Utah is a burger-loving state, and though there are many new and notable restaurants serving cutting-edge cuisine in the city, you shouldn’t leave town without a taste of our burger culture. We have national faves, from D.C.’s Five Guys to California’s In-N-Out, and local chains like Hires Big H and Crown Burgers. Pretty much every restaurant has its own special burger. In honor of National Burger Day, these are 5 of the best.
- The Bar Burger: Lucky 13 won first place for burgers in the World Food Championships in Las Vegas last year with its specially concocted Spicy Candied Cajun Burger. You can choose from the regular menu of 11 burgers, ranging from the foot-tall “Big Benny” with its 28 ounces of ground chuck to the “Ring of Fire,” topped with jalapeños and habaneros to the Fungus Amongus, featuring mushrooms sauteed in red wine. With so many choices, you’re bound to find one you like–finishing it is another matter. Of course, you’ll eat it with a local brew or High West Whiskey. 135 W. 1300 South, SLC, 801-487-4418, lucky13slc.com
- The Artisan Burger: Scott Evans’ little cafe, Pago, has been at the forefront of Salt Lake’s local and artisanal food movement. That doesn’t mean the menu is full of esoterica. In fact, its burger is one of the restaurant’s most famous dishes. This intensely planned sandwich holds a patty of fresh Niman Ranch beef topped with white Cheddar, black garlic aioli, local bacon and house-pickled red onion. Wine expert Evans will be happy to find the perfect pairing from his list or by the glass from his Cruvinet. 878 S. 900 East, SLC, 801-532-0777, pagoslc.com
Utah’s Own Pastrami Burger
The state’s signature burger–a beef patty topped with an inch of thin-sliced pastrami–has obscure origins, but it’s available at many of the local burger chains, including Crown Burgers, Apollo Burgers, B&D Burgers and Hires Big H.
- The Family Burger: Three beef cuts–sirloin, chuck and brisket–are ground together and patted into several size burgers, depending on your appetite, from 1/3 pound to the “tiny” Tony for tots. Tonyburgers is also the place for a full-on American burger meal: Milkshakes here are made to order with real scoops of ice cream and the award-winning french fries are hand-cut and twice fried. 613 E. 400 South, SLC, 801-419-0531, 4675 S. 2300 East, Holladay, 801-676-9686; 1695 Towne Center Dr., South Jordan, 801-679-1194. tonyburgers.com
- The Gourmet Burger: Inside the yeasty house-made bun, The Copper Onion’s (and sister spots Copper Common and Copper Kitchen) beef patty is garnished with aioli, caramelized onions and crisp Iceberg lettuce. You can add cheddar cheese and choose steak fries or an arugula salad to go with. 111 E. Broadway #170, SLC, 801-355-3282, 111 E. Broadway #190, SLC, 801-355-0543, 4640 S. 2300 E. #102, Holladay, 385-237-3159. thecopperonion.com, coppercommon.com, copperkitchenslc.com
- The Garlic Burger: Garlic burgers are a Salt Lake institution, and The Cotton Bottom Inn is the most authentic place to taste it. A venerable dive with an upscale outdoorsy clientele, Cotton Bottom offers a glimpse into Utah’s classic outdoors lifestyle—great jukebox, cold beer and lots of garlic and tall tales from those who’ve been around on two feet or two wheels. 2820 E. 6200 South, Holladay, 801-273-9830. cottonbottominn.com
For more food and drink, click here. This story was originally published in May 2020.