Madison, Wisconsin, is known for its love of burgers. Whether you prefer classic beef burgers, gourmet creations, or vegan options, there's a burger joint in Madison that caters to your cravings. In this comprehensive guide, we'll take a deep dive into the fascinating history of burgers in Madison, explore what makes a great burger, and introduce you to the top 10 burger places in the city. We'll also cover the unique burger flavors of Madison, vegetarian and vegan options, and where to find the best burger deals and discounts. Finally, we'll tackle the ultimate burger challenge: trying all the best burgers in Madison. So buckle up, burger lovers, and get ready for a mouth-watering adventure!
The history of burgers in Madison
Madison has a long and proud history of serving up delicious burgers. Burger joints have been a staple of the city's culinary scene since the early 1900s, when diners flocked to the city's first burger stand, the legendary "Bobby's Burger Stand." Today, Madison is home to some of the most renowned burger places in the country, and burgers remain an important part of the local diet.
One of the most popular burger places in Madison is "The Nitty Gritty," which has been serving up burgers since 1969. The restaurant is famous for its "Gritty Burgers," which are made with a secret blend of spices and served with a side of "Gritty Fries." The Nitty Gritty is also known for its "Birthday Club," which offers free burgers to customers on their birthdays.
Another popular burger spot in Madison is "Dotty Dumpling's Dowry," which has been serving up burgers since 1972. The restaurant is known for its creative burger toppings, such as peanut butter and bacon, and its extensive beer selection. Dotty Dumpling's Dowry has won numerous awards for its burgers, including "Best Burger in Madison" from Madison Magazine.
What makes a great burger?
There are several factors that contribute to a great burger. First and foremost, the beef should be of excellent quality, ideally grass-fed and locally sourced. Second, the burger should be cooked to perfection, preferably on an open flame grill to achieve a nice char. Third, the bun should be fresh and soft, and toasted to give it a crispy texture. Finally, the toppings and condiments should be carefully chosen to complement the flavors of the burger, whether it's crispy bacon, sautéed onions, or tangy barbecue sauce.
Another important factor in making a great burger is the ratio of meat to fat. A good burger should have a high percentage of fat to keep it juicy and flavorful. Additionally, the seasoning of the meat is crucial to enhance the taste of the burger. A blend of salt, pepper, and other spices can make a big difference in the overall flavor.
Lastly, the cooking time and temperature are essential to achieving the perfect burger. Overcooking can result in a dry and tough burger, while undercooking can lead to a raw and unsafe burger. It's important to find the right balance and cook the burger to the desired level of doneness, whether it's rare, medium, or well-done.
Top 10 burger places in Madison
Without further ado, here are our picks for the top 10 burger places in Madison:
- Dotty Dumpling's Dowry
- Bassett Street Brunch Club
- The Old Fashioned
- Mickey's Dairy Bar
- The Weary Traveler Freehouse
- Tip Top Tavern
- State Street Brats
Madison, Wisconsin is known for its delicious burgers and these top 10 burger places are just the beginning. If you're looking for a unique burger experience, try the "Mac Attack" burger at DLUX, which is topped with mac and cheese. Or head to The Old Fashioned for their famous "Wisconsin Burger" made with local beef and topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, and a fried egg.
If you're in the mood for a classic burger, Dotty Dumpling's Dowry is the place to go. They've been serving up juicy burgers since 1972 and have a variety of toppings to choose from. For a more upscale burger experience, Graze offers a "Farm Burger" made with grass-fed beef and topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, and a fried egg.
The unique burger flavors of Madison
Madison is home to some of the most unique burger flavors in the country. Some of our favorite creations include the "Badger Burger" at the Old Fashioned, topped with cheese curds and bacon; the "Mac Attack" burger at Madison's Grill, featuring mac and cheese-stuffed beef patties; and the "El Jefe" burger at DLUX, which is topped with guacamole, pickled jalapeños, and chipotle mayo. Whether you're a traditionalist or an adventurous eater, there's a Madison burger out there for you.
But it's not just the toppings that make Madison's burgers stand out. Many of the city's restaurants use locally sourced, grass-fed beef to create their patties, resulting in a fresher and more flavorful burger. Additionally, several establishments offer vegetarian and vegan burger options, such as the "Impossible Burger" at Graze, which is made entirely from plant-based ingredients but still packs a punch of flavor. No matter your dietary preferences, Madison's burger scene has something for everyone.
Vegetarian and vegan burger options in Madison
For those who don't eat meat, Madison also offers an impressive array of vegetarian and vegan burger options. Try the "Impossible Burger" at DLUX or the "Veggie Burger" at Graze for a delicious plant-based meal.
Another great option for vegetarian and vegan burgers in Madison is the "Beyond Burger" at The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company. This burger is made with a plant-based patty that looks and tastes like real meat. It's served with all the classic burger toppings and a side of fries.
If you're looking for a more unique burger experience, head to Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar for their "Shiitake Mushroom Burger." This burger is made with a hearty shiitake mushroom patty, topped with miso mayo, pickled red onions, and arugula. It's served on a brioche bun and comes with a side of crispy sweet potato fries.
Best burger deals and discounts in Madison
If you're looking for great deals on burgers in Madison, you're in luck. Many burger joints offer daily specials, happy hour discounts, and foodie events throughout the year. Check out the websites and social media pages of your favorite burger places to stay up to date on the latest deals.
One of the best burger deals in Madison can be found at The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. Every Monday, they offer their classic Great Dane Burger for only $5.99. Another great option is Dotty Dumpling's Dowry, which has a "Burger of the Month" special that features unique and creative toppings.
For those looking for a vegetarian or vegan option, Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar offers a delicious plant-based burger made with a mushroom and lentil patty. They also have a happy hour special where you can get $2 off any burger on their menu.
The ultimate burger challenge: trying all the best burgers in Madison
If you're up for a burger challenge, why not try to sample all of the best burgers in Madison? This could mean visiting all of the burger places on our top 10 list, or creating your own itinerary based on your personal preferences. Whatever approach you take, be sure to document your journey and share your experiences with other burger lovers.
Madison is known for its diverse burger scene, with options ranging from classic cheeseburgers to unique creations like peanut butter and jelly burgers. As you embark on your burger challenge, don't be afraid to try something new and unexpected. Who knows, you may discover a new favorite burger combination that you never would have thought to try before. And don't forget to take breaks in between burger tastings to explore all that Madison has to offer, from its beautiful parks to its vibrant arts and culture scene.
Where to find the juiciest burgers in Madison
The juiciness of a burger depends on a number of factors, including the quality of the beef, the cooking method, and the toppings. In general, though, burgers that are cooked medium-rare tend to be the juiciest. Some Madison burger places that are known for their juicy burgers include Dotty Dumpling's Dowry, Mickey's Dairy Bar, and the Weary Traveler Freehouse.
However, if you're looking for a unique twist on a juicy burger, try the "Juicy Lucy" at the Nitty Gritty. This burger is stuffed with cheese, which adds an extra burst of flavor and juiciness. Another great option is the "Burger of the Gods" at Graze, which features a juicy beef patty topped with bacon, blue cheese, and a fried egg.
The most Instagram-worthy burgers in Madison
For those who love to document their culinary experiences on social media, there are plenty of Instagram-worthy burgers in Madison. Consider trying the "Fatty Melt" at the Old Fashioned, which is a burger sandwiched between two grilled cheese sandwiches; the "Big Tex" burger at the Bassett Street Brunch Club, which is topped with a fried egg; or the "Hangover Burger" at Mickey's Dairy Bar, which features hash browns and hollandaise sauce.
But if you're looking for something truly unique, head over to DLUX. Their "Mac Attack" burger is a fan favorite, featuring a beef patty topped with mac and cheese, bacon, and scallions. And for those who want to try something a little more adventurous, the "El Diablo" burger at Graze is a spicy option with jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, and chipotle aioli. No matter which burger you choose, be sure to snap a photo before taking a bite!
The rise of gourmet burgers in Madison
In recent years, gourmet burgers have become increasingly popular in Madison. These burgers often feature high-end ingredients such as truffle aioli, brie cheese, and foie gras. Some of the best gourmet burger places in Madison include DLUX, Graze, and End Tavern.
One reason for the rise of gourmet burgers in Madison is the city's thriving food scene. With a growing number of foodies and culinary enthusiasts, there is a demand for unique and high-quality food options. Gourmet burgers offer a twist on a classic American dish, making them a popular choice among locals and visitors alike.
Additionally, many of the gourmet burger places in Madison offer a variety of vegetarian and vegan options. These burgers often feature plant-based patties made from ingredients such as black beans, quinoa, and mushrooms. This inclusivity has helped to make gourmet burgers a staple in the Madison food scene, appealing to a wide range of dietary preferences.
How to make the perfect homemade burger like a Madison chef
If you want to try your hand at making the perfect burger at home, follow these tips from Madison chefs:
- Choose high-quality beef and season it with salt and pepper before cooking.
- Cook the burger on an open flame grill, if possible.
- Toast the bun and add a spread of your choice, such as mayonnaise or mustard.
- Choose fresh, flavorful toppings that complement the burger.
The healthiest (and tastiest) burger options in Madison
If you're watching your calorie intake but still want to indulge in a burger, there are several healthy options available in Madison. Look for burgers that are made with lean beef or turkey, or opt for veggie burgers. Many burger places also offer salads or vegetable side dishes to round out your meal.
A walking tour of the best burger joints in downtown Madison
If you're a fan of walking tours and burgers, why not combine the two with a walking tour of the best burger joints in downtown Madison? Some places to hit on your tour include the Old Fashioned, the Weary Traveler Freehouse, and DLUX.
Burger joints with the best outdoor seating and views in Madison
In the warmer months, Madison's many burger joints offer some of the best outdoor seating and views in the city. Check out the patio at the End Tavern for sprawling views of Lake Mendota, or head to the State Street Brats for a lively outdoor atmosphere. No matter where you choose to dine, you're sure to enjoy the beautiful scenery and delicious burgers.
So there you have it, burger lovers: a comprehensive guide to the best burgers in Madison. Whether you're a local resident or a visitor, we hope this guide has inspired you to try some new burger places and flavors, and to appreciate the rich history and culinary creativity that make Madison's burger scene so unique and beloved.