Story + Photography Jorge & Mona Martinez The hamburger is arguably one of the most beloved and iconic of American foods. The once-humble hamburger continues going through multiple makeovers thanks to chefs cooking up ways to improve upon this American classic. Whether you prefer more luxurious toppings such as truffle aioli and blue cheese or enjoy a more traditional burger with ketchup and mustard, get ready to find burgers worth savoring. From smashed patties to towering toppings, here are our picks for the top burgers in Alexandria, Virginia. The 2021 VIB (Very Important Burger) Award winners are:
COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED AWARD
Winner: Fried Cauliflower Burger, Bun Papa
This hearty piece of cauliflower is marinated in coconut milk and turmeric, dredged in Bun Papa’s fried chicken spice and dredge mix, and deep-fried to crispy, golden deliciousness. It is served on their homemade brioche bun with crispy onion straws and your choice of sauce (we recommend Noelie’s Ranch).
BRINGING OUT THE INNER CHILD
Winner: Anchor Burger, Fish Market
Most people would understandably skip the burger options at a seafood place. Missing this burger at Fish Market would be a huge mistake. Two patties are made from a custom blend specifically designed for the restaurant. This mouth-watering, perfectly seasoned burger is topped with fresh shredded lettuce, chopped onion, special sauce, American cheese, and pickles. The burger at Junction Bakery and Bistro, Fish Market’s sister restaurant in Del Ray, is just as good.
LOSE THE BUN AWARD
Winner: Flappy Jack, Chadwick’s
If you are going to lose the burger bun, why not replace it with pancakes? This burger includes Black Angus beef, cheddar, bacon, and a fried egg, and is served in between two buttermilk pancakes. Warm maple syrup and crispy home fries finish this popular dish at Chadwick’s.
BUY ME BRUNCH
Winner: Beastly Smash Double Cheeseburger, Hummingbird
Start off your brunch with this tasty burger. Two Angus beef burger patties are joined with come-back sauce, lettuce, tomato, house-made pickles, American cheese, bacon, bacon jam, fried egg, and avocado. If you can’t make it for brunch, the restaurant has Burger & Bottle Night every Wednesday – featuring their Smash Burger and half off wine bottles.
SO MANY OPTIONS
Winner: Various Burgers, Holy Cow
At Holy Cow, this Del Ray restaurant offers almost 20 different options in their diverse menu of signature burgers and other sandwiches. Our favorites include the Popper (Angus beef topped with cream cheese, bacon, fried jalapeños, chipotle ketchup, and garlic aioli on a brioche bun) and the Hangover (a strong contender for the best brunch burger, topped with a crispy hash brown patty, bacon, hot sauce aioli, and a fried egg).
WHERE'S THE BEEF
Winner: Lamb Burger, Daniel O’Connell’s
A historic Old Town building with beautiful Irish antiques is where you will find this burger favored by many locals. A juicy, ground lamb patty is topped with herb-whipped goat cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles. It’s a great option if you want to indulge in a burger made from meat other than beef.
SIMPLICITY DONE RIGHT
Winner: Virtue Burger, Virtue Feed & Grain
There is nothing like a simple burger cooked and prepared to perfection. This eight-ounce patty comes with a choice of cheddar or Swiss cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, fresh lettuce, and tomato on a brioche bun. If you want a traditional burger with elevated flavors, the Virtue Burger hits the mark.
Winner: PVB, The People's Drug
There’s been a frenzy and huge surge in demand for plant-based protein that can be fashioned into burgers. This burger’s flavors might transform any carnivore. The Impossible Meat patty has great flavor and texture. The burger is topped with bread and butter pickles, arugula, sriracha aioli, and is served on a toasted olive oil bun. We couldn’t be more pleasantly surprised with the taste.
Winner: Roadhouse Burger, Bun Papa
Markos Panas, owner of Bun Papa and Bread & Water Company, is extremely passionate about his buns – that is hamburger buns. The proof is in the taste. These buns are light, airy, and delicious. They are the vessel for two three-ounce patties made with their proprietary beef blend, cheddar cheese, house-made BBQ sauce, bacon, and topped with crispy onion straws. This burger is absolute perfection. Their Big Papa Deluxe, a riff on a popular fast-food restaurant with golden arches, is a very close second. Delish!
Winner: Haute Burger, Haute Dogs and Fries
Although customers might consider this a hot dog-centric locale, the restaurant provides several burger options – including beef, lamb, and veggie burgers. Kids of all ages are opting for the Haute Burger. Three patties made from locally-sourced, grass-fed, dry-aged rib eye ground beef are smashed and cooked to perfection, and topped with gooey cheese, lettuce, tomato, and red onions.
Winner: Umami Burger, Virtue Feed & Grain
The Japanese describe umami as “essence of deliciousness.” This burger is that and more – probably one of the best we’ve had the pleasure of eating. An eight-ounce patty made from Black Angus beef is topped with smoked blue cheese, earthy wild mushrooms, and garlic truffle aioli, and served on a toasted brioche bun