It should be a surprise that Greater Phoenix, one of the largest metro areas in the country, has a myriad of places where you can get a burger. Of course, there are fast food chains everywhere, and just about every bar and grill or restaurant serving American fare (and even many that don't) have a burger on the menu.
Americans love a good burger, and here in the Phoenix area you can discover your burger-related happy place. Here are my recommendations for great burgers in Phoenix, Scottsdale and nearby communities. Of course, all of these burger places have other items on the menu, in case you happen to be dining with someone who doesn't love burgers as much as you and I do.
I can't possible rank these, because my opinion would change every day depending on my mood! Consequently, they appear in no particular order.
The food truck was so popular that a brick-and-mortar location was the next logical step for this business that offers mostly burgers, fries, and shakes. Locals and workers in the area would be wise to seek out this very casual eatery at 32nd Street and Shea in Phoenix. Ask about the various aioli dips for your fries. The 3 Mac & Cheese Bites is one of the best deep fried mac 'n' cheese appetizers I've had — crispy on the outside and still cheesy-gooey on the inside. Burgers are 6 oz. each and get a thumbs up from me. With a root beer float, it was a meal, for a very reasonable price, that lasted me all day -- no dinner tonight! If you can't get to the restaurant, check online for public food truck events.
- Located in a strip mall, free parking
- When the patio is available, bring your pooch and order a Bow Wow Trio for him/her. Unconditional love just got even better!
- If you like watching TV while you eat your burger, you can do that here.
- Metal chairs
- Aioli is pronounced: ay-oh-lee
Relish Burger Bistro is located at the golf course at The Phoenician, a Scottsdale resort. The dining room is upscale golf; resort casual attire is appropriate. Golfers stop in for lunch after their round, so golf apparel is certainly acceptable. Burgers are pricey, but worth it.
- Since the restaurant is at the golf course and not the resort itself, parking is easy and free.
- There is a nice patio with golf course views for dining al fresco.
- Burgers are 100% Kobe style Wagyu beef. Turkey, salmon and veggie burgers also available.
- Premium selection of add-ons, like blue cheese cole slaw, fried shrimp and roasted mushrooms.
- Try the garlic seasoned tater tots!
- What's your preference? A milk shake with your burger, or one of about 70 brews?
Roaring Fork serves American food of the Old West, so naturally they have a great burger. It's called the Big Ass Burger, well, because it is bad ass. And big. It is a 12oz burger served with Poblano Pepper, Cheddar, Smoked Pepper Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, Pickles and French Fries.
- This isn't really a burger place; they only have the one burger on the menu.
- The bar is packed at happy hour, since the Big Ass Burger is on the bar menu with happy hour pricing.
- Restaurant has a cowboy/lodge ambiance but it is considered an upscale eatery.
- The restaurant is in Downtown Scottsdale, but not on a touristy street. It is in a business complex.
- Not open for lunch.
Every resort has a burger on the menu but I am especially find of the KW Smoked Brisket Burger at Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch. You can also get a Whole Grain Vegetable Burger with dried blueberries, faro and edamame. Not really a burger to me, but for some of you...
- the burger appears on both the lunch menu at BarSix40 as well as on the dinner and brunch menu at Kitchen West
- Both the restaurant and the bar in in the main building lobby
- free self-parking is not far from the lobby
Offering 10 oz burgers (or 5 oz Relapse Burgers) that are never frozen, grilled to order. Burgers are served on your choice of Traditional Brioche, Pretzel, Wheat Kaiser or Gluten Free bun and includes your choice of Skin-On Fries or Sweet PoTOToes and a pickle spear. Substitute any Rehab Burger with a Turkey Burger, Grilled Chicken Breast, Beef Chorizo Patty or Veggie Burger. You can tell by the photo that I couldn't decide on a sauce -- there are more than ten from which to choose! Locations in Downtown Scottsdale and Tempe off Mill Avenue.
- no burgers discounts at happy hour
- burger/bar setting is casual, with bicycles and surf boards serving as decor. Sit back. Relax.
Burger Theory is located in Central Phoenix at McDowell Road and 44th Street adjacent to the Holiday Inn. The 1/3 lb burgers are made fresh from a combination of Angus chuck, brisket and short rib. You can double or triple the burger. Don't want the bread? They'll give you lettuce wraps instead. You'd rather have a chicken breast instead of beef? Yeah, that's fine. No meat at all? They do it up meatless for you. Thumbs up for the fries and the brownie sundae.
- more than 15 TVs and cool bar
- spacious dining area, suitable for casual or business lunch
- 30+ local and regional craft beers
The Chuckbox is more about a burger adventure than a gourmet meal! This "rustic" place has been in business for more than 35 years, and is a staple for students at Arizona State University in Tempe as well as anyone attending a sporting event at ASU. The burgers are mesquite broiled to order -- and you'd better know what you want before your turn to order because the lines get long and they move them fast. The regular burger is 1/3 lb, or order a Great Big One at 1/2 lb. Or double that. There are a few items for non-burger eaters, but no many.
- parking is not plentiful
- seating (on crates) is not plentiful
- condiment bar lets you choose your own and pile up the tomatoes, pickles, peppers and such.
- cash only
Paradise Valley Burger Company
One of my issues with the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is that often the places that Guy Fieri visits are anything but dives. Not so at Paradise Valley Burger Company! It is the epitome of a dive, located in a seedy strip mall in northeast Phoenix. Get on line, place your order, find a table (the space is small and cramped) and wait for your food to be delivered. The burgers are 1/4lb-ers and the focus is on the fixins'. I don't agree with the hype -- I certainly wouldn't travel a long distance to go there. I didn't find anything special about the tater tots that other reviewers rave about. Still, so many people love this place that I had to include it. You decide!
- Popular/unique menu item: brulee burger with fried egg, bacon, onion, burnt sugar and havarti cheese
- You can visit Paradise Valley Burger Co. at Chase Field during regular season baseball games.
Kelly's is a neighborhood joint in Downtown Scottsdale. Somewhat off the beaten path, it's a favorite of locals who enjoy a somewhat traditional pub atmosphere with a better-than-pub menu. The burgers are a four-cut blend of short rib, sirloin, chuck, and brisket. As an added bonus, the truffle fries are thin cut and the onion strings aren't mostly bread crumbs; they are larger pieces of onions in a nice, lightly fried batter. Shown in the photo, Kelly’s Original Four Cut-Burger (upper) with mushrooms and peppers, and the Bourbon Egg Burger with a fried egg and bourbon BBQ sauce.
- If weather permits, enjoy your burgers on the patio, al fresco!
With locations in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert and Tucson this restaurant in the Sam Fox family of eateries will satisfy that burger craving. There are a few other items on the menu, but why go there? Pictured here are the signature Zinburger with Manchego Cheese and Zinfandel Braised Onions (foreground); Samburger with Applewood Smoked Bacon and American Cheese (upper left); and Breakfast Burger (upper right) with Fried Egg, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Avocado and American Cheese. Many other burger combinations can be created here. Burgers are slightly less than half a pound using Certified Angus Beef or Strauss Farms Grass-Fed Beef and ground daily, We shared the Spicy Chili Cheese Fries. Variations on a burger include Portabellas, Ahi, Turkey, Buffalo Chicken and Veggie.
- a new burger creation every week
- more than ten varieties of shakes and malts
- spicy green chile fries? Yes, please!
If you are lucky enough to be spending time in the Phoenix area in the winter, and if you love burgers (you wouldn't have read this far down in the article if you didn't!) you will want to buy a ticket to the Scottsdale Culinary Festival's Burger Battle where you can sample and vote for your favorites. This event sells out, so plan ahead to buy your tickets when they go on sale.