You love burgers. You love burgers so much that, every few years, New Times evaluates the best of the bunch in the area. And there are tons of unique burger options across South Florida.
Some feature exotic meats that can be ordered with mix-and-match gourmet toppings, like the ones you'll find at Relish. Others are pretty straightforward fare made with quality ingredients and broiled to perfection — the kind you'll find at Tucker Duke's Lunchbox. And then there are those that are best paired with the perfect pint of beer (or cereal-spiked milkshake), in which case you'll want to head out to Brgr Stop.
Here's your list of the best burger joints in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
1. Charm City Burger Co. Not many people know the original Charm City was first conceived as a sandwich shop; a takeout type of place where you could grab a beer and some quick-go grub for a good price. But when the line started backing up with burger orders, owner and chef team Evan David and Mike Saperstein gave the menu a quick overhaul and turned the place into one of South Florida’s favorite burger havens. When it opened seven years ago, Charm City's motto was "five star chefs, five dollar burgers." Today, you'll still get just that: gourmet-style burgers topped with some amazingly well-paired, top-quality ingredients. The best part here is the burger patty itself. When the two recently launched their own meat purveying company, Sunshine Provisions, it gave them the chance to develop a new custom patty blend, and now they crank out a daily grind of brisket, chuck, short rib, and — a recent addition — hanger steak. Thanks to an old-fashioned burger-cutting machine, the patties they produce at Charm are lighter and fluffier than most, making for a juicer burger. Sure, these sometimes six-inch-tall burgers can be a little hard to handle, but as messy as they get, each is worth the extra napkins. That goes for the most popular, Cowboy Style, the restaurant's signature steak burger topped off with thick-cut bacon, aged cheddar, sautéed mushrooms, and grilled onions. 1136 E. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach. Call 954-531-0300, or visit charmcityburgers.com.
2. Tucker Duke's Lunchbox. Disgusted with the never-ending line at the McDonald's drive-through near his original Niceville, Florida location, Tucker Duke's founder Brian Cartenuto decided to put a burger on his menu. It's his bigger and better interpretation of the Big Mac, a half-pound of custom-blended beef topped with fried onion rings, melted American cheese, mixed baby greens, celery-salted tomato, and Pink Tucker sauce (Cartenuto's version of Cajun remoulade) all on a toasted, onion-encrusted bun. While he didn't intend to open a burger place, that signature creation was so good that it prompted a move into a larger space to accommodate the resulting crowds. Today, his second store in Deerfield Beach has earned a reputation as one of the best burger places in all of South Florida. Try the Mondragon, a burger patty topped with six slices of bacon, a fried egg, and two slices each of American and cheddar cheese. And if you're really hungry, there's also Tanner & The Unicorn, a three-quarter-pound burger with the toppings from both the Tucker Duke and the Mondragon, all fitted between two grilled cheese sandwiches. 1101 S. Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach. Call 954-708-2035, or visit tuckerdukes.com.
3. Brgr Stop. Almost everything on the Brgr Stop menu is like a challenge straight out of the Food Network's Man vs. Food. Some are options you'd find at the fair; others are foods you'd eat on a dare or maybe when you've got a bad case of the munchies. In a world of food trends driven by healthy eating, special meal plans, and dietary restrictions, Brgr Stop goes the opposite direction. Here, the bigger the burger, the better. There are eight craft burgers in all, each oversized and amped up with a hodgepodge of ingredients. Some are espresso or jerk-rubbed. Another is your favorite bowl of soup — French onion — re-created in sandwich form. And the Mac Daddy arrives on a teetering construction, crowned with a heaping portion of jalapeño-cheddar-sausage-flecked mac 'n' cheese, long strips of house-made candied bacon, and a root-beer sriracha barbecue sauce. Get Peanut Butter Jelly Time; it takes the burger back to basics with more bacon and a thick layer of Skippy spread across the bottom bun paired with not jam or jelly, but rather a beautiful San Marzano tomato confit. 4301 Coconut Creek Parkway, Coconut Creek. Call 954-975-8459, or visit brgrstop.com.
4. Burgers & Suds. Burgers & Suds in Pompano Beach has a menu of half-pound, charbroiled burgers named after notorious criminals. There's the Escobar, a patty topped with blue cheese crumbles, hot sauce, and blue cheese dressing. Or try the Rothstein burger, a satisfying combo of Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing. Not everyone is a bad guy, however. One of owner Curtis Deckman's first menu items — the mac-and-cheese- and bacon-topped Wilson burger — is named after his landlord. And Ray's Rodeo Burger is named after his dad. My personal favorite is the Smuggler, a breakfast-like take with American cheese, a perfectly fried egg, hash browns, and maple syrup. Pair any of the menu's 24 gourmet burger creations with a pint of any of the 20 craft beers on tap. 360 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach. Call 954-772-8007, or visit burgerssuds.com.
5. Sweetwater. Sure, most people head to Sweetwater for imbibing. But there's more to Palm Beach County's first craft cocktail bar than its stellar bar staff and booze. If you're a vegetarian — or, dare we say, vegan — hankering for something that conjures memories of the time you once savored the flavor of flame-grilled meat, you'll want to check check out the restaurant's Impossible Burger. It features the meatless burger of the same brand name, one served at some of the nation’s most acclaimed restaurants including David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi in New York and Underbelly in Houston. It's all thanks to soy leghemoglobin, the burger's main ingredient that gives the Impossible Burger its meaty taste and texture — and is also responsible for making the burger “bleed” like a real meat patty. At Sweetwater, executive chef Jeremy Carrier began serving the meat-free burger several months ago as an experimental special, but when word spread that it was one of the few spots around serving this meatless masterpiece, it quickly became a full-time option. Prepared like a traditional cheeseburger, it offers up a medium-rare Impossible Burger patty topped with lettuce, tomato, and onion. To keep it vegan-friendly, it's all piled atop a custom-made, egg-free bun from Boynton Beach-based Del Sol bakery, then smothered in melty vegan-friendly Chao cheese. It's so good, the meat eaters can't even tell the difference — and you wonder why they call it "impossible." 507 S Federal Hwy., Boynton Beach; 561-509-9277; sweetwater33.com.
6. Rok:Brgr. 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 and mixing them together for gustatory amalgamations that are out of this world. There may be something for every palate here, but of the more than one dozen gourmet creations, the Morning Glory is where it's at. Built with a handmade blend of chuck, brisket, and short rib between fresh brioche, it's topped with smoked pepper bacon, American cheese, and a fried egg. 208 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-525-7656, or visit rokbrgr.com.
7. Pincho Factory. When Nedal Ahmad was in elementary school, his English teacher told him he'd be flipping burgers one day. Funny thing is, the guy was actually right: As one of three partners alongside his brother Nazir and cousin Otto Othman, the burgers he's flipping are at Pincho Factory, the Miami-based burger and kebab restaurant. Since that time, chef Nedal has flipped quite a few patties. He did it for Rachael Ray at the 2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, on the Today Show for Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotbe, and for George Motz's Burger Land on the Travel Channel. That includes the now-trademarked toston burger, a five-ounce, hormone-free beef patty fitted between two fat, golden-yellow discs of fried plantain and topped with melted Jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro sauce. But among the eight burgers on Pincho's permanent roster, I prefer the one for which the restaurant is named. A dense brioche bun layered with melted cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a house-made secret pink "flamingo" sauce, the Pincho outshines all those sandwiches that helped make the place famous. 155 N. Hiatus Road, Pembroke Pines. Call 754-888-9746, or visit pinchofactory.com.
8. M.E.A.T. Eatery & Taproom. It seems like the word "craft" gets thrown around way too much. Pretty much every menu in South Florida is offering specially crafted this and that. But what makes something truly craft? Take a seat at M.E.A.T. Eatery & Tap Room in Boca Raton and you'll find out. Here, pretty much everything is made in-house. Co-owner and executive chef George Patti ensures that his team smokes and grinds its own meats onsite, cuts and cures its own bacon, and offers house-made sausage and chorizo. Even the condiments — including a mango chipotle ketchup and caraway and beer mustard — are made fresh and from scratch. While it serves more than burgers, the burgers are good. So good, in fact, that they won New Times' Best Burger in 2015. Try the popular Inside-Out Juicy Lucy Burger, a six-ounce pimento-cheese- and bacon-stuffed Angus patty topped with cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Or go for Patti's signature dish, his own chorizo "Patti" sandwich, a five-ounce chorizo burger topped with American cheese and a lime cilantro aioli. Pair it all with the bistro fries fried in duck fat for an extra level of flavor. 980 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton. Call 561-419-2600, or visit meateatery.com.
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9. Relish & More. Relish came onto the scene in West Palm Beach's Northwood Village back in 2010. It was new, different, and exciting. And it was all about burgers. But not just any burgers — burgers made from exotic meats you could pair with an array of mix-and-match gourmet toppings, a concept from owners Desiree and Dan Tobin. That still holds true today at their two more recently opened Palm Beach County locations, including a three-month-old Boca Raton restaurant. The craft-it-yourself burgers encompass dozens of specialty add-ons that allow you to customize your own creation atop everything from wild boar and duck burgers to bison and buffalo. And just to keep things interesting, a new feature flavor makes a debut each month (think specials of the month that blend buffalo, venison, elk, boar, and antelope — or even camel and antelope). Be sure to visit on a Tuesday, when all burgers are priced at just $10 each, including a side order. 401 Northwood Road, West Palm Beach. Call 561-629-5377, or visit relishburger.com.
10. Burger & Beer Joint. In 2009, Burger & Beer Joint opened its first restaurant on South Beach. Today, the fast-growing gourmet burger and sports restaurant with a rock ’n’ roll theme is quickly expanding across South Florida, with new franchise locations in Pembroke Pines and most recently Orlando, with a new location set for West Palm Beach. For now, the Broward County establishment is the closest you'll get to the delicious, meaty burgers, which includes the indulgent Stairway to Heaven, a half-pound Wagyu beef burger topped with a three-ounce, pan-seared cut of Hudson Valley foie gras and black truffle aioli on a brioche bun. Feeling a little less adventurous? The Hey Jude might be the way to go, a half-pound chicken burger with applewood-smoked bacon, Havarti cheese, and tons of ripe, fresh avocado, served on a whole-wheat bun. The most outrageous, however is the Motherburger, a $150 beast of a burger the size of hubcap — served with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle — and sandwiched between buns more massive than entire loaves of bread. You'll get it for free if you order it and manage to finish the whole ten pounds of beef alone (in two hours or less), or order it to split among the entire table. 11025 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines. Call 954-367-8980, or visit bnbjoint.com.