When you’re a certified burger junkie like me, September also signals the arrival of the best “food holiday” of the year. September 18 is National Cheeseburger Day and in anticipation of this hamburger holiday, the Downtown Sacramento Partnership has asked me to share some of my favorite Sacramento burgers.
We start our burger journey in the heart of downtown Sacramento at the historic Citizen Hotel. Their in-house hotel restaurant, Grange, serves some amazing, locally sourced dishes. I appreciate how they take burgers as seriously as their other, more upscale, menu items. You can find their cheeseburger changing based on what’s seasonally available. The chefs there, led by Executive Chef Oliver Ridgeway, regularly get creative by offering specials based on local events and holidays. One of my favorites, shown above, had some of the best spicy guacamole I’ve ever tasted.
Dad’s on J Street
If you prefer your burgers delivered on plastic trays and wrapped in checkered paper, you can find a great old school, diner style burger at Dad’s on J Street, located just a few steps from Grange. For less than the price of a couple of mochas, you can get a cooked to order bacon cheeseburger, fries and a drink in a fun atmosphere with great service. On September 17, 2015, you can even find Dad’s on J street competing for the best burger title at the sold out Sacramento Burger Battle charity event held in Cesar Chavez Plaza.
Nationwide Freezer Meats
Speaking of old school burgers, it’s hard to find a more classic Sacramento burger than the “French Ground Steakburger” at Nationwide Freezer Meats. Since 1969 they’ve been serving up freshly ground, hand formed burger patties that are grilled to perfection and served as single, double, triple, or even quadruple cheeseburgers. Although located slightly out of the downtown area on the corner of 20th and H Street, this is truly one of the best burgers in Sacramento.
Another local hotel restaurant that tops the burger charts is Dawson’s Steakhouse located inside of the Hyatt Regency on L Street. Their “Sacramento Finest Burger” featuring a locally sourced, grass-fed beef patty topped with melted goat cheddar cheese, house smoked bacon, and a BBQ sauce made from Track 7 Amber beer took first place in the 2014 Sacramento Burger Battle.
de Vere’s Irish Pub
I like finding burgers in unexpected places and the burger at de Vere’s Irish Pub took me pleasantly by surprise. Over the years, their Executive Chef Wes Nilssen has continued to impress me with his cheeseburger creations. Taking the time to double grind all of their beef in house and making sure they use only the best ingredients really makes their burgers stand out. In 2014, they won the People’s Choice vote at the Sacramento Burger Battle with their double ground, house smoked beef patty topped with gorgonzola cheese, arugula, fried onion strings and BACON JAM.
There are so many remarkable burgers in the Sacramento area, it’s a challenge to narrow it down to just 5. Ask me again tomorrow, and I might pick 5 different downtown burgers for you to try!
Rodney is a like a sommelier, but for hamburgers. He blogs about burgers and is the founder of the Sacramento Burger Battle charity event benefiting the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. He has judged international food competitions and can be found around town with a camera in one hand in a cheeseburger in the other. His food photography philosophy is “take a picture, it’ll last longer” and you can find some of his favorite burgers he’s created and eaten on his @burgerjunkies Instagram account.