Tomorrow, May 1, marks the start to National Hamburger Month, and we think a proper celebration is in order. To commemorate this all-American holiday, we underwent the torturous process of journalistic research to find the area's most impressive, creative — nay, outrageous — burgers in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Some of these burgers you may be familiar with (let's face it, the cat's out of the bag for Charm City and Rok:Brgr). Others you may have never even heard of — or seen — before. From the mom-and-pop-type places and fast-growing chains to the neighborhood standbys and chef-run restaurants (and everything else in between), here's our list.
Eat wisely: These burgers are based on countless reviews, annual accolades, and our very own taste buds just watering at the memory of each tasty bite. For every pound gained and artery clogged, you're welcome.
10. The Million Dollar Burger, Adena Grill & Wine Bar
900 Silks Run, Hallandale Beach. Call 954-464-2333, or visit adenagrill.com.
The new 277-seat steakhouse at Gulfsteam Park, Adena Grill, is something special. The entire restaurant — as well as neighboring sister establishment Frankey's Sports Bar & Grill — uses its own farm-raised, fresh, all-natural meats sourced directly from owner Frank Stonarch's 90,000-acre Ocala-based Adena Farms. It's enough to give new meaning to the phrase "farm-to-fork." That means each 9-ounce patty is made with no growth hormones, antibiotics, or GMOs. The burger is served in a skillet with a stamped “A" Brioche bun on the side, and includes a tempura battered fried red onion ring (made with AP flour), lettuce, and sliced tomato. House chipped french fries are served on the side, along with a divine Dijon Truffle Mustard, house made with imported black truffle, Dijon mustard, shallots, black truffle oil, and sherry vinegar. So what makes it a $1 million burger? It's reference to the time, research, and money Adena Foods owner Frank Stronach invested to provide a cruelty-free environment for his cattle, which are pasture-raised, grass-fed, and slaughtered in a state-of-the-art processing facility where there is no stress to the animal. "You are what you eat," says Stronach. Order the burger at Adena, and you're worth $1 million.
9. Mi Amore, 5 Girls Burgers
2659 E Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach. Call 954-783-8889, or visit 5girlsburgers.com.
5 Girls Burgers opened last November in the newly renovated shops at 2659 E. Atlantic Blvd. in Pompano Beach. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — but it's main deal is, of course, burgers. If the name looks and sounds familiar, don't jump to any conclusions: It has nothing to do with Five Guys, says 5 Girls Burgers co-owner Zachary Geller. Instead, the restaurant is named after the five girls in his life: his mom, two sisters, and two grandmothers. What makes this place truly outrageous isn't the restaurant's name, or the type of food being served. It's the overall concept, each burger named using a different moniker for women, from the Dime Piece and Plain Jane to Ay Mami and Black Beauty. At least 5 Girls has one rule we can all appreciate: Please, don't ask to change any of them. They're all beautiful just the way they are. And while they're all pretty tasty, Mi Amore is the only Italian-themed burger we've seen, a sausage patty with roasted peppers, sautéed onions, marinara sauce, and Provolone cheese.
8. Triple Triple Burger, Jake's Wayback Burger
4690 North State Road 7, Coconut Creek. Call 954-580-8087, or visit waybackburgers.com.
This burger chain began nearly two decades ago — not as Jake's Wayback, but simply as Jake's — started in 1991 with a single location in Newark, Delaware. The entire operation grew, slowly at first, serving up a menu of hand-made burgers and milkshakes, crafted to order. Today, that's still the name of the game. Nothing like the mass-produced, “hockey-puck” burgers dished out by some chains — or the overpriced, celebrity chef type ones that go for $20 apiece — Jake's still offers quality burgers for a reasonable price. They even changed their name to Jake's Wayback in 2010 — a reminder that they do it the old-fashioned way. Every month, the menu features a new "burger of the month," and a "milkshake of the month" to match. Of course, the regular menu of all nine selections is pretty good just the way it is, or customize your own. At the Coconut Creek restaurant you'll find the Cheeeesy Burger, sort of a grilled cheese burger with its buttered and grilled Texas Toast style bun served up with four slices of American cheese and two beef patties. Or the BBQ Crunch Burger, a regular burger topped with the restaurant's house-made BBQ potato chips, American cheese, and finished with Jake's own tangy BBQ sauce. The most outrageous, however, is the Triple Triple Burger, a total of nine (that's right, nine) 100 percent all-beef patties topped with nine slices of American cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Go ahead, eat it all — and then try fitting into your favorite skinny jeans after that.
7. The Motherburger, Burger & Beer Joint
11025 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines. Call 954-367-8980, or visit bnbjoint.com.
In 2009, Burger & Beer Joint opened its first restaurant in 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 crazy? 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: 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 10 pounds of beef alone (in two hours or less), or order it to split between the entire table. Either way: outrageous.
6. The Wellington, BGR: The Burger Joint
1015 South University Dr., Plantation. Call 754-206-4912, or visit bgrtheburgerjoint.com.
This is "the one." The one burger you must have before you die — or at least it is according to chain founder Mark Bucher. BGR: The Burger Joint is modeled after Bucher’s own burger memories as a child growing up just outside Philadelphia, where every Sunday the neighborhood’s prime beef butcher, Philip Kaufman, would grill up burgers that would create mass hysteria and long lines. Today, you can find the nearest restaurant in Plantation, where BGR: The Burger Joint offers its own take on that super burger, its signature "The Burger" topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and the restaurant's own mojo sauce. Or check out the Cuban burger topped with slow roasted pork, Serrano ham, sweet pickles, Dijon mustard, and Swiss cheese on a brioche bun (which is grill-pressed, before serving, of course). The chain uses nothing but free-roaming, grain-fed cattle with no hormones, fillers, or antibiotics. The most outrageous of these burgers, however, is the Wellington, a burger topped with blue cheese crumbles and a black-truffle-infused mixture of caramelized onions roasted mushrooms made with real — yes, real — black truffle oil. No synthetic oil going on here. And for $8.99? Now, that's outrageous.
5. The Big Sloppy, Charm City
1136 E Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach. Call 954-531-0300, or visit charmcityburgers.com.
Not many people know the original Charm City was conceived as a sandwich shop, a take-out 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. Today, that's all they serve — up to 1,000 burgers on a busy day. It’s where you go to find a number of specialty burger combinations, each 6 ounces of specialty-blended meat, Saperstein's own blend of chuck, short rib, and brisket. Here, the Big and Sloppy steals the show. Intended as a late night hangover cure, David recalls taking his breakfast McDonald’s hash browns and slapping them on a burger along with a fried egg, a massive amount of bacon, and — of course — plenty of melted cheese. In no time, it went from the specials board to cult classic. Outrageous? Some might say so. We'll leave the final decision to you.
4. The Truffle Burger, ROK:BRGR
208 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-525-7656.
600 Silks Run, Hallandale Beach. Call 954-367-3970.
By now, the name ROK: BRGR has become synonymous with the best burgers in South Florida — and across the country, according to some. Founder and co-owner Marc Falsetto was among the first to create a menu of gastropub-style and gourmet burgers, and pair it all with craft beer. So it only makes sense that his three restaurant locations — Hallandale Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami — would be doing something new for National Burger Month. This May, look for the ROK:BRGR Truffle Burger. It may sound the same as last year's feature, but the 2015 edition has something extra special: each $50, 10-ounce prime burger will be topped with fresh summer truffles, a truffle Gouda cheese, and a red onion port marmalade. It's served on a brioche bun with a side of — yes, truffled — fries. You can find the Truffle Burger all month long while supplies last: the truffles are ordered in limited quantity, and imported directly from Italy, they may not last long. You'll know they're fresh (and the real thing); every time someone orders this burger a manager will arrive table side to personally shave the truffles onto your plate. Now that's pretty cool — and, if you don't mind us saying so, just a little outrageous.
3. The Mondragon, Tucker Duke's Lunchbox
1101 South Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach. Call 954-708-2035, or visit tuckerdukeslunchbox.com.
Tucker Duke's Lunchbox founder Brian Cartenunto knows how to make a damn good burger. The two-time Cutthroat Kitchen winner chef put a burger created his master creation, the "Tucker Duke" at his original Tucker Duke's in his hometown of Niceville, Florida. It was everything he thought a Big Mac should be, ascribing to the same tenets his menu reflects: a focus on only local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients. Within a week, it earned him a cultish following, people waiting five-deep for the Tucker Duke, a half-pound patty of Florida Seminole Pride beef arranged in a multilayered Jenga pile of fried onion rings, melted American cheese, mixed baby greens, comeback sauce, and celery-salted tomato on an onion-encrusted bun. While the TD itself is pretty outrageous, we love the thinking behind the Mondragon, a burger named for one of his best friends. It started out as a joke — a combination of everything his friend John Mondragon loves and hates — piled together onto a thick beef patty and topped with six slices of bacon, a fried egg, and two slices each of American and cheddar. For us, it's just an outrageous amount of food. And we're loving it.
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2. The Arepa Burger, Los Parceros Colombian Cuisine
106 N Olive Ave., West Palm Beach. Call 561-855-6256.
When you think of Colombian food in South Florida, the first thing that probably comes to mind is Colombian fast food — those overstuffed hot dogs and hamburgers with every topping known to man (and then some). And you'd be correct; The Colombians have taken these simple American eats and turned them into edible masterpieces, piled with a colorful collage of ketchup, mayonnaise, rosada and salsa piña — the essential pineapple puree — and finished with cheese, potato chips, bacon, and shredded beef or chicken. At Los Parceros in West Palm Beach, the menu covers it all, including the traditional street food-style burgers and hot dogs — but also a few authentic regional dishes made exactly as you'll find them in co-owner Karina Patino's home city of Pereira. Many of the picks are variations of her family's recipes, dishes she learned to make from her mother, but also given her own unique twist. Here, the burgers are a big deal, says co-owner Amanda Olmstead. All seven of them are specialty takes on the popular fast food variations you'll find served late-night on the streets of Bogotá. Here, you can get something extra special: two beef patties cooked to your specifications, then topped with the blend of house-made sauces, crushed potato chips and bacon, between two homemade arepas.
1. The Gat-O-Boar Burger Relish Burger
401 Northwood Rd., West Palm Beach. Call 561-629-5377, or visit relishburger.com.
Five years ago, Relish came onto the scene in West Palm Beach's Northwood Village. It was new, different, and exciting. Today, that still holds true. The array of craft-it-yourself burgers encompass dozens of crafty toppings to mix-and-match 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 past with the YOLO burger, a blend of buffalo, venison, elk, boar, and antelope; or the Arc burger, a blend of elk, buffalo, boar, camel, and venison). In May, Relish will be offering a special meat blend to honor National Burger Month, and it will be the first time the restaurant has offered such a catch. It's been dubbed the Gat-O-Boar burger, a mix of specially-sourced gator and boar meat — a unique pairing we guarantee you won't find anywhere else. All that's left to do is match it with the milkshake of the month. Sorry, no word on what that is yet. Owners Desiree and Dan Tobin aren't giving away all the secrets. Guess you'll just have to find out for yourself.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.