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A burger with fries, ketchup and a beer on the side
A burger from Arizona Wilderness
Shelby Moore/Eater Phoenix

13 Essential Burgers in Phoenix

Where to find classic cheeseburgers, beef patty pho burgers, and more

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A burger from Arizona Wilderness
| Shelby Moore/Eater Phoenix

In a sprawling city where almost everyone is from somewhere else, one of the foods Phoenix residents can agree on (other than pizza and tacos) is the burger. While some of the most essential patties haven’t changed in years, reaching cult-like status in their neighborhoods, some newer entries have arrived as chefs rethink the “luxury” restaurant burger that dominated menus for most of the past two decades. This time around, many chefs are favoring better-quality ingredients, new techniques, interesting toppings (some with international influence), and, in many cases, a return to simplicity and the burger’s more humble American cheese-topped roots.

Disclosure: The author has done photography work for Persepshen and Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Hush Public House: Hush Burger

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Chef Dominic Ruggiero, with his butcher background, grinds his own burger blend — a mix of chuck, brisket, and short rib — at his intimate and buzzy new North Scottsdale restaurant. But some of the best meals come with asterisks — Hush’s being that its burger (draped in gooey American cheese queso and nestled between brioche buns from a local baker) at least for the time being, is only available on Wednesdays. And there are only 12 available. And it’s first come, first serve. But even with such constraints, it would be wrong to leave it off an essential burgers list when it’s one of the best in town. 

Chzburgr: Chzburgr

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Both in branding and in the build of their burgers, Chzburgr feels, at least at first blush, like a Shake Shack copycat. But across the street from ASU’s west valley campus, former fine-dining chef Kelly Fletcher transcends the burger behemoth in worthwhile ways. Along with a layer of paper-thin sliced onion, he smashes his patties deeper into the flattop than the cooks at Shake Shack do, yielding more flavorful, caramelized, and lacy-edged bites.

Otro Cafe: Pork Belly Burger

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As if burgers weren’t indulgent enough, Chef Doug Robson bravely takes the pork belly burger at his 7th street restaurant a few steps further, topping a grass-fed patty with fat strips of pork belly coated in a tangy citrus glaze. Pickled onions and a spicy relish cut the richness in half with ample acidity, whereas sliced avocado lends fresh, cool creaminess to each bite. 

Pomeroy's: Patty Melt

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Locals give another central Phoenix dive bar, Harvey’s, credit for popularizing flattop burgers sizzled with a glug of red wine. But around the corner on 7th street at a livelier dive bar, Pomeroy’s, the superior wine-finished burger comes between two slices of rye in the form of a patty melt, topped simply with Swiss cheese and caramelized onions. 

Southern Rail Restaurant: Muffaletta

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At Southern Rail, in the Camelback corridor of Central Phoenix, Chef Justin Beckett takes a stab at a few southern-themed sandwiches — Cubanos and shrimp po’ boys among the bunch — but none have attracted fanfare like his muffaletta burger. Inspired by the popular New Orleans cold cut sandwich, Beckett’s burger is layered with mortadella, salami, provolone, a liberal pile of chopped olives and vegetables, and a healthy smear of creole-spiced aioli. 

Persepshen: 60-Day Dry-Aged Charred Burger

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Most of the time since they opened their doors in October, Persepshen has featured a burger on a menu that changes on a whim, as husband-and-wife team Jason and Katherine Dwight move through local produce and whole animals in various stages of curing and dry-aging. The burger — most recently adorned with fat crumbles of Danish blue cheese, arugula, lemon aioli, and a touch of strawberry vanilla bean jam atop a patty made from 60-day dry-aged beef, all piled between a brioche bun — follows suit. Their beef blend (its makeup and its age), and likely the toppings, will continue to change.

Lux Central: Bacon Cheeseburger

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Across the nation, coffee shops are freeing themselves from the panini press and becoming better-known for their food menus — and Lux, a central Phoenix institution long known for its pastries, is no exception. Their thick but manageable patty runs juicy and the cheese and bacon add richness — all nicely complemented by a big swipe of a creamy, horseradish-tinged sauce that lands next to it on the plate. Their burger is a great reminder that the toasted English muffin — craggly, moist and crispy at once — makes for an excellent burger bun. 

The Stand Burgers: Big Kahuna

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While the internet doesn’t have as much to say about it, putting pineapple on burgers feels just as polarizing as the pizza equivalent. However, The Stand improves upon a genre of burger that can be marked by soggy, flavorless rings of canned pineapple and gloppy barbecue sauce, both by grilling their pineapple slices until charred and opting for a thin, spicier “honey lava” sauce that cuts a burger which would skew too sweet otherwise.

Arizona Wilderness: Peanut Butter & Jalapeno Jelly Burger

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With a homemade peanut butter spread and a jalapeño jelly that’s neither very gelatinous nor all that sweet, this burger bears little resemblance to the spoonful-of-Jif version that first launched this niche burger category. But Wilderness’ grown-up take lets its quality patty shine. This is a good thing when the desire is also there to taste (and keep on tasting) the terroir-driven beers that give Arizona Wilderness its nationwide reputation as a can’t-miss brewer.

Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour: “Dragon” Dumpling Burger

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Bitter & Twisted’s indulgent and saucy entry has achieved iconic burger status in Phoenix with how much press it’s received. And for good reason — the English muffin bun imitates pillowy dumplings, cradles a pork-infused patty, and gets layered with a spicy-sweet trio of condiments in jalapeño mayo, Sichuan pickles, and their own dumpling sauce. 

Deez Buns: Pho Bun

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By transforming a handful of classic Asian dishes into burgers, Tempe newcomer Deez Buns has turned out one of the most fun and creative menus in the valley. The beef patty Pho burger, topped with a slaw of Vietnamese aromatic herbs and vegetables, is a great place to start — and the Longsilog bun, with a patty made with longanisa, a cured Filipino sausage, is an exciting departure from beef patty burgers.

Laura's Burgers and More: Chili Burger

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In Avondale, Laura Gonzales and her business partner, Robin Velasquez, run a true-blue burger stand dressed in a loud teal paint job. It’s fitting, then, that it’s the kind of place where regulars go on the weekends to turn the parking lot into a Hot Rod show. The burgers aren’t flashy, but there’s always something fun under the hood; a chopped green chili bacon cheeseburger in the New Mexican style; a bean-chili, cheese, and onion burger in the southern Californian style; and one with a chorizo-spiced patty, chorizo aioli, and a sunny-side up egg, for which they’re best known.

Worth Takeaway: The Worth Burger

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Located in Downtown Mesa, Worth Takeaway is better known for their array of well-executed sandwiches than their classic take on the burger (a half-pound patty topped with cheddar and their own pickles, among other toppings) that’s only available during dinner hours. But it’s their not-so-mild obsession with the cartoon Bob’s Burgers, which inspires specials as well as full-costume pop-ups, that makes Worth such an indispensable place to eat burgers.

Hush Public House: Hush Burger

Chef Dominic Ruggiero, with his butcher background, grinds his own burger blend — a mix of chuck, brisket, and short rib — at his intimate and buzzy new North Scottsdale restaurant. But some of the best meals come with asterisks — Hush’s being that its burger (draped in gooey American cheese queso and nestled between brioche buns from a local baker) at least for the time being, is only available on Wednesdays. And there are only 12 available. And it’s first come, first serve. But even with such constraints, it would be wrong to leave it off an essential burgers list when it’s one of the best in town. 

Chzburgr: Chzburgr

Both in branding and in the build of their burgers, Chzburgr feels, at least at first blush, like a Shake Shack copycat. But across the street from ASU’s west valley campus, former fine-dining chef Kelly Fletcher transcends the burger behemoth in worthwhile ways. Along with a layer of paper-thin sliced onion, he smashes his patties deeper into the flattop than the cooks at Shake Shack do, yielding more flavorful, caramelized, and lacy-edged bites.

Otro Cafe: Pork Belly Burger

As if burgers weren’t indulgent enough, Chef Doug Robson bravely takes the pork belly burger at his 7th street restaurant a few steps further, topping a grass-fed patty with fat strips of pork belly coated in a tangy citrus glaze. Pickled onions and a spicy relish cut the richness in half with ample acidity, whereas sliced avocado lends fresh, cool creaminess to each bite. 

Pomeroy's: Patty Melt

Locals give another central Phoenix dive bar, Harvey’s, credit for popularizing flattop burgers sizzled with a glug of red wine. But around the corner on 7th street at a livelier dive bar, Pomeroy’s, the superior wine-finished burger comes between two slices of rye in the form of a patty melt, topped simply with Swiss cheese and caramelized onions. 

Southern Rail Restaurant: Muffaletta

At Southern Rail, in the Camelback corridor of Central Phoenix, Chef Justin Beckett takes a stab at a few southern-themed sandwiches — Cubanos and shrimp po’ boys among the bunch — but none have attracted fanfare like his muffaletta burger. Inspired by the popular New Orleans cold cut sandwich, Beckett’s burger is layered with mortadella, salami, provolone, a liberal pile of chopped olives and vegetables, and a healthy smear of creole-spiced aioli. 

Persepshen: 60-Day Dry-Aged Charred Burger

Most of the time since they opened their doors in October, Persepshen has featured a burger on a menu that changes on a whim, as husband-and-wife team Jason and Katherine Dwight move through local produce and whole animals in various stages of curing and dry-aging. The burger — most recently adorned with fat crumbles of Danish blue cheese, arugula, lemon aioli, and a touch of strawberry vanilla bean jam atop a patty made from 60-day dry-aged beef, all piled between a brioche bun — follows suit. Their beef blend (its makeup and its age), and likely the toppings, will continue to change.

Lux Central: Bacon Cheeseburger

Across the nation, coffee shops are freeing themselves from the panini press and becoming better-known for their food menus — and Lux, a central Phoenix institution long known for its pastries, is no exception. Their thick but manageable patty runs juicy and the cheese and bacon add richness — all nicely complemented by a big swipe of a creamy, horseradish-tinged sauce that lands next to it on the plate. Their burger is a great reminder that the toasted English muffin — craggly, moist and crispy at once — makes for an excellent burger bun. 

The Stand Burgers: Big Kahuna

While the internet doesn’t have as much to say about it, putting pineapple on burgers feels just as polarizing as the pizza equivalent. However, The Stand improves upon a genre of burger that can be marked by soggy, flavorless rings of canned pineapple and gloppy barbecue sauce, both by grilling their pineapple slices until charred and opting for a thin, spicier “honey lava” sauce that cuts a burger which would skew too sweet otherwise.

Arizona Wilderness: Peanut Butter & Jalapeno Jelly Burger

With a homemade peanut butter spread and a jalapeño jelly that’s neither very gelatinous nor all that sweet, this burger bears little resemblance to the spoonful-of-Jif version that first launched this niche burger category. But Wilderness’ grown-up take lets its quality patty shine. This is a good thing when the desire is also there to taste (and keep on tasting) the terroir-driven beers that give Arizona Wilderness its nationwide reputation as a can’t-miss brewer.

Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour: “Dragon” Dumpling Burger

Bitter & Twisted’s indulgent and saucy entry has achieved iconic burger status in Phoenix with how much press it’s received. And for good reason — the English muffin bun imitates pillowy dumplings, cradles a pork-infused patty, and gets layered with a spicy-sweet trio of condiments in jalapeño mayo, Sichuan pickles, and their own dumpling sauce. 

Deez Buns: Pho Bun

By transforming a handful of classic Asian dishes into burgers, Tempe newcomer Deez Buns has turned out one of the most fun and creative menus in the valley. The beef patty Pho burger, topped with a slaw of Vietnamese aromatic herbs and vegetables, is a great place to start — and the Longsilog bun, with a patty made with longanisa, a cured Filipino sausage, is an exciting departure from beef patty burgers.

Laura's Burgers and More: Chili Burger

In Avondale, Laura Gonzales and her business partner, Robin Velasquez, run a true-blue burger stand dressed in a loud teal paint job. It’s fitting, then, that it’s the kind of place where regulars go on the weekends to turn the parking lot into a Hot Rod show. The burgers aren’t flashy, but there’s always something fun under the hood; a chopped green chili bacon cheeseburger in the New Mexican style; a bean-chili, cheese, and onion burger in the southern Californian style; and one with a chorizo-spiced patty, chorizo aioli, and a sunny-side up egg, for which they’re best known.

Worth Takeaway: The Worth Burger

Located in Downtown Mesa, Worth Takeaway is better known for their array of well-executed sandwiches than their classic take on the burger (a half-pound patty topped with cheddar and their own pickles, among other toppings) that’s only available during dinner hours. But it’s their not-so-mild obsession with the cartoon Bob’s Burgers, which inspires specials as well as full-costume pop-ups, that makes Worth such an indispensable place to eat burgers.

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