With Uproxx in the full swing of Burger Week, our writers reveal where you need to plan your next road trip if you’re hankering for the most delicious meat, cheese, and bun combos in the country.
Au Cheval (Chicago, IL)
I remember the first time I had a cheeseburger with bacon at ‘Small Cheval’ — the old school-feeling Au Cheval offshoot that only serves simple burgers and fries. I was about halfway through my sandwich when I looked up at the buddy who’d brought me there and said, “Oh! Oh….! I think I’m having the best burger of my life!”
“I know, right?” he said. “I just realized it one bite ago.”
The burger was dead solid perfect and though it’s a challenge to describe the strange alchemy that creates such a burger, I’ll try: The patty was… just slightly loose. Fast food patties — even the beloved In and Out patties — are full of binders and they feel tight (Shake Shack excepted). This patty wasn’t crumbly, but it didn’t feel artificially sealed together in any way. The bun was impossibly soft and airy but still passed the “uncanny valley created by good-tasting food filled with chemicals” test. The sauces and cheese were simple and straightforward but just… better than fast food burgers or the average roadside hole in the wall.
In the years since, I’ve gone to Au Cheval and Small Cheval several times and I’ve yet to be disappointed by either location. Best burger in the country? It’s got my vote.
Fountain Porter (Philadelphia, PA)
You’ll find many a tasty burger in the City of Brotherly Love, but the city’s best (or worst, depending who you ask) kept secret can be found at the Fountain Porter, a tiny watering hole in South Philly at the corner of 10th and Tasker. For just $5 (yes, you read that right) you can order the bar’s signature “Cheeseburger,” which is as no frills as the name suggests. It’s about a quarter-pound patty, perfectly seasoned, seared crisp on the outside and medium rare on the inside, served on a potato roll with lettuce, tomato, American cheese and two pickle slices on the slide.