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

15 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 has been a 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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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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1. The Avenue

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5540 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20015
(202) 244-4567
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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, served between a potato bun. Order carryout, with dine-in across the patio or inside.

The Avenue’s cheeseburger
The Avenue [official photo]

2. Slash Run

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201 Upshur St NW, Washington
D.C., DC 20011
(202) 838-9929
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The rock-n-roll dive in Petworth sends out a strong nine-burger lineup built with 6-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.

3. Brookland's Finest Bar and Kitchen

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3126 12th St NE, Washington
D.C., DC 20017
(202) 636-0050
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The Brookland neighborhood mainstay is known for its beloved 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.

4. Lucky Buns (Multiple locations)

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2000 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 506-1713
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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 beloved mumbo sauce. Dine on-site or order online for pickup or delivery at both locations.

Lucky Buns/Official

5. garden district

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1801 14th St NW, Washington
D.C., DC 20009
(202) 695-2626
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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.

Garden District’s burger
Garden District’s burger 
Garden District [official]

6. Le Diplomate

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1601 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 332-3333
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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. Order delivery, takeout, or snag a reservations outdoors or inside.

7. Duke's Grocery

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6230, 1513 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 733-5623
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The “Proper Burger” that carries a registered trademark (gouda, pickles, charred onions, sweet chile sauce, arugula, garlic aioli, brioche bun) at Duke’s has launched the East London-style pub from the original location in Dupont to outposts in Woodley Park and Foggy Bottom. All offer delivery, takeout, or dine-in indoors and out.

8. Ghostburger

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1250 9th St NW, Washington
D.C., DC 20001
(202) 827-5237
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This virtual restaurant from Espita Mezcaleria and chef Rob Aikens, a devout burger designer, has been 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 queso Oaxaca, Espita’s salsa macha, and smoked tomatillo relish. Order for pickup or delivery.

Ghostburger’s La Hamburguesa is topped with white queso Oaxaca, rust-colored salsa macha, and smoked tomatillo relish to the patty
Ghostburger’s La Hamburguesa is topped with white queso Oaxaca, rust-colored salsa macha, and smoked tomatillo relish to the patty
Ghostburger [official]

9. Unconventional Diner

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1207 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 847-0122
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Chef-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. Dine in or order pickup or delivery.

10. Mélange

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449 K St NW, Washington
D.C., DC 20001
(202) 289-5471
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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 Mt. 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 deepy beefy mix of Roseda Farms cuts, and brown butter aioli make the Classic a total knockout. Order for pickup online, and grab a pint of Taddesse’s toast-flavored ice cream while you’re at it.

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

11. Present Company Public House

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438 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington
D.C., DC 20001
(202) 289-1100
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This converted firehouse pub is a laboratory of sorts for erstwhile fine dining chef Lincoln Fuge, whose dry-aged cheeseburger comes with cheddar, smoked onion jam, lettuce, tomato, and black pepper mayo. Complement it with one of his Hook and Ladder hot sauces (go for the smoked habanero rye) and a side of homemade tots. Kick back on the patio with a craft beer or eat indoors.

12. Proper 21 (Multiple locations)

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1319 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 847-3674
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Downtown sports bar Proper 21’s Proper Burger is a 7-ounce Angus beef patty topped with a cheesy blend, applewood smoked bacon, and caramelized onions on a potato bun. There’s also a double patty smash burger with crispy fried onions, and cherry pepper jam. A second location, Proper 21K, opened along the lobbyist corridor in Foggy Bottom.

13. Red Apron Butchery (Multiple locations)

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1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington
D.C., DC 20003

Nathan Anda’s Red Apron whole-animal butcher shops have a trusted name in D.C., particularly when it comes to ground beef. Locations in Union Market and Fairfax’s Mosaic District offer up classic double smash burgers topped with “island sauce.” The newest outpost, located inside Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Capitol Hill food hall, the Roost, serves the original Red Apron burger and a Smokehouse with a beef patty, American cheese, smoked pork shoulder, mustard barbecue and “magic” sauce, and bread and butter pickles on a challah bun. Beef fat fries are available a la carte. Order online for carryout (and delivery at the Roost).

The Red Apron at the Roost sells a Ginsburger with a beef patty, a chorizo patty, smoked pimento cheese, jalapeno relish, and cabbage slaw
The Red Apron at the Roost sells a Ginsburger with a beef patty, a chorizo patty, smoked pimento cheese, jalapeno relish, and cabbage slaw
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

14. Swizzler

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1259 First St SE, Washington
D.C., DC 20003
(202) 930-1499
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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. 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. Order online for pickup.

Swizzler’s “Swizz Stack” (grass-fed beef, 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

15. The Salt Line

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79 Potomac Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 506-2368
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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.

1. The Avenue

5540 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20015
The Avenue’s cheeseburger
The Avenue [official photo]

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, served between a potato bun. Order carryout, with dine-in across the patio or inside.

5540 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20015

2. Slash Run

201 Upshur St NW, Washington, D.C., DC 20011

The rock-n-roll dive in Petworth sends out a strong nine-burger lineup built with 6-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.

201 Upshur St NW, Washington
D.C., DC 20011

3. Brookland's Finest Bar and Kitchen

3126 12th St NE, Washington, D.C., DC 20017

The Brookland neighborhood mainstay is known for its beloved 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.

3126 12th St NE, Washington
D.C., DC 20017

4. Lucky Buns (Multiple locations)

2000 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Lucky Buns/Official

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 beloved mumbo sauce. Dine on-site or order online for pickup or delivery at both locations.

2000 18th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

5. garden district

1801 14th St NW, Washington, D.C., DC 20009
Garden District’s burger
Garden District’s burger 
Garden District [official]

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.

1801 14th St NW, Washington
D.C., DC 20009

6. Le Diplomate

1601 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

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. Order delivery, takeout, or snag a reservations outdoors or inside.

1601 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

7. Duke's Grocery

6230, 1513 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036

The “Proper Burger” that carries a registered trademark (gouda, pickles, charred onions, sweet chile sauce, arugula, garlic aioli, brioche bun) at Duke’s has launched the East London-style pub from the original location in Dupont to outposts in Woodley Park and Foggy Bottom. All offer delivery, takeout, or dine-in indoors and out.

6230, 1513 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

8. Ghostburger

1250 9th St NW, Washington, D.C., DC 20001
Ghostburger’s La Hamburguesa is topped with white queso Oaxaca, rust-colored salsa macha, and smoked tomatillo relish to the patty
Ghostburger’s La Hamburguesa is topped with white queso Oaxaca, rust-colored salsa macha, and smoked tomatillo relish to the patty
Ghostburger [official]

This virtual restaurant from Espita Mezcaleria and chef Rob Aikens, a devout burger designer, has been 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 queso Oaxaca, Espita’s salsa macha, and smoked tomatillo relish. Order for pickup or delivery.

1250 9th St NW, Washington
D.C., DC 20001

9. Unconventional Diner

1207 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Chef-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. Dine in or order pickup or delivery.

1207 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

10. Mélange

449 K St NW, Washington, D.C., DC 20001
The Classic cheeseburger with brown butter aioli from Mélange.
The Classic cheeseburger with brown butter aioli from Mélange.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

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 Mt. 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 deepy beefy mix of Roseda Farms cuts, and brown butter aioli make the Classic a total knockout. Order for pickup online, and grab a pint of Taddesse’s toast-flavored ice cream while you’re at it.

449 K St NW, Washington
D.C., DC 20001

11. Present Company Public House

438 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C., DC 20001

This converted firehouse pub is a laboratory of sorts for erstwhile fine dining chef Lincoln Fuge, whose dry-aged cheeseburger comes with cheddar, smoked onion jam, lettuce, tomato, and black pepper mayo. Complement it with one of his Hook and Ladder hot sauces (go for the smoked habanero rye) and a side of homemade tots. Kick back on the patio with a craft beer or eat indoors.

438 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington
D.C., DC 20001

12. Proper 21 (Multiple locations)

1319 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004

Downtown sports bar Proper 21’s Proper Burger is a 7-ounce Angus beef patty topped with a cheesy blend, applewood smoked bacon, and caramelized onions on a potato bun. There’s also a double patty smash burger with crispy fried onions, and cherry pepper jam. A second location, Proper 21K, opened along the lobbyist corridor in Foggy Bottom.

1319 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004

13. Red Apron Butchery (Multiple locations)

1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, D.C., DC 20003
The Red Apron at the Roost sells a Ginsburger with a beef patty, a chorizo patty, smoked pimento cheese, jalapeno relish, and cabbage slaw
The Red Apron at the Roost sells a Ginsburger with a beef patty, a chorizo patty, smoked pimento cheese, jalapeno relish, and cabbage slaw
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Nathan Anda’s Red Apron whole-animal butcher shops have a trusted name in D.C., particularly when it comes to ground beef. Locations in Union Market and Fairfax’s Mosaic District offer up classic double smash burgers topped with “island sauce.” The newest outpost, located inside Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Capitol Hill food hall, the Roost, serves the original Red Apron burger and a Smokehouse with a beef patty, American cheese, smoked pork shoulder, mustard barbecue and “magic” sauce, and bread and butter pickles on a challah bun. Beef fat fries are available a la carte. Order online for carryout (and delivery at the Roost).

1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington
D.C., DC 20003

14. Swizzler

1259 First St SE, Washington, D.C., DC 20003
Swizzler’s “Swizz Stack” (grass-fed beef, 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 D.C. food truck known for environmentally conscious versions of American cookout classics opened its first standalone restaurant in Navy Yard. 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. Order online for pickup.

1259 First St SE, Washington
D.C., DC 20003

15. The Salt Line

79 Potomac Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003

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.

79 Potomac Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003

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