Bon Appétit magazine's three finalists for the best burgers in America are:
- The green chile cheeseburger at: Bobcat Bite, 420 Old Las Vegas Highway, Santa Fe NM 87505; 505-983-5319
- The bacon cheeseburger at: Taylor's Automatic Refresher, 933 Main Street, Helena CA 94574; 707-963-3486
- The Meerscheeseburger at The Meers Store and Restaurant, 26005 State Highway 115, Lawton OK 73501; 580-429-8051
When I asked Bon Appétit's Andrew Knowlton about the criteria and methodology the magazine's editors used in selecting the three finalists, he gave a Solomonic answer.
"Of course our selections are subjective and open to debate. But I can tell you that anybody who eats at any of the three finalists in any category will not be disappointed with the food itself or the people and the stories behind the food."
What's interesting about the magazine's selections is that there is very little overlap with all the other best burger lists by such fine taste-budded writers like Alan Richman (in GQ) and Ray Sokolov in the Wall Street Journal. There are more best burger lists from some noted burger lovers here on AHT.
The Bobcat Bite is number 12 on Richman's list and doesn't appear at all on Sokolov's. Meers General Store and Taylor's Refresher are nowhere to be found on their lists, and I'd be willing to bet 25 Shake Shack burgers that Richman and Sokolov have been to Taylor's, given the fact they are both experienced food and wine geeks who know their way around the Napa Valley, where Taylor's is located.
Richman's top three are the Not Just a Burger at the Spiced Pear Restaurant at the Chanler Hotel in Newport, Rhode Island, the Luger Burger at Peter Luger in Brooklyn, and the Sirloin Burger at Le Tub in Hollywood, Florida.
Sokolov's top three are not readily apparent from reading his story, but reading between the patties, I would say his four favorite burgers are at the Apple Pan in Los Angeles and surprisingly, a trio in Atlanta: the bacon cheeseburger at the Earl in East Atlanta, the burger at the Vortex, and the Ghetto Burger at Ann's Snack Bar.
So what can we conclude? The most beautiful, best burgers are in the eyes of the burger holder. My three favorites change on any given day, but today I would give the nod to the Apple Pan, the Spotted Pig in New York City's Greenwich Village, and Telepan, also in New York. On other days I would mention Resto (Manhattan), the Good Fork in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and the Red Mill in Seattle. As you can see, my list is dominated by New York burgers.
What does that say? I'm a hometown burger boy, like most people I know. And, as Knowlton said, you will not be disappointed by any of the above-mentioned burgers.
So what are your top three burgers?