Today is National Hamburger Day! In celebration, I’m unveiling my picks, in no particular order, for the 12 best burgers in the East Valley. Warning: Do not attempt to view this list on an empty stomach.
7215 S. Power Road, Queen Creek
Owner Brett Dettler’s homage to Minneapolis’ famed Jucy Lucy consists of nearly 10 ounces of ground beef stuffed with pepper jack cheese and chopped jalapenos – lots of jalapenos. Fortunately, the bar has 18 craft beers on tap to help douse the fire. The price for the burger is $12, which includes a side of fries, sweet potato fries, garlic mashed potatoes, cole slaw or mini wedge salad.
955 E. University Drive, Tempe
Who knows better how to recover from night of over-imbibing than college students? This ASU hangout’s day-after whopper has three 4-ounce patties with three cheeses (American, Swiss and pepperjack), bacon, a fried egg, lettuce, tomato and onion. It’s a heckuva meal for $9.50 and includes fries, sweet potato fries, waffle fries, onion rings, tater tots or chips.
4991 S. Alma School Road, Chandler
This decadent burger combines beef with – what else? – more beef, in this case 6 ounces of ground beef topped with braised short rib. Wild mushrooms, roasted tomato and Widmer’s cheddar complete this $16 feast, which comes with duck-fat fries. It’s only available for Sunday brunch, although a stripped-down version (bacon instead of short rib) is $8 during happy hour weekdays.
202 E. University Drive, Tempe
The scent of several decades’ worth of mesquite-grilled burgers permeate the walls of this longtime ASU dive. The basic, 8-ounce Big One tends to hog all the press, but we prefer the Torpedo, which has jalapeno jack cheese on the inside and several green chiles on top. Fix up the $5.45 burger at the huge condiment bar. Add fries for $1.66 or beer-battered onion rings for $2.38.
Stuffed Bacon Cheese Burger
8 S. San Marcos Place, Chandler
It’s hard to pick just one burger at this downtown Chandler brew pub, so with all due respect to its Back East Burger and La Hamburguesa I’ll go with its bestseller. Eight ounces of choice beef is stuffed with pepper jack cheese, then topped with aged white cheddar and chipotle smoked bacon. The $11 price tag includes ale-battered fries, a cup of soup or a small pub salad.
Four Peaks Brewing
1340 E. Eighth St., Tempe
Another great brew pub burger – does anything pair better than burgers and beer? – this one from a longtime Tempe favorite. Eight ounces of Angus beef is topped with sauteed jalapenos, onion straws and cream cheese, making it hot yet cool, spicy yet a little sweet – all at the same time. A side of beer-battered fries, pasta salad or garden salad is included in the $9.50 price.
Blue Adobe Burger
Blue Adobe Santa Fe Grille
144 N. Country Club Drive, Mesa
A Mexican restaurant may seem like a strange place to order a burger, but the same pecan-fired grill that produces this Mesa restaurant’s tasty tenderloin-stuffed chile rellenos also makes a deliciously smoky 8-ounce patty with cheddar, bacon and, if you want, roasted green chiles. The $9.95 price includes a side of fries, but I like to add a bowl of flavorful posole.
Double Bacon Burger
3141 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe
Chicago transplant Lobby Syregelas gets his beef from grass-fed cattle in Iowa. Two third-pound patties come with lettuce, red onion, hand-cut pickles and special house sauce on a sesame seed bun. It’s just $6.99, but you’ll pay an extra 79 cents to add cheese (cheddar or provolone) or grilled onions. French fries ($1.99) also aren’t included.
Joe’s Farm Grill
3000 E. Ray Road, Gilbert
This specialty burger, featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” starts with a 6-ounce patty of locally sourced beef, then adds roasted red pepper, grilled mushrooms, field greens, house-made pecan pesto and fontina cheese. The burger alone is $9.49. Creative sides include sweet potato fries with pineapple-serrano dipping sauce ($4.49) or panko-crusted onion rings ($4.99).
Black & Blue 32 Burger
Blue 32 Sports Grill
1524 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert
This Gilbert sports bar hits a home run with its 8-ounce burger – ground fresh every day – seasoned with blackened spice and topped with bleu cheese crumbles, thick-cut bacon, lettuce, tomato and onions on a grilled bun. At $9.79, it comes with a choice of fries, mashed potatoes, broccoli, baked beans or bleu cheese cole slaw.
230 N. Gilbert Road, Gilbert
This repurposed grocery store in downtown Gilbert offers simplicity in all its greatness: Eight ounces of ground chuck with fresh tomato, red onion and shredded iceberg lettuce on a grilled sesame kaiser roll. This $9 burger comes with chips and a trio of dips, but it’ll cost an extra $1 for cheese (choice of American, aged cheddar, Monterey jack or St. Pete blue) and $1.50 for thick-cut bacon.
2753 E. Broadway Road, Mesa
There’s definitely a throwback vibe to this greasy-spoon-style diner, which cooks fresh (never frozen) 4-ounce patties on a flat-top grill. The secret to its extra-gooey cheeseburger ($5.10) is two slices of cheese, and bacon cheeseburgers get three slices of bacon. Mayo, mustard, lettuce, onion and tomato are standard, but you can customize. Delicious fries ($1.70) are the only side option.
Am I missing a great burger? Let me know.