It's no secret that the birthplace of American liberty loves a very American foodstuff: the humble hamburger. To kick off the Burger Week 2015 Burger Chain Power Hour, here are a few burger joints that started right here in Boston.
This Back Bay-born, fast-casual chain b.good actually dropped its burger-centric image in the fall by bulking up its menu with essential nutrients, but it still offers a full range of burgers at 18 locations around the country. Kale and quinoa bowls, seasonal specials, and smoothies may have helped b.good expand its brand nationally, but it still knows its roots: A wonderfully dated Red Sox reference, El Guapo, is the name of a burger with bacon, jalapeño ranch, and spicy slaw.
Boston Burger Company
A Harvard Square location opened in January as Boston Burger Company's third brick-and-mortar spot. In addition to a roving food truck, find BBC's 8-oz. patties in Davis Square and Back Bay, too. When Guy Fieri featured the restaurant on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2012, he ate the Mac Attack, a burger topped with four-cheese mac 'n' cheese and bacon.
Griddler's Burgers & Dogs
Boston Nightlife Ventures (Wink & Nod, Tap Trailhouse, recently-closed Forum) is behind this local chain, which just opened up its second location in Back Bay. Specialty burgers, hot dogs, and milkshakes populate its menu, which just got an update when the second location opened. BNV has more Griddler's locations in mind, though the company's current project in Davis Square will not be one of them.
R.F. O'Sullivan & Son
Maybe a bit of a stretch to call R.F. O'Sullivan's a "chain," but this longtime Somerville burger restaurant recently opened up a Lynn outpost that's "the exact same" as the original. That means it has big, puffy, rare beef patties piled high with a number of unique topping combinations. Proprietor Richard O'Sullivan ("the 'R' in R.F. O'Sullivan's") was the subject of an Eater Lifers feature this week, where he noted that he was one of the only burger games in town when his Somerville restaurant opened in 1992.
Named the Official Burger of the Boston Red Sox, Tasty Burger has full-service locations in Fenway and Harvard Square, a take-out spot in Southie, a stand within Fenway Park, a food truck, and a Back Bay Station location coming very soon. The chain has a retro-chic vibe that throws back to the early roadside burger stands that helped build America's burger obsession, adding humanely-raised beef and eco-friendly packaging for 2015's sake. Daily specials, like The Lumberjack, with fries, sausage gravy, and Sriracha, add to a menu of build-your-own and specialty burgers, hot dogs ("shafts"), chicken sandwiches, and traditional fast food sides.
This local chain started in Kenmore Square in 2006; that original location reopened in February after undergoing some renovations and is currently testing out some new menu items, including Sriracha ketchup, grilled pineapple, and fried eggs. UBurger can also be found on campus at BU and Northeastern. A Tremont Street location recently shuttered, but a suburban outpost in Andover is on its way.
This chain doesn't have a Boston outlet (yet), but a list of Boston-born burger joints would be remiss not to mention Wahlburgers, founded in 2011 by Dorchester natives and celebrities Mark, Donnie, and and Paul Wahlberg. First opened in Hingham, an A&E reality show was the logical next installment. A Wahlburgers restaurant followed in Toronto, and the brand has more than 40 new locations planned from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, including a Lynnfield location and, eventually, Boston.