The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die

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The Travelin Man
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2005/07/26 18:08:39 (permalink)

The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die

http://www.gq.com/food-travel/alan-richman/200602/hamburger-death-eat

I like this article. I don't agree with every one, but I like the fact that a magazine for guys takes the time to rank things. Guys need things ranked. It makes for debate -- and mostly, it makes things easy for us to understand. I am pretty sure that is why they do it that way with college basketball teams (they play a championship game, so wouldn't that be the team that is #1 anyway?).

Anyway, Louis Lunch is a burger that is discussed here frequently, but I have never had the opportunity to try. I will have a Peter Luger burger the next time I am in NY (actually a convenient stop for me for lunch). I had heard that their burger excelled, but have not had the chance to try one yet. I am also planning on hitting more of the CA and TX places on my next trips there.

I am a little surprised to see Houston (and Texas, in general) underrepresented in their list. I have always found Houston to be a great city for beef - and burgers, specifically.

One other thing that I thought about this list -- it is not necessarily the 20 best burgers. These are the 20 that the writer thinks that you should eat before you die -- could be because of something unique. I have one for that category, but I need to dig up the name of the place and I will post it.
post edited by The Travelin Man - 2013/05/28 10:41:11
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    mayor al
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/07/26 18:28:10 (permalink)

    I am not sure, but if I were to hazard a guess I would estimate that I am fairly well removed from the demographic target group of the author of this article/survey/sampler. Much like my ignorance of the Wine-World I don't feel that not having visited any of the listed places, and in fact only having heard, in another context, of ONE of the 20 (Lugar's) places me at a disadvantage when it comes to an understanding of the Burger World. Given a few days to burp up the reminders of places of quality, I may be able to generate a list of my own.
    #2
    signman
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/07/26 18:44:12 (permalink)
    Well, I've at least heard of 5 of these places, but have only eaten at White Mana in NJ. And for me it was not that memorable. Anyone ever heard of the number one pick Le Tub. I'll be near there in the fall and would check it out.
    #3
    The Travelin Man
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/07/26 18:58:32 (permalink)
    Al, I am afraid my days of being a GQ guy are probably a little behind me, too.

    As I said, I am sure that this list includes some burgers to eat for the sake of the experience. Me, I would rather have a good burger.

    As far as Le Tub, I will be down in that area at the end of August, and I am making a point to go and check it out. I did some research and found this article: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/entertainment/dining/12018664.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp

    Sounds like it could be a win -- but almost $10 for a burger in FL seems a little high.

    I only hope that I can find the name of the place I ate this past weekend with a burger that would give most folks a coronary for about five bucks!

    Steve
    #4
    mayor al
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/07/26 19:20:34 (permalink)

    We can ask Seafarer john about the Burgers He is still on the top of the list for "G Q"...That's "Greypower Quarterly"
    #5
    tacchino
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/07/26 19:40:39 (permalink)
    Don't know where the author got his list of places to try, but consistently here in New York, from one local reviewer to another, the best hamburger is always alleged to be from the Corner Bistro, in Greenwich Village (Peter Luger's being in a world apart, of course).

    I always wonder if these authors are given preconceived notions of where and what to try, even if they claim to do "random" tests, because they rarely seem to agree with any other lists...guess it's another way to sell magazines...

    #6
    6star
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/07/26 21:07:19 (permalink)
    An interesting column by Michael Mayo in the South Florida Sun-Sentinal (7/7/05):

    At Hollywood’s Le Tub, the livin’ is no longer easy

    The parking lot was full, the grill was at capacity and John Petrie grunted to nobody in particular, "Out of meat -- again." He grabbed a bowl of chopped sirloin from a cooler and started mixing another batch of burgers for a lunch crowd that just wouldn't quit. Behind the bar, Kellie Pilgreen kept slicing Vidalia onions, but it looked like he might take the knife to his wrist at any moment. "This used to be a nice little hideaway bar," Pilgreen said Wednesday. "The summers used to belong to us. Not any more." Waves of customers kept crashing in, sweat poured from harried waiters, a newly scrawled Help Wanted sign hung near the front entrance.

    This is what happens when GQ magazine names you the best burger in the country. Most places would be thrilled by the honor. Le Tub isn't most places. They don't take credit cards, don't have tap beer, don't want to hear your complaints about the flies, roaches or wharf rats that might come your way. Here, on the lapping waters of the Intracoastal in Hollywood, cool has always meant indifference bordering on rudeness, not hipness or trendiness. Here, you still have a better chance finding the sign warning, "Unattended children will be used as fish bait," than any self-aggrandizing banners proclaiming, "As seen in GQ!"

    "Excuse me, if we sit out on the patio, can we bring in our puppy?" one hapless newcomer asked Wednesday. "No pets," Pilgreen said. "Oh, then can we look at a takeout menu?" he asked. "No takeout," Pilgreen said. "Guess we're not going to be able to give you our business," he said, as if anyone would care. "See ya," Pilgreen said. The brusqueness is part of the charm, one reason why I've been coming here for 16 years, since moving to South Florida. That, and the view, the jukebox, pool tables, rum runners and 4 a.m. closing time. Oh, and those burgers ain't bad either.

    In a land of fleeting transience, Le Tub has endured. So, the regulars and staff can only hope that this too shall pass. The attention. The hubbub. The tourists in their rented convertibles and the businessmen with their Oxford shirts and cell phones. "Someone just came in and asked where the air-conditioned section was," laughed John Quinn, a waiter who's worked the outdoor wooden decks here for over a decade. "It's getting ridiculous." Said Pilgreen, an 18-year veteran: "We had people come in here on the Fourth all dressed up with makeup. It was 100 degrees outside and they were melting. Hilarious." Snorted Petrie, who has worked here for two decades: "We're getting people from Boca. ... We're getting people calling from South Beach who want directions. I say, `You don't want to come here today. Really.'"

    Le Tub, on A1A near Johnson Street, is decorated in High Tacky Porcelain Commode Mode, with toilets and tubs filled with plants throughout the restaurant. It has snagged its share of local honors through its 25 years, but this is the biggest and potentially most ruinous fame, yet. "I feel bad for these guys," said Chris Caudle of Miami, a first-timer who proclaimed his $8.50 cheeseburger "fantastic." "I've worked in this area for years but never knew this place existed. Now, everyone will know about it." Caudle, who sells pacemakers and defibrillators for a medical supply firm ("I really shouldn't be eating cheeseburgers -- not too heart healthy"), saw the GQ write-up when he went for his last haircut.

    In his national survey of 93 establishments, GQ's food writer Alan Richman called Le Tub "a dream of a dump," and its pincushion-shaped burger "magnificent…crusty on the outside, juicy inside, always perfectly cooked. ... I don't understand how this spot came to have the best burger in America, but it does." It's even more miraculous considering Petrie and the other cooks work from a cramped makeshift kitchen the size of a closet, with a gas grill no bigger than those found in most back yards. That the results are so consistently excellent is a testament to the staff's experience and dedication, even if they like to pretend they don't care. Petrie said he knew the GQ honor was coming, because the magazine shot a photo spread in advance, but he "didn't realize everyone in the world would come here and say, `I have to try that hamburger.'"

    On Wednesday, with patrons waiting 1 ½ hours for their burgers, I asked if I could write some nasty things to dampen demand. "Won't help," Pilgreen said. Did I mention the bugs, roaches, killer sharks roaming the docks and the human finger I found in my seafood gumbo? So whatever you do, please stay away from Le Tub. It's overrated. Really.
    #7
    jeepguy
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/07/26 21:56:34 (permalink)
    Since i'm living in Chicago and have a small shack in Pawleys SC i'll probably (or purposely) never get West to In N Out, which i really want to try. Maybe to Louis Lunch sometime- that place looks interesting. Shorter drive too!
    #8
    ellen4641
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/07/27 23:23:18 (permalink)
    My vote is for B & R Burgers, in Hawthorne, CA ....5 miles east of manhattan beach

    top 20

    it's in a very non-descript storefront strip mall on Rosecrans avenue, next to a laundramat and a junky convenience store..

    great messy "fried-type" burger that has gotten good media coverage...it's not a real pretty place, and I'd be careful there at night..

    ellen
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    StL Dan
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/07/28 00:13:48 (permalink)
    Better eat a Westport Flea Market burger before it gets bulldozed.
    #10
    GordonW
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/07/28 01:25:00 (permalink)
    We've been through the must-try wines, and the must-try restaurants, and the must-try celebrity chefs. And the must-try resorts and spas. And night clubs. Never mind the must-try bbq joints, pizza places, hot dog stands. Now we have the hamburger you must try before you die.

    I've always enjoyed Alan Richman's writing and the TV show he had for a while.

    But c'mon.... What's the use of you knowing what hamburgers you missed when you cashed it in? Like you should have known?? Well...it's GQ. And Alan Richman has to earn a living.

    #11
    pmrkr2
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/07/31 00:18:01 (permalink)
    prime burger in nyc is the best burger in town
    #12
    BT
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/07/31 00:37:52 (permalink)
    I drive past Burger Joint (in SF) often. Drove past it tonight, in fact. It's popular but it doesn't seem like it attracts the crowds it would if it really were one of the 20 best in America. I suspect the author of this piece tried to spread the accolades around geographically so as to make a lot of people proud of having one of the best in their town. Personally, I'd be surprised if Burger Joint turns out to be all that much better than Sliders, a 2-location minichain ( http://www.inetours.com/Pages/Dining_Archive/Sliders_Diner.html ) that I do frequent here in town because they grill their USDA Choice burgers to order on a rotating gas grill and they put all kinds of condiments and veggie options out front so you can create your own dream burger after they hand you the basic thing on a bun. I like lots of mayo, onion and ketchup on mine and I put on tomato only if it looks decent and ripe--but anyway I like being able to do it myself.

    #13
    BT
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/07/31 00:42:54 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen


    I am not sure, but if I were to hazard a guess I would estimate that I am fairly well removed from the demographic target group of the author of this article/survey/sampler.


    I've never met you, but my suspicion is you are the EXACT demographic he's after.
    #14
    V960
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/02 10:48:33 (permalink)
    Nick's on Broadway in NYC didn't make it? BS
    #15
    hawkeyejohn
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/02 10:53:57 (permalink)
    I live outside of Chicago and never heard of the Chicago joint listed here.
    #16
    Spudnut
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/02 10:54:02 (permalink)
    A quick glimpse indicates that I've been to four of the places:

    Louis Lunch (the environment is great; I think the burger is so-so)
    JG Mellon (I don't get it, but it's been five years)
    Burger Joint in NYC (love it)
    Luger's (Have eaten there maybe 30 times, and have never had a burger. One day.)

    #17
    mayor al
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/02 11:28:20 (permalink)

    Re- The write-up of the Le Tub in Florida above. What happened to it when the article was published sounds a lot like what happened to Arthur Bryants some years back. I recall going to A B's in the 80's and early 90's and finding the place half-full of some sorry-looking folks (like me) chowing down on BBQ. Then in the mid-90's (96-97??) All of a sudden we had to park on the street because the lot was full of BMW's and Mercedes and the like. Lots of 'Suits' sitting at tables while one of the 'group' stood in line. (Junior partners got the duty) and the ties were neatly tucked into the suit during the meal. The place kept it's grubby nature, but the suits have worn down the honest atmosphere a lot (IMHO). I hope LeTub can maintain its attitude!

    I would recommend a FarmerBurger from the mini-chain of Farmer Boys in SoCal to test against some of those listed. I rate it over In n Out on my list of Best Burgers.

    BTW Jay Leno's Headlines last nite featured a menu that listed a burger with condiments that included Glaucoma(sic)...should have been Guacamole.
    #18
    tonemonster2
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/02 11:40:53 (permalink)
    The Burger Joint, as posted before , is great, but I'm not sure Top 20 material. I would bet the farm that the Lugar's burger is at least $20, and why would you go all the way over there and not have the steak ? JG Melon is okay, but as far as "bar burgers" go, I'll take The Old Town.Then again, my all time favorite is a toss up between IN n OUT and Fatburger, which I believe is still around southern Cal.
    #19
    azure
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/02 11:48:21 (permalink)
    I'd like to submit one...a Plaza Burger at the Plaza (the Za, for those in the know) in Madison. Wisconsin.
    #20
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/02 11:55:15 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by hawkeyejohn

    I live outside of Chicago and never heard of the Chicago joint listed here.


    Just went to their website to check them out. Looks a little precious to me. Clearly this is part of a big corporate restaurant group that thought the name Poag Mahone (Gaelic for "kiss my ass") would show the world just how hip and clever they are. It looks exactly the way a burger joint recommended by GQ ought to look. In a city like Chicago where great burgers are readily available in all quarters, choosing Poag Mahone as the best, or even one of the best, shows little interest in quality and more focus on image. Sell the sizzle not the steak; how appropriate for this article and its writers.

    Or am I being too cynical?
    #21
    tonemonster2
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/02 12:11:22 (permalink)
    Does anyone know if Fatburger is still around in LA ?
    #22
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/02 16:17:35 (permalink)
    I've never been able to understand why anyone would think the hamburgers at Louis Lunch are special. I'll take a steak sandwich there anytime.
    #23
    MOC
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/08 19:42:31 (permalink)
    Can't vouch for the Peter Luger other than it is legendary. But if you are sampling NYC burgers - skip JG Mellons. Donovan's iin Woodside Queens is the burger to eat. I comapre all burgers to Donovan's. Go with the fried onions too. Way cheaper than Mellons or Burger Joint and so much better. It's near the "7" train , 61st stop.
    #24
    mayor al
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/08 20:15:27 (permalink)

    Tonemonster- On our roadtrip last year we saw several Fatburger stands at various places in the West L A area and Inland Empire & San Fernando Valley.
    #25
    tonemonster2
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/12 10:39:32 (permalink)
    Al, i's good to know you can still get a Fatburger in LALAland.
    #26
    tonemonster2
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/12 10:42:48 (permalink)
    Srry, wanted to edit...anyway. In my younger days after a night out in Manhattan Beach, we'd go for a double cheese double fat, double chili double EGG burger that'd set you free. The good old days.
    #27
    Salustra
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/12 11:32:34 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by tonemonster2

    Does anyone know if Fatburger is still around in LA ?

    It has recently made inroads into San Diego County. We have one in Escondido. Not sure of any other So Cal locations.

    Edit: Ok - a quick peak at their website reveals 4 locations in LA, Hollywood & South Gate:
    http://www.fatburger.com/location.html

    #28
    Salustra
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/12 11:36:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by tonemonster2

    Srry, wanted to edit...anyway. In my younger days after a night out in Manhattan Beach, we'd go for a double cheese double fat, double chili double EGG burger that'd set you free. The good old days.

    Hm, sounds similar to what we had at the long-gone Doodle Burger. Hubby's fav: triple, heavy doodle with bacon & egg.
    #29
    Big Ugly Mich
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    RE: The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die 2005/08/13 00:20:59 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BuddyRoadhouseJust went to their website to check them out. Looks a little precious to me. Clearly this is part of a big corporate restaurant group that thought the name Poag Mahone (Gaelic for "kiss my ass") would show the world just how hip and clever they are. It looks exactly the way a burger joint recommended by GQ ought to look. In a city like Chicago where great burgers are readily available in all quarters, choosing Poag Mahone as the best, or even one of the best, shows little interest in quality and more focus on image. Sell the sizzle not the steak; how appropriate for this article and its writers.

    Or am I being too cynical?


    I doubt it. I clicked off the article when I saw the word "sliders" in one of the restaurant names. La dee dah.

    I'd like to cast a vote (and start an argument, I'm sure) for Fuddruckers in Chicago. They actually butcher and grind the beef on site for your burger. How fresh can you get?
    #30
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