Editor's note: For our new series of Burger City Guides, we're asking our favorite chefs from around the country to tell us about their five favorite burgers in the cities/states they're based in. Got requests? Let us know in the comments or email us at email@example.com.
With 10+ restaurants and a James Beard award for Best Northwest Chef under his belt, Tom Douglas is a staple of the Seattle dining scene. And if there's one thing Tom does best, it's burgers. Chefs city-wide source their buns from his bakery, Dahlia Bakery, and diners come to his restaurants Palace Kitchen and Brave Horse Tavern to experience his elevated renditions of the fast-food classic. Since it's hard to imagine a burger that sounds better than his—using beef hand-ground on the premises, crisped over an applewood grill, and nestled into a Dahlia onion bun—we've left it to the master to enlighten us.
Here are Tom's top five Seattle burgers:
1. The burgers at Dick's Drive-In are a great balance of fat, special sauce, meat and bun. But what really makes them taste great is when they are paired with a shake. They were just voted by Esquire readers as the "most life-changing burger joint." Multiple locations listed at dicksdrivein.com
2. Red Mill's Verde Veg is the best veggie burger in Seattle. The combo of the mill sauce with the roasted peppers is unique and delicious. Multiple locations listed at redmillburgers.com
4. Zippy's Giant Burgers grinds their beef fresh daily, which makes this meat stand out. They also keep their menu fresh with out-of-the-box tastes like a Mama Lil's peppers and chipotle mayo combo. 9614 14th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98106 (map); 206-763-1347; zippysgiantburgers.com
5. Loretta's Northwesterner in South Park is such a hidden gem, I'm tempted not to advertise it. You can't get more bang for your buck than their $3 tavern burger, made with a buttery toasted bun and special sauce. Wash it down with a $2.50 draft...and then get another one. And you can't miss the hand-cut fries! 8617 14th Avenue South, Seattle WA 98108 (map); 206-327-9649; lorettasnorthwesterner.com