • 300 Tingey Street SE

We were big fans of Bluejack’s old burger, but they have a BRAND NEW recipe for 2016 that we’re just as wild about. Chef Marcelle Afram’s Big Train Burger’s is a classic patty topped with smokey onion rings, jalapeno relish, aged cheddar, and finally, the house steak sauce. Most of the things at Bluejacket are good and this is no exception. -Kaylee Dugan


  • 8504 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, MD

At first glance, BurgerFi might seem like another entry in the ever-growing field of trendy fast food burger joints like Five Guys, Bobby’s Burger Palace and Shake Shack, but Silver Spring’s premier eco-friendly burger joint sets itself apart by specialising in free-range Angus patties, and its moderately-priced creative options, like a quinoa patty veggie burgerand an all-day breakfast burger with fried egg, hash browns and maple syrup. My personal favorite is the ever-so-juicy CEO, which features two Wagyu brisket blend beef patties layered with savory aged Swiss cheese, topped with homemade candied bacon-tomato jam and a creamy garlic truffle aioli. You can also get fries and hot dogs with a wide vary of topping choices, as well delicious frozen custard shakes and concretes with a whole bunch of toppings and mix-ins to choose from.

It’s not as easy to find a decent burger in Silver Spring as you’d think, especially if you just want something to grab-and-go. Luckily, BurgerFi—located on Fenton Street, opposite the Whole Foods—has you covered. -Norm Quarrington

Burger Tap & Shake

  • 2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

I am… in love with Burger, Tap & Shake… Like really really in love. I have no idea how it became my absolute favorite burger place in D.C., but it did. I love everything about it. I love the giant painting of George Washington. I love their shakes (boozy and regular). I love their beer selection (Although, I wish they still had Old Rasputin on tap. There is nothing better than getting a burger, fries, an Old Rasputin, and then finishing off with a shake because you hate yourself). Most importantly, I love their burgers. Especially the Six Buck Chuck. The bread is so light and fluffy. The meat is so so juicy and full of flavor (get it medium rare!!!!) it really doesn’t need any other toppings, but since I am not an animal, I get all the regular suspects. Cheese, Lettuce, onion, tomato, and PICKLES. That’s right. You heard me. The best burgers have pickles. Even if you hate pickles, get pickles. I will fight people over this. The only thing that’s “ehhh” at BTS  are the fries. Sometimes they’re great, sometimes they’re whatever. Pro tip, take some of the Sriracha they have so kindly put out with the other condiments, mix it with some ketchup and dip your fries in that. Delicious. I would normally end this with something like, “Go there now!!!” but I won’t. Please don’t go there, it’s already hard enough to get space at the bar. -Kaylee Dugan


The Capital Burger

  • 1005 7th Street NW

Of the two burgers we tried, the clear winner was The Capital Burger. Made French Onion soup style, it features caramelized onions, Wisconsin gruyere and a shallot aioli. While it’s a little richer than your average LTOP burger, the caramelized onions are a crucial ingredient that set this burger apart from the rest and help keep everything nice and moist. The bun is also very well done and did a great job at standing up to the juice from the burger. Too many burger places skimp when it comes to the bread, but it can make or break your meal. – Read our full story by Kaylee Dugan here

The Capital Grille

  • 601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

I have bougie proclivities. I love truffle fries. The Capital Grille fulfills both of those needs beautifully. Their burger is huuuuuuuge and delicious and comes with the most incredible parmesan truffle fries. I cannot get enough of them. It also comes with smoked bacon. You will not regret getting this burger. Pro tip, sit at the bar, or in the lounge area. The service is impeccable. Pro tip #2 Order the clam chowder (it’s even better than Outback Steakhouse’s clam chowder and I am I go hard for Outback’s clam chowder) Pro tip #3 bring a date (or your mom, I always bring my mom). You will have a great time. – Kaylee Dugan


  • 707 7th Street NW
  • 3236 M Street NW
  • 5441 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD
  • 1700 N Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA

Yes, it’s a chain. But it’s a local chain and it’s reliable. Reliability is really the most attractive aspect of any good chain restaurant. A burger should also be reliable. Not every burger has to be a life-changing meaty revelation—that’s simply not a realistic expectation—what it needs to be is dependable, and that’s exactly what you get with a Clyde’s burger. It has solid burger integrity.  –Zeke Leeds


  • 1940 9th Street NW

Your favorite small music venue is also one of the best places to grab a burger near U Street. All of DC9’s burgers come with 8oz of ground beef, but the topping options feel almost endless. I’m partial to the South By which includes avocado, pepper jack cheese, and pickled jalapeños, but you really can’t go wrong. They come with a delicious side of garlic fries, so all you need is a cold beer and you’re on the path to burger heaven. -Kaylee Dugan

Dirty Habit

  • 555 8th Street NW

An outstanding burger continues the high/low theme with the addition of kewpie mayo, a fried egg, and a sticky teriyaki sauce. DO NOT sleep on a side order of some of the best fries in DC, crunchy and salty af. – Logan Hollers

Duke’s Counter

  • 3000 Connecticut Avenue NW

At Duke’s Counter you can get the same Proper Burger you can get at Duke’s Grocery, but without having to wait outside for a half an hour just to get a seat.

Duke’s Grocery

  • 1513 17th Street NW

I will say it now: the Proper burger at Duke’s Grocery IS the best burger in DC. First off, the beef quality is outstanding. Duke’s uses Creekstone Farms, the beef purveyor to Michelin star chefs and uses a lot of it (there’s two patties here, and you better learn to deal with it). On top of those two patties you get: a perfectly melted perfectly smoky gouda, house pickles, the juiciest charred onions known to mankind, some arugula to cut the onion sweetness, chilli sauce, some sort of magical aioli and it is sadnwiched in a perfect bun: the kind that is soft but doesn’t get too soggy when faced with all that action in between. It is a total paper towel-at-your-side kind of burger but it is also somehow completely manageable and not overwhelming. And, if you wanna go nuts: yes, you can add an egg or avocado or chicken liver pate on top, and yes, that will be amazing too, but while the Proper Burger welcomes those additions, it DOESN’T NEED THEM. It is perfect, just the way it is. The only flaw in the system: I live across the street and they DON’T DO CARRY OUT. Come on, you guys. COME ON. -Svetlana Legetic



  • 637 Florida Avenue, NW

If there’s one thing Shaw isn’t missing, it’s lunch spots. You’ve got Cava, HalfSmoke, Potbelly, SUNdeVICH, Calabash, Smoked & Stacked, Glen’s Garden Market, Rito Loco, Dacha Market, and that’s not even mentioning the places with sit down waiter service. The BYT office used to be located in Shaw, and if there’s one thing I miss about working out of that neighborhood, it’s the food. Downtown might have all of the Cosis and Prets you could ever want, but sometimes you’re craving something a little more homemade.

And if homemade is your goal, FishScale is here to give you one more excellent option. The fish burger joint only has a few tables and seats, but what it lacks in space, it easily makes up for in flavor. Chef Brandon Williams has been making fish burgers ever since his mom became a pescatarian, and after finding a ton of success at local farmers markets, he’s finally decided to open up his very own spot. – Read our full story by Kaylee Dugan here

Five Guys

  • 1300 Second Street NE
  • 1335 Wisconsin Avenue NW
  • 1400 Irving Street NW
  • 1825 I Street NW
  • 407 L’Enfant Plaza East SW
  • 1400 I Street
  • 1100 New Jersey Avenue SE
  • 13th NW & F Streets NW
  • 808 H Street NW

A lot of people feel like there is some sort of Five Guys vs. Shake Shack vs. In N Out fight, but really, who cares. Shake Shack is good at some things, Five Guys is good at some things, and I’m sure In N Out is good at something, but I wouldn’t know because I live on the Beast Coast. Five Guys has a good burger. It’s better than a regular fast food burger, but it’s not as good as a fancy burger. I like that you can get pickles and a million other toppings but I like to keep it simple with LTO(always raw onion none of that grilled nonsense)P and maybe some mushrooms. Their fries are awesome. Make sure to douse them in vinegar and then eat them as fast as possible. Five Guys is the best when you are surrounded by friends so you can make fun of whoever adds too many things to their burger, thus making it almost impossible to eat. Plus, you are going to need someone to share all those fries with. Unless you are me. I could eat all of the fries. Bring me some fries. – Kaylee Dugan


  • 819 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring, MD

One summer, I peer pressured an intern into eating every kind of burger offered by Fuddruckers with me. The task was simple enough: On Fridays, we would go to “Fudds” – as the kids call it – and order a different kind of meat, each presented on a buttered loaf of bread masquerading as a bun. It was not a challenge for the weak of heart, because if an animal can be killed and turned into a patty, Fudds has done it. Cow? Sure, it has those in discs sized up to a pound. Turkey? Yes, of course, a delicious bird, as is another Fudds sacrifice, the emu. What about four-legged creatures that could kill me? Fuck yes; get the drop on some boar, elk, or buffalo. Aren’t land animals over? Enjoy the salmon circle. Aren’t all animals over? There is actually a veggie burger. Are these burgers any good? Sorry, I can’t hear you over the hum of the electronic cheese sauce dispenser. Are they good? Look, I already told you that Fudds serves a pound of cow on a bun. You can cut the thing into quarters and enjoy four regular-sized burgers. What else do you want out of life? – Phil Runco

Garden District

  • 1801 14th Street NW

If you’re looking for the best burger in the city, you really only have to go to one place: Garden District. For all of the hype other places get, or for all of the “special” ingredients other places put into their burgers, Garden District has been delivering an unrivaled burger that casually chills under the radar of “must have” lists by perfecting the basics. Is the meat patty a perfect lean to fat ratio? Yes. Do the pickles, tomatoes, and burger sauce provide just the right amount of tangy crispy sweetness? Sure do. Is the bun toasted to perfection? Of course. I’ve had this burger before noon, after midnight, and every hour in between, and each time I’m left with the same feeling: this burger is the consistent reproduction of the best burger you’ve ever had at a backyard cookout when a drunk dude who has no business manning the grill somehow hands you the best one you’ve had in months. -Ruben Gzirian

Good Stuff Eatery

  • 303 Pennsylvania Avenue SE
  • 3291 M Street NW
  • 2110 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
  • Reagan National Airport – Terminal B

Good Stuff Eatery has opted to open storefronts in Capitol Hill, Georgetown, and Saudi Arabia, which are all places that I am equally unlikely to visit on a weekday. Spike Mendelsohn is doing me a favor, I suppose, because my willpower is as low as my laziness is high, and Good Stuff makes the only burgers that I crave. They’re grease bombs made with high end, unusual ingredients, and that is exactly what I want out of my burger dining experience. (I am not going to pickle my own daikon at home.)  These burgers don’t bust your belly, either: A double-patty Prez Obama is just enough to gently send you down Food Coma Creek like a swaddled baby Moses. And lest we forget the unlimited, self-serve mayos. Have you ever been to a brgr joint that chargers you for a thimble of extra dipping sauce? Good Stuff is having none of that. Go H.A.M. on the creamy Old Bay, mango, chipotle, and sriracha bliss. Lord knows that I do, usually with both the seasoned Village Fries and fried onion “petals.” When I make the pilgrimage, I don’t mess around. If a Good Stuff ever opens close to my office, I am screwed. – Phil Runco


The Grilled Oyster Co.

  • 7943 Tuckerman Lane, Potomac, MD

This burger is not for the small-stomached foodie. In fact, it’d be a struggle for anyone to finish this alone. For the sake of your health and well-being, please share this burger with a friend (or two. Or three!) Despite its gargantuan proportion, the ‘Hey Steve’ is a tasty treat. It consists of a huge patty, bacon, and a chunk of fried mac & cheese which compliments the giant mound of beef underneath it way more than I anticipated. -Norm Quarrington

The Hamilton

  • 600 14th Street NW
Six years in, and Clyde’s dinner-and-a-show venture on 14th and F is going strong. The stage downstairs is graced by national and international touring acts almost every night, the street-level bars (Hamilton’s got two, by the way) provide Downtown’s well-heeled with irresistible cocktails, and the kitchen offers the kind of classics that helped put Clyde’s on the map twenty years ago, only updated and refined. The Hamilton Burger is less about innovating a new balance of flavors, and more about working within the conventional understanding of a cheeseburger: A 63/4-oz patty of grass-fed and locally-raised Cedar River Farms ground chuck, a slice of cheddar straight from Vermont, smoked bacon cooked to the perfect balance of streaky fat and crispy meat, a fried egg, lettuce, tomato, some kind of house-made spicy pink mayo, piled high on a toasted Martin’s “Big Marty” potato-and-sesame bun, with a shocking $14 price tag. The burger reflects the Hamilton’s personality and mission; exceedingly high standards of quality, achieved by keeping shit simple, affordable and approachable. -Jonny Grave

Hard Rock Cafe

  • 999 E Street NW

Let’s start at the beginning with the English burger, shall we? This was a goddamned MONSTROSITY, but oh so delicious! (My favorite of the three I tasted, in fact.) It’s inspired by a full English breakfast (aka my “death row meal”, if you were curious) and comes topped with ham, breakfast sausage, a grilled portobello mushroom and a fried egg, and it’s nearly impossible to fit in your mouth, but if you’re determined (like I was) you’ll make it work. The only element I wish they’d incorporated onto the burger was Heinz baked beans (which allegedly come on the side, but our table didn’t get them for some reason), because even though they’d be messy, the burger was not necessarily tidy to begin with, so why not go the distance? I was also OBSESSED with the fresh tomato ketchup that came with the fries // PLEASE BOTTLE THAT AND SELL IT TO ME, HARD ROCK CAFE! -Megan Burnes


Iron Rooster

“I won’t lie to you; this is not something that is necessarily easy to eat, and I did end up deconstructing it to be able to fit all of the important parts in my mouth in a single bite, but practicality aside, this is legitimately one of the greatest burger experiences I have ever had (and that’s saying a lot, because I have been to In-N-Out); the burger patties themselves are super flavorful, and nothing beats some good old fashioned melted American cheese (they had a ton of cheese varieties, but I am as basic as they come), plus the waffle buns…I mean, do I even have to go into detail here? AMAZING AND SO GOOD.” -Megan Burns


Le Diplomate

  • 1601 14th Street NW

This is the classic by which I measure all other DC burgers. Thin patties of beef (easier to char up on a flat-top) from noted purveyor Pat LaFrieda stay so, so juicy, even with the great crust; classic American cheese melts perfectly over the top. The best part? A house-baked brioche bun that stays soft enough to bite through and yet maintains the structural durability necessary to contain all the goodness within. -Logan Hollers


Looking Glass Lounge

  • 3634 Georgia Avenue NW

Sometimes the best burger is the one you can get your ravenous hands on. For more and more people priced out of more southern NW neighborhoods, Looking Glass Lounge is providing the fix – especially on half-price on Wednesdays. If you live in Petworth, you’ll probably concede that the bar food game is strong at LG, and it crosses over to the juicy, half pound patties served medium rare and creating a crime scene on top of your fries. And if you don’t like it, forget it immediately with the ever present $6 Jim Beam and Natty Boh Comnbo. – Josh Phelps

Lucky Buns

  • 2000 18th Street NW
  • Capitol One Arena – 601 F Street NW
Chef Alex McCoy is a legit burger savant. The culinary brains behind BYT’s (slash everyone’s) favorite burger in DC, the Proper Burger at Duke’s, Chef McCoy has yet again struck beefy gold with his newest venture, Lucky Buns. Located at the base of Adams Morgan, this is more than just a burger shack; Chef McCoy has taken tips and tricks from his worldly travels, and arranged them into a diverse yet cohesive menu that spans the globe, from Australia to Southeast Asia to right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. You may have tried some of these creations at the former Alfie’s; you may not have. Either way, you’re doing yourself a disservice as a burger fan if you have yet to get in to Lucky Buns. Some swear by the Bogan Bun, made with a savory bacon XO jam, lucky sauce, and grilled red onion; others go bananas for the Alfie’s Bun, with its unique combination of pineapple, grilled beet, and a runny egg. Seriously though, the chicken sandwiches are just as bomb as the burgers. Take, for instance, the Hot Tiger Bun, a fried chicken thigh with a numbing ma la Sichuan peppercorn sauce and Chinese yellow mustard; or the Katsu Bun, a play on the Japanese standby that combines tonkatsu sauce, a Japanese slaw, nori, and soy-pickled cucumbers. The only play here is to bring a group, go HAM on as many sammies and burgers as possible, and wash it all down with some innovative cocktails from the mind of bartender extraordinaire Fabian Malone. Aside from being some of the best burgers in DC, this is one of the best new openings in a while, full stop. -Logan Hollers


  • 900 16th Street NW

Mirabelle may be known around D.C. for it’s $26 ham and butter sandwich, but it’s catching rave reviews for ex White House Chef Frank Ruta’s burger. Served dry or wet (depending on how messy you want to get) the burger is a riff off of the classic French Onion soup. Ruta’s concoction features dry-aged beef, Madeira-caramelized onions, aged gruyere cheese, homemade mayo and a homemade bun. If you decide to go the wet route (and your should) the burger gets an aggressive helping of red wine sauce. It’s the kind of thing you probably should eat with a knife and a fork, but we’re absolutely going to make fun of you if you do. Like wings, some foods are just made to be messy. -Kaylee Dugan

Ollies Trolley

  • 425 12th Street NW

Ollies Trolley is the saddest and most wonderful place. It is the only place where my bougie friend Harsh will eat alone. It’s Ollies Trolley. No one is judging you at Ollies Trolley. You cannot touch ANY of the memorabilia at Ollies Trolley. Just sit at your booth and gorge yourself on burgers. They’re not that great, but who cares. Sometimes you just want to fill yourself with comforting food in a homey, yet terrifying, environment. That’s where Ollies Trolley comes in. They have soft serve, so get some soft serve while you’re at it. Make it a day out of it. Go see a movie at E Street Cinema. Go to the bar at Harry’s and get drunk with strange tourists. Make the most out of life. -Kaylee Dugan

Petey’s Burger

  • 3017 30th Avenue, Astoria, NY

The food took about the same amount of time to appear as it would have at In-N-Out, which I took as a good sign. Freshness dot com. The burger wrappers were very similar to In-N-Out as well, though I immediately noticed a glaring difference – the gigantic slice of pickle that was sticking out between the lettuce and tomato. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of pickles. I am just not used to them in an In-N-Out capacity. Would it change the flavor profile? Only time would tell. –Read our full story by Megan Burns here

b DC Penn Quarter

  • 801 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Some Fridays, I head to Plan B and post up at the bar for lunch. And by “some Fridays,” I mean every Friday. With a diverse menu, a regularly rotating tap that includes DC Brau rarities, and friendly staff, it leaves me ready to power through the rest of my day and start the weekend. They have over twenty different options of burgers – including veggie, chicken, pork, and tuna – and I can honestly say that I’ve never had a bad one. My standby is the Blue Cheese, but sometimes the weekly special takes the prize. (The duck sausage sliders should be a permanent menu item.) I’ve invited a certain BYT writer, who shall remain nameless, to join my repast, but he consistently finds a reason to decline. It might be for the best: That makes one less person to battle for a seat. –Eamon Redmond

Quarry House Tavern

  • 8401 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Still one of the best un-gimmicky burgers in the D.C. area (despite not using a martin’s potato roll.) Throw in their ridiculous beer menu and comprehensive whiskey menu, and the sides (tots instead of fries, preferably with Old Bay; beer-battered pickle spears with tzatziki ranch sauce; beer-battered chicken tenders; and the stupidly delicious beer-battered avocado wedges with ponzu sauce) and I’m going there every chance I get. -Jeb Gavin


  • 1430 Rhode Island Avenue NW

The best of the “Food in Hand” category is simple – the Rad Burger. The tang of good beef aged well and served medium rare mingles with the oozy funk of camembert and gorgonzola; a red onion marmalade adds even more umami. Add a few of those kimchi pickles for some acidity to cut through the richness and this burger is ridiculous, a legit contender for one of the best in D.C. -Logan Hollers

A Rake’s Bar

  • 1770 Euclid Street NW

The burger at A Rake’s Bar, the bar of A Rake’s Progress, the restaurant on the second floor of The Line Hotel in Adams Morgan, can not be improved. Served only at the bar, the A Rake’s Burger features white cheddar, bacon, ember’d onions, smoked tomato mayonnaise and cobbled potatoes. It’s more than enough for one person so if you’re thinking of impressing a date and didn’t think very far ahead and can’t get reservations for A Rake’s Progress, splitting the burger at the bar with someone you like should make then like you more. The burger comes from the same kitchen as A Rake’s Progress (which is led byJames Beard Award–winning chef Spike Gjerde) and will make you regret not getting that reservation. -Brandon Wetherbee

Red Apron

  • 1309 5th Street NE
  • 8298 Glass Alley, Fairfax VA
  • 709 D Street NW

I’ve kept one New Year’s resolution in my entire life: not to ever again eat at McDonald’s. I still remember my last Big Mac – December 30th, 2004; we were hammered, coming home from Carey’s, and walked through the McDonald’s drive-through. It was awesome. When I’m looking to recreate that taste profile, I head to Red Apron’s shop in Union Market. It’s the only burger on the menu of a butcher shop for good reason. As you might imagine, it uses some the best beef (a blend of brisket, short rib, round, and sirloin) of any burger in D.C., and Red Apron’s own “Island Sauce” gives it the feel of an upscale Big Mac. Just without, you know, all the disgusting hormones and mass-scale factory farmed beef and evil multinational conglomerate horse shit. So…win-win. – Logan Hollers

Shake Shack

  • 1216 18th Street NW
  • 800 F Street NW
  • 1500 S Capitol Street SE
  • 50 Massachusetts Avenue NE
  • 1400 14th Street NW
  • 54 M Street SE
  • 975 Wharf Street SW

Danny Meyer is a bomb-ass restaurateur. The dude just knows how to pump out great product, whether in a dining room with white tablecloths or out of a cart with burgers served to you in wax paper. And man, is that classic ShackBurger something else. It sounds so simple: a Black Angus beef patty topped with American cheese, tomato, lettuce, and “Shack Sauce,” served in a grilled potato bun. But the sum is so, so much greater than its parts. I moved to DC from California, and never in a million years thought that you could best an In-N-Out double double, animal style. I was wrong. This is burger perfection for $5. -Logan Hollers

Oh Shake Shack. What can I say about you that hasn’t already been said a million times before? It’s good, it’s expensive. Whatever whatever. It’s got crinkle cut fries if you’re into that. It also has shakes and booze, but what really sets Shake Shack apart from all the rest, in my opinion, is the Shroom Burger. Now, I would not consider myself a voracious carnivore, but when I’m going to get a burger, I like it to be meaty. Shake Shack’s regular burgers are just whatever to me, but their Shroom Burger is fantastic. Really fantastic. The secret is that they use so much cheese that you forget there is no meat (I also like mushrooms, so you know… consider that). Plus the mushroom is fried. It is probably the least healthy veggie burger you could ever get. It’s wonderful. Plus, their fries are pretty okay too. -Kaylee Dugan


Slash Run

  • 201 Upshur Street NW

If you’re looking for good music and great burgers, you’ve come to the right place. Slash Run hosts cool local and out of town bands almost every night of the week, plus they’ve got a killer burger menu to go along with it. I’m partial to the classic Slash Supreme with bacon, a pretzel bun and delicious, crispy waffle fries, but there are a ton of options depending on what you were into. The best part is that all of their burgers have a veggie option, so it’s fun for the whole family. -Kaylee Dugan

The Smith

  • 901 F Street NW
  • 1314 U Street NW
The U Street Burger lives up to its namesake. The newest incarnation of the restaurant specializes in seafood and you should definitely order the seafood, but The Smith is the kind of place you’ll find yourself at a birthday party or company outing and sometimes seafood just isn’t appropriate. The burger with bacon tomato jam, sharp cheddar, crispy onions, pickles, TSB sauce on a brioche bun and hearty serving of fries is more than enough for one sitting. We finished it in one sitting. -Brandon Wetherbee


  • 715 Florida Avenue NW

Takoda’s burger is huge and delicious. It has a pretzel bun, a healthy portion of slaw, and most importantly a huge well cooked patty. It’s made all the more delicious when you’re enjoying it on one of D.C.’s best rooftop bars. Soak in the sun, eat an entire burger, and lazily drink beer for an hour or two. It is only available on Thursday’s between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., so plan accordingly. -Kaylee Dugan


Tune Inn

  • 331 Pennsylvania Ave SE

I used to love the Tune Inn. In fact, when I worked on the Hill I moved to an apartment directly across the street from the Tune Inn for the sole reason of proximity to the world’s greatest sandwich – the Tune Inn Patty Melt. Maybe my love for The Tune Inn has faded a bit with time.  Some of that is due to proximity, and some of that is due to the fact that after the fire (The Tune Inn temporarily closed due to a kitchen fire in 2011) they seem to have re-branded themselves as a sort of Guy Fieri-meets-Ed Hardy mashup that qualifies as my own personal version of hell.  But that fucking Patty Melt is still the best burger in DC. First of all, this thing is greasy.  But you should know that because it’s the Tune Inn. I’ve tried to make this at home using a fairly simple formula: Rye Bread + Butter + Half Pound Burger Patty + Sautéed Onions + Swiss Cheese + Russian Dressing. Into a skillet + more butter.  Sounds simple – but no one does it like the Tune Inn. It’s got the juiciness of a perfectly cooked burger, the exterior crunch and interior melted cheese goodness of a grilled cheese (Super Melty Cheesy, as Guy Fieri would call it), and the zest and flavors reminiscent of a NYC style deli rueben.  It’s like three awesome sandwiches that somehow come together perfectly into one at the Tune Inn. Paired with a cheap PBR and a forgiving stomach, this is the best burger in DC, hands down. -Brandon Minow

Victoria Gastro Pub

  • 8201 Snowden River Parkway, Columbia, MD

This is not in D.C., this is in Maryland. Not Bethesda, Rockville, suburb of DC Maryland, but Maryland Maryland. I don’t know if I could, in good conscious, recommend you drive all the way up to Columbia just to get a burger, but if you’re in the area, you should definitely stop by. Not only does Victoria’s have and excellent burger, but it also has amazing duck fat fries, and an incredible beer list. The first time I came here I had the “Mushroom & Swiss” Snake River Farms Wagyu Burger (I really do love mushrooms), The Bruery’s Tart of Darkness, and a bucket of the duck fat fries. It was amazing. If you like mushrooms, sour beers (like REALLY sour), and duck fat, I 100% recommend you recreate the experience. The duck fat fries feel like they are taking years off my life but I cannot bear to order anything else while I’m here. Follow my lead. -Kaylee Dugan


  • 3301 14th Street NW
  • 2157 P Street NW
  • 4321 Wisconsin Avenue NW
  • 13 Allegheny Avenue, Towson, MD
  • 6000 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD

One time, I went to Z-Burger and got an onion ring I could fit my entire fist through (I have small carnie hands, but still). That pretty much sums up my relationship with Z-Burger. It is delicious when you are drunk, high, or when you don’t feel like being fancy. I love fancy burgers with duck fat fries and foie gras and all that nonsense, but sometimes you just need a basic fast food burger. Sometimes you need a mountain of fries and onion rings so greasy that it turns you into nothing but grease. Sometimes you need more than one milkshake (they have a million milkshake options, get double chocolate). Sometimes you need to become one with fast food, but you have higher standards than McDonalds, Burger King, etc. I get it. I feel you. It makes perfect sense to me. -Kaylee Dugan



Fellow vegetarians, there are burgers for you too in this guide and damn good ones if I do say so.


  • 300 Tingey Street SE

While I was waiting for my veggie burger to arrive after I ordered at Bluejacket I was surprised to notice that multiple people around me were ordering the very same thing. When the burger arrived, I instantly understood its popularity. The falafel patty at Bluejacket is seated tall and regal on a thick, doughy bun smothered with a garlicky dill-infused yogurt sauce and a tart pickled beet salad. It’s an awesome whirlwind of texture and flavor: the nutty, spicy burger, fragrant sauce and acidic and crunchy salad. Make sure you come hungry when you indulge in this veggie burger, it’s a size and density will leave you satisfied all day long. -Priya Konings


  • 4121 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA

DIRT is not a vegan restaurant. It caters to meat-eaters, vegetarians, pescatarians, vegans, gluten-free diners, and even those on the paleo diet. But unlike other restaurants that serve meat, the majority of the menu is vegan or vegan-izable, while the meat options take a backseat. The vegan options reign supreme, with choices ranging from the ever-popular impossible burger to vegan pancakes and beyond. Read the full story by Priya Konings here.

Fare Well

  • 406 H Street NE

When Fare Well first opened they were serving their own delicious housemade burger but recently made a switch to the all-famous impossible burger. The impossible burger has made its rounds on all the food outlets for its “meatiness;” it’s entirely plant based but bleeds like a burger and is so dense even meat eaters have been known to be fooled by it. In fact, owner Doron Petersan of Fare Well reports that the burger is often returned by vegans who swear it’s too real to be a veggie burger. She serves it up three ways; one version is with Mexican flavors, which means a spicy cheese sauce and pickled jalapenos, Italian influenced which includes olives and garlic aioli, or the classic, which is my favorite with just lettuce, tomatoes and caramelized onions. Frankly, the impossible burger has enough personality to only need the simplest of toppings. -Priya Konings

Good Stuff Eatery

  • 303 Pennsylvania Avenue SE
  • 3291 M Street NW
  • 2110 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
  • Reagan National Airport – Terminal B

Vegetarians take note: Good Stuff offers TWO veggie burger options so you actually have a choice and you won’t be stuck ordering the same thing every time. As Chef Max Albano says, vegetables are the trend right now and Good Stuff definitely wants to keep up. The Portobello burger has been on the menu for a while, but the restaurant wanted to include something different and decided to take a Southern turn by offering a fried green tomato burger. The burger is everything, and more. A perfect golden crust enrobes the tart tomatoes, which are served on a bun with and a heap of lettuce, avocado, and chipotle mayo. Its crunchy and salty and super satisfying. Appreciate the picture I took below because you’re gonna eat yours so fast you won’t have time to snap a pic. -Priya Konings

Vim & Victor

  • 6805 Industrial Road, Springfield, VA

Vim & Victor isn’t like normal restaurants. It eschews the design conventions most modern eateries cling to. There’s no exposed brick or shiplap, and it’s not filled with enough candles to open a Bath & Body Works. Its walls are studded with big screen TVs… but it’s not a sports bar. It has pristine floor to ceiling windows… that overlook a new parking lot and a host of old warehouses. The menu might boast historically unhealthy meals like nachos and burgers… but the nachos are piled high with cauliflower and the burger is made with Beyond Meat. Read the full story by Kaylee Dugan here.

If you’d like even more veggie burger options, look no further than our brand new veggie burger guide.


Beers and burgers, they go together like lamb and tuna fish (or spaghetti and meatballs, perhaps you’re more comfortable with that analogy?).

For a basic burger, one served off the grill at a backyard BBQ, I love Victory Prima Pils. It’s a lighter colored beer but packs a ton of crisp malt flavor and earthy hops. Its highly carbonated body helps strip the burgers oils off your tongue, and allows the hops and the bready malts to shine through. Plus it’s a delicious and refreshing beer on a hot summer day.

If you’re enjoying a burger loaded up with lots of toppings – bacon, mushrooms, avocado, or all of the above – I prefer a dark beer, as the roasty sweetness of the dark malts does a good job of cutting through the intense flavors. In this case, I like Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale. It’s a 7% alcohol brown ale that’s loaded up with brown sugar and citrusy american hops. The sweetness from the sugar and roasted malts compliment the bold flavors of the burger, while the high alcohol and intense hops cut through and let the beer stand out on its own.
With these suggestions in mind, don’t forget that there’s really no bad beer to pair with a burger. Sometimes, all you need is a Bud (or a Miller/Coors/Pabst). While the flavor may not stand up, it can be really nice to just let the burger take the forefront and just let a bottle (or 4) of cheap beer to wash it down. -Mitchell West


A long time ago we had an awesome column about some of our favorite burgers in the district. Let’s take a walk down burger memory lane, shall we?




Daily Happy Hour Specials

  • Commissary (3-7 p.m. every day) – An 8oz beef burger will run you $6.50.
  • Clyde’s (3-6 p.m. every day) – Hit up your favorite local / national chain for $5 off all burgers.
  • McCormic & Schmick’s (4-7 p.m. everyday) – McCormic’s classic cheeseburger (with french fries!) is available for the low low price of $5.50.
  • Ruth’s Chris (4:30-7 p.m. Monday through Friday) – Slink up to the bar and grab an order of Ruth’s Chris’s Prime burger (with fries!) for $9.


  • Bar Charley – From open to 6:30 p.m. (and all night on Monday), the house burger at Bar Charley is $12.95. Grab a tiki drink to wash it down with, because who cares if it’s Monday?
  • Chef Geoff’s/Lia – Swing by that place you used to get drunk at in college for $5 off your burger.
  • Daily Grill – From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, you can grab a burger and a beer for $15.
  • Lou’s City Bar – Skip out of work early and make your way to Lou’s for half priced burgers starting at 2:30 p.m. and ending at 7 p.m.
  • Slash Run – Burgers are half price with the purchase of a bev!
  • Whitlow’s on Wilson – Half-priced burgers every Monday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.!





  • Black Jack – Get the single patty cheeseburger for $7.


Nathan Anda, of Red Apron Butchery


Pro-Burger Tips:

  1. Use a good quality blend. Our Red Apron house-ground 80/20 blend made with brisket, short rib, sirloin and round.
  2. When forming your patties, pack lightly. (no smashing, squishing or any other words like these)
  3. Season the patty with salt & pepper liberally (basically, more than you would think)
  4. Cook on medium heat. When using a coarsely ground blend like ours, you don’t want to scorch the meat or you’ll get an unpleasant burnt taste.
  5. No pushing the patty down on the grill – you’re just killing it at this point.
  6. Slice that cheese thin so that it melts evenly through.
  7. Don’t underestimate the power of a really good bun —I prefer Tiffany MacIsaac’s brioche buns.


  • Keep it simple
  • Garlic, olive oil & red wine vinegar
Red Apron is located at Union Market (1309 5th Street NE in Washington DC; 202-524-6807) and Mosaic District (8298 Glass Alley Fairfax, VA; 703-676-3550 ).


Annie Stom, owner of Annie’s Ace Hardware

Gas or charcoal?



If you think about how food is, it’s aroma then taste. With charcoal, you haven’t even put anything on the grill and you’re already hungry. We’re a charcoal family. Plus, with charcoal, you get the nice marks.

What’s your preferred brand?

Weber. Weber has several lines, including the Performer. What’s cool about that is it has a propane light, so you never have to use lighter fluid. It also has something called a chimney. You use Weber cubes, they turn white, and the charcoal heats up. No lighter fluid required. Not that there is anything wrong with lighter fluid, it’s just one more chemical in a world full of them.

Do you have any tips for making the perfect burger?

You’d have to ask my wife… I’m not the cook, but you have to have cheddar cheese.

George Lesznare, owner and butcher at Harvey’s Market

Gas or charcoal?

I prefer charcoal, but I use gas, if that makes sense.


I like the flavor of charcoal, but I prefer the consistency of gas. I can predetermine exactly how each burger is going to come out. With charcoal, it’s hard to determine the exact temperature. You know it’s about 25 degrees a briquette, but it can still be hard to determine. I have a gas grill at home, my wife prefers gas.

What’s your preferred brand?

Weber. It has an even temperature. When you’re cooking a roast and you have 30 inches on each side, it’s going to cook even. There aren’t any hot spots or cold spots. I’ve had my grill for 20 years and it still works. I bought it in 1995.

Do you have any tips for making the perfect burger?

Make sure the meat is room temperature before you put it on the grill. It cooks better that way.




What a lot of people don’t know about Daddy’s Little Party Boi® is that one of my favorite ways to party is my once a year Daddy’s Little Party BBQ®. And when I’m behind the grill I’m like Ted Nugent “If you came to [my BBQ] to get mellow you can turn around and get the fuck out of [my BBQ]!” – I have an apron that says that. (It doesn’t all fit on the front so its continued on the back but still it gets the message across). I try to find my burger muse in unexpected places: The Okie (half dust half beef), The New Wave (equal parts beef, skinny ties, and Reaganomics), and The Taft (100% porkchop fat on a bun). But in true Party Boi® fashion i’ve got some rock star inspired burger recipes to spice up your summer.



100% angus beef

Half a bottle of Jack Daniels

One tiny top-hat per patty

Blues Scale [to taste]

Les Paul Shavings to garnish (preferably fire-burst)

Just like the solo in November Rain, you’re going to want to let these burgers linger and simmer for what seems like forever. Also make sure you alert any of your guests who may have a tiny-top hat allergy


The Wicked Lester

KISS® Beef Tongue

KISS® “Sex Seasoning”

KISS® “Strutter Sauce”

KISS® “Detroit Rock Salsa”

You wanted the best, you got the best (depending on your tastes of course.) This burger inspired by The Demon himself is best when prepared with fingers uncleaned after a bathroom rendez-vous. While the texture of the beef tongue is tough to get used to and all of the seasonings kind of taste the same, you should still be so horned up that it tastes down right sensual


The Barking Pumpkin

4 cans of SPAM

7 mustard seeds

avant-garde tomatoes

pickled cinnamon sticks

toilet water


lenny bruce’s court hearing transcripts, diced

If i have to explain this to you…IT WASN’T MEANT FOR YOU TO GET.


Aside from being delicious, hamburgers have served as a creative backdrop for musical acts from rap legends and also-rans to punk, to soul and country icons, too. Yes, the obvious choices are here, as Jimmy Buffett’s “Cheeseburger In Paradise” is represented. As well, there’s The Queers’ “Bloodbath at Burger King.” But have you ever heard Yung Poppy and Kiesha Red’s trap anthem “If You Want a Burger?” Of course you haven’t. Well, I’ll personally advise you to head to your local grocer, get all of the materials yourself, turn this playlist up to 11 and make your own ultimate burger meal. Enjoy! – Marcus K. Dowling

Oh, and if you’re not into burgers please exit the website our sandwich guide is right over here…