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Boston Chefs Praise Their Favorite Local Burgers

In honor of Burger Week, we've surveyed local chefs all about burgers, and we're sharing their responses throughout the week. Next up: What are their favorite Boston-area burgers...aside from their own?

The Craigie Burger
The Craigie Burger
Michael Piazza

Robert Sisca"I’ve heard great things about Craigie on Main's and the secret burger at Alden & Harlow. I plan on trying them soon. When Grill 23 redid the downstairs bar, I had the burger and it was awesome. The bun was soft and the meat was so juicy and cooked perfectly." —Robert Sisca, executive chef and partner at Bistro du Midi

Tiffani Faison burger week portrait"Different burgers for different reasons. I think many of them live in different categories, much like sushi. The ingredients on face seem to be the same, but quality and technique set them worlds apart. For a high end burger: Craigie, no doubt. For a flat patty fast food burger: Shake Shack and Tasty Burger tie. In my hood: Grass Fed. For an inexpensive restaurant burger, easily crushed: The Gallows burger." —Tiffani Faison, chef/owner of Sweet Cheeks and the forthcoming Tiger Mama

David Verdo Burger Week portrait "I loved Michael Schlow’s burger at Radius; it was just overall a great burger." —David Verdo, executive chef at Chopps American Bar and Grill

Michael Schlow Burger Week portrait"I love the burgers at Sauce in Andover. They offer a bunch of really interesting burgers, and I'm a huge fan of all their different hot sauces, although the one called 'a woman scorned' was so hot I had to leave the restaurant for a few minutes. My kind of spice!! Their meat is juicy, bun is butter-toasted, and I haven't had a combo there I didn't love. Also, there is a very special slider at Oishii that is not to be missed. Ting Yen came up with it several years ago, and it's addictive." —Michael Schlow, chef/owner of Via Matta, Tico, and Alta Strada

Andy Husbands Burger Week portrait "Tasty Burger. I always ask for mayo on it; it's important." —Andy Husbands, chef/owner of Tremont 647 and Sister Sorel, author of Wicked Good Burgers

Ken Oringer burger week portrait "I love the burger at jm Curley. It has a nice soft bun and the perfect fatty, juicy meat, plus caramelized onions and a great special sauce. It's not overcomplicated or trying too hard. I will say that I can't stand burgers on a brioche. This one is simple, fatty, juicy, messy — just how I like it." —Ken Oringer, co-owner of Toro, Coppa, and more

Michael Sutton burger week portrait"For me there are two that are heads above the rest, Craigie on Main and Mistral’s burgers. If I had to pick one it would be Craigie’s. It’s always cooked perfectly and rested just right; it’s all about the patty. I love me the occasional Big Tasty from Tasty Burger too." —Michael Sutton, chef de cuisine at M.C. Spiedo

Miles McAlpin burger week portrait "My favorite burger in Boston is at Miracle of Science. Not much flair, but none needed — it is always a perfectly-cooked burger on a great sourdough bun. The kicker is a delicious tomato chutney or relish that puts the burger (and its accompanying homefries rather than French fries) into a league of its own." —Miles McAlpin, formerly marketing manager for Grillo's Pickles

Will Gilson burger week portrait "For a quick, thin-patty burger I like Tasty Burger. It's always consistent, and I just think those guys do a great job. If it's a restaurant burger, I have to go for the Bristol burger. It's expensive…but it is worth it." —Will Gilson, chef/owner of Puritan & Co.

Tony Maws burger week portrait "I've said it before and I'll say it again...I miss the Tasty in Harvard Square. I've refused to eat burgers since it closed." —Tony Maws, chef/owner of Craigie on Main and The Kirkland Tap & Trotter

Kathy Sidell burger week portrait"Alden and Harlow's Secret Burger because it is always a surprise — original and inventive and yet is so satisfying and tastes so damn good. Whatever the toppings, and they change daily, I am certain they start with one hell of a blend!!" —Kathy Sidell, owner of The Met Restaurant Group and the forthcoming Saltie Girl Restaurant

Tom Woods burger week portrait "It would be Kenny Schweizer's burger at Ward 8 — my go-to spot when I am at the Garden. He has a custom ground meat mixture that's really tasty. Also, his combination of toppings, including the aged cheddar cheese and bacon compote, make for rich, smoky-sweet flavor in every bite. You also gotta love that he serves a salad on the side — it helps make me feel I'm almost eating healthy!" —Tom Woods, executive chef at Blue Dragon

Sean McDonald burger week portrait"The Davio’s burger (River Rock steak burger, Vermont cheddar, bacon, herb aioli, house-made pickles) is always a treat. The ground beef is nice and tender." —Sean McDonald, corporate executive chef at Tony C's Sports Bar & Grill

Robert Tobin burger week portrait"Del Frisco’s — it’s juicy and very flavorful." —Robert Tobin, chef at The Seaport Hotel

Keith Pooler burger week portrait"I think that places that do a good burger consistently are R.F. O' Sullivan's, and I like Five Guys a lot as well. Two different styles, and I will say, the most consistent. I would say get the burger on the rare side at R.F. O'Sullivan's and choose onion rings over fries. I think that Shake Shack and Abigail's are close runner-ups. I have to say Abigail's tastes like a Big Mac, just done with high-quality ingredients. I had a great burger there, and then the next was just ok. I go for an afternoon burger and a beer, and it is like a Saturday night for everyone else. Throw in a movie and I am beyond happy. Keep it simple and execute well." —Keith Pooler, chef/owner of Bergamot

Dan Bazzinotti burger week portrait"My favorite burger in the Boston area would have to be the Blackjack burger from R.F. O'Sullivan's in Somerville. They use freshly ground sirloin, so order it rare — it's like eating a steak. Also, the creole mayo that's on it is so addicting, along with the perfect onion rings!" —Dan Bazzinotti, executive chef at BISq

Greg Weinstock burger week portrait"I have two; they are very different. First is the Neptune Burger at Neptune Oyster. How can you beat a perfectly cooked burger topped with fried oysters? It’s the perfect surf-and-turf combination. My second favorite is the Onion Burger at Tasty Burger. I’m partially biased because I worked with those guys for a while, but it’s my favorite fast food-style burger around." —Greg Weinstock, executive chef of Salvatore's Restaurants

Rodney Murillo burger week portrait"Tasty Burger — I love the buns that they do. It's a potato bun. I love the size of the bun in ratio to the size of the burger. Blue cheese or chili or jalapeños...I like those options of customizing, upscaling the burger." —Rodney Murillo, culinary director at Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse

Chris Coombs burger week portrait "The burger at Craigie on Main is simply the best there is. He gets the ratio and balance just right, and the accompaniments are unparalleled." —Chris Coombs, chef/owner of Boston Chops, Deuxave, and dbar

Brian Rae burger week portrait"Citizen Public House has a fantastic lamb burger that is served on a Serbian lepinja roll with pickled cucumbers and onions and tzatziki. I love this one because it’s good to switch things up every now and then. The pan-seared burger on the bar menu at Rialto uses whipped Taleggio, and the strong flavors are delicious with the caramelized onions." —Brian Rae, executive chef at Centre Street Cafe

Carey Dobies burger week portrait"Tasty Burger's blue cheese burger. I really enjoy blue cheese, and generally when you get it on burgers it's crumbled and it never melts down right. The blue cheese has a sauce consistency to it and isn't chunky like you'd find on most burgers. Almost like a really solid mornay...only with blue cheese." —Carey Dobies, sous chef at BOKX 109 American Prime

Brian Poe burger week portrait "In preparation for Buks Cambridge, I ate a ton of burgers for research, and there were two standouts in the South End — The Gallows and The Butcher Shop both had stand-up, stand-out burgers. Best burger book so far? Andy Husband's Wicked Good Burgers, and I’m excited to read [Richard] Chudy & [Sam] Monsour's book as well." —Brian Poe, chef/owner of Tip Tap Room, Estelle's, Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake, and Bukowski Tavern

Patrick Gilmartin burger week portrait"I am a sucker for fast food-style burgers, and I think jm Curley has the winner in that category. It’s the right size, the right construction, and represents the fast food-style done with the care and ingredients needed to make it shine." —Patrick Gilmartin, executive chef at River Bar

Matt Foley burger week portrait"Neptune Oyster has my favorite burger. It’s big, has fried oysters and tartar sauce on it, and house-cut fries." —Matt Foley, chef at The Merchant

PJ Crowley burger week portrait"I would say jm Curley. They do a nice job — it’s simple and you can tell that they care about the food they’re putting out. Bonus: it happens to be close to my house." —PJ Crowley, general manager at Battery Park

Louis DiBiccari burger week portrait"Drink probably has my favorite two patties around. It’s built like a Big Mac for adults." —Louis DiBicarri, chef/co-owner of Tavern Road

Beehive owners burger week portrait"Any of the burgers at Bartley’s. They’re all amazing. All the same canvas starting off, but each specialty burger is so good." —Jack Bardy, Jennifer Epstein, Bertil Jean-Chronberg, and Bill Keravuori, owners of The Beehive and Beat Brasserie

Michelle boland burger week portrait"Best burger, hands down, comes from Skip's Snack Bar out of Merrimac, MA. It's not fancy, and there isn't any sort of exhausting list of toppings; it's just literally the perfect cheeseburger. Soft toasted bun, thin burger patty, american cheese, light mayo, lettuce, and tomato. It's classic; it's how a cheeseburger should be." —Michelle Boland, pastry chef at Davio's Chestnut Hill

Jay Murray burger week portrait"My favorite comes from Toro. I’ve only had it once, and I can’t begin to tell you how it’s made. It’s like they take braised brisket and cheeks and magically turn them into something that tastes just like a burger. The espelette mayo is pretty kickin’, too." —Jay Murray, executive chef at Grill 23 & Bar

Eric Brennan burger week portrait"Honestly, I’m not out eating burgers very often. I would say that I prefer grilled over pan-fried, no toppings except maybe a little raw onion, and a nice brioche bun or served over a Greek salad." —Eric Brennan, executive chef at Post 390

Stacy Cogswell burger week portrait"Craigie on Main has the best burger! It's juicy, flavorful, nice soft bun, and Tony Maws' special sauce is delicious!" —Stacy Cogswell, chef at Liquid Art House

Adam Resnick burger week portrait"Drink. Their burger has a fresh-baked pretzel bun and a Kobe beef burger." —Adam Resnick, chef at Highball Lounge

Jason Bond burger week portrait"I get the burger at People's Republik sometimes because another really important ingredient in a restaurant burger is nice people." —Jason Bond, chef/owner of Bondir

Brendan Joy burger week portrait"I have two favorite burgers. First is the burger at Hillstone in Faneuil Hall. Although it is a chain restaurant, they are very consistent at what they do. My second favorite was the burger from Radius. The bun was a brioche/milk roll recipe and was just so light and held the burger all the way to the last bite." —Brendan Joy, chef de cuisine at Bondir Cambridge

Lola Sotomayor-Ellis burger week portrait"My favorite burger in the area, aside from my own, will be the Smoky Mountain Burger at the Harp & Bard. Amazing combination of housemade coleslaw, crispy onion strings, and barbecue sauce." —Lola Sotomayor-Ellis, chef at Ester

Tim Wiechmann burger week portrait"There are lots of good ones, actually. I'm partial to Charlie's Kitchen." —Tim Wiechmann, chef/owner of Bronwyn and T.W. Food

Patrick Campbelle burger week portrait"R.F. O'Sullivan on Beacon Street in Somerville is amazing. They grind their own beef daily and know how to nail the temperature you want. It is also a no-bullshit townie bar, which is so comforting. On the other end of the spectrum, Sullivan's on Castle Island is a legend. We go at the beginning of the season every year. Over 60 years of experience shows in almost everything, and it's exactly the kind of skinny patty that I love with a soft bun. It's the kind of burger that I want straight-up ketchup, mustard, and pickles on. A Boston staple is the burger at Neptune, topped with fried oysters and dipped into the best tartar sauce in the city. It's the perfect follow-up to three dozen oysters." —Patrick Campbell, executive chef at Cafe ArtScience

Matt Mahoney burger week portrait"My favorite area burger is from a place near where I live in Malden called Mystic Station. It's properly executed and comes on a well-crafted bun from a local town bakery. The construction has been well thought-out, from the placement of the cheese to the consistent thickness of the onion and tomato. I'm a burger purist, so a simple but thoughtful burger is generally what I'm looking for, and this one hits the mark every single time." —Matt Mahoney, chef de cuisine at The Butcher Shop

Ben Weisberger burger week portrait"Abe & Louie's for lunch — super delicious beef, and it's always cooked exactly the way you order it." —Ben Weisberger, chef de cuisine at No. 9 Park

Jon Awerman burger week portrait"I don’t think I have a favorite right now, but if I had to pick...recently it’s been the burger at The Avenue in Allston. It’s just a burger doing its job being a burger and not much else." —Jon Awerman, chef de cuisine at Drink

Donley Liburd burger week portrait"jm Curley — enough said." —Donley Liburd, executive chef at Cask 'N Flagon

Jonathan Kopacz burger week portrait"R.F. O'Sullivan. It’s always seasoned up, which is a challenge for a ball of meat like that. They have solid buns and fun, quality toppings." —Jonathan Kopacz, executive chef at Brass Union

Mark Sapienza burger week portrait"The Burger Dive in Somerville. My 12-year-old son turned me onto it. He loves the atmosphere and the ability to design your own burger. I also love the ability to personalize, but first and foremost the quality of product." —Mark Sapienza, executive chef at The Langham, Boston

Jason Waddleton burger week portrait"KO Pies in East Boston Marina. It is a simple burger that satisfies in execution. Hand-cut chips accompany." —Jason Waddleton, owner of The Haven

Matt Baker burger week portrait"My favorite burger thus far, if I had to pick, was the burger at Sel de la Terre Back Bay. It had an Iggy's bun, cheddar, house-made, thin-sliced pancetta, and a spicy remoulade." —Matt Baker, chef of Coda Bar & Kitchen

Avi Shemtov burger week portrait"Rock Bottom's brisket-stuffed burger. Creative and juicy; winning combo." —Avi Shemtov, chef/owner of The Chubby Chickpea

Jaime Suarez burger week portrait"Kingston Station in Downtown Crossing. Great bread and a homemade truffle mustard mayo." —Jaime Suarez, chef at Common Ground Arlington

"​Back Bay Social Club's 'Social Burger.' Yes, it's a $20 burger, but it's worth every penny. A huge 10-ounce burger patty made with dry-aged beef, topped with a sharp cheddar and onions. Served with a side of hand-cut fries." —Rafael Barbosa, director of operations at FiRE + iCE

Photos: Patrick Campbell by Wayne Chinnock; Patrick Gilmartin by Brian Samuels; Tim Wiechmann by Eric Wolfinger; Stacy Cogswell by Chris Coe; Tony Maws, Keith Pooler, Chris Coombs, and Brian Poe by Rachel Leah Blumenthal.

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