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A bacon cheeseburger at D.C.’s debut Capital Burger.
Capital Burger/Facebook

11 Tempting Burgers to Try Right Now

Taste the latest from James Beard Award winners, hoagie makers, and more

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A bacon cheeseburger at D.C.’s debut Capital Burger.
| Capital Burger/Facebook

It’s been over a year since Eater updated the burger heatmap, and plenty has changed in the local dining scene.

While some additions to this list are from out-of-towners attempting to make a good first impression in the District, the majority of the offerings are from local chefs who love meaty, sloppy, towering burgers as much as — if not more than — meat-obsessed D.C. diners. And the burger worship shows no signs of stopping: Brookland wine bar Primrose now serves a “secret” burger a few nights a week, while D.C.’s debut Taco Bamba built a “royale with cheese” taco featuring chopped burger meat into its opening menu.

Here are 11 new burgers to savor right now.

Note: The featured restaurants are not ranked. The map is arranged geographically from north to south.

Prefer to stick with an old favorite? Check out the essential burgers map.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Milkboy Arthouse

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College kids aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits of having this Philly restaurant roll into town. Eater has spotted egg-topped “hangover” burgers in front of co-workers having business lunches, as well as being picked apart by couples during dinner. The gloriously messy production features savory beef, a fried egg, smoked bacon, pickled hot peppers, and zesty chile mayo. Add a side of cheesy breakfast fries for a heart-stopper of a meal.

The hangover burger at Milkboy Arthouse.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

A Rake's Bar

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James Beard Foundation Award-winner Spike Gjerde puts the blazing hearth at his debut D.C. restaurant to good use in making Rake’s house burger. The meat is sparingly seasoned and finely ground. Melted white cheddar envelopes the grilled beef. Thick cut pickle chips add a vinegary pop. Lightly charred onions add smoke to every bite.

Gaslight Tavern

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Chef Brendan L’Etoile didn’t have to put a burger on the menu at the upscale bar and eatery that recently joined the U Street dining scene. But local diners sure are glad he did. The house burger features juicy beef patties, zesty onions, gooey melted cheese, tangy dressing, and smoked ketchup. “When you are full from a meal and still look at the burger longingly, you know it’s good,” a diner who was almost out the door commented upon spying a burger on a nearby table.

The gourmet burger at Gaslight Tavern.
Gaslight Tavern [Official photo]

Lucky Buns

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Restaurateur Alex McCoy draws inspiration from around the globe for the specialty burgers he serves at Lucky Buns. Toppings range from nutty gouda to savory bacon jam to refreshing pineapple. A current favorite, El Jefe, weaves together grilled beef, creamy queso fresco, fiery green chile relish, piquant red onion, and yellow mustard. Feeling adventurous? Add rashers ($2), a runny egg ($1), or avocado ($2) to any order.

A double bogan burger at Lucky Buns.
Lucky Buns/Facebook

Taylor Gourmet (Multiple locations)

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Though its claim to fame is hoagies, homegrown chain Taylor Gourmet is having fun with the limited-edition SP double stack. The seasonal burger, which briefly popped onto the scene last summer and is currently offered at all Taylor shops, is everything a Big Mac should be. There’s multiple beef patties, melted American cheese, diced pickles, shredded lettuce, seeded buns. And, of course, tongue-teasing secret sauce. The burger chains better watch out.

The limited-edition burger at Taylor Gourmet.
Taylor Gourmet/Facebook

Unconventional Diner

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Chef turned restaurateur David Deshaies is putting his stamp on everything from nachos to meatloaf at his new Shaw eatery. Same goes for burgers. His gourmet cheeseburger features a roughly quarter pound patty cooked to medium/medium-well that’s then shrouded in melted cheese, topped with peppery brisket, and swabbed with creamy dijonnaise. Want more? Fold in bacon or a fried egg for $2 extra (each).

An egg-topped double cheeseburger at Unconventional Diner.
Unconventional Diner/Facebook

Capital Burger

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Staff at this casual spin-off of steak chain the Capital Grille tout a French onion-style burger as the runaway favorite, but tell Eater a mushroom-Swiss combo and truffle-blue cheese creation continue battling it out for second. It’s no contest. The truffle burger delivers sauteed onions spooned into a mass of fragrant blue cheese that runs down the sides of the juicy patty.

Rare Steakhouse and Tavern

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In addition to serving the requisite steaks, chops, and seafood expense account diners are used to, this Midwestern import offers a gourmet cheeseburger in the casual, ground floor tavern. There’s no ketchup or mayo to hide any flaws. Just cooked-to-order, tender dry-aged beef capped with melted cheddar, raw red onion, pickle chips, and a slice of tomato. A side of extra crispy, herb-speckled fries completes the meal.

The house burger at Rare Steakhouse and Tavern.
Warren Rojas/ Eater DC

Kith and Kin

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At his new Wharf restaurant, Top Chef alum Kwame Onwuachi caters to fans of hand-held meals with hot chicken sandwiches and a house burger. The towering meal features twin patties smothered in two types of cheese, caramelized onions, garlic aioli, shredded lettuce, thinly sliced pickle chips, and strips of crunchy bacon. Companion waffle fries are crispy and pleasantly spicy.

The house burger at Kith and Kin.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

Salt Line

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Ordering a burger? At a seafood restaurant? That may sound like crazy talk to some. But what’s even crazier is glossing over chef Kyle Bailey’s masterful “smash burger.” The grilled ground chuck. The molten American cheese. The funky pickles. It’s all there. And it’s all good.

The smash burger at Salt Line.
Adam W./Yelp

Damn Good Burger Co.

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The founders of Ballston’s decade-old Big Buns are back at it with sibling establishment, Damn Good Burger Co. The Shirlington eatery features a full bar, communal tables, and a kitchen that cooks the specialty burgers to red, pink, or no pink. Offerings range from basic (lettuce, tomato, pickles) to gourmet (brie, truffled greens). Ground chorizo and peppery romesco sauce give a Spanish-style burger just the right kick, while taco seasoning and crushed corn chips bolster a Mexican creation.

A bacon cheeseburger at Damn Good Burger Co.
Kate Detweiler/Facebook

Milkboy Arthouse

The hangover burger at Milkboy Arthouse.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

College kids aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits of having this Philly restaurant roll into town. Eater has spotted egg-topped “hangover” burgers in front of co-workers having business lunches, as well as being picked apart by couples during dinner. The gloriously messy production features savory beef, a fried egg, smoked bacon, pickled hot peppers, and zesty chile mayo. Add a side of cheesy breakfast fries for a heart-stopper of a meal.

The hangover burger at Milkboy Arthouse.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

A Rake's Bar

James Beard Foundation Award-winner Spike Gjerde puts the blazing hearth at his debut D.C. restaurant to good use in making Rake’s house burger. The meat is sparingly seasoned and finely ground. Melted white cheddar envelopes the grilled beef. Thick cut pickle chips add a vinegary pop. Lightly charred onions add smoke to every bite.

Gaslight Tavern

The gourmet burger at Gaslight Tavern.
Gaslight Tavern [Official photo]

Chef Brendan L’Etoile didn’t have to put a burger on the menu at the upscale bar and eatery that recently joined the U Street dining scene. But local diners sure are glad he did. The house burger features juicy beef patties, zesty onions, gooey melted cheese, tangy dressing, and smoked ketchup. “When you are full from a meal and still look at the burger longingly, you know it’s good,” a diner who was almost out the door commented upon spying a burger on a nearby table.

The gourmet burger at Gaslight Tavern.
Gaslight Tavern [Official photo]

Lucky Buns

A double bogan burger at Lucky Buns.
Lucky Buns/Facebook

Restaurateur Alex McCoy draws inspiration from around the globe for the specialty burgers he serves at Lucky Buns. Toppings range from nutty gouda to savory bacon jam to refreshing pineapple. A current favorite, El Jefe, weaves together grilled beef, creamy queso fresco, fiery green chile relish, piquant red onion, and yellow mustard. Feeling adventurous? Add rashers ($2), a runny egg ($1), or avocado ($2) to any order.

A double bogan burger at Lucky Buns.
Lucky Buns/Facebook

Taylor Gourmet (Multiple locations)

The limited-edition burger at Taylor Gourmet.
Taylor Gourmet/Facebook

Though its claim to fame is hoagies, homegrown chain Taylor Gourmet is having fun with the limited-edition SP double stack. The seasonal burger, which briefly popped onto the scene last summer and is currently offered at all Taylor shops, is everything a Big Mac should be. There’s multiple beef patties, melted American cheese, diced pickles, shredded lettuce, seeded buns. And, of course, tongue-teasing secret sauce. The burger chains better watch out.

The limited-edition burger at Taylor Gourmet.
Taylor Gourmet/Facebook

Unconventional Diner

An egg-topped double cheeseburger at Unconventional Diner.
Unconventional Diner/Facebook

Chef turned restaurateur David Deshaies is putting his stamp on everything from nachos to meatloaf at his new Shaw eatery. Same goes for burgers. His gourmet cheeseburger features a roughly quarter pound patty cooked to medium/medium-well that’s then shrouded in melted cheese, topped with peppery brisket, and swabbed with creamy dijonnaise. Want more? Fold in bacon or a fried egg for $2 extra (each).

An egg-topped double cheeseburger at Unconventional Diner.
Unconventional Diner/Facebook

Capital Burger

Staff at this casual spin-off of steak chain the Capital Grille tout a French onion-style burger as the runaway favorite, but tell Eater a mushroom-Swiss combo and truffle-blue cheese creation continue battling it out for second. It’s no contest. The truffle burger delivers sauteed onions spooned into a mass of fragrant blue cheese that runs down the sides of the juicy patty.

Rare Steakhouse and Tavern

The house burger at Rare Steakhouse and Tavern.
Warren Rojas/ Eater DC

In addition to serving the requisite steaks, chops, and seafood expense account diners are used to, this Midwestern import offers a gourmet cheeseburger in the casual, ground floor tavern. There’s no ketchup or mayo to hide any flaws. Just cooked-to-order, tender dry-aged beef capped with melted cheddar, raw red onion, pickle chips, and a slice of tomato. A side of extra crispy, herb-speckled fries completes the meal.

The house burger at Rare Steakhouse and Tavern.
Warren Rojas/ Eater DC

Kith and Kin

The house burger at Kith and Kin.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

At his new Wharf restaurant, Top Chef alum Kwame Onwuachi caters to fans of hand-held meals with hot chicken sandwiches and a house burger. The towering meal features twin patties smothered in two types of cheese, caramelized onions, garlic aioli, shredded lettuce, thinly sliced pickle chips, and strips of crunchy bacon. Companion waffle fries are crispy and pleasantly spicy.

The house burger at Kith and Kin.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

Salt Line

The smash burger at Salt Line.
Adam W./Yelp

Ordering a burger? At a seafood restaurant? That may sound like crazy talk to some. But what’s even crazier is glossing over chef Kyle Bailey’s masterful “smash burger.” The grilled ground chuck. The molten American cheese. The funky pickles. It’s all there. And it’s all good.

The smash burger at Salt Line.
Adam W./Yelp

Damn Good Burger Co.

A bacon cheeseburger at Damn Good Burger Co.
Kate Detweiler/Facebook

The founders of Ballston’s decade-old Big Buns are back at it with sibling establishment, Damn Good Burger Co. The Shirlington eatery features a full bar, communal tables, and a kitchen that cooks the specialty burgers to red, pink, or no pink. Offerings range from basic (lettuce, tomato, pickles) to gourmet (brie, truffled greens). Ground chorizo and peppery romesco sauce give a Spanish-style burger just the right kick, while taco seasoning and crushed corn chips bolster a Mexican creation.

A bacon cheeseburger at Damn Good Burger Co.
Kate Detweiler/Facebook

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