Take a drive through western Texas and it'll be as clear as the never-ending expanse of sky: America is a country of beef eaters.
When it comes to a primal craving for meat, here in the U.S., it's all about the burgers. Our love of ground-meat-patty sandwiches stems from deep-seated childhood memories -- hey, it probably even reminds us of running around the playground of Mickey D's. There's just something visceral about holding that bun between your hands and biting into a succulent round of ground beef as the fat drips down your arm -- it's definitely not a meal to eat on a first date.
To honor the greatest dish to have ever been placed between two buns -- it is National Burger Month, after all -- we've scoured the 954 to find the ten best burgers in Broward County.
When it comes to old-fashioned American food, nothing is more classic than a burger -- unless, of course, you prefer steak and kidneys. This place has been hand-grinding and -pressing burgers daily for adoring fans since 1972. And not much has changed over the years; the decor is just as stark and the prices are just as low (adjusted for inflation, obviously). There are no fancy toppings, aside from a few homemade relishes. And there's not much else to the menu (with the exception of shakes, hot dogs, and a couple of salads). A plain quarter-pound hamburger is just $3.85; lettuce and tomato is an extra 40 cents. A half-pound cheeseburger will run you less than seven bucks. A relic of a simpler life, this place focuses on the only real thing that matters: the beef.
A consistent winner in the gourmet burger category, this downtown Fort Lauderdale spot has earned numerous New Times accolades for its interesting toppings and creative flavor combinations. Its tenet is based on taking first-rate ingredients (good enough to eat alone) and mixing them together for gustatory amalgamations that are out of this world. There may be something for every palate here; however, the Las Olas ($15) is where it's at. Built with a handmade blend of chuck, brisket, and short rib between fresh brioche, it's topped with milky Brie and a sweet house-made fig jam.
The world may have recently cottoned to the amazing burgers and scenery at Hollywood's Le Tub Saloon, but locals have been biting into these babies for decades. Sorry, Oprah. Suck it, GQ. This Old Florida waterfront shack might be busier than we ever imagined, but it still makes a mean meat patty. The massive sandwich contains 13 ounces of seasoned, charbroiled, ground top sirloin served with the standard lettuce, tomato, and onion on a simple bun for 11 bucks -- you can dress it up with cheese (50 cents) or Swiss cheese for an extra dollar. This place has absolutely no frills, but with superb burgers, it doesn't have to.
7. Tap 42
This downtown Fort Lauderdale bar is constantly racking up the awards and accolades -- hey, it serves good food and great drinks. The menu has lightened up since executive chef Andrew Balick took over the reins of the kitchen, and the burgers are better than ever. You can't go wrong with any option here -- the French onion veggie burger is awesome, and the signature Prohibition burger with applewood bacon will get your mouth watering in no time (especially on $5 burger Mondays). That said, we really love us some Drunken Goat ($13.50); it is a beef and lamb blend with whipped goat cheese, arugula, sliced tomato, onion, and Abita Purple Haze raspberry jam.
Set in the corner of the Harbor Shops, just around the block from Port Everglades, this family-owned joint serves a nice selection of grilled fare. Although the healthy options are quite good, it's widely hailed for its superlative ground beef sandwiches. Each made-to-order option includes eight ounces of certified Angus beef. Even though we'll gladly sink our teeth into anything off Gilbert's grill, we do have favorites. The $11.95 Angus and Brie burger with bacon and fried onions hits every note. It's savory, sweet, slightly salty, creamy, and just utterly decadent. It may not be the kind of thing you eat every day (neither are burgers, for that matter), but you live only once -- you deserve to experience decadence from time to time. This place offers the perfect chance.
As many fast-casual chains have taken root over the past few years, this locally grown concept has quickly become a South Florida institution. There's something for everyone. It offers a wide selection of all-natural ground-meat sandwich options, ranging from the simple BurgerFi Burger (double natural Angus burger, lettuce, tomato, and BurgerFi sauce) to the gluttonous Breakfast All Day Burger (natural Angus burger, American cheese, hickory bacon drizzled with maple syrup, fried egg, hash browns, grilled diced onions, and ketchup) to a high-class Brisket Burger (double natural 28-day, dry-aged ground brisket, Swiss cheese, blue cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and BurgerFi sauce) to fully customizable options. There's a reason so many locals flock through its open-air doors: It's budget-friendly, and it's damned good.
Owned by Australian native and former yacht chef Philip Darmon, this neighborhood bistro is known more for its refined fare, like octopus salad and crisp skinned salmon, than for bar-food staples. But its signature burger is just as good (if not better) than everything else. It takes all the classic elements and flavors and puts them into epicurean form. The H.P.B. Burger is a ten-ounce custom blend with cheddar, house-made tomato chutney, mayo, crisp onions, and cool iceberg lettuce on a buttery bun served with a side of hand-cut fries ($14). The attention to detail is almost unparalleled -- not a surprise coming from a guy who spent much of his career working for the rich and famous.
When it comes to listing burger joints in Broward County, one must include Charm City -- otherwise, the foodie trolls would be out in full force. And for good reason. This counter-order Deerfield spot has some of the best and most inexpensive options in town (or all of the South Florida towns). The Good Ole Burger with or without cheese starts at just $5.25. Volcano Style with pepper jack cheese, volcano sauce, and jalapeño rings in at just $6.50. Looking for full-on indulgent? The Emperor with Kobe beef patty, sautéed mushrooms, aged Gruyère, and truffled aioli comes out to a mere $10.95 -- an addition of foie gras is another 12 bucks. There's a reason South Floridians love this place so much: It's everything you want in life (affordable and damned good) in just one handheld option.
The new Broward spawn of the always-packed South Beach haunt, this place offers some of the best ground-meat-patty sandwiches in the 305, 954, and 561 combined. Though you can't go wrong with anything on its creative menu -- nonbeef options too -- we're all about the beef this month. To fully savor the fatty satisfaction, you might want to try the Mustang Sally (eight-ounce Wagyu beef, red onion marmalade, Brie cheese, and sliced prosciutto cradled between a brioche bun for $16.99) or the Hotel California (ten ounces of certified Angus prime, guacamole, grilled Vidalia onion, jalapeño relish, cilantro sour cream, sharp cheddar, and a sunny-side-up fried egg, stacked in the middle of a brioche bun and priced at $13.99). With interesting toppings and perfectly cooked patties, there's just no going wrong.
Disgusted with the never-ending line at the McDonald's drive-through near his original Niceville, Florida, location, owner Brian Cartenuto decided to put a burger on the menu. It's his bigger and better interpretation of the Big Mac. The Tucker Duke Burger ($10) piles a half-pound of Florida Seminole Pride beef with fried onion rings, melted American cheese, mixed baby greens, celery-salted tomato, and Pink Tucker sauce (Cartenuto's version of Cajun remoulade) on a toasted, onion-encrusted bun. While he didn't intend to open a burger place, his signature creation was so good that he had to move his shop into a larger space in a neighboring Panhandle town -- Deerfield Beach is his second store. And with a footprint in Broward, his is quickly earning a reputation as one of the best burger places in all of Florida.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
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