Though named for a city in northern Germany, the hamburger may be the single dish that most defines America’s culinary proclivities. It is at once humble and grand, served quickly via drive-through and slowly everywhere else. Dressed up or slimmed down, the burger is our very own Madonna, chameleon-like in its shape-shifting prowess and ability to satisfy everyone. Meaty, veggie and Beyond: Here are just a few of the local burgers satisfying our comfort food cravings this summer.
La Meza, Larkspur: Falafel Burger
Chef Johne Abraham packs his chickpea burger with fresh herbs and garlic and layers of fragrant spices. The gluten-free patty is cooked in a dedicated frying pan (to reduce cross-contamination) before it slides onto a toasted brioche bun slathered with house-made hummus and topped with lettuce, tomato and pickles. He recommends you try it with the sesame cream and hot sauce, but the tzatziki and lime-jalapeño aioli make a bold statement.
The Counter, Corte Madera: Buffalo Burger
Lean and clean, bison is a sustainable, often overlooked meaty burger choice. Its flavorful meat is organic in this version, showcased with smoked gouda, bacon-onion jam and baby spinach. Don’t forget the napkins —the house made thousand island dressing and a sunnyside-up egg up topper are all but guaranteed to ooze out the sides and onto your lap. thecounter.com; 415.924.7000
Gott’s Roadside, Greenbrae: Impossible Burger
According to the team at this Saint Helena-based burger chain, there are 20,000 possible burger combinations to choose from at their restaurants. We are standing by the Impossible Cheeseburger, done up in classic style with American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. Secret sauce on a toasted egg or gluten-free bun is key to managing this burger’s juicy deliciousness, but a keto wrap is also available. It’s also one of our 2020 Best Burger winners. gotts.com; 415.785.4233
Due West, Olema: Beef Burger
A blend of Angus chuck and sirloin, the beef burger is grilled to add a touch of smokey flavor. The brioche bun is slathered with flavor-boosting chipotle aioli and classic toppings of cheddar, lettuce, tomato and pickled onions. For those days when more is more, dress it up with bacon, fried egg and avocado. An order of truffle fries makes a perfect pairing. duewestpointreyes.com; 415.663.9000
The Hub, San Anselmo: Build Your Own Burger
Ordering by number makes it a simple affair, with burger options from #1’s beef and cheddar to #5’s vegan with portobello mushrooms. Or, try the #6 Custom Burger and behold the choices: Proteins like grass-fed beef, ground chicken or vegan; buns from sesame to whole grain; and as many toppings as you can handle. Melted Gruyere with sautéed mushrooms and Hub sauce is a top combo, or take it to 11 with pepper jack cheese, crispy onions and house-made barbecue sauce. No matter what you choose, the people watching on the patio at Red Hill Shopping Center is top notch. hubsananselmo.com; 415.785.4802
For more on Better:
- The Best Local Places to Get Outdoor, Picnic-Friendly Foods
- Best Brunch Spots in the Bay Area: Where to Grab Your Next Meal
- The Best Virtual Cooking Classes Taught by Top Chefs and Cookbook Authors
Christina Mueller is a long-time Bay Area food writer. She hails from the East Coast and has spent way too much time in South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract Publishing, Sunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her child’s school, and supports the Marin Audubon Society, PEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.