Last week we asked you for your recommendations for the best burgers from Mom-and-Pop restaurants (no chains). You love your burgers and did not disappoint!
We got a TON of responses. So, in order to make this long article useful, we are going to divide the recommendations alphabetically by state, then by city and town within that state.
A lot of you were lamenting the amazing burgers that used to be served at places that no longer exist. These places went under at various times and for various reasons, but a lot of these places went under recently as a result of the pandemic.
Those kinds of hardships are why I wanted to keep this article to independent restaurants as opposed to corporate chains. And in the interest of brevity (because this is going to be a long list), I am keeping this article to places still currently in business.
I also edited out people that just left a business name but no other comments. We didn’t just ask for your favorite burgers, we also wanted to know WHY these burgers were your favorites. You didn’t need to wax poetic, however, if you had absolutely nothing at all to say about the place or burgers, I have to assume they are not THAT good and/or you or your friends or family members own the establishment. (That might be the case if you did leave a comment, but at least we know something about the burger.) I did, however, include comments that at least singled out one particular burger at an establishment.
So who makes MY personal favorite on-the-road burger? The Peg House in Leggett, CA (see below).
WINNERS of the RVtravel.com best burger poll
When I started this poll, I did not expect any clear winners. That’s because RVtravel.com has a lot of readers, but they are spread out all over the United States (for the most part) and also Canada. We had entire states that did not get a single mention.
But surprise! A few places have burgers SO GOOD that several of you sent in comments about them.
I was surprised that any one burger joint got even two votes, but a few got more than that! Here’s a short list of those absolutely-not-to-be-missed burgers, before we present the full results:
Best burgers capital: San Antonio, NM
The Owl Bar and Buckhorn Café, both in San Antonio, New Mexico, made this city the best burger winner. Both got THREE recommendations each! People were torn on which they liked best, but all agreed that both are awesome!
Best burgers runner-up: Fields, OR
The Fields Station in Fields, Oregon, also snagged three separate recommendations in our poll.
More best burger joints that received more than one recommendation:
- Haunted Hamburgers, Jerome, AZ
- Hodad’s, Ocean Beach, CA
- Hudson’s Hamburgers, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
- Sid’s Diner, El Reno, OK
- The Green Chile Cheeseburger at Sparky’s, Hatch, NM
- Sugar Shack, Deadwood, SD
- Del’s, Richardson, TX
RVtravel.com readers’ best burgers by state (Canada too!)
Canadian readers or travelers, you will find those recommendations near the bottom of this post after the state-by-state breakdown.
The entries are divided by state (or province), then by town, with the name of the person who sent in the recommendation afterwards.
I think the best burger we found on our road trips is from Little Millers in Wasilla, Alaska. Also, try their ice cream. What a treat. We were skeptical after seeing so many signs of “World’s best or biggest,” etc. But this one lived up to the billing! I know it is a drive from where many live, but if you ever travel to Alaska, put this one on your list. We live in Kansas and I want to go back just for the burger.
Haunted Hamburger, I ordered a medium-cooked burger with Swiss cheese and jalapeños. It was without a doubt the best burger ever! The wait is worth it and we went back on our last trip to Cottonwood. Don’t miss this one, and don’t forget the bloody Marys!
I love blue cheese burgers, hands down. One rainy night in Lake Havasu, AZ, we were desperate for a good burger and ran into the Mudshark Brewery. We long ago learned that breweries sometimes have the best food, so we often give them a try. We sure lucked out this time! They make all their burgers from ground steak and it tasted like it! They didn’t spare the blue cheese and used real crumbles (vs. “dressing”). BEST burger ever, and trust me, I’ve tried plenty!!
Chuckbox Burger Joint. Downtown Tempe, Arizona. No one has even come close to matching their burgers. NO ONE.
A number of years ago while touring Death Valley, we had a hankering for a really good burger so we asked at different places in the valley area (and it’s a big valley) where to go. Everyone referred us to Furnace Creek Golf Course. I can still to this day, taste that burger. Yum!
Nessy Burger by a wide margin. A small shack located about 40 miles north of San Diego, right off the I-15. A cult-like following, truckers, gamblers, vacationers, and locals stand in line for up to 20 minutes for an incredible burger. Fresh ground meat, a mix of cuts. Fresh buns and fresh veggies. Topped off with their secret sauce. And some of the best fries anywhere. Been making the trip to the Nessy for 25 years. Never disappoints.
The Whitney Portal Store in Lone Pine, CA, has the absolutely best veggie burger I have ever had! The store has been a family-owned business for about 35 years.
The Guido Burger at Hodad’s Ocean Beach, CA, is the one!
Hodad’s, juicy, generous and well-dressed, if you like. Wife likes plain, I like it with everything. Both of us are delighted. Thanks and RIP Bossman.
—Charles L Baldwin
The Peg House, whose motto is “Never Don’t Stop,” makes amazing burgers. Right off the 101 in the beautiful redwoods, this place has great food all around. Burgers can be vegan or grass-fed beef. The styles change depending on the season and locally available accoutrements, but they are always excellent. This is a haute cuisine burger you would easily pay double or more for in Los Angeles.
Burgerlicious — get a double with fries/onion rings and a shake. Mine was good for two meals.
The Squeeze Inn, Sacramento. Hands down the best in the region.
Bridge Tender Tavern and Grill in Tahoe City, CA, at the corner of Highway 89 and West Lake Highway where the Truckee River empties into Lake Tahoe. The Blue Cheese hamburger will drip off your chin. Gatekeeper Museum is across the street. And you can watch the salmon try to swim upstream during the season. Tubing is available from up the river. Bon Appetít!
Big Burger World in Canon City, Colorado, has a huge and delicious burger and fries as well as wonderful milkshakes.
Burger Boy Drive In—The wife and I each had the Biggie Burger consisting of two quarter-pound patties along with their onion rings. Next trip, she wants to order the Quadzilla burger. Guess what that is?
The Cherry Cricket in the Cherry Creek area of Denver. Hands down the best burger in town. Prepared the way you want and always perfectly cooked.
—I. Ira Hertz
Sagebrush BBQ in Grand Lake serves a Rocky Mountain Elk Burger that’s to die for! Elk patty topped with Swiss, bacon, and a raspberry chipotle sauce that I could just lick up, LOL. We requested grilled onions on ours which perfectly complemented this burger. Literally one of the best burgers of my life! Served at 8,369 feet, in this charming town, was an eating experience that we’ll never forget.
Crash Burger in Montrose, Colorado. Their burgers and fries are great!
—Lee Ann Riddoch
Best burger in the U.S. is served in Pueblo, Colorado, at Gray’s Coors Tavern and it’s called the slop burger.
Ralph’s Burger House — made to order, also great shakes!
The cheeseburger at The Port Gin Mill in DeLand is big, fat, and juicy with a bun that’s toasted, but soft.
The Turtle Shack in Flagler Beach, Florida, has by far the VERY best burger you will ever put your mouth around or try to! Just look at the photo of the burger posted on their website!
Brick & Mortar serves absolutely the best burger I’ve ever had and I’ve had a lot. House ground tenderloin filet and short rib, bacon onion jam, aged white cheddar, arugula, roasted garlic aioli. Freshly ground every day.
Hudson’s Hamburgers in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has the best hamburgers I’ve ever eaten. They are a 5th generation small business that has been in operation for over 115 years!!! I’ve been eating there for 50 years and even though I no longer live close, if I get within 50 miles I will drive there for more than one burger. They only have maybe 25 counter stools so you will probably have to stand and wait a few minutes but their burgers are worth it. They don’t serve fries or milkshakes or lettuce either, this is a HAMBURGER joint with only pickle and/or onion.
Hudson’s Hamburgers has been independently owned by the same family for many years. They only serve hamburgers and pie. People line up down the block to wait for a stool at the counter, no tables.
The Bristol Tap has one of the best burgers in the Chicagoland area. Always fresh ground beef cooked to order (never rare), and it’s always seasoned just right. If you’re expecting a fancy place, keep moving!
Two places come to mind. One from childhood and one from a bit later. No other place I know of delivers on an HO Railroad. The Choo-Choo Diner has been serving this way since 1951. Great Place.
The other from Des Plaines, as well, The Beacon Tap has the Beacon Burger that you can get any way you want. Best for me is with cheese on dark rye with mayo, lettuce, a thin slice raw onion, and mustard, served along with the beer of the day!
Just south of Indianapolis in Franklin, Indiana, on the main drag is a storefront called The Grill Bar. It’s a friendly place that’s been there. Those in the know order the cheeseburger with a BAD beer (Big Ass Draft). Nothing glitzy, simply a delicious good old-fashioned beef burger with welcoming waitresses. Bonus: One mile from downtown is the County Fairgrounds with plenty of full hook-up sites at good prices.
The best burger in my neighborhood is Miner Dunn. That is on Indianapolis Blvd. in Highland.
My favorite ‘burger’ was the loose hamburger on a bun from The Canteen in the Alley. Grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa, in the 1940s. Returned to enjoy another about five years ago – still my favorite.
Burger Junkie in Arkansas City, Kansas. Not fast but very good, also very busy at noon.
Dovie’s in Tompkinsville, Kentucky. You’ll never taste another burger like it! They will ask if you want it “squeezed” (which I recommend). Cooked in deep grease, these aren’t for the faint of heart (or stomach), but they are delicious. Get the special sauce, too.
—Netta Clark Little
The Alumni Burger from the Alumni Grill has two beef patties topped with pulled pork, bacon, and American cheese. The burger patties are fresh, 100% beef, handmade, and never frozen. The pulled pork is so tender it melts in your mouth. Top it off with their Alumni Sauce and it’s heavenly!
I grew up on hamburgers from Speed’s Koffee Shop and they are the best I’ve ever had. Family-owned and around for at least 60 years, their menu hasn’t changed a bit. An olive burger, onion rings and a chocolate malt brings back the best memories!
The champion now is Miller’s on Michigan Avenue. No contest. It has also been recognized in polls left and right.
Laura’s Little Hamburg Joint — just classic American hamburgers, Olive is my favorite.
Spike’s Keg O Nails – nothing fancy, just REALLY good hamburgers at a reasonable price. Home of the Famous Spikeburger. Enjoy a hometown atmosphere and friendly service when you visit Spike’s Keg O Nails.
The best juicy hamburger in Northern Michigan is at Talley’s Log Cabin Bar. Get a bowl of chili with it, especially when you stop there while snowmobiling.
We were camping in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. On M-123 in Paradise, we discovered The Inn Gastropub & Smokehouse. I had the Brisket Hamburger with grilled onions and provolone cheese. The burger melted in my mouth. The waitress explained that they, in-house, make their own ketchup, smoke their meats, and hand chop their fries. This was a great place to eat, we will return.
—Andrew Kapusta Jr
Don’s Drive In makes great fresh, not frozen, burgers, and scoops of ice cream for the shakes and malts. Old fashioned drive-in, many years old. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
We also have a place nearby our residence that makes great burgers. That’s the Red Arrow Roadhouse in Union Pier, Mi. Get the Red Arrow (Angus) Burger.
Clyde’s Drive In, in the upper peninsula of Michigan, has three locations. Best burgers around. And the ambiance is incredible.
The Kee Kafé — back in 2018 when I ate there they had a burger that had fried olives on it, a big heaping pile of them with fried onions too. It was so good – an odd combo that worked great! I hope the place survived the Pandemic.
The Shed restaurant burger is the best burger along I-10. The restaurant is about a mile off I-10 in Ocean Spring, MS. It’s 1/2-pound of scrumptious beef smothered in onions, pickles, and tangy sauce with mouthwatering coleslaw on top. AND, you can bring your dog into the restaurant to finish what you can’t eat!
Red’s Giant Hamburg in Springfield, MO. Wonderful atmosphere and an iconic restaurant on Route 66.
We are full-time RVers and often get a hankering for a good burger. Sometimes we get lucky and other times we won’t go back. Our best burger ever was at the restaurant of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in St. Louis, Missouri. Everything about the burger was top-notch, from the bun to the beef. I would go back in a nanosecond.
The Black Mountain Burger Company has great burgers and is tucked into a small plaza on the Kancamagus Highway at the base of Loon Mountain, one of the premier ski areas in NH.
Five Star Burgers — Get the green chili cheeseburger with green chili aioli and avocado slices.
Sparky’s in Hatch, NM, has the best green chile cheeseburger. In fact, they won the best green chili cheeseburger at the NM state fair this year.
The green chile cheeseburger at Sparky’s is hands down the best burger ever. People drive miles for one.
My best burger was at a little diner called Tumbleweeds. All fresh and handmade. Super delish.
House of Flame’s burgers are always juicy, cooked perfectly, and delicious.
The Buckhorn Cafe in San Antonio, New Mexico. About 13 miles south of Socorro, New Mexico. It is at the junction of I-25 and Hwy 380. One time the state winner of the best chili cheeseburger, and winner of a challenge from Bobby Flay. Great size, tasty burger which will require a trip to the restroom to wash up when you finish. When I’m headed that way, I always plan a stop for lunch or dinner.
Owl Cafe in San Antonio, New Mexico, has the best Green Chile Cheeseburgers in the whole country. Voted best Green Chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico many times. Burger, cheese, onion, tomato, lettuce, pickle, Mayo, and, of course, green chiles! We go out of our way every time we are in NM for one! Near the site of the first atomic bomb tests. Robert Oppenheimer used to eat lunch there. Lots of memorabilia on the walks. Neat place.
Owl Cafe—I-25 off-ramp in New Mexico, between Truth or Consequences and Albuquerque, get the Hatch Green Chile Cheeseburger with raw onions.
San Antonio, New Mexico has a population of 9, and two good burger joints. Most folks are either team Buckhorn Cafe, or team Owl Cafe. The Buckhorn has the best green chile burger in the state — and beat Bobby Flay in a cookoff.
The Hatch Green Chile Cheeseburger at Plaza Cafe in Santa Fe is the best!
The Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant makes a great sirloin burger with maple bacon cheddar cheese and your choice of lettuce, tomato, and pickle. Plus, you can enjoy the view of the falls while dining!
PICC’s Pub makes everything fresh and juicy. Friendly service, good price.
The mushroom burger at Apple Betty’s on route 5 in Vernon, NY, is as good as it gets.
Pete’s Burgers is a local iconic burger joint with a huge following of loyal customers. Great food with a fixings bar that allows you to customize your burger any way you want. They also have the best fries on the planet!
Whiskey Trail Pub and Grill serves the best burgers, sandwiches, and drinks I’ve had. (And I’ve been all over the country.)
The best burger for me is the Bistro Burger at the Bistro 1100 — 10 oz. of great beef and bacon and all the fixings, delicious!
The Winking Lizard Tavern has great burgers. My favorite is the Hanson Burger with mushrooms and onions. The burger is made to order and is moist and flavorful. The Winking Lizard Tavern is locally owned. There are a few restaurants in the Cleveland area. You can get the same delicious burger in each location. Good quality food and a huge selection of beer keep me coming back.
Deep Fried Burger at The Deep Cut Tavern. That was MANY years ago (50+). I don’t know if they still serve them (I did hear they brought them back a few years ago) but they were big, juicy, full of flavor, and probably unhealthy as any burger in history. Makes me drool just remembering them.
The Hot Hamburger at Murphy’s Steakhouse — this is a hamburger served on a slice of white bread with thick-cut fries on it with delicious brown gravy poured over it. This is a very delicious combination. The restaurant was started by a vet after WW2 and is a Bartlesville area staple.
Sid’s Diner has absolutely the BEST onion burger in the USA and the fries are outstanding! Highly recommended!
—Jim and Zona Peterson
Sid’s Diner, El Reno, OK, serves the best burger I have ever had.
Little Mike’s is my go-to place. It is just your basic onion burger full of flavor. Have the napkins ready.
I have not been there in a while, but it should still be around. After all, The Fields Station has been serving hospitality, supplies, and burgers since 1881. The burgers, and 30+ flavors of real ice cream milkshakes, are the best anywhere. Just ask anyone who lives in Fields, Oregon, near the Alvord desert.
The Fields Station in Fields, OR. One of the best darn burgers and milkshakes you’ll ever find.
The Deluxe Burger at The Fields Station is the best! Also their world-famous milkshakes.
Junkyard Extreme Burgers and Brats uses top-quality beef, and serve an extra-large patty and bun and they grill the bottom bun in butter and fresh parmesan cheese!
In my opinion, the Deli Store in Rainier, Oregon, has the best burgers. I always order the cheeseburger basket special. This burger has the right amount of everything. I do order it without onions.
Sno Cap Drive-In. Hands Down! Nothing I’ve ever had even comes close.
CRAVING A BURGER? Make your own! This makes it easy.
Sara’s Drive-In at the mouth of Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA. All their food is delicious, but the Burgers and Shakes are fantastic! Presque Isle is absolutely beautiful with a 14-mile walking/biking/blading trail.
Blue & Grey Pub, they have a bunch of different burgers that are SO good.
We are full-timers who search out the best hamburgers wherever we go. We keep a journal concerning our travels to include a spreadsheet where we have rated burger joints focusing on Mom and Pop places. We decided to go to lunch at the Cheese Burger House in Ninety-Six. We had their basic cheeseburger with me having a double and my wife a single 1/3 lb. patty. The meat had great taste, buns were nicely grilled with lettuce, tomato, finely chopped onions, mustard, and ketchup with pickles. Have to say, their cheeseburger is rated “The Best” and at the very top of our list. This was not a fancy place, with the staff being very friendly and entertaining. It would be worth going back for their cheeseburgers. This is your classic old fashion burger joint (some called it a greasy spoon) so if you have kale eaters, leave them behind.
Sugar Shack north of Custer, South Dakota, on 385. Actually north of Hill City about 30 – 45 minutes. Absolutely the best burger I have ever had in over 72 years. Fix it your way, it doesn’t matter. The burger makes it!!!
Sugar Shack, in my opinion, has the best burgers. It’s worth the drive. Their Bubba Burger or Sugar Burger are a great choice.
Eagle Bar & Grill – I never would have even noticed the place but the local trolley driver recommended it and she was right, it was great. The decor was entertaining as well.
Earl’s Grille makes a good single, double or triple burger with anything you want on them. The monster burger is gigantic.
Brown’s Diner — driving by it you would not normally give any thought about going in. The only reason we did was because of relatives that live in Nashville. Best cheeseburger I have ever had and the cold beer, as well.
We live near Belton, Texas, and the best burger joint here is B Town Burgers. The staff is friendly and courteous. The burgers are thick and juicy, and their French fries are crispy and abundant. They do mostly burgers and a couple of BLTs.
Snapkas — it actually should say Mr. Snapka and Mrs. Snapka and it has been in business here since 1948! Their burgers (they have several different ones) taste like when mom or dad made hamburgers when I was a kid (now 74). It is an old-fashioned drive-in type place. You drive into a parking spot and turn on your headlights, out comes a wait person (used to call them car-hops) and takes your order. You sit in your air-conditioned car and wait for your order to be delivered by the same wait person. THEN you pay (note this is after receiving the order, not like chains where you pay first). Their prices are reasonable (for this day and age) and it is fun to see others in their cars waiting to order or for their order to be delivered.
We love Gonzales Burgers. These Burgers are made to order and huge. Be sure to come early as there is always a line, and do come hungry.
We workamped in an area in Hill Country of Texas in a small town called Junction. They had a little restaurant called Junction Burgers. Pricey but so good. Also when you ordered it came with fries, so you were well-fed going there. From what we were told, they had been there for a long time. We enjoyed eating there every visit.
Lelo’s Island Bar — get the Jack and Coke burger. Brightly colored facade with a dive feel, a great dog-friendly outdoor space, plentiful cold beer and amazing burgers. Once you’re done eating, you can walk across the street to the Gaff Bar and watch the belt sander races! Attached is the burger shot. I can only attach one photo, so I couldn’t send the outside picture.
My favorite “hole in the wall” hamburger joint has to be Del’s in old downtown Richardson, TX! They have actually been voted best in Dallas County several times. Their BLTs are to die for, fries enough for two and delicious. And I can’t leave off their root beer! The owner and his son run the place and always remember you if you have ever been there before. No parking for RVs but a fantastic place to drive to from wherever you are parked.
One of your most important requirements was that this was to be about a mom-and-pop business. You can’t get more “Father and son” than Del’s Charcoal Hamburgers in Richardson, right on the edge of Dallas. There are national chains that try to emulate the ambiance of Del’s, with its life-sized posters of Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne and antique muskets mounted on the walls. But this all takes a backseat to what is the delicious charcoal-fired grilled flavor that makes a Del’s Hamburger. When they throw that thick 1/3 lb burger on the grill (not a flat grill, which is actually a griddle and for cooking eggs and pancakes, and a sacrilege to cook any meat, other than bacon on, because the meat essentially cooks in its own grease!) – with a true grill that juice drips off of the meat, onto the fire, creating smoke that creates that delicious flavor that makes a Del’s Hamburger. The burgers and sides are all made to order so everything tastes super fresh. Naturally, they have all sorts of options you can build your burger from, but keep in mind, it’s not about the “rosemary infused, gluten-free, semolina bun”, it’s about the best-tasting piece of charcoal fire grilled meat, you can indulge in and at a reasonably moderate price to boot!
—Jose Perez Chiesa
Our favorite spot for a great burger is Ray’s Tavern. It’s been there for a very long time, is a favorite for river runners as well as the locals. Anytime we’re in the area, we make time to stop in, say hi to Virg and Raul and have a burger and fries!
—Bill and Sue Swensen
Capital Burger is hands down the best I’ve had. They are in a converted trailer in the parking lot of the General Store. They get all their ground beef from the owner’s neighbor’s ranch, fresh ground, never frozen. Torrey is right by Capital Reef National Park.
No Name Saloon, Park City, Utah. Best (and only) Buffalo Burger!
Me’s Burgers in Danville, VA. A lot of really good choices of burgers made with different combinations of fixings.
Roy’s Big Burger has been an institution in the little community of Lakeside, located on the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia, since 1961. Thousands of locals have flocked to the burger stand — still the original building — for those many years. Many come back to visit and reminisce when in town. Roy’s not only served good food, it provided part time jobs for local high school students who lived in the area. It has seen the community change from blue-collar baby boomers raising families to a more urban environment with coffee shops, boutiques, and young millennials. It still thrives as does Roy’s Big Burger, sitting in the midst of history.
The best vegetarian burger I’ve ever eaten was at Quickie Too in Tacoma, WA. This little restaurant is owned and run by Rastafarians. Pure vegetarian food! Best fries, chili, wraps, Mac ‘n Ezee, salad and sandwiches. Love this place. Wish there were more restaurants that served good vegetarian meals.
Our favorite burger is from The Ferry Crossing Bar & Grill. This is located on the Wisconsin River. There also is a free ferry that 15 vehicles at a time can cross the river. The “5 alarm” is my favorite; it’s pretty spicy, as the name indicates. Great place year around.
The Nite Owl Drive In, to me, serves the best burgers. They have been doing so since 1942.
Chester’s Drive In — great burger on a hard roll, lots of butter, friendly car-hops, priced right!
The Moose Outpost serves up an awesome-tasting cheeseburger with all the fixings. Locally raised beef. Fries and a huckleberry milkshake — doesn’t get any better.
RVtravel.com readers’ best burgers in Canada
There are two in Calgary, Alberta, I like. One is Inglewood Burgers in an older area in S.E. Calgary that serves an old-fashioned burger that just plain tastes good. The second is Boogies Burgers in N.E. Calgary, which has a lot of ideas that they put in their burgers that pique your taste buds. They both give an exceptional and satisfying experience.
Q-Burger — I can’t say more than “Oh my”!
Not in the U.S., but on Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia, Bigfoot Burgers just outside of Qualicum Beach on the way to Port Alberni. Far and away the BEST burgers ever! Try the 5-Alarm – further explanation not required.
The Fatboy from George’s Burgers & Subs is truly a monster. A classic Fatboy, loaded with Beef Patty, Cheese, Chili, Lettuce, Mayo, Mustard, Onions, Pickles, and Tomato — truly an outstanding burger. Two hands and an extra napkin required.
Webbers always serves a great burger. This place is busy like you wouldn’t believe. They have 25 or more people working there. The yard outside is clean, well-kept. Food is reasonably priced.