Editor’s note: We asked the man crazy enough to open a Miami museum dedicated to the noble hamburger, Sef Gonzalez, aka the blogger Burger Beast, to pick his favorite burgers in Miami. He did us one better by creating a list for a burger a day during May, which is National Burger Month. His recently expanded Burger Museum is at the Magic City Casino. — Carlos Frías, Miami Herald food editor
Here, in order, are Burger Beast’s Best Burgers in Miami for 2018:
The Chug Burger is a double patty topped with American cheese, pickles and Ariete Sauce. It is the ideal version of what a well-constructed burger with superior ingredients is. You can add bacon, but I wouldn’t taint it.
Chef Michael Beltran’s Chug Burger is my pick for the best burger in Miami.
3540 Main Highway, Coconut Grove; 305-640-5862
2. Le Chick
When my buds @MMTakeMiami posted on their Instagram about Le Chick’s burger, I was mesmerized. After eating it, I can confirm it’s even better than it looks — and that’s saying something. The special sauce and cheddar cheese is complimented by the housemade roll and two patties that are cooked with plenty of love. Take home an extra one for a late-night craving.
310 NW 24th St., Wynwood; (786) 216-7086
3. Shake Shack
This is the burger for our time. In the past, White Castle and McDonald’s faced copycats galore in their respective eras, something Shake Shack is currently dealing with. This burger is like meat candy to true burger fans. It has a beautiful crust, semi-hiding under the melted American cheese. Take two Shack Burgers and call me in the morning.
Multiple locations: 1111 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach; 1450 South Dixie Highway, Coral Gables; 19565 Biscayne Blvd., Space FH5, Aventura Mall
4. Bird & Bone
Chef Richard Hales has a burger on Sakaya Kitchen’s (his other restaurant) menu, but the Bird & Bone Burger is the like the brother who excels at everything. This gem was created by a guy who knows the craft of burger evolution and this one traces its lineage to the old double-decker style burger pioneered by Bob’s Big Boy.
5. Babe Froman
The recently opened Babe Froman Meat & Counter had ruled the Pinecrest Farmer’s Market for years. Last year, they won my Wiener Bash competition with their sausage creation. But we’re talking burgers and their simple non-pretentious burger, topped with cheese, housemade pickles and Sriracha mayo, is near perfection.
6. The Local
While chef Phil Bryant isn’t at the Local any longer, a bunch of his creations are, including the Local Burger. There’s also the secret menu version of the Burger which replaces the buns with disco voladores (round grilled cheese sandwiches) which ensures you won’t be eating anything else for the rest of the day.
For a very long time I had an unnatural obsession with the Swine Burger. The blend of brisket, short rib and smoked pork, topped with American cheese, Swine special sauce and thick-cut smoked bacon still makes my mouth water.
Madlove’s older sibling is Latin House, and the burgers here are the cousins to ones that made Chef M’s (Michell Sanchez) spot the place to go for meaty creations. The Madlove Burger uses two smaller patties, which give us a better crispy-meat-to-crust ratio in each bite.
9. Keg South
Long before all these “Pirate of the Caribbean” amusement park, Insta-worthy burgers were all the rage, Keg South was the place to go for a solid char-grilled burger with melted cheese. Years later it still is. Pair it with wings and an ice-cold beer.
10. Pincho Factory
It has been almost a decade since I ate my first Pincho Burger. These days, you definitely need to consider what’s on the month’s chalkboard special when making your decision. If you can’t decide, choose the Perfecto Burger. It’s all in the name.
Multiple Miami-area locations: 30 Giralda Ave., Coral Gables; 9860 SW 40 St., Westchester; 4950 W 12th Ave., Hialeah; 12519 South Dixie Hwy, Pinecrest; 12590 SW 88th St., Kendall; 1250 S. Miami Ave., Brickell; 9251 W. Flagler St., Miami;
11. Pinch Kitchen
I come to Pinch Kitchen for one thing and one thing alone: The Pinch Burger. The 8-ounce, custom blend (made locally by Sunshine Provisions) is somehow made better by the addition of Swiss cheese, caramelized onions and aioli on a brioche bun. Bacon is optional and will probably next-level this fella.
12. Beaker & Gray
There’s only one on the Beaker & Gray menu and it’s a doozy of burger, topped with smoked Gouda, pickled cucumbers, bacon jam, and onion aioli. It’s an absolute winner. Please note the burger is available only on the weekday lunch menu and weekend brunch menus.
13. Jr.’s Gourmet Burgers
This burger tho!!! Start off your Monday's hungry! #iamjr #makingburgerssexy #stayhungry in #Miami #springs #miamisprings #foodie #fresh #foodporn #burger #doral #vg #miamifood #bestburgers #champs #burgers #beers #sweetwater #hialeah #hialeahgardens #miaairpot #westchester #sweetwater #doral #vg #miamifood #bestburgers #champs #burgers #beers #burger #foodielife #foodlove #burgerlove #burgerporn #burgerlife
Jr.’s has a long list of accolades that includes winning the 2017 South Beach Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash as well as my Hamburger House Party in 2015, People’s Best Burger in 2016 and Judge’s Best Burger this year. I’m addicted to the sliders with only cheese, grilled onions and mustard. For a full-size burger, I’d go with the Outside Is In Burger (stuffed with cheddar cheese an bacon). Throw some blue cheese crumbles on top for good measure.
Matt Kuscher’s Royale with Cheese Burger (topped w/ Canadian bacon, barbecue sauce, diced white onions and shredded Monterey Jack cheese) trumps the one from “Pulp Fiction.” These Florida grass-fed burgers are ground in-house daily. Make sure to check out his other restaurant, Kush, which has different burgers on its menu.
15. Blue Collar
Chef Danny Serfer’s Blue Collar is comfort food heaven, so it should come as no surprise that there’s a great burger on the menu. The Dry-Aged Burger (prime New York strip) is topped with cheese on a Portuguese muffin. Skip the LTO to enjoy simple excellence.
16. Hate Mondays Tavern
Most folks who visit Hate Mondays are there for great barbecue and the ridiculous smoked chicken wings. But they had to go and win the 2018 People’s Choice at my Hamburger House Party with the Monday Remedy Burger. It’ll take away your Monday blues.
17. Chefs on the Run
Catch this 🍔 only at @burgerbeast #hamburgerhouseparty this saturday at @magiccitycasino as we set to defend or 🏆 💪🏿 #mofongoburger Churrasco burger blend, 🍎🍏 wood 💨 🥓, mofongo patty, Chimichurri, ☘️ white cheddar 🧀, pickled red onion, topped with Smoked Churrasco, #RuggedSauce ™️ get your tickets burgerbeast.com #chefsontherun #burgerbeast #truecooks #miami #miamifood #miamifoodie #burgerculture #eat #eeeeeats #local #vegan #notvegan #whatcannotbetaken 🙏
The 2017 Hamburger House Party People’s Champs have a burger section on their menu that could drive you mad trying to choose. I can make it simple for you: Order the Chef La Burger (grilled onions, sharp Provolone cheese, hot pastrami and Creole mustard) and leave happy.
18. Twisted Fork Kitchen
I was lucky enough to sample a good portion of Chef Richard Plasencia’s excellent menu when Twisted Fork Kitchen opened at The Tank Brewing, west of Miami Springs. All chefs who take their burger game seriously have a custom blend of beef and Richard is no exception. He takes great pride in it and well he should.
19. Proper Sausages
A butcher shop that makes it own burgers is one thing, but Proper Sausages will also cook them up for you on a Portuguese muffin. The Burgers change weekly but be on the lookout for the Smoked Jalapeño & Cheddar.
20. Rok Brgr
One of the elder statesmen, Rok Brgr has always found a way to update its menu. Case in point, the South Florida Burger (Manchego cheese, oxtail marmalade, crispy potato strings, piquillo pepper aioli) tells you they mean business.
Multiple locations: 5800 SW 73rd St, South Miami; 600 Silks Run #1210, Hallandale Beach
21. Tom’s NFL
You’ve probably driven by Tom’s NFL in Miami Springs a million times and never thought much about the food. Stop in, finally, for Tom’s Burger and its chargrilled goodness.
22. Cheeseburger Baby
If it’s late night and I’m craving a juicy cheeseburger made right, with the crispiest bacon in town, this is where I come. They have been fulfilling burger fantasies for more than 15 years and always find a way to make it into my burger daydreams.
Multiple locations: 1505 Washington Ave, Miami Beach; 212 NE 79th St, Little River
23. Boss Burger & Brew
You’re going to find that most folks talk about El Benny, with herb cream cheese and guava, but I found the TNT Burger my favorite. I’m into heat, so the Ghost Pepper cheese, jalapeño, caramelized onions, mushrooms and spicy mayo on their signature 8-ounce burger is a thing of beauty.
24. Airport Cafe & Liquors
🤤🙌 Today’s special here at #airportcafe is a Cherry Bourbon BBQ Cheddar #cheeseburger with homemade Pepper jack Dorito stuffed #onionrings , mozzarella garlic hash brown, rosemary chipotle baked egg and smoked Bacon🙌🤤 🙇 @tastemade 💪 #food #foodie #foodies #foodbaby #foodprnshare #foodgasm #devourpower #foodbeast #food❤️ #eeeeeats #eater #eatmiami #miamifood #tastemademedoit #tastemade #tasty #munchies #EATMUNCHIES #burger #burgers #burgerlove #burgerporn #burger🍔 #burgerfest #burgerfuel
The creations that come out of Chef Reuben Ruiz’s kitchen seem as if Willy Wonka had a hand in creating them. Where else are you going to find a burger with Cherry Cola glaze, Cheetos-crusted cheddar cheese, crunchy garbanzo beans, smoked chorizo ricotta spread and honey-garlic bacon? Nowhere.
A smashed burger patty topped with cheese and special sauce on a Martin’s potato roll, you say? Does it get any better than this, I say?
Multiple locations including: 3530 NW 83 Ave., Suite 104
Doral; 136 Miracle Mile Coral Gables; 1242 Washington Ave, South Beach; 6812 Collins Ave, Miami Beach; 18139 Biscayne Blvd
Aventura; More here.
You could order a single patty but the double cheeseburger is where Burbowl shines. The judges chose them as their favorite at my 2016 Hamburger House Party, a well-deserved accolade.
27. Bocas Grill
I was ready to hate the Cocinero Burger from Bocas Grill when it arrived cut in half — a big no-no in my book. But once my palate wrapped itself around the 10-ounce wagyu patty, topped with Guasacaca mayo, American cheese and chimichurri sauce, all was forgiven.
Multiple locations including: 3399 NW 72nd Ave #128, Doral; 2525 SW 3rd Ave, Brickell; 12042 N Kendall Dr, Kendall
28. 109 Burger Joint
Those of you who’ve eaten at 109 Burger Joint have probably enjoyed one of their signature burgers but overlooked a significant option on their menu: Americanized Burgers. You can Americanize your 8-ounce burger into two 4-ounce patties, which ends up giving it a much deeper chargrilled flavor. It’s an absolute win-win.
29. Killer Melts
One look at Killer Melts’ menu and you’re more than likely going to order one of their grilled cheese creations, but that would be a major oversight. The American Gangsta Burger with its two 3-ounce patties, topped with grilled onions, mayo, pickles and bacon, is the menu’s crown jewel.
30. John Martin’s Irish Pub
Nothing excites me more than knowing a restaurant hand-makes their patties, and John Martin’s has been doing it that way for years. Their Signature Pub Burger is blackened and topped with Irish cheddar and bacon, a winning combination any way you look at it.
31. Odaly’s Delight Cafe
Blink and you’ll miss Odaly’s Delight Cafe, hidden deep in a Westchester (my hometown) strip mall. I generally shy away from Burgers on pretzel buns as I find them too filling. But Odaly’s nails all the right notes with the thick slice of cheese, bacon and grilled onions.