If the U.S. has one signature meal, it's likely a burger and fries. Salt Lake City is known for the pastrami burger, which was invented in Los Angeles but really caught on in SLC. Another popular burger in SLC is the blue cheese bacon burger. There's no lack of places in Salt Lake City to get a hot, juicy burger, with options for all tastes.
Lucky 13 is near Smith's Ballpark, home of the Salt Lake Bees. It's primarily a bar, so customers have to be 21, but Lucky 13 serves some of the best burgers in SLC. Many of the 15 different burger offerings are topped with house-smoked bacon. I recommend the Celestial Burger, with bacon, cheddar cheese, grilled onions and house-made barbecue sauce.
135 W. 1300 S., Salt Lake City, Utah 84115
Crown Burgers is best known for the pastrami burger, which the restaurant's founders John and Rula Katzourakis and Nick Katsanevas first sold in Los Angeles but popularized in Salt Lake City. It is pure meaty, salty goodness. In business since 1978, Crown Burgers is the oldest of SLC's Greek-owned burger joints.
377 East 200 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
Six other locations; see the Crown Burgers website.
Salt City Burger Co.
Salt City Burger Co. serves up some tasty burgers, fries and onion rings. They have a toppings bar so you can fix up your burger any way you like. I recommend the bacon burger, made with either beef or chicken. The bacon is ground right into the burger meat.
9176 S. Village Shop Drive
Sandy, UT 84094
Rich's Burgers-n-Grub near Main Street and Broadway serves up mighty fine burgers and fries, plus other "elevated fast food" favorites. Try the blue cheese crumble, green chile burger or Maui BBQ burger. All the burgers can be made with grilled chicken or a veggie patty.
30 East Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
At Tonyburgers the secret is in the meat, a blend of 3 cuts of beef that the proprietors won't reveal. Choose your own toppings - if you're extra hungry, try the fried egg. French fries are shoestring cut and twice fried.
613 E. 400 S., Salt Lake City, UT 84102
Additional locations in Clinton and Centerville; see the Tonyburgers website.
Pago is one of Salt Lake City's best restaurants overall, winning multiple awards and getting positive reviews for New American cuisine. Why would you order a burger in an upscale restaurant? Pago's burger is one of the best in the city, with local beef, sweet smoky bacon; Gouda, pickled onions, and black garlic aioli.
878 S. 900 E. SLC, UT 84102
The Copper Onion is consistently one of SLC's most acclaimed restaurants, and they serve up a big, flavorful burger with caramelized onions and red wine sauce on a substantial house-made bun, with hearty potato wedges on the side.
111 East Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Burger, fries, and a shake - or better yet a root beer float, because outstanding root beer is what made Hires popular when the place first opened for business in 1959. The onion rings are great, and oh yeah, the burgers are good, too. If you're in the mood, try the chili burger. Hires is a true drive-in where servers will bring food out to your car, and who doesn't secretly love eating in the car? Zagat named the Hires Big H one of their 25 best burgers in the USA in 2013.
425 S. 700 E., Salt Lake City, UT 84102
Additional locations in Midvale and West Valley: see the Hires website.
B & D Burgers, next to the University of Utah, is a favorite with college students and nostalgic locals. B&D offers burgers with creative topping options, chicken kabobs, gyros, zucchini fries, and dozens of shake flavors. The best day to go is Tuesday, when 1/4 lb. burgers are 99 cents.
222 S. 1300 E., Salt Lake City, UT 84102
7800 South State St., Midvale, UT 84047
Fiddler's Elbow is a neighborhood sports pub known for good food. Burgers come in regular or garlic, with your choice of toppings. They also have a vegetarian or vegan black bean burger. Get it with fries, or you could try the smash potato of the day - smashed potatoes with tasty mix-ins.
1063 E 2100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Salt Lakers have come to love Five Guys Burgers and Fries, a Virginia-based chain offering quality burgers, tons of toppings, and fresh-cut white or sweet potato fries that are cooked in peanut oil.
Locations around the valley; see the Five Guys website.
Apollo Burgers, Astro Burgers, Olympus Burgers
Greek-owned burger places pop up everywhere in Salt Lake City, and locals love them. Like Crown Burgers, Apollo, Astro, and Olympus are family owned burger/diner operations run by Greek-American families. They all serve pastrami burgers, plus a surprisingly large menu of American and Greek dishes. I'm obsessed with the chicken gyro from Olympus Burgers - a soft, puffy pita bread stuffed with a huge portion of juicy chicken, flavored with lemon and herbs and topped with tzatziki.
Vertical Diner, one of Salt Lake's favorite vegetarian restaurants, offers three kinds of veggie patties with appealing toppings like guacamole, jalapenos, and vegan cheese.
2280 South West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84115