STORY & PHOTOGRAPHY BY AUBREY DUNNUCK
Not all hamburgers are created equal. Luckily, local Bloomington restaurants offer enough variety to fulfill any craving. Whether you’re looking for a quick-and-dirty fast-food-style burger; a thick meat-centric pub-style burger; or a hamburger that elevates the familiar bun, beef, and cheese formula through expert technique and the finest ingredients, you’ll find it here. You’ll even find a wide variety of meatless burgers that might pleasantly surprise you with their texture and taste.
At its most basic level, the burger is all about taking two or three humble elements—ground meat, bread, and, perhaps, cheese—and transforming them into something significantly more than the sum of their parts. One of the great burger debates revolves around cooking methods: ridged grilling versus flattop griddling. For some, a charcoal grill is key. Charred grill marks and a hint of smoke add more than just flavor. The nostalgia factor should not be underestimated: the best grilled burgers can evoke memories of summertime cookouts. Detractors argue that grills with grates and ridges allow valuable fat to drip right off, leaving the meat with less flavor. Conversely, the magic of a griddled burger is in the fat. The combination of high heat and plenty of grease allows meat to develop a crusty exterior while the burger interior remains tender and moist. The bun is also important. It must be sturdy enough to stand up to a well-cooked patty but should never be overpowering in flavor or size. Likewise, toppings can make or break a burger. A slice of unmelted cheese or handful of soggy lettuce can ruin a tasty burger just as easily as overdone meat. Ultimately, the ideal burger is all about balance. Quality, well-cooked meat, a proportional bun, and complementary toppings will guarantee a really satisfying hamburger.
So why settle for a dried-up, mass-produced McDonald’s or Burger King offering when you can eat fresh, locally made burgers prepared exactly to your liking by fellow Bloomingburghers? Here are 36 local places where the burgers are tops.
Isn’t the point of lists like this to narrow it down to the BETTER burgers in town? I get that it’s broken down into types of burgers, but even on my hungriest day there’s no way the burgers at Bear’s, the Deli and Crazy Horse are good even in their respective categories. I know Bloom exists to celebrate Bloomington but does it really have to celebrate EVERYTHING in Bloomington and compromise journalistic integrity? This is just a list of local business that sell burgers, many of which sell BAD ones, and might as well be a “Special Advertising Section” advertorial. It really weakens the compliment given to the places that actually sell the better burgers in town, e.g. Finch’s, The Uptown, The Bakehouse, etc.
From the Editor:
Thank for your comments about our burger story. Actually the point of the story was not to rate the burgers but to encourage our readers to patronize local establishments (as mentioned in the introduction). All the places we included use better, fresher ingredients—much of them sourced locally—than the major chain burger restaurants.
Rating the burgers would be totally subjective (you don’t like the Crazy Horse burger; it’s one of my favorites) and not really helpful. What we have done is describe the ingredients, how the burgers are cooked, their size, and price so that readers can decide for themselves where to go.
Eating at local restaurants as opposed to chains also keeps more money in Bloomington, helping our economy. And many local restaurants, such as the Crazy Horse, also support the arts, local charities, and other community causes. Eat a Whopper at Burger King and the profit goes to 3G Capital, the parent company, with offices in New York and Rio de Janeiro. That company’s stated objective is “to identify and invest in opportunities that are well-positioned for profitable, long-term growth and success across a variety of different sector and regions.” Yummy! Pass the mustard!
I realize it wasn’t a “Best Of” list, but the word “tops” was used in the headline, which indicated to me, as I imagine it would to many readers, that the burgers being mentioned were somehow noteworthy. I’m not particualrly against a list of local places that happen to sell burgers, but calling them “tops” implies that they’re either better than other burgers or better than the other items on each restaurant’s menu. I don’t have a problem in supporting local businesses, but I do have a problem with the idea that I should support a business simply because it’s local with a disregard for the true quality of the product.
Lisa is right. ” Tops” implies ratings. Nonetheless, it is a pretty interesting article.
Two suggestions . (1) Your magazine almost never gives an address or even a location. A GPS does not work on ” East Kirkland ” !
(2) Use bigger type font online.
I loved it never knew that Roots is serving meat now. Will go in there finally for a burger. Also thanks for adding the prices.
Side note Trojan Horse is the best try the Double