When a burger craving strikes, little can be accomplished until you’ve got your hands around a bun with meat juices dripping down your chin. Here’re 10 big-league, non-chain burgers that satisfy (and inspire) the meanest of cravings.
Boylan Heights’ Room 121 tops an organic beef patty with American cheese, bibb lettuce, beefsteak tomato, bacon, diced onions, and its sweet and spicy signature sauce.
Brookville’s burger’s not on the menu, but in-the-knowers know that a towering burger that involves 11 ounces of local beef, a fried local egg, McClure gouda, and bacon marmalade, is well worth seeking out.
Citizen Burger Bar’s namesake burger puts local grass-fed beef, gruyère cheese, blackened onions, rosemary aioli, iceberg, and tomato on a brioche bun that’s anointed with a fried pickle spear.
Penny-pinching, burger-lovers will dig Henry’s Heavy Burger which gives you two American cheese-covered six ounce beef patties with classic toppings for under $10.
The Local’s burger melts Virginia’s Mountain View swiss over local organic beef, then sweetens the deal with applewood-smoked bacon and caramelized onions.
Positively 4th’s 4th Street burger’s local organic beef topped with cheddar, onion straws, housemade pickles, bacon-onion marmalade, and roasted garlic mayo.
Rapture’s half pound of local grass-fed beef gets covered with your choice of cheese (from blue to pepper jack) and applewood-smoked bacon and portobello mushrooms if you so choose.
Riverside Lunch’s bacon cheeseburger has a rockstar following that swears by the sum of its humble parts—especially when they include double patties and double bacon.
Timberwood Grill’s Al Capone gussies up its patty with grilled onions, applewood-smoked bacon, smoked cheddar cheese, white truffle horseradish mayo, and a pretzel bun.
You can’t go to the White Spot without ordering its legendary Gus Burger, a classic American cheeseburger topped with a fried egg.
A better burger
With several cattle farmers in our area, making burgers at home’s as easy as firing up the grill. We asked Steadfast Farm’s Brian Walden what makes grass-fed beef better and how to make it into a badass burger: Grass-fed beef contains 10 percent fat, with a greater ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. It’s free of hormones and antibiotics and is higher in beta-carotene, vitamins E and B, minerals, calcium, magnesium, and potassium than conventional beef.
Mix ingredients [1 pound Steadfast Farm grass-fed beef (find it at the City Market), 1 egg, well beaten, ¼ cup panko bread crumbs, 3 cloves of garlic, crushed, Salt and pepper to taste] thoroughly and form into four patties. Make slight indentations in the center of each burger to avoid “burger bulge.” For enhanced flavor, grill over hardwood charcoal.
Where’s the beef?
The new style of veggie burger—one that tastes like veggies rather than imitation meat —is as crave-worthy as its beefy brother. Charlottesville’s got some dynamite locally-made options that’ll happily feed veg-heads and carnivores alike.
Boylan Heights combines quinoa, zucchini, spinach, sundried tomatoes, corn, black beans, white bean purée, ritz crackers, spices, and hot sauce into a veggie patty that’s coated in almond flour before it’s sautéed.
Citizen Burger Bar’s vegan burger looks like rare beef from its mixture of raw beets, quinoa, and millet.
NoBull Burgers (find them at the City Market and retailers and restaurants around town) pack lentils, barley, carrots, spinach, onions, spelt, egg, and wheat free tamari sauce into a dense, superfood patty.
Dressed up for dinner
Burgers have gone glam and toppings like cheese, lettuce, and tomato just don’t cut the, er, mustard anymore. Facebook fans have spoken and they’re a fancy schmancy bunch. Here are their gourmet requests: wild mushrooms, ghost peppers, feta, tsatziki sauce, and fresh tomatoes (on a lamb-garlic burger).