May is National Hamburger Month, but burger consumption is a nationwide obsession that can't be confined to a meager 31-day period. The quintessential American fast food likely came to the United States by way of the Hamburg-Amerika shipping line, but this ground meat 'sandwich' was refined on our soil. It was just what the working population needed, and when sprinkled with toppings and slathered with sauce, the hamburger became an American favorite. Today, the average citizen eats approximately 30 pounds of burgers annually, most of which are served by restaurants. If you're crazy about burgers, you might be wondering which states match your enthusiasm. Wonder no more.
Harold and Kumar had somewhere to go for their munchies because Walt Anderson and Billy Ingram launched the first hamburger chain in the world in Wichita in the 1920s. Time magazine named the square White Castle slider the Most Influential Burger of All Time. We have the Sunflower state to thank for many a satisfied craving.
Try The Cozy Inn in Salina if you're able. The lip-smacking sliders are available at bargain prices.
Minnesota takes its burgers so seriously that it went so far as to create the biggest hamburger ever at the Black Bear Casino Resort in 2012. The ginormous creation weighed a whopping 2,014 pounds. Clearly, Midwestern portions are generous.
Try the Blucy at Blue Door Pub in Minneapolis with blue cheese and garlic—it's reached cult status.
It was at the St. Louis World's fair held in 1904 that the humble hamburger gained traction. The food was well received by the German immigrant population of St. Louis and the general public, and the fair is deemed a momentous occasion in the history of the modern burger, for it was when the concept gained national exposure. Today, Branson is an excellent city to get your fix in the Ozarks.
Check out Danna's BBQ and Burger Shop, Branson's Burger Shack, or Level 2 Steakhouse.
The enormous double cheeseburger at Au Cheval in Chicago is what burger dreams are made of with pickles, a tangy Dijonnaise, and a fried egg if you're into the extra protein. It's served with a steak knife stuck into the top for added memorability. Of course, Illinois is well-known for its pizza, and the locals' passion for burgers, although fervent, is surpassed by their hot dog fixation.
Texas claims that Fletcher Davis invented the hamburger in Athens circa the 1880s. Uncle Fletch, as he was known, was urged to take his mouth-watering creation to the St. Louis World Fair, and the rest, as they say, is history. Texas is known for super-sized everything, so it's no shocker that the portion sizes here are substantial.
Fred's Texas Café in Fort Worth offers Tex-Mex burgers, and Hopdoddy, Pool Burger, Wholly Cow Burgers, and Swift's Attic are Austin gems. And the umami-rich Party Melt burger at Better Luck Tomorrow in Houston will inspire you—trust us on this.
The latest stats show that the Beaver State sure likes to chomp on burgers. Residents eat an average of 79 of them per year—the highest figure across all states. Utah and Arizona are hot on Oregon's heels and round out the top three.
Try the Bulgogi Burger at Five Stars Family Burger in Cornelius—it's a juicy Korean take on the standard burger. Oregon also serves up some of the best pizzas in the country.
Akron is another location embroiled in America's Great Burger Origin Debate. The Menches Brothers were Ohioans who ran out of sausage for their sandwiches at either the 1885 Erie County Fair or the 1892 Summit County Fair in Akron. They replaced the links with beef and helped change culinary culture forever. What's certain is that Wendy's was founded in Columbus. Columbus also happens to be a great pizza city, FYI.
Oklahoma is often in contention for most burgers eaten in a year. It's achieved the highest per capita annual consumption. Sid's Diner in El Reno is a sure bet. The Onion Burger here is legendary, with the onions smashed into the meat and caramelized.
Not for nothing does the Hamburger Hall of Fame lie in Seymour, WI. Seymour is one more possible inception point. It's said that Charlie Nagreen sold meatball sandwiches at the 1885 Seymour Fair, and this concept eventually became the hamburger. Either way, Milwaukee is a burger-loving city, and Mazos Hamburgers is a local institution operating since 1934.
There's no reason for vegans to feel left out at Atlanta's Slutty Vegan. The risqué eatery serves plant-based meals that are liable to convert anyone looking for moreish and more environmentally-friendly hamburger substitutes. Try the top seller, the One Night Stand, with vegan bacon and cheese. Yum!
Whether they're a part of sprawling lunch and dinner buffets in Las Vegas or prepped in Henderson, the burgers in Nevada are sinfully indulgent. Try the Quadruple Bypass Burger at Heart Attack Grill in Vegas if you need a 10,000-calorie boost. 595 Craft and Kitchen is an excellent alternative for burgers big on flavor and texture.
The burgers in New York City are as diverse as its people. You get fancy pants craft burgers, kosher burgers at Jewish delis, classics at retro diners, and the usual burger chain culprits.
For starters, check out Joe Jr. and Boilermaker, and then head to Pizza Loves Emily in Brooklyn. Food critics rave about the Emmy burger here. You're not allowed to ask for substitutions on any ingredients nestled between pretzel buns, and there's limited availability. Outside NYC, try the Benny Burger from Ben's Fresh in Port Jervis.
It's not just surfers and skaters that devour burgers here. California is the birthplace of Micky D's. The Big Mac, introduced in 1968, is as iconic as McDonald's golden arches and the 'I'm lovin' it' jingle. This Golden State chain has sold over 300 billion burgers since the 1940s, and the franchise is a hallmark of globalization. In-N-Out Burger also hails from the West Coast.
For something different, head over to Pie n' Burger in Pasadena or Chroni's Famous Sandwich Shop in LA for the best iteration of Cali's beloved chiliburger. Mission Bowling Club's Mission Burger is commendable and 4505 Burgers, also in San Francisco, has the "Best Damn Grass Fed Cheeseburger" on the menu. 'Nuff said.
The burgers in Florida are as playful as the theme parks. Adam's Egg in Daytona Beach sells a veggie burger that checks all the boxes, and Daytona Taproom serves glazed doughnuts and waffle burgers if you're feeling frisky. The Dirty Burger at Cecconi's in Miami Beach is actually pretty cute. Lacy crunchy parmesan is the perfect complement to the beef patty and special sauce.
There are more burger-crazy states out there! Connecticut, specifically New Haven (famous for its clam pizza), also believes it invented the American hamburger. Hawaii tops some lists for annual burger consumption. And Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Mississippi gobble down eyebrow-raising numbers of burgers on the 4th of July and beyond.