DC is one of those cities which offers a wealth of gastronomic options, and that includes burgers. The only downside there is that you need to pick and choose, because that, as even some locals know, can be hard when you know the plethora of offerings you can find. Following is a list of some of the eateries serving the finest burgers in town.
Quarry House Tavern
After a brutal fire caused this famous basement tavern to shut down for almost three years at a stretch, it was reinstated on DC’s list of winning burger places in March 2018. This dive draws huge crowds with a menu that is chock full of customized burgers, complete with house chips or tater tots on the side which you can enjoy with the dilly yogurt dip.
This is one neighborhood spot that serves excellent angus beef patties with toppings of the traditional ilk (a mix of tomato, shredded lettuce, pickle, onion, and American cheese). The ketchup is swapped for what they call “Avenue” sauce, which is a bit on the tangy side. You also get a range of side options including petit green beans, hand-cut fries, and house salads.
Spent ages looking for a version of the proper burger in the city? Then this is one place to stop off and try out what they have to offer. The pub called Duke’s Grocery is an East London-style establishment which serves proper burgers complete with pickles, gouda, sweet chile sauce, charred onions, garlic aioli, arugula, and brioche bun. The original location of this place is Dupont; plus, you have other outposts at Foggy Bottom and Woodley Park.
The Commodore Public House & Kitchen
This is a corner bar situated in Logan Circle, and known all through the neighborhood for their buttery buns and original beef blend, which happens to be the base for a huge number of burgers, and with outrageous toppings at that. There is a rotating spot for burger of the week, as well as specialty burgers such as the Squirrel Kicker and the Neon Smash.
This is one of those cheeky diners which is based in Shaw, and owned by chef David Deshaies, who seems dedicated to upholding the standards for burgers which he took on Central from his mentor Michel Richard. This place serves the classic double cheeseburger with lettuce, cheddar, carmelized onions, and tomato.
Bourbon Steak DC
Other than offering an upscale version of the Wagyu beef burger as well as an alternative form of ground lamb burger, this hangout at Bourbon Steak also puts up the a steak burger, cooked-to-order, and smothered in cheddar and a fresh “secret” sauce.
$18 cheeseburgers may not always be your thing, but Chef Johnny Spero’s version bears trying out. In one go, it is both “household” and inimitable. The patties used at Reverie come from trimmings taken out of dry-aged ribeye, and the pickles are done in the misozuke-style, where the cucumbers are pickled in sake, mirin, and miso weeklong. The smoked cheddar is cooked and cut into the shape of a plastic-encased slice you get at the supermarket. For the final touch, you have the sauce made of cornichons, smoked cheddar, yellow mustard, and smoked paprika, which is slathered on a sesame seed bun.
The Capital Burger
A midscale offshoot the Capital Grille, Mount Vernon Triangle’s Capital Burger serves proprietary beef-blends which have been recreated alongside the well-known Pat LaFrieda meat purveyors. Their hallmark, the Capital Burger, has been reviewed as and written up as “a take on French onion soup you can hold in your hands”. If that does not make it any clearer, this option comes topped with shallot aioli and caramelized onions.
This is a downtown sports bar where you get to enjoy the Angus beef patty’s 7-ounce version, with toppings of applewood smoked bacon, white cheddar, and caramelized onions, and covered up with a potato bun. They even have a District Burger that has crunchy chicken skin and Mumbo sauce.
If you go looking, you will find branches of this Nate Anda-owned establishment in Union Market, the Partisan downtown, and Mosaic District. Burger purists would find the Red Apron original here hard to beat. It comes with shredded iceberg lettuce, island sauce, cheddar, pickles, onion, and a tomato.
The Salt Line
This establishment is best known for the lobster rolls and seafood towers, but you will find if you visit that their burgers are not half sloppy—chef Kyle Bailey sure knows how to make some of the best. The version here comes with ground chuck patties two in number, lettuce, American Cheese, tomato, mayo, pickle, and sesame bun.
That was a list of some of the best burger spots you’ll find when touring Washington DC. Visit at least one when you have the chance, and you can be sure you won’t be disappointed.