Guide to the Best Burgers In Philadelphia
Satisfy your carnivore craving with some of the best hamburgers in the city
Philadelphia is quickly becoming Burger Town, U.S.A. as new burger joints are popping up all over town.
From the foie gras topped hamburger at Jose Garces’ Village Whiskey 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
Emerging from Philadelphia’s growing food truck scene, the small, yellow cart housing Spot Burgers has caused a big splash in the world of burgers. Found most days on the campus of Drexel University, Spot cranks out serious serloin burgers, hand-cut fries, hand-butchered cheesesteaks, roast pork loin sandwiches and rotating specials.
Details: 33rd and Arch Streets | Check Spot’s Twitter page for additional details.
Gaining a cult following in New York City, Shake Shack is now officially a major player in Philadelphia’s burger landscape. Created as a modern day roadside burger stand, Shake Shack serves up delicious burgers, hot dogs and their signature frozen custard. Burger fans now have three locations to choose from in the region, with Shacks in Rittenhouse Square, University City and King of Prussia.
Details: 2000 Sansom Street, (215) 809-1742 | 3200 Chestnut Street, (267) 338-3464 | 160 N. Gulph Road, Suite 233, King of Prussia, PA, (267) 428-7560 | shakeshack.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
Spencer ETA Burger
The burgers here come in beef, turkey and vegetarian form, and the flavor varieties include the Tomahto Daddy (fried cornmeal-herb-panko encrusted tomato, bacon, American cheese, grilled red onions and homemade Big Mac sauce, shredded romaine, brioche bun) and Wakey Wakey (grilled sausage, cheddar cheese, caramelized maple-onion-shallot jam, two over-easy eggs, green onion-sour cream biscuit).
Details: 227 N. 34th Street | (215) 222-1022 | spenceretaburger.com
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
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
Marc Vetri’s Italian beer bar in Philadelphia’s Spring Garden neighborhood sets the burger bar high with “The Burgamo.” Reminiscent of famous fast-food creation, the double-cheeseburger topped with iceburg lettuce, onion, pickles, special sauce and cheddar cheese will satisfy your burger craving.
Details: 1410 Mt. Vernon Street | (215) 600-0017 | allaspinaphilly.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 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
City Tap House
Located near the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, West Philadelphia’s City Tap House is not only a beer lover’s paradise, but it boasts a delicious burger as well. In the warmer months, sit on the spacious outdoor deck and enjoy the Tap Burger topped with Lancaster rustic cheddar, agrodolce onions and a beer gastrique.
Details: 3925 Walnut Street | (215) 662-0105 | citytaphouse.com/