They're fast, they're easy, and next to apple pie, they're as American as you can get. Whether you like your hamburger made of beef or something more exotic, like kangaroo, there's a hamburger for every taste. Thirteen billion hamburgers are consumed each and every year. Clearly, Americans have a love affair with burgers, and with several phenomenal hamburger joints scattered throughout the US, there is no wonder why.
New Haven, Connecticut
Legend has it that the hamburger was invented at Louis' Lunch, back in 1895. One day, restaurant owner Louis Lassen was thinking of ways to use up some leftover beef trimmings. As he was passing the meat through the grinder, a hungry customer popped in wanting something to eat on the run. Louis thought quickly, broiled the meat he grounded and placed the meat between 2 pieces of toast -- the first hamburger was born! Things haven't changed much. The hamburger is still America's fast-food meal of choice.
White Castle started the very first fast-food hamburger chain, in 1921. What makes a White Castle hamburger unique? It's all about the holes. Five holes are punched into each patty. Why the holes? They allow each patty to absorb the flavor of the onion placed on top. Best of all, because they are small, White Castle burgers make the perfect on-the-go snack.
Massapequa, New York
Regulars have been eating burgers at the All-American since the drive-in opened in 1963. A burger at the All-American is as classic as it gets -- a simple grilled patty made with the freshest ingredients. Hamburger-craving celebrities, including the Baldwin brothers, Jerry Seinfeld and Brian Setzer, often frequent this popular spot.
Bob's Big Boy
Bob's Big Boy opened in 1936, when Bob Wian sold his car for $350 and opened up a hamburger stand called Bob's Pantry. Big Boy is the original name for the double-decker burger, but since customers always came back for it, he renamed the stand "Bob's Big Boy." The Bob's Big Boy in Burbank was built in 1949. Ever since then, its iconic big boy in checkered pants stands watch over all customers.
World Famous Ted's Restaurant
Ted's Restaurant is home to the steamed burger. Why steam a burger? According to the restaurant's founder, Ted Duberek, the steam cooks each patty evenly, unlike grilling, which only cooks the top and bottom of a burger. Although the steamed burger draws a crowd, folks keep coming back for the local hospitality. Meridian is a friendly, blue-collar town with down-to-earth inhabitants.
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
If you are totally over the beef, try some kangaroo. At Half Moon, you can sample a hamburger from several different kinds of meat. Known for its game burgers, Half Moon has been steaming up meat from non-farm dwelling animals for over eight years. Choose from alligator, wild boar, buffalo, kangaroo and other wild meats, which are imported from farms around the world.
Hermosa Beach, California
Vegetarians and vegans love their burgers just as much as meat-eaters. Packed with fresh vegetable, bean, rice and soy ingredients, each veggie patty is jam-packed with flavor. Established in 1977, The Spot has been a fixture in the Hermosa Beach community ever since. Who are the biggest customers? According to owner Tonya Beaudet, carnivores come in flocks to sample the veggie burger's unique flavor.
New York, New York
If you like your hamburgers hip and ready to party, check out Pop Burger in New York City. It's the ultimate place to grab a bite when the munchies take over at 2 a.m. How did Pop Burger get its name? Everywhere you turn inside the restaurant, you'll see pop art -- from the metal red ceiling to aluminum silver car paint in the billiards room. Each 3-inch patty is grilled to perfection, then topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese and a secret dressing, and served on a brioche bun. Customers like Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z are frequent customers. So, if you want to party like a rock star and eat like one, Pop Burger is the place to be.
Old Homestead Steakhouse
New York, New York
At the oldest steakhouse in Manhattan, you can find the priciest burger around. Each hamburger is made from Kobe beef, the finest hamburger meat you can get. How much for a hamburger? At the Old Homestead, each 20-ounce Kobe beef burger will set you back $41. But don't worry. After one bite, your wallet will forgive you.