If there’s one thing we can all agree upon, it’s that America loves its burgers. Even if you aren’t a big beef fan, you’ve likely found your favorite black bean burger or quinoa creation. But could college students come to consensus on where to buy this all-American favorite? With the help of some friends in the Spooniverse, I created the ultimate guide to the best burger joint in 50 college towns. Read on to see if your school made the cut!
Take on the “Mugshot Challenge” and conquer a stack of 3 burgers piled with 6 strips of bacon, cheddar, swiss, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato and red onions served with a side of beer battered fries and topped with onion rings. Not for the faint of heart, this giant sandwich has to be eaten 12 minutes.
Their creative menu items range from the “Breakfast Burger” to the “Angus Beef Sloppy Joe.” Try their burger of the week with sweet potato, truffle or zucchini fries.
San Luis Obispo, CA
Home of the “1 Pound Burger” as well as the “Hippie Burger,” Sylvester’s are always made fresh. In addition to grass-fed beef burgers, they serve up alternative meats such as wild boar, elk and buffalo.
4. UC Berkeley – Bongo Burger
Bongo is a burger joint with a mediterranean spin: grab a side of falafel or hummus while enjoying one of their their signature mushroom and turkey burgers. This place is perfect for picky eaters as it has something for everyone.
5. CU Boulder – The Sink
Known for both the best pizza and best burger on Boulder, The Sink offers grass fed burgers and is located right near CU. Open since 1923, it’s the town’s oldest restaurant.
6. Clemson – BGR Burger Joint
Build your own burger with a variety of toppings or choose from their “masterpieces,” including the “Triple D” with an over easy egg. If you’re feeling daring and have a spare $80, try their 9-lb burger challenge to win a grand prize of $500 upon finishing.
7. Colgate – No. 10 Tavern
Made with local and regional ingredients, burgers like “Bourbon Barbecue” and “Mediterranean Lamb” will surely satisfy you. Grab a Student Frequent Dining Card, so you can receive your 10th entrée free.
8. Cornell – The Ale House
With a menu that rotates seasonally, the Ale House has hilariously named burgers, from “That’s Just Wrong” to “The Big Sexy Burger.” Grab a tap beer with your burger for the full experience.
9. Dartmouth – Worthy Burger
South Royalton, VT
Located in an old freight house, Worthy Burger is a popular spot for Darmouth students regardless of its location an hour outside of Hanover. Try one of their “Worthy Brews” with a grilled grass fed burger and homemade condiments. Their menu may seem daunting at first, but putting together your perfect burger is worthy of the drive.
With house-made craft beer and customizable burgers, this fast-casual joint is a favorite among Duke students. Every March they host “exotic meat month,” with burgers ranging from rabbit to ostrich. Make sure to try a side of their sweet potato fries.
11. University of Florida – Relish
Confident that they serve up the “better burger,” Relish lets you build your own with over 40 ingredients available. Put peanut butter or strawberry jam on your burger if you please. Their cheddar fries are known to be unforgettable.
A spin on your classic diner, Clocked! offers burger combos paired with french fries, onion rings and cheese fries. All of their ingredients are organic and locally sourced with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options available.
13. Georgetown – Good Stuff Eatery
Their homepage reads a quote (supposedly) by George Washington: “Burgers are second only to the Constitution in importance.” Good Stuff is the real deal. All about sustainability, this place is crafted from recycled materials and reclaimed wood.
14. Harvard – Tasty Burger
Home to the “Official Burger of the Boston Red Sox,” Tasty Burger serves farm fresh burgers fed with grass and grains. Try their “Starvin’ Student” special that comes with a cheeseburger, fries, and beer if you have a valid student ID.
15. University of Iowa – Short’s Burgers Eastside
Iowa City, IA
This locally sourced spot is the real deal – their black Angus beef is butchered at a farm a half hour away from the restaurant. Try pairing your burger with on of their Iowan crafted ciders or microbrews.
Bub’s is home of the “big ugly” burger, which weighs one full pound after cooked. The Mahi Mahi and Elk burgers are also a hit at this family owned business.
Their burgers are 100% Wagyu Beef (aka American-style Kobe beef), but they won’t give you lettuce and tomato to top it. The burgers keep it simple, but they have over 100 craft beers to pair with them. On the occasion that they do spice it up, they’ll do it with a donut.
Known for their sliders, Harry’s has consistently been named the best of Rhode Island. Try the M.O.A.B. with beef, cheese, bacon, mushrooms and fried onions
Check out their creative toppings, from the “Fire” burger with habanero-cactus jam to the “Smoke” with chipotle-cocoa ketchup. They also accommodate both Vegan and Gluten Free palates.
College Park, MD
A Bobby Flay restaurant, BBP serves innovative and original burger recipes. Many UMD students even say it’s better than Five Guys. Try their “Bobby Blue” burger topped with bacon, creamy blue cheese, lettuce and tomato.
21. University of Miami – Rok Brgr
Among the millions of places to eat in Miami, Rok Brgr is the best for burgers and brunch. Students love “The Mexican” Burger, piled with pico, guac, queso and tortilla chips.
Ann Arbor, MI
When you go to Blimpy Burger, you better know what you’re ordering. A fan favorite is a triple burger with grilled peppers and onions. There are dozens of topping combinations, as well as different buns and cheeses you couldn’t possibly get bored.
23. Ole Miss – Phillips Grocery
Serving up burgers since 1919, this converted grocery store was a saloon back in the day. Their crinkle cut fries with a classic burger are a crowd favorite.
New York, NY
Less than two blocks away from Washington Square Park, this organic burger joint prides itself on having over 5,645,376 burger combinations. With over 31 locations across the globe, this chain restaurant remains true to itself at every spot.
BBC is known for its over-the-top burger combinations (I’m talkin’ peanut butter and fried bananas). Their 420 burger – bacon, mozzarella sticks, fried mac n cheese, onion rings, and french fries on top – is only $4.20 if you order it at 4:20 pm any weekday.
Open all day, Bat 17 great for brunch, lunch and dinner. According to former Northwestern student/Spoon extraordinaire AK, the Black and Bleu burger is gucci.
Chapel Hill, NC
From chili cheese burgers to shrimp burgers, Al’s is the number one spot for Tarheels and tourists alike. Even as a Blue Devil, I can attest that Al’s burgers are the best (but #GTHC).
28. Notre Dame – Evil Czech Brewery
The Lightnin’ Lunch buffet serves brewery’s menu in bite-size form – including sliders of all of their burgers. Try their “PBBJ,” made with peanut butter, smoked gouda cheese, journeyman’s bourbon bacon jam and pickled jalapeños.
Thurman Café is a Buckeye best for oversized, topping-loaded burgers. On tequila Tuesdays, grab a shot for $4 with the Johnny Burger: tequila-cooked bacon, horseradish, and bleu cheese.
30. Oklahoma State University – The Garage
Oklahoma City, OK
This sports bar is the best spot for burgers and beer while watching cheering on the ‘Pokes. There’s even an arcade for those who are less sports inclined (but if that’s you, you probably aren’t a student at OSU).
Every beef burger is 1/3 pound and includes both bacon and french fries. Try their peanut-butter-pickle-bacon or the Barnyard: served with an egg, tomato, ham and grilled onions.
What started as a curbside stand turned into a brick-and-mortar storefront blocks away from UPenn. With some of the best burgers in town, SpOt’s known for its mini burgers or its Umami burger, made with mushrooms, grilled onions, lettuce, ssamjang, pickled daikon, cucumber and teriyaki.
State College, PA
In 1952, Annette “Baby” Winters founded Baby’s Burgers, which remains a landmark in State College. This diner holds its anachronistic charm, with servers dressed in ‘50s style garb.
Come for live music and a flight of Triumph’s house-brewed beer. Build your own burger with plenty of add-ons available, such as pepper jack, a fried egg, avocado or jalapeños.
San Diego, CA
Stacked is all about getting exactly what you want. Technology meets food when you order on an iPad to pick among their signature items and various toppings.
Los Angeles, CA
Located right off of fraternity row, Study Hall is the perfect spot to grab a study snack (or let’s be real, take a study break). With 17 different signature burgers, your frat brothers will be able to find something they like.
Located across the avenue from SMU, their double cheeseburger is most popular, seasoned with salt. Depending on your hunger levels, you can stack as many burgers as you – two or twenty, the sky’s the limit. Their homemade maraschino-cherry Coke is a favorite for visitors and students alike.
Using locally sourced ingredients from New York farms, Empire focuses on sustainability with their mottos, “Eat Where You Live™” and “We Grow Beer™.” Although known for their beer, don’t miss their burgers.
39. Texas A&M – Grub Burger Bar
College Station, TX
With buns baked from scratch and housemade sauces, this is the perfect place to get your grub on. Not feeling up for beef? Try their “Burgers That Don’t Moo” – a selection of veggie, turkey, and fish burgers.
P. Terry’s prides itself in its hormone & antibiotic free, vegetarian-fed black angus beef. The patties are never frozen and veggie burgers are made from scratch. Grab one of their freshly made cookies straight from the oven.
Fort Worth, TX
Known for their “Battle of the Burger,” two burgers battle for more orders to kick the other one off the menu. They love their sweet and savory combos, such as the “Sugar Burger” topped with bacon, grilled peaches, caramelized onions, and jalapeño jam.
42. Tulane – Cowbell NOLA
New Orleans, LA
“Go for the burger, stay for the mac ‘n’ cheese,” says former Tulane Student Body President, Sarah. Add on whatever you want to their “Locally World Famous Cowbell Burger.” An oxymoron? Possibly. But undeniably delicious.
43. University of Utah – B&D Burgers
Salt Lake City, UT
For the best burger next to campus, Utah students love this spot for beef burgers as well as pastrami burgers. Make sure to try their famous fry sauce and a milkshake.
Known as the “People’s Burger Bar,” Citizen uses locally farmed beef, Virginia cheese, and hand cut french fries. Each burger bun is branded with their CB logo to top off their vegan, chicken and beef burgers.
Still operating as a family owned business, Ram has seasonal beers on tap to pair with its burgers. Try the “Tumbleweed,” topped with onion crisps, pepper straws, and chipotle ranch.
St. Louis, MS
With grass fed beef from Missouri, the Range prides itself on its food made from scratch. Check out their weekly burger “face off” where their popular burgers go head to head in an ordering competition. The “Chili Cheese” burger has been the long-reigning champion.
Open since 1974, Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry sits east of Wisco, perfect for frequent visits from students. Their homemade sauces steal the show, generously poured over their thick beef burgers. The fried cheese curds are also a crowd favorite.
Located in what is technically a convenience store, The Shopping Bag grew in popularity over time among UVM students. There’s a bit of an art to ordering here – the burger window can be easy to miss but the smell is the telltale sign. Be prepared to try one of their ever-changing specials made with a local beef patty.
50. Yale University – Louis’ Lunch
New Haven, CT
Opened in 1895, Louis’ Lunch was the birthplace of the American hamburger sandwich. Rumor has it that these “hamburger purists” will kick you out if you bring your own condiments. Their menu sticks to cheese, onion, and tomato on the sandwich, as well as potato salad and homemade pie.