The Best Burgers In Philadelphia
Where to find some of the best burgers in Philadelphia
(Photo: The Roofdeck at Standard Tap in Northern Liberties; Photo by G. Widman for GPTMC.)
Philadelphia is quickly becoming Burger Town, U.S.A. as new burger joints are popping up all over town as new burger joints are popping up all over town.
From the foie gras-butter stuffed prime patties at hallowed French restaurant Le Bec-Fin to the classically simple burgers at Franklin Square’s SquareBurger , Philadelphia’s corner pubs and upscale restaurants are satisfying red meat lovers with burgers that satisfy all cravings and budgets.
Here are a few of the most memorable stops in town:
All About The Burger
Bobby’s Burger Palace
The national chain Bobby’s Burger Palace (owned by Bobby Flay) has thrown a gauntlet in the local burger competition, setting up shop in University City. Burgers are slathered with geographically themed toppings (Philly: Cheese Whiz, onions and hot peppers; Miami: ham, Swiss, pickles). And diners can crunchify—add potato chips—to any burger at no additional charge. The sweet potato fries, beer-battered onion rings and vanilla caramel bourbon shakes add another level of Flay flair.
Details: 3925 Walnut Street | (215) 387-0378 | bobbysburgerpalace.com
The famous Rouge burger is the draw at the quick-service 500°, and it’s served with special sauce and bacon on fresh-baked rolls. Shakes and fries (plain, spicy and truffle) round out the offerings. Late-night weekend hours (3:00 a.m.) are an added bonus for late-night bar patrons.
Details: 1504 Sansom Street, | (215) 568-5000 | 500degrees.com
Fishtown’s art-themed Sketch has the burger bases covered with sirloin, Kobe, turkey and vegan options, plus the signature smashed onion beef burger. Inventive toppings like horseradish cheddar and salsa verde make it a burger-lover’s dream.
Details: 413 E. Girard Avenue | (215) 634-3466 | sketch-burger.com
A choice of more than 20 free toppings crown the trans-fat-free patties at Willow Grove’s strip mall eatery Great Burger; diners also get a choice of burger (veggie, turkey, beef) and bun.
Details: 3616 Welsh Road | Willow Grove | (215) 657-6100 | greatburger.net
Though barbecue is its namesake specialty, Smokin’ Betty’s also happens to have an impressive lineup of burgers, including the Betty (pickled jalapeño and grilled corn relish, smoked mozzarella and smoked tomato jam topped with crispy leeks) and the Tur-duck-en (duck rillette surrounded by chicken and turkey, with cranberry orange relish topped with crispy sweet potato ribbons).
Details: 116 S. 11th Street | (215) 922-6500 | smokinbettys.com
A mini local empire built on simple, tasty burgers and hot dogs, Zac’s Hamburgers draws a loyal clientele for its old-fashioned fare and distinctly Philly attitude.
Details: 1301 E. Mac Dade Boulevard, Folsom | (610) 532-6766 | 1505 Chester Pike, Crum Lynne | (610) 833-2233 | 3600 Concord Road, Aston | (610) 485-8511 | 301 State Street, Media | (610) 627-ZACS
Setting The Bar
Diners can wash down that Fat Boy Monster (two patties, cheddar, bacon, onion rings and special sauce on a potato roll) or Shroom Burger (two deep-fried, beer-battered portabellos) with a milkshake cocktail or Yuengling lager at the quirky PYT at the Piazza in Northern Liberties.
Details: 1050 N. Hancock Street | (215) 964-9009 | pytphilly.com
It set the bar high for local burgers when it opened more than 10 years ago, and Standard Tap continues to wow the gastropub, beer-loving crowd with its seven-ounce, all-natural grilled patty topped with lettuce, tomato, sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions and the guest’s choice of cheese.
Details: 901 N. 2nd Street | (215) 238-0630 | standardtap.com
The Roquefort-stuffed, onion-fringed burgers at Center City’s Good Dog tavern are so powerful that they’ve inspired a song by Inquirer critic Craig LaBan—this, in addition to out-the-door crowds.
Details: 224 S. 15th Street | (215) 985-9600 | gooddogbar.com
A sandwich with a swagger is the only way to describe the Royal Tavern burger, which is eight ounces of Angus dressed up in caramelized onion, pickled long hots, bacon, smoked Gouda and chile mayo on a brioche bun.
Details: 937 E. Passyunk Avenue | (215) 389-6694 | royaltavern.com
Pub & Kitchen
The menu changes at the Anglo-inspired Pub & Kitchen, but the Windsor Burger, made with natural beef, English cheddar and homemade bacon, and served on an onion roll, is a pleasing constant—as are the truffled dijonnaise fries.
Details: 1946 Lombard Street | (215) 545-0350 | thepubandkitchen.com
Half Moon Saloon
The choices at Kennett Square’s Half Moon Saloon astound: There’s the spiced vegetable and wild rice Harvest Moon; the organic grass-fed beef Half Moon; the all-natural buffalo Full Moon and a daily selection of wild game specials. Tasty toppings and more than 27 beers on tap make it a true burger and beer destination.
Details: 108 W. State Street | Kennett Square | (610) 444-7232 | halfmoonrestaurant.com
Celebrity chef Jose Garces has put his talented spin on classic American eats at Village Whiskey, his stylish whiskey bar. The eight-ounce angus burgers come with toppings like maple bourbon-glazed cipollini, Rogue bleu cheese, foie gras and applewood bacon. Diners who want to indulge even more can have their duck fat fries topped with shortribs and sly-fox cheddar.
Details: 118 S. 20th Street | (215) 665-1088 | villagewhiskey.com
Butcher & Singer
At Stephen Starr’s Old Hollywood-themed steakhouse Butcher & Singer, the lunchtime burger (a hefty patty served with English cheddar and fried onions) is a standout.
Details: 1500 Walnut Street | (215) 732-4444 | butcherandsinger.com
Visit the pub at Stephen Starr’s swanky Barclay Prime for the dry-aged mini burgers made from New York strip, Kobe and ribeye, served on homemade rolls with a slather of Russian dressing and aged cheddar, plus a side of tater tots.
Details: 237 S. 18th Street | (215) 732-7560 | barclayprime.com
The lunch menu burgers at Union Trust, a towering Washington Square area steakhouse, are creatively packaged (Brunch Burger: fried egg and bacon on a homemade English muffin; Le Mac Daddy: foie gras, port-reduced onions, fried egg and truffle aioli.) For $7.17, they also serve a very affordable Kobe burger with fries.
Details: 717 Chestnut Street | (215) 925-6000 | uniontruststeakhouse.com
The Swann Lounge
The Swann Lounge in the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia piles its beef and turkey burgers high with smoked applewood bacon, avocado, arugula, cheddar cheese and banana-pepper mayo on a brioche roll—and serves it with a side of sophistication.
Details: 1 Logan Square | (215) 963-1500 | fourseasons.com
Burgers With A Side Of Scenery
Paper-wrapped classic burgers are the thing at SquareBurger, Stephen Starr’s seasonal stand in Franklin Square; they come on potato rolls with judicious toppings of ketchup, mustard, onions and pickles. Sides of crispy fries and Tastykake milkshakes, plus a pleasant park setting, sweeten the deal.
Details: 6th & Race Streets
Overlooking Rittenhouse Square, Rouge is a longtime favorite for people-watching and burger-eating. Its zaftig challah roll-encased patty with caramelized onions and gruyere is a mainstay of best-of-Philly lists and also has landed national praise.
Details: 205 S. 18th Street | (215) 732-6622 | rouge98.com
A blanket of aged gouda, double-smoked local bacon, apple and rosemary sauce bring a decidedly foodie slant to the burger at the Rittenhouse Hotel’s Lacroix and sister restaurant Bar 210. A table overlooking Rittenhouse Square brings the glamour.
Details: 210 W. Rittenhouse Square | (215) 790-2533 | lacroixrestaurant.com