Great Burger Joints in the Middle of Nowhere

Hamburger expert and photographer George Motz gives us 5 great choices for a day trip into the middle of nowhere for a great burger.

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"In a category by itself, the frita or Cuban hamburger, is only available on and around 8th St. in Miami, FL. If you are in search of unique hamburger experiences, this one should top your list. The frita was part of the Cuban Revolution exodus of the 1950s and one of the best examples today can be found at El Mago de las Fritas. El Mago is Spanish for "the magician." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"The frita starts with a patty loaded with spices and sometimes ground chorizo. After flattened on the griddle with chopped onion, the patty is doused with a thin red sauce. The burger bubbles in the sauce and is transferred to a toasted bun where a nest of thin-cut-fried potatoes are placed on top. Ketchup is added and cheese is offered but as my good friend Burger Beast told me once, 'Cheese is not traditional.' Thanks to the Beast, I never get cheese on my frita." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"Guy's is a fully-functioning meat market on the south side of Houston. People have been coming here for steaks and sausages since 1939 but when Brad Dickens added a burger to the menu 25 years ago Guy's became a burger destination. The burgers are sold starting at 11 AM but Guy's limits their output to 200 a day. If you are late, you'll surely miss out." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"What's unique about the burgers at Guy's is that they are smoked -- think slow-cooked ribs and brisket. One would think that smoking a burger would lead to disastrous results but Guy's has it down. Texas food critic and friend Robb Walsh convinced me that the best way to enjoy this burger is with pickles, chopped onions and a healthy dose of Guy's housemade barbeque sauce (not as pictured). Take the advice and take a trip to burger heaven." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"This tiny shack in the center of Prairie du Chien, WI, has been serving burgers to a faithful local crowd for almost 100 years and their signature burger is anything but a standard patty. Only open for the warmer months of the year, Pete's burgers are steamed in a big tank filled with onions and water." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"Local burger expert Todd Mcllwee said it best when he described the burgers at Pete's as 'poached.' To a large shallow-lipped griddle filled with boiling water, the cook adds wads of fresh ground beef. The wads are pressed into patties and cooked until done, bubbling and bobbing in the tank. In the center of the griddle is an enormous pile of thinly sliced onion steamed to perfection. I know it sounds gross, but Pete's burgers are pure heaven and I want one now." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"New Jersey has no shortage of great slider emporiums (the original American burger popularized by White Castle in the 1920s). For a true step back in time you must visit a place like the White Rose System in Linden, NJ, where owner Rich Belfer definitely knows how to keep a burger tradition alive." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"It may not look like much but the hamburgers from the first half of the 20th century looked like this, not bloated, dripping with 4 types of cheese and jalapenos, etc. To me this is the true essence of the American hamburger -- simple, uncomplicated, tasty and enduring." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"From the outside you'd never know that a world-class burger experience awaits. With its vintage signage and glass block facade, Workingman's Friend looks the part of a spartan comfortable neighborhood hang that also happens to serve one of the tastiest burgers in America." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"It looks absurd but the double cheeseburger at Workingman's Friend is amazing. Fresh ground beef is pressed so thin on the flattop griddle that the result is a burger that has an almost lacy, crunchy outer perimeter. Chase this beauty with their signature 32-oz. Frosty Fish Bowl of tap beer and plan on napping afterwards." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

New Burger Finds  10 Photos

George Motz in New Orleans
George Motz in New Orleans

George Motz in New Orleans

George Motz holding Mardi Gras beads at a parade in New Orleans. 960 1280

  

Bozo's in Metairie, LA

Bozo's in Metairie, LA

George gets a taste of a hamburger po' boy at Bozo's in Metairie, LA. 960 1280

  

George meets Mark Fayard

George meets Mark Fayard

George meets Mark Fayard, the owner of Bozo's Restaurant. Mark bought the restaurant with his wife in 2008. 960 1280

  

The hamburger po' boy at Bozo's Restaurant

The hamburger po' boy at Bozo's Restaurant

The hamburger po' boy at Bozo's Restaurant is comprised of a freshly ground black angus beef patty with diced onions, lettuce, tomato, mayo and cheese on the ubiquitous Leidenheimer French bread. 960 1280

  

George Motz and local burger expert TG Herrington

George Motz and local burger expert TG Herrington

George Motz and local burger expert TG Herrington arrive at the Camellia Grill, a New Orleans landmark. A classic diner that originally opened in 1946, it was closed for a year and a half after Hurricane Katrina and reopened in 2007. 960 1280

  

Camellia Grill

Camellia Grill

George and TG make friends at the Camellia Grill. During the time the restaurant was closed, customers covered the front of the building with notes asking the beloved diner to reopen. 960 1280

  

Camellia’s bacon cheeseburger

Camellia’s bacon cheeseburger

Camellia’s bacon cheeseburger is amplified by the flavors of bacon fat seared into the grill itself, topped with lettuce -- and in traditional New Orleans style -- mayo. 960 1280

  

Ted’s Frostop

Ted’s Frostop

Named for the frosty tops of the root beer they serve, Ted’s Frostop is one of only about a dozen Frostops remaining from a chain that spread across the nation in the first half of the century. 960 1280

  

The Frostop’s Lot-O Burger

The Frostop’s Lot-O Burger

The Frostop’s Lot-O Burger is a smashed burger cooked on a flattop grill to create a nice griddle crust on the patty. 960 1280

  

Ted’s Frostop

Ted’s Frostop

The Frostop’s burger comes “dressed,” which in New Orleans means it comes with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo, or in this case, “Lot-O” sauce, a secret recipe named after the massive Lot-O burger. 960 1280

  

George talks to Mike Mollere

George talks to Mike Mollere

George talks to Mike Mollere, owner of Port of Call, located on the quiet end of the French Quarter. 960 1280

  

Port of Call's mushroom cheddar burger

Port of Call's mushroom cheddar burger

Port of Call started out as a steakhouse, which explains the steak-like quality of the fist-sized burgers, char-broiled to perfection and covered with shredded cheddar cheese and earthy mushrooms sautéed in red wine, butter and garlic. 960 1280

  

Port of Call's mushroom cheddar burger

Port of Call's mushroom cheddar burger

George dives into the mushroom cheddar burger at Port of Call in New Orleans. 960 1280

  

George Motz stops by Village Bar
George Motz stops by Village Bar

George Motz stops by Village Bar

George Motz stops by Village Bar, a Madison Badgers fan favorite, for a tasty burger and a little community experience. 960 1280

  

George sits with Todd McIlwee

George sits with Todd McIlwee

George sits with Wisconsin’s local burger expert, Todd McIlwee, at Village Bar in Madison. 960 1280

  

Village Bar

Village Bar

Village Bar prides itself on its “brick burger,” which features thick slices of hand-cut cheddar cheese. 960 1280

George Motz  

George visits a local dairy farm

George visits a local dairy farm

George visits a local dairy farm to see some of the cows that give the dairy state its name. 960 1280

  

Solly’s Grille

Solly’s Grille

The family-owned Solly’s Grille has been serving up its infamous butter burger to Milwaukee locals for over 76 years. 960 1280

George Motz  

Solly’s Grille

Solly’s Grille

George talks with the owner of Solly’s Grille, Glenn Fieber. 960 1280

George Motz  

Solly's butter burger

Solly's butter burger

Solly's butter burger is exactly what it sounds like – butter and cheese are the only condiments here. 960 1280

George Motz  

Wisconsin dairy farm

Wisconsin dairy farm

In a state renowned for its cheese, there are obviously some very good cheeseburgers to be found in Wisconsin. 960 1280

  

Wedl's Hamburger Stand

Wedl's Hamburger Stand

George and the crew film outside Wedl's Hamburger Stand in Jefferson, WI, with the restaurant's patrons and employees. 960 1280

George Motz  

Wisconsin dairy farm

Wisconsin dairy farm

George takes a break from burgers for a slice of cantaloupe with a dairy farmer. 960 1280

George Motz  

Wisconsin dairy farm

Wisconsin dairy farm

These young dairy cows help maintain Wisconsin’s reputation for great cheese. 960 1280

  

Photos

10 Photos

"In a category by itself, the frita or Cuban hamburger, is only available on and around 8th St. in Miami, FL. If you are in search of unique hamburger experiences, this one should top your list. The frita was part of the Cuban Revolution exodus of the 1950s and one of the best examples today can be found at El Mago de las Fritas. El Mago is Spanish for "the magician." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"The frita starts with a patty loaded with spices and sometimes ground chorizo. After flattened on the griddle with chopped onion, the patty is doused with a thin red sauce. The burger bubbles in the sauce and is transferred to a toasted bun where a nest of thin-cut-fried potatoes are placed on top. Ketchup is added and cheese is offered but as my good friend Burger Beast told me once, 'Cheese is not traditional.' Thanks to the Beast, I never get cheese on my frita." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"Guy's is a fully-functioning meat market on the south side of Houston. People have been coming here for steaks and sausages since 1939 but when Brad Dickens added a burger to the menu 25 years ago Guy's became a burger destination. The burgers are sold starting at 11 AM but Guy's limits their output to 200 a day. If you are late, you'll surely miss out." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"What's unique about the burgers at Guy's is that they are smoked -- think slow-cooked ribs and brisket. One would think that smoking a burger would lead to disastrous results but Guy's has it down. Texas food critic and friend Robb Walsh convinced me that the best way to enjoy this burger is with pickles, chopped onions and a healthy dose of Guy's housemade barbeque sauce (not as pictured). Take the advice and take a trip to burger heaven." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"This tiny shack in the center of Prairie du Chien, WI, has been serving burgers to a faithful local crowd for almost 100 years and their signature burger is anything but a standard patty. Only open for the warmer months of the year, Pete's burgers are steamed in a big tank filled with onions and water." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"Local burger expert Todd Mcllwee said it best when he described the burgers at Pete's as 'poached.' To a large shallow-lipped griddle filled with boiling water, the cook adds wads of fresh ground beef. The wads are pressed into patties and cooked until done, bubbling and bobbing in the tank. In the center of the griddle is an enormous pile of thinly sliced onion steamed to perfection. I know it sounds gross, but Pete's burgers are pure heaven and I want one now." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"New Jersey has no shortage of great slider emporiums (the original American burger popularized by White Castle in the 1920s). For a true step back in time you must visit a place like the White Rose System in Linden, NJ, where owner Rich Belfer definitely knows how to keep a burger tradition alive." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"It may not look like much but the hamburgers from the first half of the 20th century looked like this, not bloated, dripping with 4 types of cheese and jalapenos, etc. To me this is the true essence of the American hamburger -- simple, uncomplicated, tasty and enduring." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"From the outside you'd never know that a world-class burger experience awaits. With its vintage signage and glass block facade, Workingman's Friend looks the part of a spartan comfortable neighborhood hang that also happens to serve one of the tastiest burgers in America." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

"It looks absurd but the double cheeseburger at Workingman's Friend is amazing. Fresh ground beef is pressed so thin on the flattop griddle that the result is a burger that has an almost lacy, crunchy outer perimeter. Chase this beauty with their signature 32-oz. Frosty Fish Bowl of tap beer and plan on napping afterwards." - George Motz 960 1280

George Motz  

Ramon Puig Guayaberas

Ramon Puig Guayaberas

Between burgers, George makes a stop at Ramon Puig Guayaberas for a lesson in Latin style. Brought to the US by Ramon Puig in the 1970s, the Guayabera shirt is traditional Latin formal wear. 960 1280

  

El Mago de las Fritas

El Mago de las Fritas

George eats a Cuban frita at El Mago de las Fritas in Little Havana. 960 1280

  

El Mago de las Fritas

El Mago de las Fritas

El Mago de las Fritas in West Miami has their own unique and tasty take on the frita. 960 1280

  

El Mago de las Fritas

El Mago de las Fritas

George with the magician himself, Ortelio Cardenas, owner of El Mago de las Fritas. 960 1280

  

El Rey de las Fritas

El Rey de las Fritas

The frita at El Rey de las Fritas. Opened in the 1960s, this restaurant is where the first Cuban frita in Miami can be found. 960 1280

  

El Rey de las Fritas

El Rey de las Fritas

George discusses his beverage options with Mercedes, owner of El Rey de las Fritas. 960 1280

  

Pincho Factory

Pincho Factory

The food prep area at Pincho Factory where George tries the Nicaraguan-inspired Toston Burger, a sumptuous blend of beef framed not by a bun, but by 2 large fried plantains, or tostones. 960 1280

  

Pincho Factory

Pincho Factory

Pincho Factory in Miami follows their burgers with a sweet-and-salty dessert – chocolate-covered fries. 960 1280

  

George visits Bayfront Park

George visits Bayfront Park

George visits Bayfront Park, where he finds the Latin Burger and Taco food truck. 960 1280

  

George meets Jim Heins

George meets Jim Heins

George meets Jim Heins, owner of the Latin Burger truck, which is reminiscent of Cuban street vendors, called friteros. 960 1280

  

Latin Macho

Latin Macho

This burger beauty can be found at the Latin Burger truck and is called the Latin Macho -- 2 ground beef and chorizo patties, topped with cheese, onions and caramelized jalapeños. 960 1280

  

George Motz in New Orleans

George Motz in New Orleans

George Motz holding Mardi Gras beads at a parade in New Orleans. 960 1280

  

Bozo's in Metairie, LA

Bozo's in Metairie, LA

George gets a taste of a hamburger po' boy at Bozo's in Metairie, LA. 960 1280

  

George meets Mark Fayard

George meets Mark Fayard

George meets Mark Fayard, the owner of Bozo's Restaurant. Mark bought the restaurant with his wife in 2008. 960 1280

  

The hamburger po' boy at Bozo's Restaurant

The hamburger po' boy at Bozo's Restaurant

The hamburger po' boy at Bozo's Restaurant is comprised of a freshly ground black angus beef patty with diced onions, lettuce, tomato, mayo and cheese on the ubiquitous Leidenheimer French bread. 960 1280

  

George Motz and local burger expert TG Herrington

George Motz and local burger expert TG Herrington

George Motz and local burger expert TG Herrington arrive at the Camellia Grill, a New Orleans landmark. A classic diner that originally opened in 1946, it was closed for a year and a half after Hurricane Katrina and reopened in 2007. 960 1280

  

Camellia Grill

Camellia Grill

George and TG make friends at the Camellia Grill. During the time the restaurant was closed, customers covered the front of the building with notes asking the beloved diner to reopen. 960 1280

  

Camellia’s bacon cheeseburger

Camellia’s bacon cheeseburger

Camellia’s bacon cheeseburger is amplified by the flavors of bacon fat seared into the grill itself, topped with lettuce -- and in traditional New Orleans style -- mayo. 960 1280

  

Ted’s Frostop

Ted’s Frostop

Named for the frosty tops of the root beer they serve, Ted’s Frostop is one of only about a dozen Frostops remaining from a chain that spread across the nation in the first half of the century. 960 1280

  

The Frostop’s Lot-O Burger

The Frostop’s Lot-O Burger

The Frostop’s Lot-O Burger is a smashed burger cooked on a flattop grill to create a nice griddle crust on the patty. 960 1280

  

Ted’s Frostop

Ted’s Frostop

The Frostop’s burger comes “dressed,” which in New Orleans means it comes with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo, or in this case, “Lot-O” sauce, a secret recipe named after the massive Lot-O burger. 960 1280

  

George talks to Mike Mollere

George talks to Mike Mollere

George talks to Mike Mollere, owner of Port of Call, located on the quiet end of the French Quarter. 960 1280

  

Port of Call's mushroom cheddar burger

Port of Call's mushroom cheddar burger

Port of Call started out as a steakhouse, which explains the steak-like quality of the fist-sized burgers, char-broiled to perfection and covered with shredded cheddar cheese and earthy mushrooms sautéed in red wine, butter and garlic. 960 1280

  

Port of Call's mushroom cheddar burger

Port of Call's mushroom cheddar burger

George dives into the mushroom cheddar burger at Port of Call in New Orleans. 960 1280