For all its salmon lore, Seattle has always had a great glut of terrific burger joints. Between Dick's Drive-In and Kidd Valley, Seattlites for decades have easily been able to find cheap and far superior alternatives to the national chains.
But the pinnacle of Seattle burgers remains Red Mill Burgers. This duo of locally owned no-frills burger joints is unmistakable: Just look for the neon mill hung over the door. The locations are hardly convenient, and the decor is uninspired, but the juicy patties they serve up -- with a quirky variety of trimmings -- make you soon forget everything but the tray in front of you. Locals swear by the Verde burger, with its Anaheim chiles and cheese. You might opt instead for the chunky blue-cheese burger with bacon.
Whatever you do, though, do not skip the onion rings -- which are truly the reason to go to Red Mill. Thick, huge and juicy, the rings are fried to a golden brown, with a solid batter protecting the tender onion inside. These, indeed, are onion rings to dream about.
Red Mill also has a selection of above-par shakes and some non-beef burger options. Be prepared for a short wait at lunchtime and make sure to turn off your cell phone. The staff is zealous -- perhaps too much so -- about a no-cell policy.