Picking the best burger is a bear. It's not that the work isn't fun -- my waistline is a testament to my enthusiasm -- it's just that there are so many types of burgers to choose from. Is the burger served at a top-end steakhouse better that what you'd pull out of a greasy paper sack? Sure, sometimes, but you're not always in the mood to throw on a starched shirt every time you're craving a burger. Sometimes you actually want to add another mustard stain to that faded T-shirt. Sometimes you're barreling down the tollway when you need a hunk of beef. And sometimes you just want to sit in a tavern with a cold beer and an affordable burger that doesn't suck.
These are City of Ate's five favorites, including our recent Best of Dallas winner for Best Burger, categorized for your convenience, and, like it or not, completely Grape-burger free. Get more of Dallas' best with our Best Of app, available for the Droid and the iPhone.
5. Smoke: bovinity defined (pictured above). When burger cravings are at their absolute highest -- an almost deafening roar -- indulging a burger made from top-shelf ingredients produces a contented state of mind that can only be described as bovinity. Smoke's burger does this with a soft-cooked egg fritter, house-cured smoky bacon, a beautiful bun and a juicy hunk of beef. Burgers like this induce an almost visceral response. They make burgermeisters weep.
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4. Maple and Motor: the every man's burger "Ya want that pink or gray in the center." The simple question, asked by the woman working the register, sums up everything you need to know about Jack Perkins' simple burger. Bolster your common-man experience with a cold can of Schlitz. Just don't play grab-ass with your table-mates.
3. NHS Tavern: the super juicy burger. I've eaten or witnessed the consumption of five of these burgers now and despite consistent over-cooking they're always ridiculously juicy. Not just errant drips, either; we're talking full on plate puddle. Cheese and a house-made mayo-based sauce make the NHS burger a full-on belly buster. I've never finished my fries.
2. Whataburger: the everyone loves a local fast food chain burger Is it two in the morning? Are you stoned or drunk or both? What a burger indeed.
1. Dairy-ette: the old enough to be your father burger Elvis was singing "Heartbreak Hotel" when this East Dallas drive-in started serving burgers at the side of your car. Not much has changed since then. They still brew their own root beer and they still sell their burgers for a song. This is Dallas' best burger because Jim Schutze says so. And that's good enough for me.