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Do you want fries with that?

Stephen Brown

Palm Beach burgersThe search for Palm Beach’s best burger has been a difficult yet delicious quest. One of onion rings and sweet potato fries, frosty mugs and ketchup-smeared napkins. What defines a great burger? A subjective and contentious question, to be sure, but one thing is certain: Ingredients are key. Ground chuck at 80/20 makes for a great patty (fat is good, in moderation), a fresh bun can make or break the burger, and sides should be neat, as overcomplicated burgers tend to get lost in a jumble of competing flavors. Here is PalmBeachIllustrated.com’s compendium of all-American goodness across the Palm Beach County map. Let us know your favorite by voting below.

 

Alabama Joe’s Front Row Sports Theater & Grille, Lake Worth

Palm Beach County is a sports bar type of town, so it's no surprise that some of the best burgers can be found where football, baseball and basketball are broadcast on a multitude of flat screens. Alabama Joe’s in Lake Worth is an area favorite, serving up some of the best burgers around. The Alabama Burger is a true testament to the South, where food has soul and flavor. The certified Angus burger is topped with applewood-smoked bacon, Alabama red chili and a blanket of cheddar cheese. For an extra kick, add the signature ground beef hot sauce. Don’t wear white when dining on this one; it’s a sloppy monster but worth every bite. Alabama Joe's, 6316 Lantana Rd. #45, Lake Worth, 561-963-3393

 

Big Joe’s Burgers & Wings, Boca Raton

Big Joe’s Burger is a classic in the making, matching some of our faves: blue cheese and bacon. The blue cheese dressing is think, creamy and homemade. As a side, though it is not an industry standard, the homemade mashed potatoes with gravy make an excellent compliment (who doesn’t love mashed potatoes?). With 12 burgers on the menu, finding a favorite shouldn’t be a problem. Big Joe's Burgers & Wings, 2831 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton, 561-447-7995

 

Brass Ring Pub, North Palm Beach

Since 1986, the Brass Ring Pub in North Palm Beach has been making great burgers. They don’t complicate things in the dimly lit, autographed and stickered pub. The half-pound burgers are cooked to order and served with lettuce, tomato and onion. An old-fashioned cheeseburger with American cheese is my personal favorite. Ordered with a cold beer (they serve every beer in a frosted mug), you really can do no wrong. Brass Ring Pub, 200 U.S. Hwy. 1, North Palm Beach, 561-848-4748

 

Center Street NookCenter Street Nook, Jupiter

The diner may be small but the flavors at the Center Street Nook in Jupiter are huge. Tucked along Center Street, the Nook is the classic diner setup, where great food and friendly atmosphere combine for the perfect dining experience. A true family affair, the Nook, owned and operated by wife-and-husband tandem Lori and Gary Kohler, makes everyone feel like family. The menu continues along the family theme with items named after their children, like the Krystal burger, the Blaiseronious Burger and the Buffalo Bill. The Ike Turner is a half-pound of all-American joy, with a blackened patty topped with blue cheese. Do it up with the onion rings; you won’t be sorry. On a side note, the Lobster “Burger” is a welcome twist to the New England standard, the crab cake, with a Maine lobster patty fried and served with a homemade rémoulade sauce. Center Street Nook, 223 Center St., Jupiter

  

CG Burgers, JupiterCG Burgers, Jupiter

Carmine Giardini knows food. The mastermind behind Carmine’s Gourmet Market, La Trattoria Pizzeria and Noche, Carmine has now thrown his hat into the burger business with CG Burgers in Jupiter (and, at the beginning of 2011, Palm Beach Gardens). A counter-order type of place, CG makes a quick, no-frills burger from all-natural beef raised at Niman Ranch, where the cattle is fed a 100% vegetarian diet and never given antibiotics or added hormones. The Brisket Burger is an interesting twist on an American classic; highly recommended. There is also a list of alternative meats (or non-meats) for a patty, like Kobe beef, bison, chicken, lamb, turkey and vegetarian. On the side, try the zucchini fries, a house specialty for a reason. CG Burgers, 4575 Military Trl., Jupiter, 561-340-3940

 

Gratify Gastro Pub, West Palm BeachGratify Gastro Pub, West Palm Beach

Gratify Gastro Pub has quickly grown into one of the tastiest hot spots in downtown West Palm Beach, so The Burger must be mentioned in this piece. The Burger borders on art. The patty is made up a special grind of short rib, brisket and ground chuck, served on a handmade potato roll from Le Petit Pain French bakery in Lantana. Order it with the garlic fries and draught of Flying Dog’s IPA for a start to an evening downtown. Gratify, 125 Datura St., West Palm Beach, 561-833-5300

 

Grease Burger BarGrease Burger Bar, West Palm Beach

For the burger and beer connoisseur, Grease Burger Bar in downtown West Palm Beach might as well be a Michelin three-star restaurant. Grease is dedicated to the art of the burger. Even the design looks the part with a contemporary, urban take on a meatpacking warehouse, with meat hooks hanging above the bar that stretches the length of the restaurant. Full disclosure: We are a little partial to Grease, seeing that they have a menu item named the Palm Beach Illustrated “A-List” Burger, made with fresh mozzarella, succulent red and yellow tomatoes, radicchio, red onion and pesto; a finer name and burger is hard to find. Grease Burger Bar, 213 Clematis St., West Palm Beach, 561-651-1075

 

Lindburgers, Delray Beach

When comprising a list of burger places for this feature, Lindburgers was one of the first places visited. Touting 50 burgers, this aeronautical-themed restaurant in Delray Beach has had something for every burger fan since 1983. From classic burgers to lobster, veggie and turkey patties, Lindburgers covers all the bases. The Lindy Melt is a classic patty melt with sautéed onions and melted cheddar cheese served on slices of grilled rye bread. Close second: the Far East, which is topped with Lindburgers’ signature herb cheese. Lindburgers, 14535B S. Military Trl., Delray Beach, 561-495-1722

 

The Leopard Lounge Palm BeachLeopard Lounge, Palm Beach

Even Palm Beach and a place as storied as the Chesterfield Hotel is jumping on the burger bandwagon. The Leopard Lounge, one of the hottest nightspots on the island, is also slinging some of the best sliders around. The Kobe mini burgers are an absolute treat. Stacked high (these bad boys are almost difficult to eat), the Kobe beef patties are slathered with cheddar cheese, topped with lettuce, tomato and onion and served on mini, artisanal sesame seed buns. The Leopard Lounge knows how to whip up a prime burger. Leopard Lounge, 363 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach, 561-659-5800

 

Morton's SteakhouseMorton’s Steakhouse, West Palm Beach

Few names are as synonymous with steak as Morton’s. Strangely enough for the restaurant that has become known for prime steaks, a hamburger was the seed that blossomed into one of the finest steak houses in America. Klaus Fritsch, Morton’s co-founder, cooked a burger for Arnie Morton, namesake and co-founder, while they both worked at the Playboy Club in Montreal. Morton boasted it was the best burger he ever tasted, and the “Million-Dollar Hamburger” and Morton’s was born.

  As if in homage to the “Million-Dollar” burger, Morton’s offers, along with a multitude of steaks, a burger worthy of the tradition. Morton’s Prime Burger is a 3/4-pound slice of heaven. Stacked with cheese, sautéed mushrooms, lettuce and tomato, each bite will have you singing.  Morton's Steakhouse, 777 S. Flagler Dr., West Palm Beach, 561-835-9664

 

Nick & Johnnie's Patio Bar and Grill, Palm BeachNick & Johnnie’s Patio Bar and Grill, Palm Beach

Surf culture meets burger on the island at Nick & Johnnie's Patio Bar and Grill. This laid-back eatery in Palm Beach serves the burger in classic form. The formula for the N&J Cheeseburger is simple: lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese, cabbage, ketchup and mustard. Now this may sound strange, but a side of Nick & Johnnies Classic Macaroni & Cheese makes one heck of a complement to this burger (all cheese, all the time). So after a day of surfing, come for the burger and stay for the ambiance, with live music from local artists almost daily and a friendly vibe that makes you feel at home. Nick & Johnnie's, 207 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach, 561-655-3319

 

 

RACKS Tavern BurgerRACKS, Boca Raton

One of the newest restaurants to come to Mizner Park, RACKS Downtown Eatery & Tavern, has a burger that is not to be missed. The aptly named Tavern Burger (previously named the Three Napkin Burger) is a sure fire hit. Using Harris Ranch beef (zero hormones, pesticides and antibiotics), the burger is not only delicious but guilt free. There are a few ways to get this burger, bur if you are looking for something truly unique visit on a Saturday or Sunday when the #3 option is available. Stacked with boneless barbecue ribs, cheddar and jalapeno slaw, it matches two American traditions—barbecue and burger—in one great, sloppy package. RACKS Downtown Eatery & Tavern, 402 Plaza Real, Boca Raton, 561-395-1662

 

 

Relish, West Palm BeachRelish, Northwood, West Palm Beach

Named after a favorite condiment, Relish of Northwood is one of the newest and tastiest burger places to hit Palm Beach County. The concept is simple: Pick your burger (choices range from a multitude of meats like wild boar and mahi-mahi, to chorizo and veal), choose a relish from the extensive menu, and enjoy. Our personal favorite is the sweet and smoky bacon, but the spicy red chili pepper and the Scotch bonnet mango are really good, too. Add some fries with flavored salts and a milk shake to the order and you have a lunch right out of the '50s, with a modern twist. Relish, 401 Northwood Rd., West Palm Beach, 561-629-5377,

 

Seasons 52, Palm Beach Gardens

For the health-conscious who still relish a great burger, Seasons 52 has the right stuff. Sticking to the “under 475 calorie” mantra, Seasons 52's winter lunch menu boasts a Grilled Portobello Turkey burger that is out of this world. Smothered in fresh mozzarella, topped with tomatoes and served on a whole-wheat bun, Seasons 52’s Portobello Turkey burger is a welcome reprieve from the sloppy and fatty burgers throughout the county. Accompanied by an organic mixed green salad, it is a hearty but healthy way to satisfy the burger craving. Seasons 52, 11611 Ellison Wilson Rd., Palm Beach Gardens, 561-625-5852

 

 

Table 42 burgerTable 42, Boca Raton

It is not often an Italian restaurant, better known for their pizza, develops a reputation for their burgers. Concider Table 42 Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar the exception. With a great selection of toppings (they do specialize in pizzas after all) and Harris Ranch beef patties (zero hormones, pesticides and antibiotics), Table 42 is becoming one of the most popular burger spots in Boca, especially on Wednesday night. Dubbed Burger Night, every Wednesday guests build their own gourmet burger, choosing from a plethora of toppings. Try the fried egg, smoked mozzarella and bacon—not great for the heart but utterly delicious. Table 42 Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, 399 S.E. Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton, 561-826-2625

 

 

 And the winner is...

 

 

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