There are so very many succulent, juicy, condiment-laden burgers begging for love right now that we felt compelled to evaluate our protein picks and put forth our take on the six very best. Ahead, our carefully cultivated list of superlative burgers worth busting your buns for. Please feel free to tip us off to your new (or old) favorites, too!
1. Bobby's Burger Palace, Burlington
Love him or loathe him, when Bobby Flay opens a restaurant (at the Burlington Mall, no less), it makes news. What sets this place apart for us is the Crunchburger, which shamelessly features American cheese, which is revolting at first blush, but in reality absolutely delicious. It's a limp yellow sheet of shame, and it tastes darn good! The burger is also topped with potato chips. No no, we won't scoff.
2. Tasty Burger, Harvard Square
We have never not waited in line at this branch of Tasty Burger. That's fine, though, since the people-watching can be sublime and the sweet odor of grease is somehow tantalizing. We order the Hubba Burger: chili, spicy cheese sauce, and chopped onion. Plus, there's that huge Coke machine, which seems to almost ... come to life at 3 a.m.
3. Shake Shack, Chestnut Hill
Well, yes, it's all anyone's been talking about. And yes, the crinkle-cut fries inspire flashbacks to your junior high school cafeteria, but the SmokeShack, with hot cherry peppers and that zingy Shack sauce, is a paean to protein, plain and simple and sublime.
4. jmCurley, Downtown Crossing
We take our griddled patty Filthy Andy style, topped with cole slaw and French fries, Russian dressing, and a fried egg. Or else we stagger in after 10:30 p.m. for burger specials with downright strange toppings, like, um, nachos (as the Globe pointed out, sometimes peanut butter is an option).
5. 80 Thoreau, Concord
The thought of eating a dressed-up burger at a bar in Concord is rather strange. For a long time, the only burger in town was at Brigham's. But now the lovely, sedate 80 Thoreau has a dressy bar burger that blends a house pickle assortment, a mayo-cayenne secret sauce, aged cheddar, and aromatic brioche. It should really come with a bow-tie and elbow patches.
6. Grumpy White's, Quincy
Boston Restaurant Talk's Marc Hurwitz tipped us off to this exceptionally shady-looking burger shangri la in Quincy. Their Grumpy Quad, four high-fat griddled patties stuffed between rolls, with a thin layer of cheese clinging to each meaty crevice, is a mere $9.95. Hurwitz says that you can add as many patties as you like. This towering, quivering, greasy leaning tower of lard would frighten even Mayor McCheese. Also: They consider garlic a topping. This burger might not be new (the restaurant appears to have been around since approximately 1934), but it's new to us, and we doubt many people know that you can actually order 12 patties at a time. Fun fact: We last wrote about Grumpy's when they served mountain lion's urine to nearby coyotes.