If America has a national sandwich, it's unequivocally the hamburger. But deciding what particular combination of ground beef, seasonings, toppings, and bun is the best is sheer folly once you bite in and discover the various regional and even hyper-local variations from across the country that all go by the name burger. So to guide us through this varied landscape – and provide us with a short list of truly notable entrants from across the country – we enlisted the help of George Motz, noted host of Travel Channel's 'Burger Land,' and author of 'Hamburger America' (and producer of a film by the same name).
Motz says there are a few key components to any great burger, but the most important is that it's made of freshly ground, single-source beef. He's also especially fond of shining a light on classic spots that frequently go unmentioned in gourmet top tens. "When you walk into a burger restaurant, and all they're talking about is their beef blend or how much they love their butcher, you know you're in the right place," he says. In that spirit, here are 18 dining spots that Motz says make burgers that deserve special recognition – some classic, some exotic, some bizarre, all delicious – and that should be on any devotees burger bucket list.
Country food truck standout
Bacon Cheeseburger, Mildred's Dairy Bar
"It's hard to create a great burger on a truck, as there are a lot of elements working against you," Motz says. But this place makes what he calls a "bacon cheeseburger that simply kicks ass." The truck is stationed right in front of the Vermont Country Store, a big tourist draw itself, and the burger is an eight-ouncer, cooked on a flattop, and made with fresh local ground beef, white Vermont cheddar, and a toasted-but-soft eggy roll. "They also make really great shakes," says Motz. "But it's a seasonal [and mobile] thing, so you should call to make sure they're there."
Mildred's Dairy Bar
Credit: George Motz
657 Main Street, Weston VT