You love burgers. You love burgers so much you salivate when simply reading about them. Every few years, New Times publishes a list of the best ones, the most outrageous ones, and the restaurants that serve them.
This year's lineup includes some of the city's mainstays plus some newer spots that impress.
Think of it as a comprehensive guide to the best burger joints in Miami for when you're craving a juicy patty, a cold beer, a milkshake, or the ultimate cheat night.
1. My Childhood Dream, Salty Donut Collab at Lokal
Matthew Kuscher's doughnut burger was around long before his eatery Lokal opened its Coconut Grove doors in December 2011. "I grew up in a Dunkin' Donuts that my dad owned in the '80s," he says. "That's when they were making doughnuts from scratch. I actually hated them, so my siblings would make burgers with doughnuts because that's the only way they'd get me to eat them." Dubbed "My Childhood Dream," Kuscher's doughnut burger has had a face-lift: The Salty Donut now supplies the "bun." Miami's first artisanal doughnut shop delivers a couple dozen doughnuts to Lokal three to four times a week. Lokal's burger, topped with cheese and an egg, is served between two Salty Donut halves ($12). It's a childhood dream that's meant for adults to enjoy.
2. Dry-aged cheeseburger at Blue Collar
Blue Collar's burger has it all, from a prime dry-aged New York strip patty to classic melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion toppings. It's served on a not-so-classic Portuguese muffin, but that somehow makes the American staple even better. The muffin is able to absorb all the juice, so there's no issue with shoving this baby full force into your mouth ($17).
3. The 50/50 at 180 Degrees at the DRB
Whether you're in the mood for dinner or Sunday brunch, consider satisfying your appetite with chef Ryan Martin's 50/50 burger ($15) at 180 Degrees at the DRB. The gastropub, located in the heart of downtown Miami, is a mecca for comfort-food-style bites and boozy delights. If it's your first time here, this burger is worth a try: The patty, made with a mix of chorizo and Angus beef, comes topped with queso frito, maduros, a fried egg, and spicy citrus aioli. Feeling fickle? Ask for the slider version (two for $15). In 2015, it won New Times' award for Best Burger. Once you take a bite, you'll understand why.
4. Cuban burger at Vega's Burger Bar
The burger bar formerly known as Flip's is still giving patrons something to flip over. All neighborhoods need a place for beer and burgers, and for North Miami, Vega's Burger Bar is it — although the chili and mac 'n' cheese served here are equally craveable. The burger is an eight-ounce blend of freshly ground steak served on a fluffy bun. It comes with a pickle and house-made coleslaw or hand-cut fries tossed in sea salt. You can go traditional with a regular patty and simple accessories: romaine lettuce, tomato, and onion. Or go all out with the signature Cuban, a combination of ground beef, ground pork, and ground chorizo served with sautéed onions and potato sticks ($8.50). No matter which one you choose, be sure to ask for yuca fries instead of the standard potato. Pro tip: Also order a bowl of those aforementioned specialties and mix them together for a killer chili mac that begs to be used as a dipping sauce for the fries (or even the burger).
5. DB burger at DB Bistro Moderne
If you like it fancy, Daniel Boulud's signature DB burger is as decadent as it is bizarre. The sirloin patty is stuffed with red-wine-braised short rib and — if that's not enough — seared foie gras. Then it's placed in a poppyseed-and-Parmesan-crusted bun and topped with black-truffle-and-slow-roasted-tomato confit in place of ketchup. This is one burger so epic it clearly justifies the gourmet title and even the hefty price tag ($35). It's what burger dreams are made of.
6. K Ramen burger at K Ramen Burger Beer
Since November 2016, K Ramen Burger Beer has made its home in the basement of the Townhouse Hotel in Miami Beach. Here, the chef whips up an eclectic array of eats and — as the name suggests — specializes in two things: ramen and burgers. K Ramen's signature burger is worth the indulgence (and the decision to go burger over ramen). The half-pound, double-patty sandwich is more than enough for two to share. It arrives stacked high, layered with caramelized onion, tomato, two slices of American cheese, and a generous slathering of the restaurant's spicy cream sauce ($16). Add avocado or a fried egg for extra flavor, and snag a side order of crispy tots.
7. Outside Is In at JR's Gourmet Burgers
In February, JR's Gourmet Burgers received the best news a burger restaurant can be given: It was declared the people's choice at Burger Bash during the 2017 South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Restaurants from across the nation competed, and local favorites included Fooq's, Pubbelly, and Pincho Factory. (North Florida-based Tucker Duke's took the overall win.) Still, it's easy to see why people love this Miami Springs standby that offers hand-pressed Angus beef patties matched with some pretty creative toppings. Any joint can slap bacon and cheese onto a burger, but only a special place like JR's stuffs the goods into the patty. Of the ten burgers on the menu, a top pick remains the Outside Is In — a massive, juicy, charred beef patty stuffed with bits of bacon and oozing cheese — served on a cornmeal-crusted bun that adds the perfect texture. A third-pounder costs $7.50, and a half-pounder runs $8.75.
8. Pincho burger at Pincho Factory
When Nedal Ahmad was in elementary school, his English teacher told him he'd be flipping burgers one day. Funny thing is, the guy was right: Ahmad, along with his brother Nazir and cousin Otto Othman, owns Pincho Factory, the Miami-based burger and kebab restaurant that's grown from a single location in West Miami-Dade to a booming franchise business in just five years. Since then, Chef Ahmad has flipped quite a few patties. He did it for Rachael Ray at the 2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival and appeared on The Today Show, where he made his tosón burger for Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotbe. Of the eight burgers on the restaurant's permanent roster, go for the namesake Pincho ($6.99), a savory patty on a dense brioche bun layered with melted cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, a house-made secret pink "flamingo" sauce, and julienned potatoes fried fresh for a satisfying crunch, much like the ones found on the best fritas in Miami.
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9. Grass-fed cheeseburger at Proof Miami
Proof is known for its pizzas and pastas, but don't let that stop you from ordering the one burger listed on the menu. Chef/owner Justin Flit's grass-fed beef cheeseburger is griddle-pressed and cooked with onions, covered in cheddar, and finished with a white cheddar aioli ($14). It's a hidden gem on the midtown eatery's Italian-themed menu.
10. Various burgers at Cheeseburger Baby
Some burgers are perfect after you've had too many drinks, and that's where 15-year veteran Cheeseburger Baby comes in. The eatery specializes in the late-night, don't-care-about-calories variety. If you're looking for a burger fix and don't want to battle the South Beach crowds, there's also a location in Little River at 212 NE 79th St. The menu lists Cheeseburger Baby's famous half-pound burgers and cheeseburgers, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, choice of cheese, and chopped pickles and nestled on a homemade bun. Turkey and veggie versions are also available, and extras include bacon, chili, jalapeños, grilled onions, green peppers, grilled mushrooms, avocados, fried eggs, blue cheese, honey mustard, honey barbecue sauce, Buffalo sauce, and ranch sauce. Chef/owner Stephanie Vitori's two-and-a-half-ounce Baby burgers cost $5 for two and are also available in turkey and veggie varieties.