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A tall burger topped with melted yellow cheese, sliced red tomatoes, pale green lettuce, and rings of purple onions on a golden bun. Fries in the background.
The classic cheeseburger with brown butter aioli from Mélange.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

16 Outstanding Burgers to Try in D.C.

In a burger-loving town, these patties stand tall

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The classic cheeseburger with brown butter aioli from Mélange.
| Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

A naturally portable food item that’s affordable by design, the humble hamburger emerged as big seller for D.C. restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. D.C. has long had a high-low love affair with ground beef patties from high-end hotels and steakhouses — Bourbon Steak’s lounge burger checks both boxes — to powerhouse chains with Mid-Atlantic roots (Shake Shack, Five Guys), pop-ups and food trucks done good (Mélange, Swizzler), and, more recently, cheffed-up ghost kitchens like Ghost Burger.

Most restaurants on this updated map are hyper-focused on the quality of beef they use and which cuts they blend into patties. Gourmet condiments and interesting accents abound. This list is all about animal protein, but veggie burger fans should plan a trip to D.C.’s meat-free hitmakers Plnt Burger and Bubbie’s.

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Soko Butcher

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On one side of this cozy butcher shop in Takoma Park, a full kitchen turns out deli sandwiches, bone broth, beef tallow fries, and more from the shop’s locally sourced, sustainable meats. The smash burger places a house-blended, 21-day, dry-aged beef patty atop a potato bun with American cheese and mayo. Follow Soko’s Instagram account for burger-of-the-week specials, like bacon-wrapped Impossible burgers with bacon jam, as well as breakfast burgers topped with breakfast sausage and egg.

The Avenue

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This neighborhood spot in Chevy Chase tops certified angus beef patties — one or two — with all the traditional cheeseburger accoutrements (shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and American cheese) but swaps ketchup for its tangy house “Avenue” sauce. The Avenue stuffs in all into a potato bun.

A plump patty topped with a slice of yellow-orange cheese on a burger bun sits next to a pile of French fries.
The Avenue’s cheeseburger.
The Avenue [official photo]

Slash Run

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The rock-n-roll dive in Petworth sends out a strong nine-burger lineup built with six-ounce Creekstone Farms beef patties. The “straight up and to the point” classic comes with lettuce, tomato, and onion, while an offbeat “barstool rodeo” barbecue works with finely ground coffee. Order online or dine in on its pink-and-black patio. A punky sibling called The Runaway recently debuted in Brookland with jet-black brioche burger buns from local baker Pop’s Buns.

Brookland's Finest Bar and Kitchen

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The Brookland neighborhood mainstay is known for its much-loved Colonel burger (certified Angus beef, pickled onions, Tillamook cheddar, applewood smoked bacon on a brioche bun). Served with hand-cut fries, chips, or a side salad. Order for pickup or indoor or patio dining.

Primrose

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During the pandemic, Brookland’s feathery French wine bar and bistro mastered the art of the smash burger with a temporary carryout operation dubbed Larry’s Chicken and Cheeseburgers. The best-selling burger is here to stay at Primrose, built with gooey gruyere, onion jam, mayo, steak fries.

Jack's Ranch Barbecue

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After opening as an Italian restaurant, this sprawling, 11,000-square-foot beast of a restaurant re-worked its menu and concept in May 2022 with a focus on Central Texas barbecue, figuring that customers really wanted what the restaurant group already knew — smoked meats. The burger comes with two prime beef patties with cheese on a sesame bun.

Lucky Buns (Multiple locations)

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Chef Alex McCoy’s Adams Morgan hangout (and Union Market stall) is devoted to burgers that top Creekstone Farms beef with globetrotting condiments like bacon XO jam, pickled beetroot, or a Thai chili take on D.C.’s treasured mumbo sauce. Another location is en route to the Wharf this fall.

Lucky Buns/Official

Garden District

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The Logan Circle beer garden and barbecue joint is a low-key option for one the best cheeseburgers in town. Order a burger basket, and supplement it with fried onion rings, fired pickle spears, or hush puppies.

A burger with pickles and tomatoes on a seasame bun sits on a blue and white checkered paper.
A burger from Garden District.
Garden District

Le Diplomate

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Le Diplomate’s “burger Americain” is a French-ified take on a Big Mac, complete with two patties, American cheese, pickles, onion, special sauce and, of course, pommes frites. It’s available on both the lunch and dinner menus.

Duke's Grocery

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The “proper burger” (gouda, pickles, charred onions, sweet chile sauce, arugula, garlic aioli, brioche bun) at Duke’s carries a registered trademark. The East London-style pub’s original location is in Dupont, but there are outposts in Woodley Park and Foggy Bottom. An additional location is en route to Navy Yard.

Ghostburger

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This virtual restaurant from Espita Mezcaleria and chef Rob Aikens, a devout burger designer, made such a hit that the the Southern Mexican restaurant in Shaw serves its burgers, cheesesteaks, and wings to sit-down customers. “La hamburguesa” comes with a single or double four-ounce LaFrieda beef patty queso Oaxaca, Espita’s salsa macha, and smoked tomatillo relish.

A thick beef patty on a golden bun is garniched with green lettuce and rust-colored salsa macha,
Ghostburger’s “la hamburguesa” is topped with white queso Oaxaca, rust-colored salsa macha, and smoked tomatillo relish to the patty
Ghostburger

Unconventional Diner

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Chef and owner David Deshaies upholds the burger standards he learned from mentor Michel Richard at Central, where a prime beef burger continues to wow downtown diners. Deshaies’s version at his cheeky diner in Shaw is a classic double cheeseburger with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and caramelized onions.

Mélange

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This may be the most diligently crafted burger in all of the District. Before chef Elias Taddesse opened his standout burger shop full of Ethiopian and French influences in Mount Vernon Triangle, he honed his recipe for three years at an attention-grabbing burger pop-up out of Wet Dog Tavern. A buttery bun, a deeply beefy mix of Roseda Farms cuts, and brown butter aioli make the “classic” a total knockout. Grab a pint of Taddesse’s toast-flavored ice cream while you’re at it.

A tall burger topped with melted yellow cheese, sliced red tomatoes, pale green lettuce, and rings of purple onions on a golden bun. Fries in the background.
The classic cheeseburger with brown butter aioli from Mélange.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Eat Brgz - Chinatown

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At this fast-casual, outside-the-box burger spot customers choose from a long list of “toppings” (carrot, cucumber, sauteed mushrooms, chorizo, and more), cheese, and seasoning to mix into their burgers, meaning nothing gets placed on top of the dry-aged Roseda Farms beef patty (there are other patty options as well) once it’s nestled into a squishy, freshly baked potato roll or gluten-free cauliflower bun, or placed on top of a salad. Sauces, like queso or tzatziki, come on the side for dipping. There’s also a location in Capitol Hill across from Eastern Market.

A burger next to fries on a silver tray.
Eat Brgz’s popular Mexico City burger features chorizo, red onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, Oaxaca cheese and taco seasoning. Fries come in classic, Cajun, jerk, or garlic Parmesan varieties.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Swizzler

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The D.C. food truck known for environmentally conscious versions of American cookout classics opened its first standalone restaurant in Navy Yard in 2020. Pillowy bread from Pop’s Buns in Northeast hold grass-fed beef patties sourced from Joyce Farms, a regenerative agriculture co-op in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

A beef burger patty with arugula, dill pickle, stack sauce, and Parmesan truffle fries.
Swizzler’s “Swizz Stack” (grass-fed beef, arugula, dill pickle, stack sauce) and Parmesan truffle fries.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The Salt Line

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The sprawling riverfront spot next to Nationals Park is known for its seafood towers and lobster rolls, but chef Kyle Bailey knows his way around a burger, too. The Salt Line’s version involves two ground chuck patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, mayo, and a sesame bun. Reserve a seat across its huge patio, or sit inside. There’s also a Salt Line in Ballston now too.

Soko Butcher

On one side of this cozy butcher shop in Takoma Park, a full kitchen turns out deli sandwiches, bone broth, beef tallow fries, and more from the shop’s locally sourced, sustainable meats. The smash burger places a house-blended, 21-day, dry-aged beef patty atop a potato bun with American cheese and mayo. Follow Soko’s Instagram account for burger-of-the-week specials, like bacon-wrapped Impossible burgers with bacon jam, as well as breakfast burgers topped with breakfast sausage and egg.

The Avenue

This neighborhood spot in Chevy Chase tops certified angus beef patties — one or two — with all the traditional cheeseburger accoutrements (shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and American cheese) but swaps ketchup for its tangy house “Avenue” sauce. The Avenue stuffs in all into a potato bun.

A plump patty topped with a slice of yellow-orange cheese on a burger bun sits next to a pile of French fries.
The Avenue’s cheeseburger.
The Avenue [official photo]

Slash Run

The rock-n-roll dive in Petworth sends out a strong nine-burger lineup built with six-ounce Creekstone Farms beef patties. The “straight up and to the point” classic comes with lettuce, tomato, and onion, while an offbeat “barstool rodeo” barbecue works with finely ground coffee. Order online or dine in on its pink-and-black patio. A punky sibling called The Runaway recently debuted in Brookland with jet-black brioche burger buns from local baker Pop’s Buns.

Brookland's Finest Bar and Kitchen

The Brookland neighborhood mainstay is known for its much-loved Colonel burger (certified Angus beef, pickled onions, Tillamook cheddar, applewood smoked bacon on a brioche bun). Served with hand-cut fries, chips, or a side salad. Order for pickup or indoor or patio dining.

Primrose

During the pandemic, Brookland’s feathery French wine bar and bistro mastered the art of the smash burger with a temporary carryout operation dubbed Larry’s Chicken and Cheeseburgers. The best-selling burger is here to stay at Primrose, built with gooey gruyere, onion jam, mayo, steak fries.

Jack's Ranch Barbecue

After opening as an Italian restaurant, this sprawling, 11,000-square-foot beast of a restaurant re-worked its menu and concept in May 2022 with a focus on Central Texas barbecue, figuring that customers really wanted what the restaurant group already knew — smoked meats. The burger comes with two prime beef patties with cheese on a sesame bun.

Lucky Buns (Multiple locations)

Chef Alex McCoy’s Adams Morgan hangout (and Union Market stall) is devoted to burgers that top Creekstone Farms beef with globetrotting condiments like bacon XO jam, pickled beetroot, or a Thai chili take on D.C.’s treasured mumbo sauce. Another location is en route to the Wharf this fall.

Lucky Buns/Official

Garden District

The Logan Circle beer garden and barbecue joint is a low-key option for one the best cheeseburgers in town. Order a burger basket, and supplement it with fried onion rings, fired pickle spears, or hush puppies.

A burger with pickles and tomatoes on a seasame bun sits on a blue and white checkered paper.
A burger from Garden District.
Garden District

Le Diplomate

Le Diplomate’s “burger Americain” is a French-ified take on a Big Mac, complete with two patties, American cheese, pickles, onion, special sauce and, of course, pommes frites. It’s available on both the lunch and dinner menus.

Duke's Grocery

The “proper burger” (gouda, pickles, charred onions, sweet chile sauce, arugula, garlic aioli, brioche bun) at Duke’s carries a registered trademark. The East London-style pub’s original location is in Dupont, but there are outposts in Woodley Park and Foggy Bottom. An additional location is en route to Navy Yard.

Ghostburger

This virtual restaurant from Espita Mezcaleria and chef Rob Aikens, a devout burger designer, made such a hit that the the Southern Mexican restaurant in Shaw serves its burgers, cheesesteaks, and wings to sit-down customers. “La hamburguesa” comes with a single or double four-ounce LaFrieda beef patty queso Oaxaca, Espita’s salsa macha, and smoked tomatillo relish.

A thick beef patty on a golden bun is garniched with green lettuce and rust-colored salsa macha,
Ghostburger’s “la hamburguesa” is topped with white queso Oaxaca, rust-colored salsa macha, and smoked tomatillo relish to the patty
Ghostburger

Unconventional Diner

Chef and owner David Deshaies upholds the burger standards he learned from mentor Michel Richard at Central, where a prime beef burger continues to wow downtown diners. Deshaies’s version at his cheeky diner in Shaw is a classic double cheeseburger with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and caramelized onions.

Mélange

This may be the most diligently crafted burger in all of the District. Before chef Elias Taddesse opened his standout burger shop full of Ethiopian and French influences in Mount Vernon Triangle, he honed his recipe for three years at an attention-grabbing burger pop-up out of Wet Dog Tavern. A buttery bun, a deeply beefy mix of Roseda Farms cuts, and brown butter aioli make the “classic” a total knockout. Grab a pint of Taddesse’s toast-flavored ice cream while you’re at it.

A tall burger topped with melted yellow cheese, sliced red tomatoes, pale green lettuce, and rings of purple onions on a golden bun. Fries in the background.
The classic cheeseburger with brown butter aioli from Mélange.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Eat Brgz - Chinatown

At this fast-casual, outside-the-box burger spot customers choose from a long list of “toppings” (carrot, cucumber, sauteed mushrooms, chorizo, and more), cheese, and seasoning to mix into their burgers, meaning nothing gets placed on top of the dry-aged Roseda Farms beef patty (there are other patty options as well) once it’s nestled into a squishy, freshly baked potato roll or gluten-free cauliflower bun, or placed on top of a salad. Sauces, like queso or tzatziki, come on the side for dipping. There’s also a location in Capitol Hill across from Eastern Market.

A burger next to fries on a silver tray.
Eat Brgz’s popular Mexico City burger features chorizo, red onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, Oaxaca cheese and taco seasoning. Fries come in classic, Cajun, jerk, or garlic Parmesan varieties.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Swizzler

The D.C. food truck known for environmentally conscious versions of American cookout classics opened its first standalone restaurant in Navy Yard in 2020. Pillowy bread from Pop’s Buns in Northeast hold grass-fed beef patties sourced from Joyce Farms, a regenerative agriculture co-op in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

A beef burger patty with arugula, dill pickle, stack sauce, and Parmesan truffle fries.
Swizzler’s “Swizz Stack” (grass-fed beef, arugula, dill pickle, stack sauce) and Parmesan truffle fries.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Related Maps

The Salt Line

The sprawling riverfront spot next to Nationals Park is known for its seafood towers and lobster rolls, but chef Kyle Bailey knows his way around a burger, too. The Salt Line’s version involves two ground chuck patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, mayo, and a sesame bun. Reserve a seat across its huge patio, or sit inside. There’s also a Salt Line in Ballston now too.

Related Maps