Local Burger Chains the Rest of the Country Needs

Hopdoddy Burger

Alan H./Yelp

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Regional Burger Chains We All Need
miodrag ignjatovic/istockphoto

Burger Pride

Not all fast food burgers are on a level playing field, and as Americans we pride ourselves on the delicious quirks of our local burger joints and feel the rest of the country is missing out. From old-school smashed burgers to sliders and the upscale, here are the best regional burger chains the rest of the country desperately needs to taste.

Related: From Mongols to McDonald's: A History of the Humble Hamburger 

Culver's Burger
Morgan M./Yelp


Region: Midwest, South
Culver's opened in Sauk City, Wisconsin, in 1984 and has expanded to nearly 700 locations in two dozen states. Fans flock to its signature Butterburgers — never-frozen local beef that's smashed and seared and served on a well-buttered, toasted bun, which pairs perfectly with the chain's creamy, slow-churned frozen custard. True Cheeseheads won't skip the fried cheese curds, made with Wisconsin cheddar.

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Whataburger Burger
Cassie M./Yelp


Region: South
You can spot this 67-year-old Texas-based favorite easily (and tell it from the Virginia-based What-A-Burger) thanks to its distinctive orange-and-white-striped packaging and A-frame roof. Whataburger really shines with its Southern charms, including specialty burgers such as the green chile double and avocado bacon burgers, patty melts on buttery Texas toast, and biscuits for breakfast. Order a burger "all the way" and wash it all down with sweet tea or a malt.

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In-N-Out Burger
Albert H./Yelp


Region: West Coast, Southwest
This California legend, with its endearingly retro style, has earned legions of fans since opening in 1948. Celebrated for its never-frozen, freshly made burgers, In-N-Out loyalists can customize infinitely with the not-so-secret menu, including the popular "Animal Style." The chain can now be found in Nevada, Utah, Texas, Arizona, and Oregon, but may not go much further, given the company's emphasis on freshness.

White Castle Sliders
Jeff K./Yelp

White Castle

Region: Midwest and Mid-Atlantic
White Castle opened in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas — in competition with A&W for first fast food eatery — and earned a loyal following for its sliders, low prices, and castle-shaped buildings. The small, square burgers are grilled atop shredded onions, with the bun atop the burger; a pickle slides in after the steaming. The chain has inspired songs and movies, yet still hasn't taken over the country.

Hopdoddy Burger
Alan H./Yelp


Region: Texas, Southwest
Austin-based Hopdoddy — named for the "hops" in beer served there and "doddy," a breed of Scottish cow — is one of the newer chains, but building a following quickly for its creative burgers with fresh and local ingredients, as well as its charitable efforts. From the Llano Poblano with peppers, bacon, and jack cheese to the Greek with feta and red onions, these are hearty, upscale burgers.

Bareburger Burger
Ankita N./Yelp


Region: East Coast, California, Ohio
At Bareburger, a lot of emphasis is placed on sustainability and organic ingredients, and their efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2016, Bareburger won the James Beard “Blended Burger Project.” The chain serves a 100 percent organic blend of brisket, chuck and short rib beef from Vermont in hefty burgers ranging from the Supreme featuring American cheese and Black Forest bacon on brioche bun to the El Matador that features queso fresco, spicy pico de gallo and pickled jalapeños. The menu isn’t strictly limited to beef, either: The Blazin’ Bison buffalo burger sports queso fundido, Sriracha mayo, and Napa slaw.

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Blake's Lotaburger Burger
Kyle J./Yelp

Blake's Lotaburger

Region: Southwest
Found mostly in New Mexico with a few locations in Arizona and Texas, Blake's Lotaburger is best known for topping its Angus beef patties with Hatch green chiles, New Mexico's celebrated, smoked chiles with a kick. Lotaburger even made a cameo in the TV series "Breaking Bad." Fans also go for the Frito Pie — Fritos topped with chile con carne and toppings.

Burgers, Beer, Bourbon

B Restaurants

Region: East Coast
For B Restaurants, the focus is three-fold: burgers, beer, and bourbon. This decidedly more upscale chain — all burgers are more than $10 — offers in-house ground, antibiotic- and hormone-free beef along with several interesting twists on the burger theme. The Squealer burger is half pork and half beef with bacon to boot. The chain also offers sandwiches made with vegetarian Impossible Burger brand patties. Their wide array of beers and whiskeys, along with their innovative menu would easily make B Restaurants a date-night burger destination. 

Andy N./Yelp


Region: Pacific Northwest
Since opening in 1961 in Vancouver, Washington, Burgerville has expanded slowly through the state and into Oregon, while maintaining eco-friendly and progressive business practices. Beloved for its locally, sustainably sourced burgers topped with Tillamook cheddar, fans also champion seasonal specials such as Walla Walla sweet onion rings and milkshakes with farm-fresh ingredients.

Milo's Hamburgers
Harumi C./Yelp


Region: Alabama
Milo's has locations only in Alabama, but the legend of its burgers smothered in a secret sauce has spread far and wide. Milo's burgers feature a grilled patty with a small bit of patty added on top for "a little something extra" and is topped with onions, pickles, and plenty of sauce, all on a toasted bun. Follow it up with a sweet tea and a hot fruit pie.

Krystal Burgers
Jennifer A./Yelp


Region: South
Considered the Southern equivalent to White Castle, Krystal began in Tennessee in 1932 and has since expanded to 11 states throughout the South. The small, square sliders feature a grilled beef patty topped with diced onions, dill pickle, and mustard on a squishy bun, with cheese and bacon options. Even its hot dogs and chicken sandwiches come in miniature form.

Pal's Sudden Service
Kimberly J./Yelp

Pal's Sudden Service

Region: Tennessee, Virginia
Easily spotted by the massive fiberglass burgers and hot dogs outside, Pal's Sudden Service has been going strong since 1956, found only in east Tennessee and southwest Virginia. Pal's is known for friendly and super fast service, loyal customers, and quality burgers — fans flock for the double Big Pal with two one-third pound beef patties, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion, with the option of cheese and bacon.