America's Best Burger Cities
Sometimes, only a burger will do.
When traveling overseas and feeling under the weather or homesick, New Yorker Jeff Ward often craves a burger. "I start wanting comfort food—something American," says the managing partner of African Safari Consultants. And yet? "They're always terrible," he says. "There's no better place for a burger than the U.S.A."
Which American city does burgers best? That inspires a lot of debate—but now Travel +Leisure readers have picked a winner. In our annual America's Favorite Cities survey, readers weighed in on the best features of 35 cities. While some categories had obvious contenders (like Chicago for pizza or Seattle for coffee), the race for the best burger seemed wide open.
There's even debate over where the hamburger originated—perhaps at a lunch counter in Athens, TX, in the 1880s, or at the famed Louis' Lunch in New Haven, CT. While only major cities were in the running—sorry, New Haven—the Top 10 showed a certain small-town flair in its distinctive burger styles.
It turns out that bigger does mean better for voters, and this oil town takes the prize for putting a Texas-size spin on the American classic. Double-patty, half-pound burgers are the norm here, topped with shredded lettuce and mustard more often than mayo. Some local favorites—such as Lankford Grocery and the Hubcap Grill—also offer triple-patty versions, with upwards of a full pound of beef.
Locals have lined up in droves ever since the streamlined burgers of In-N-Out have come to town, but otherwise the area's burger personality is quite a bit more decadent—as in, pastrami burgers. To try a quarter-pound patty piled high with more beef, check out Crown Burger, where they also add Thousand Island dressing, lettuce, onions, and cheese.
The Rhode Island capital is a crowd-pleaser for food lovers: it ranks No. 3 in the AFC survey for overall dining, as well as No. 3 for pizza, ethnic food, and mom-and-pop cafés. Locals even claim the diner was invented here. For a classic burger, go to Stanley's, which has been serving Stanley burgers since 1932, topped with just grilled onions and pickles.