RANKED! The Best Cheeseburgers From Joints You’ve Never Heard Of

Photo: Hamburger Gourmet (Getty Images)

When we were kids, cheeseburgers were a major part of our diets, but the majority of them came from a fast-food window. Restaurants from coast to coast have seemingly stepped up their game, and that shift includes those serving the all-American cheeseburger. If you’re still eating Big Macs as an adult, you’re simply missing out. And as much as we love Shake Shack and In-N-Out, we’re craving those one-of-a-kind cheeseburgers you can’t grab off the nearest exit.

Below are the top five cheeseburgers we want to finally wrap our hands around.

5. All-American Drive-In (Massapequa, NY)

Due to the rise of frozen beef, a McDonald’s cheeseburger today tastes nothing like it did when the burger giant first opened shortly after World War II. That’s where All-American Drive-In comes in.

This staple in Long Island has what’s widely considered one of the purest forms of the original American cheeseburger in existence. If you want to know what McDonald’s tasted like when it was a simple burger stand, you go here. Order the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, and it tastes the same way it did when the drive-in first opened in 1963, according to locals. And you can always trust the locals in New York, right?

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4. The Spotted Pig (New York City)

The Spotted Pig really separates itself from other burger-serving gastropubs. How? It has a freakin’ Michelin star.

Chef April Bloomfield has some masterpieces on her menu, but we’re dying to try the chargrilled burger with Roquefort cheese (made from French sheep milk) and shoestring fries. You can’t look at this picture below and not drool just a little.

3. Au Cheval (Chicago)

We’re down with any place that serves a double cheeseburger with three patties. Au Cheval‘s must-have food-art is a midwestern style burger; the patties are thin. They’re topped with cheddar, maple-glazed bacon, and homemade “Dijonnaise.” Add a fried egg, and it’s a taste-bud explosion.

2. Stanich’s (Portland)

We’ve been intrigued with this Portland burger staple since “national burger critic” Kevin Alexander at Thrillist named it home to the best burger in America last year. What makes Stanich’s burger look so tasty is the simple, old-school way they’re served.

Stanich’s burger supposedly hasn’t changed much since it made its debut in 1949. The Oregonian was the first to name them the “greatest hamburger in the world” shortly after they opened. The diner favorite burger is made of fresh ground chuck and is topped with cheese, ham, bacon, egg, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions. The wait could take hours, but we think it would be worth it.

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1. Louis’ Lunch (New Haven, CT)

This American gem technically doesn’t serve a cheeseburger. And that’s okay. Because Louis’ Lunch takes credit for inventing the “hamburger sandwich.”

This 120-year-old Connecticut eatery is an experience. The burgers are cooked “era-appropriate,” on vertically aligned cast-iron grills that date back to the 19th Century. The meat is hand-rolled and ground fresh daily using their own proprietary blend of five cuts of meat that hasn’t changed since the invention of basketball. And the best part? Don’t ask for condiments. They may kick you out. The burgers are cooked to perfection; only cheese, tomato, and onion are allowed.


Josh Helmuth is a sports reporter in St. Louis who is always in search of the world’s next great cheeseburger.