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10 of the best burgers you’ll ever eat

Burger patties at Hi-Pointe Drive-In are made from a combination of brisket, chuck, and short rib meat. Photo courtesy Hi-Pointe Drive-In

Americans have a love affair with—and a colossal appetite for—hamburgers. From beefy sliders to hefty stacks of patties, we can’t get enough. In a 2022 survey by researcher OnePoll, self-identified hamburger enthusiasts said they gobble up about 5 burgers per month. And one-third of the respondents said they’d travel more than 40 miles for the perfect burger.

With so many great burger joints across the Midwest and South, you likely don’t have to drive far to satisfy your craving. Here are 10 amazing eateries that specialize in burgers ranging from classic comfort food to gourmet fare.

1. Hi-Pointe Drive-In

St. Louis

Hi-Pointe Drive-In Bison Burger

You'll find a changing array of mouthwatering chef specials at Hi-Pointe Drive-In, like this bison burger. Photo courtesy Hi-Pointe Drive-In

Originating in the Hi-Pointe neighborhood in 2017, Hi-Pointe Drive-In’s smash patties have been so popular that the burger and sandwich joint has expanded to 3 other St. Louis–area locations and 1 in O’Fallon, Illinois. The beef hails from Kansas City, Missouri, and is a mouthwatering medley of brisket, chuck, and short rib meat. The restaurants also source many local and regional products.

You’ll always find new chef specials, but the most popular menu choice is the Arch D-Lux. The double patty is topped with American cheese, bacon, ketchup, special d-lux sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle on a potato bun. Make sure to grab extra napkins for this sizable serving.

Among other creative options is the taco burger, a patty mixed with Cool Ranch Doritos and Chili Cheese Fritos and seasoned with taco spices. It’s topped with melted American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and avocado ranch. The finishing touch? Taco sauce from Mission Taco Joint, a popular St. Louis–area Mexican restaurant.

You may also like: Midwest comfort food restaurants to visit

2. Westport Flea Market Bar & Grill

Kansas City, Missouri

Someone holding up a burger at Westport Flea Market Bar & Grill

The Food Network is among those who have called the burgers at Westport Flea Market Bar & Grill the best in Kansas City. Photo courtesy Joe Zwillenberg

For more than 40 years, Kansas Citians have flocked to the unassuming Westport Flea Market Bar & Grill for the quirky and charming atmosphere. And for the burgers, which have been called the best in town by the likes of the Food Network and other media outlets. Everyone from judges to construction workers can be spotted at this cash-only neighborhood spot. Order your food at the bar, not with a server.

The meat starts with quality beef from local butcher McGonigle’s Market. The Flea Market Burger is 10 ounces of ground chuck, seasoned with secret spices, and cooked on a 37-year-old grill. Top it with one of 5 cheese options. This is an old-fashioned joint with a condiment bar, so you dress the burger yourself. Add curly fries and choose from more than 30 beers on tap to wash down your meal.

3. Billiards of Springfield

Springfield, Missouri

Billiards of Springfield burger served in a basket with fries

Pair a burger with a beer and a game of pool at Billiards of Springfield. Photo courtesy Billiards of Springfield

Locals were heartbroken when Billiards of Springfield shut its doors early in the pandemic. The restaurant, pool hall, and comedy club had garnered praise for its burgers since 1985. Yet disappointment turned to relief in early 2022 when 4 friends bought the downtown Springfield business and reopened it, bringing back the much-missed burgers.

The best-seller, the Billiards Burger, starts with Angus beef cooked on a flattop. But what makes it stand out are the secret seasonings. There’s nothing fancy about this burger, but it will satisfy the carnivore in you. Like beer with your burgers? The bar has 47 brews on the menu, plus 3 specialty cocktails.

You may also like: Tank Trip: What to do in Springfield, Missouri

4. Stamps Super Burgers

Jackson, Mississippi

Close-up of a burger patty from Stamps Super Burgers

Find simple but delicious options at Stamps Super Burgers. Photo courtesy Stamps Super Burgers

For more than 35 years, Stamps Super Burgers has been making people smile in Jackson. What began as a community grocery store is a classic counter-style joint that serves up burgers wrapped in foil. It’s so busy and small, the eatery encourages customers to order in advance over the phone or online. Founded in 1986 by Algernon Stamps Sr., who has since passed away, the restaurant’s operation has remained in the family.

The signature Stamps Super Burger is an enormous 11-ounce, thick-and-juicy burger served on a toasted bun. But don’t expect any unusual toppings; here you get the usual condiments and American cheese. Pair the beef with lemon-pepper fries, freshly cut by hand every day. For a slightly heathier option, try the Super Turkey Burger. Closed Sundays.

5. Rock-a-Burger

Evansville, Indiana

Rock-a-Burger Sweet Alabama Burger

Among the toppings on the Sweet Alabama Burger are hickory smoked bacon, coleslaw, and homemade Alabama white barbecue sauce with a touch of horseradish. Photo courtesy Rock-a-Burger

When “Don’t Just EAT a Burger… ROCK-A-BURGER” is your motto, you know your menu options must be big-time tasty. Rock-a-Burger, a seasonal food truck in Evansville, specializes in smash burgers with gourmet twists and homemade sauces. The truck’s 10 signature burgers all start with locally raised beef.

Try the Chimi Hendrix: a patty topped with pepper jack cheese, avocado, grilled onions, house-made chimichurri sauce, shredded iceberg lettuce, and tomato on a toasted brioche bun.

The Sweet Home Alabama is a crowd favorite. It’s crowned with sharp cheddar cheese, 2 slices of hickory smoked bacon, an onion ring, coleslaw, lettuce, tomato, and homemade Alabama white barbecue sauce with a touch of horseradish. Like most food trucks, it’s always on the go; check Rock-a-Burger’s Facebook page to find out where to score this elevated comfort food from around April through late November.

You may also like: 8 roadside diners worth the road trip

6. Nyx Restaurant & Bar

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Nyx Restaurant & Bar Queen B Burger

Tangy blueberry barbecue sauce makes the award-winning Queen B burger stand out. Photo courtesy Lema Street Photography

If you like unique burgers with flair, head to Nyx Restaurant & Bar in Eureka Springs. Constructed against a cliff wall, the building dates to the late 1800s. When Nyx opened in 2018, owner Stephen Rodgers aimed to create a local spot with fantastic burgers and steaks. He succeeded.

Within months of opening, the Queen B burger swept an annual hamburger competition in town, winning best burger, among other awards. The Queen B is a 6-ounce Angus burger that is cooked on a flattop, then topped with bacon, creamy Mornay sauce, crispy onion tanglers, and finished with blueberry barbecue sauce on a toasted potato bun.

There are other burgers on the menu, but this one is legendary. Live music and a 3-level deck only boost the appeal of this restaurant helmed by gregarious general manager Rocky Rock. Closed Monday through Wednesday.

7. Big Orange

Little Rock and Rogers, Arkansas

A burger from Big Orange with its signature spicy pimento cheese

House-made spicy pimento cheese is one of the toppings at Big Orange. Photo courtesy Yellow Rocket Concepts/Big Orange

It’s all about choices at Big Orange, which has 2 restaurants in Little Rock and 1 in Rogers. The first one to consider is your patty. There are 4 options, made fresh daily: naturally raised premium Black Angus beef; house-ground, all-natural turkey; a 50/50 blend of beef and veggies; or the house-made vegan patty created with fresh sautéed vegetables and a 3-bean blend.

Vegan or gluten-free buns are available, too. When in season, Arkansas produce is featured in Big Orange dishes.

Big Orange white truffle and pecorino burger

Sink your teeth into the signature white truffle and pecorino burger at Big Orange. Photo courtesy Yellow Rocket Concepts/Big Orange

The signature white truffle and pecorino burger is topped with pecorino cheese, peppery arugula, sweet fig jam, white truffle, and garlic mayo. (If you’re licking your lips now, you’re not alone.)

The spicy pimento cheese burger is also a great pick: house-made pimento cheese, mayo, butter leaf lettuce, and pickled green tomato top your choice of patty. Pair your burger with one of the 11 delectable year-round shake options, 5 of which can be made vegan upon request, or any of the seasonal and boozy options.

8. Grandstand Burgers

Overland Park, Kansas

Grandstand Burgers triple cheeseburger

A triple cheeseburger at Grandstand Burgers will sate the heartiest of appetites. Photo courtesy Grandstand Burgers

A classic hole-in-the-wall joint, Grandstand Burgers has captured the hearts and taste buds of Kansas City–area residents since the 1960s. The patties are 1/3-pound of fresh, never frozen, ground chuck mixed with secret seasonings and cooked on a flattop. Order these grab-and-go burgers at a small counter or via phone or an app. There’s no seating inside, but you’ll find picnic tables outside when the weather is nice.

The signature Kelly Burger, named for one of the previous owner’s pastors, is a juicy, double cheeseburger topped with bacon, a slice of seared ham, mayo, ketchup, mustard, onion, pickle, lettuce, and tomato on a traditional toasted bun. For a sweet treat, order a handmade shake or malt at this vintage spot. Closed Sundays.

9. The Company Burger

New Orleans

Someone holding up a stack of Company Burger Signature Burgers

A stack of The Company Burger’s signature offering, which Food & Wine named one of the country’s best burgers. Photo courtesy The Company Burger Instagram

The Company Burger, a local favorite, has become a popular tourist destination thanks to accolades from local and national media, including Food & Wine. First, it starts with prime beef—raised without added hormones and antibiotics—freshly ground in-house. And here’s something you don’t hear every day: They make their own buns, pickles, and mayonnaise. The fries and onion rings are hand cut as well.

The signature Company Burger is made with 2 thin patties, bread and butter pickles, red onion, and American cheese. If you want something different, try the turkey, lamb, or falafel options. The shakes are outstanding, and since it’s New Orleans, you know they have beer on the menu. Closed Tuesdays.

10. AJ’s Smashed & Smoked

Belleville, Illinois

AJ's Smashed & Smoked house burger

The house burger at AJ’s Smashed & Smoked is specially seasoned with a rub composed of salt, pepper, garlic, lemon, and onion flavors. Photo courtesy AJ’s Smashed & Smoked

Jim Grindstaff has a colorful history. He’s a veteran, a former burger blogger, a restaurateur, and the owner of seasoning company Grindstaff Rub Company. He also owns AJ’s Smashed & Smoked in Belleville.

The house burger is a 4-ounce patty made from a blend of short rib, brisket, and chuck meat. Grindstaff uses his own Three Kings rub—salt, pepper, garlic, lemon, and onion—on the beef. The patties are cooked to order and served on a toasted potato bun, with basic condiment options.

The BBQ Bacon Smashburger also is a must-try. It has applewood smoked bacon, American cheese, Fat Apple BBQ Sauce from Grindstaff’s company, and your desired condiments.

Got a hearty appetite? Throw in a side of fries topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing. Or opt for chicken wings and select from 11 signature flavors that include Kickin’ Carolina and spicy garlic Parmesan. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Juliana Goodwin is a freelance writer and burger enthusiast from Springfield, Missouri.

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