Huntington's Top 20 Burgers

Classic or creative, simple or stacked. Whatever your tastes, there’s plenty of places around town to find a bite-worthy burgers

By Dawn Nolan

If there’s one topic we’ve found that people have a lot of opinions on, it’s food, and burgers are certainly a popular subject. That’s the reasoning behind our feature on “Huntington’s Top 20 Burgers.” What started as a list of 10 grew to 15 and finally 20. It was hard to narrow down, and yes, we know there are still plenty of others that aren’t mentioned, but we also think you’ll be pleased with what you find. We’ve highlighted all types of places, from food trucks and fast casual to laid-back bars and upscale establishments. One thing we must explain, though: since we know the idea of “top burgers” is such a hot-button issue, and we didn’t want to start any — excuse the pun — “beef,” we decided it would be best to put the places in alphabetical order. However, there are two that were given titles, People’s Choice, garnered from our online survey, and Editor’s Choice, drawn from HQ’s own Jack Houvouras’ personal preference. With that being said, happy reading and happy eating!

*In alphabetical order

21 at the Frederick
940 4th Avenue

While it might be hard to pass on one of 21 at the Frederick’s many steaks or seafood dishes, the restaurant’s sole burger shouldn’t be overlooked. “21 offers one burger, which can be customized with any ingredient in the house,” says owner Mark Cross. In fact, one burger might be all 21 needs. “The freshness of our ingredients and preparation is what makes the 21 Burger stand out,” Cross adds. “We start with 10 ounces of fresh, certified Angus choice ground beef, a toasted Kaiser hamburger roll and really good fries on the plate. The rest is up to the customer. The compliment that we most often get is, ‘This is perfect!’”

Christopher’s Eats
6007 US 60 #220
(River Place Plaza)

Many know about its selection of artisan flatbreads — made in a coal-fired oven — but Christopher’s Eats also offers a few specialty burgers. There’s the “Christopher’s Burger,” “Pimento & Bacon Burger,”  “Bison Burger” and “Burgatory,” made with goat cheese, harissa, spinach and pickled onion. During Sunday brunch, you can also order the Breakfast Burger, topped with a fried egg, hash brown, ham, bacon, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese and a maple bacon glaze, during Sunday brunch. “Our burgers are a 90/10 proprietary blend of ground ribeye and chuck,” Owner/Chef Chris Dixon says. “We use local buns from Brunetti’s Bakery, and the burgers are seared on a 500 degree griddle. There’s a great flavor in the meat, and the burgers are juicy.”

The Club Inn Between
212 20th Street

If you’re hoping to score a burger from this long-standing bar and grill, owned by brothers Roger and Danny Muth, swing by on your lunch break. The kitchen is normally open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday – Friday, though you might be lucky to catch the grill fired up on the weekend when there’s a game on. For less than $5, customers can choose between a hamburger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, bacon burger or “Mexi-Burger,” made with lettuce, jalapenos, onions, salsa and melted cheese. “We get our meat from SS Logan and patty it out every day,” Roger says. “People say it’s the best around. You can’t beat a fresh hamburger.”

Fat Patty’s
1935 Third Avenue

With four locations around the area — downtown Huntington, Barboursville, Ashland and Teays Valley — and a menu with more than 20 burgers, not to mention regular specials Fat Patty’s has really made its name and burgers known since opening 10 years ago. “We use our own special recipe for our burgers,” says owner Clint Artrip. “It took about five years to get the right mix, but we’ve finally perfected it. Our burgers are large with generous toppings because portions matter, too. Some of our older customers tell us our burgers remind them of when they were younger, when they could get a ‘real’ burger. We try to be a great value and have something for everyone.”

Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Pullman Square

One of three chains to make our list, Five Guys is a well-liked burger joint that’s convenient to downtown. Depending on the size of your appetite, you can choose between four standard burgers as well as their “Little” versions, any of which can be customized. “Our beef is 100-percent fresh with no fillers or preservatives,” says Lauren Lewis, senior communications manager for Five Guys Enterprises LLC. “All of our produce is freshly prepared in house daily, and Five Guys’ buns are baked fresh with a special recipe — it’s our only proprietary ingredient! Typically, our customers say that our burgers are ‘fresh’ and ‘juicy,’ and some have even said that they are ‘heaven on a bun.’”

1449 Hal Greer Blvd.

What goes well with a cold mug of Frostop root beer? A burger! “Our patties are a fifth of a pound, and the buns are steamed,” says owner Marilyn Murdock. The iconic drive-in’s menu includes hamburgers, cheeseburgers, double cheeseburgers and bacon burgers in addition to their beloved beverage, hot dogs and barbecue. “The regular sandwiches come with tomato, onion and pickle, and the double has a special dressing, lettuce, tomato and pickle,” Murdock adds. “Of course, since they’re all made to order, a customer can have whatever they want on any sandwich. We have lots of repeat burger customers, so they must like the way we serve them!”

G.D. Ritzy’s
1335 Hal Greer Blvd.

The retro diner theme isn’t the only aspect of G.D. Ritzy’s that is reminiscent of an earlier era. “We cook our burgers like they did in the ’50s, thicker in the middle with crispy edges,” says owner Sid Torlone. “It gives them a taste you can’t get with regular burgers.” G.D. Ritzy’s has hamburgers and cheeseburgers of different sizes as well as a mushroom and Swiss burger, but the most popular order is the Double Ritz with cheese. “It’s a great-tasting burger that will fill you up,” Torlone says. “Our customers like the way we cook our burgers because it reminds them of when they were growing up and would go to the corner soda shop.”

Guyan Golf & Country Club
5450 Co Rd 60/73

From the toasting of the bun to the melting of the cheese, Guyan’s Executive Chef Scott Poff says the experience of creating a good burger is “like performing a drum solo at a rock concert” — all the elements must come together with perfect timing. And because of the combination of high-quality ingredients and careful preparation by the people putting the burger together, Poff feels that his team members at Guyan “don’t miss a lick” when it’s time for their burger to take the stage. “The culinarian making the burger has been trained to make it with the same love and enthusiasm as he or she would a filet of beef tenderloin,” he says.

Huntington Ale House
1318 Fourth Avenue

Burgers and brews. At Huntington Ale House, the two go together like PB&J or bacon and eggs — which, interestingly enough, are two of their burger choices. “We offer 19 beef burgers and one veggie burger,” says owner Mackie Robertson. With that many creations to choose from, customers are sure to find one — or more — that’ll fit their preference. “Our burgers are prepared fresh each and every day, made to order, seasoned with our own handmade mixture of spices and topped with fresh toppings,” Robertson describes. “Our buns are buttered and toasted. Our customers say that our burgers are ‘the best they’ve ever tasted.’ They especially like the beef and our handmade seasoning mixture of spices.”

Hwy 55
801 Third Avenue

The Huntington location of this casual eatery specializing in burgers, fries and shakes is the first of its kind in the Mountain State. “Folks are routinely blown away that they can get a world-class burger in a fun diner-like atmosphere,” says Derek Fraley, president of 150PR, which represents Hwy 55. And though there are favorite burger combinations — such as “Carolina-style” with mustard, onions, chili and slaw — customization is key. “With four different types of cheeses and the choice of 13 free toppings, we encourage guests to design their burger exactly the way they want it,” Fraley says. “For 25 years now, we’ve only served a fresh, never-frozen burger, and it’s always cooked to order.”

Jim’s Steak and Spaghetti House
920 Fifth Avenue

It’s a pretty simple story that dates back to the 1940s. After a customer commented to Jim Tweel, the original owner of Jim’s, that his sandwich looked tasty, Tweel decided to have one made for the man to try. That’s how Jim’s burger — served with pickle, mustard and onion — came to be. “That’s the way my Dad wanted it, with pickle, mustard and onion, not with lettuce, tomato and mayo,” Jimmie Carder, Jim’s daughter and current restaurant owner, says. “We’ve stuck with that.” And while many may think it’s the Jim’s spaghetti that people order most, that’s not actually the case. “We sell more cheeseburgers than anything else and always have,” Carder reveals. “It and the chocolate pie are the signature pieces on our menu.”

Le Bistro
905 Third Avenue

A burger might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about French cuisine, but listed among a menu of comfort food and contemporary dishes like Croque Monsieur, poached pear salad and truffle linguine created by Executive Chef Brittany Barker and her team is Le Bistro’s “Tenderloin Burger,” topped with smoked Gouda, applewood bacon, crispy onion straws and blackberry-ancho barbecue sauce and served with Cajun fries. “But we’ll make it any way you like it,” says owner Pam Abraham. “Some customer favorites are the burger with Stilton blue cheese and bacon or aged cheddar with lettuce, tomato and red onion. We use top-quality ground beef tenderloin that is grilled to perfection. It’s the best.”

Marshall Hall of Fame Café
857 Third Avenue

At Marshall Hall of Fame Cafe, every day is game day, and burgers are always on the roster. “All of our burgers are hand-formed out of a chuck blend, brisket and short rib mix,” says General Manager Tim Barnes. “Each is dressed on a mini brioche bun with the exception of the pretzel burger. We offer a variety of toppings. Our most popular burgers are the ‘Smokehouse,’ the ‘Thoroughbred’ and the ‘Ultimate.’” If you’re feeling particularly spirited, there’s also the “Herd Burger” made with two grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s six slices of American cheese on Texas toast and a burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and Thousand Island dressing. We are!

Max and Erma’s
Pullman Square

If it’s trimmings you want, Max & Erma’s burgers don’t disappoint. “We have 10 uniquely topped burgers,” says Erica Terrell, director of marketing for Glacier Restaurant Group. “A handful have won awards over the past few years.” Like the “Cola BBQ Burger,” with cheddar cheese, caramelized cherry cola onions, smoked bacon, crisp onion rings and drizzled with cherry cola BBQ sauce; and the “Tortilla Burger,” complete with cheddar and pepper jack, jalapeños, tortilla strips, lettuce, tomato and onion and served with a cup of the restaurant’s signature soup with the same name. “We also have a ‘Chipotle Black Bean Burger’ and ‘Turkey Avocado Swiss Burger’ for those looking for something a bit more on the healthy side,” Terrell adds.

Midway West Drive-In
445 6th Avenue West

Midway has been in the burger game for a long time. “The ‘Midway Special’ has been a customer favorite for more than 40 years,” says owner Cory Hutchinson. “It’s a double-decker cheeseburger with a grilled bun between two patties and dressed with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and pickle on top.” Combine the freshly ground patties cooked on a flat top for a crispy sear, grilled buns and crisp vegetables, and you’ve got a burger that people know and love. “We get a lot of customers who say our burgers are old school and the best in town,” Hutchinson says. “Our singles are priced under $3 and our double and specialty burgers are priced under $4, so you also get a great value.”

Oscar’s Breakfast, Burgers & Brews
6007 US Route 60 East
Suite 314 (River Place Plaza)

A newcomer to the local food scene, Oscar’s has a dozen burgers on its menu, from the “Mastadon” with bacon, fried egg, maple sriracha, lettuce, tomato and onion to “The Koerber” with cole slaw, Swiss cheese and German mustard. There are even low-carb, turkey and veggie options. “We have an eclectic assortment of burgers that will appeal to everyone,” says owner Jason Beter. “We use a half-pound of ground Angus chuck on fresh buns from a local bakery. We consistently hear from customers that they can taste the freshness and that the burgers are huge. They love the variety and can’t wait to try a different one each visit.”

Prime on 4th
910 Fourth Avenue

Like much of Prime’s menu, the toppings for the restaurant’s “House Grind Burger” change on a seasonal basis. “We use local, fresh ingredients to create a serious burger,” says General Manager Jennifer Jill. “During the winter, the burger was our daily grind of filet, New York strip and ribeye topped with smoked Gouda, and barbecue pulled pork and piled high with fried onion strings.” The grind, Jill adds, is what really makes Prime’s burger stand out. Customers often comment that the “meat speaks for itself.” Every patty is made fresh to order and cooked to the customer’s desired doneness. “Nothing is ever frozen, ” Jill says. “Our burger buns are also made fresh in house on a daily basis.”

Savannah’s Restaurant –Editor’s Choice
1208 6th Avenue

It’s a bold claim, but HQ Editor Jack Houvouras says Savannah’s “Fantastic Filet Mignon Burger” is the best burger he’s had anywhere in the U.S. Made with house-ground certified Angus beef filet mignon, grilled to the temperature of choosing — like a steak — and served on a ciabatta roll with lettuce, Dijon mustard and horseradish aioli, the burger can also be ordered with five-year aged Vermont cheddar cheese or with mushrooms and Gruyere cheese. “We actually have a limited number of burgers available because we use the end pieces of the filet mignon,” Owner Ava Bicknell explains. “People call ahead and make a reservation for their burger. Some say it’s the best they’ve ever had.” Obviously, Houvouras is not alone.

Southside Sliders – People’s Choice
Food Truck Rotating Schedule

Whether it’s due to the burgers’ convenient size, flavor or a combination of both, Southside Sliders has amassed a loyal — and vocal, based on the number of responses we received about it — following since hitting the road in late 2015. The original “Southside Slider” burger comes standard with mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, pickles, onions, tomatoes and lettuce, but cheese, bacon and extras can be added. “We use top-quality meat that’s fresh, never frozen,” owner Jason Webb says. And if you’re looking for something a little more out of the box, Webb suggests “The Greek,” a lamb burger with olive and feta Greek sauce and topped with tomatoes, lettuce and onion. “It’s the slider version of your favorite gyro,” he says. P.S. Don’t forget the tots!

The Peddler
Brewpub & Arcade
835 Third Avenue

If you work up an appetite after a rousing game of skee-ball in The Peddler’s arcade, don’t fret. The brewpub has more than a dozen burger selections — made in house daily with organic, hormone-free certified Angus beef and from-scratch bread —  that will help you refuel. “We like to create fun, unique flavor profiles,” says Owner Drew Hetzer. Take, for example, the “Ackenpucky,” a beef burger named after the local creative resource firm that’s topped with Gorgonzola, avocado, roasted beets, caramelized onions, lettuce, aioli and creamy Dijon honey. There’s also a lamb burger (“Aphro-bitey”) as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options. “We are constantly coming up with new creations,” Hetzer adds.

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