A Quest to Find the Ultimate Burger

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The burger, a favorite on the American menu for decades, is a simple culinary delight. It became a popular choice in the post-World War Two period. Since then, the burger has set its place at the table of American cuisine and many chefs have fashioned their own versions. The quest to find the best burger in Chattanooga kept Chattanooga Magazine editorial assistant Ryan Bolton busy for weeks. Here are his top-five picks, with a few notable mentions too. Keep in mind that Bolton is from the UK, so his analysis is fresh and unsullied.

5. Public House, PH Burger
At Warehouse Row’s, The Public House, locally sourced ingredients are prepared for a variety of dining options, and its offspring The Social, presents a more relaxed personality with local beers on tap. The Public House and The Social are separated by the kitchen, which serves both venues with the same menu. On that menu you can joyously find the PH Burger that comes topped with aged cheddar and a side of fries (although it might be wise to switch the fries for the marinated mushrooms). Something just seems right about a burger with mushrooms and at the Public House they complement each other in a spectacular fashion.

4. Urban Stack, Good Day Sunshine
The smell of bacon is enough to get anyone salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs. Add a fried egg on top of the bacon and a succulent burger underneath and you have a combination guaranteed to give a love-at-first-bite effect. Urban Stack boasts ‘Killer Burgers and Manly Drinks’ and they certainly do not disappoint in their burger-making capabilities. Brandished on the back of the servers shirts is the saying ‘These burgers are kind of a big deal’ and there is no arguing with that statement at all. The blending of these appetizing favorites is a prime example of Urban Stack’s inventiveness.

The modern burger-stacking methods of Urban Stack are served in the oldest commercial building still standing in Chattanooga. Formerly the Southern Railway Freight Depot,  built in 1870, the archaic structure is now home to this chic restaurant. With a buzzing atmosphere, Urban Stack is no doubt the place to be in Chattanooga’s Southside, especially for a Good Day Sunshine.

3. The Terminal Brewhouse, Philosopher’s Burger
The antiquated-turned-modern building offers a unique structure to dine in. This narrow building is steeped in history, beginning its life in 1909 as a hotel for fatigued train passengers, it is rumored it then became home to speakeasies, during the prohibition era, and illegal casinos. Fast forward to the 21st Century and you will find a restaurant offering an array of top-class food and beer with an emphasis on local produce and eco-friendliness.
If the distinctive appearance of the Terminal Brewhouse doesn’t plunge you deep in thought, then one item on the menu surely will. The Philosopher’s Burger made of ground lamb seasoned with cinnamon, oregano, shallots, and sea salt is accompanied by red onions and feta aioli. The burger’s juiciness is beyond imagination.

The Gouda Burger, Tremont Tavern

The Gouda Burger

2. Tremont Tavern, The Gouda Burger
Affectionately known as Chattanooga’s Neighborhood Bar, Tremont Tavern goes the extra mile to certify their burgers are of supreme quality. They select the cuts and grind the meat in-house, and a high standard is undeniably achieved. Encountering a vast array of mouthwatering choices, the happy diner must make a selection, but through the advice of the welcoming staff he may be persuaded to opt for the popular Gouda Burger. Sitting on top of the smoked Gouda are fried onion straws which make for a faultless arrangement in the burger-sculpting world.

This diminutive destination maybe easy to miss as you travel up Hixson Pike, but if you love eating burgers in a milieu reminiscent of a British pub, then you should be sure to visit. With sports on the TV and enough wall decorations to keep you amused while waiting for your food, eating at the Tavern is something not to missed.

1. Brewhaus, The Glockenspiel Cheeseburger – A German Delight
It is not surprising that a German inspired gastro-pub would make it to the top of the list considering that the word hamburger derives from the German city of Hamburg. In the form of the Glockenspiel Cheeseburger our beer-swigging friends have produced a harmonious combination that will resonate to your taste buds like a Beethoven symphony would to your ears. Succulent ground beef topped with traditional sauerkraut, sweet pickled beets, and Swiss cheese unite between fresh baked German bread to conjure up a whirlwind of flavor. If that’s not German enough for you, try a side of spaetzle; German-styled egg noodles with onions and mushrooms in a pepper cream sauce.

Stereotypically of the Germans, the burger is constructed in such an organized fashion that with each bite you are able to get a mouthful of each ingredient without anything falling off as might be the case with other sadly constructed burgers. Brewhaus’ balcony allows you to enjoy views of Coolidge Park while devouring your burger and sipping on your ale. Truly wunderbar!

Notable mentions –Honest Pint, 3rd Deck Burger Bar, Steve’s Landing
Although not making the top five, it would be an injustice not to mention the towering 16-ounce Honest Pint Burger from the Irish-themed pub. This burger presents a mammoth of a challenge to even the hungriest of customers.

Also, the 3rd Deck Burger bar aboard the Southern Belle allows you to build your own burger while enjoying a view of the city from a riverfront perspective. Finally, Steve’s Landing on Soddy Lake provides a serene location with views of the waterfront and the “Steve’s Favorite” burger would be a fine choice.

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  1. Thanks for the tips, but truly feel you left out the one and only Burger that is a “MUST”, Main Street Meats Burger. We enjoy a good burger and Chattanooga is blessed to have a lot of good ones. The Main Street Meats Burger is by far the ultimate package. This cooked to perfection burger is LOCAL from bun to bun and everything in between, made to order, quality choice and fixins…. well pickled or spiced to perfection.

    If there’s one person you can trust to make a good burger it outta be your butcher right?? Even Tommy Boy told us that, ” I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take a butcher’s word for it.”

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