NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The best burger in town isn't a title taken lightly, especially as nostalgia sinks in for old hamburger haunts or the consistency of a popular national chain becomes a weekly lunch love, but whether you like your cheese shredded or in multiple government-issued slices, the debate on where to find the best burger is destined to be as heated as that Bud's Broiler #4 you got last time your late-night snack stretched into the a.m. hours.
This list is by no means a compendium of burgers in the Crescent City, but it's a start to get your taste buds wishing they were cozied up to a half-pound of some USDA Grade-A.
First stop, Cowbell on Oak Street, where they call their burger locally world famous for a reason. This burger is perfectly cooked and sidled with some tasty fries. Topped with bacon and cheese, it'll have you wanting to make it a regular in your lunch lineup, but with a cost hitting the $16 mark with the additional toppings, this might be a burger you save to savor when company's in town.
Next, we head to The Company Burger located in the CBD and on Freret Street, where the smells will tempt even the staunchest vegetarian to reconsider their affiliation with beef. The double-patty burger is cooked fresh to order and topped with classic ingredients, but don't look for tomato or lettuce, these ingredients are sacrilege at Company and for good reason. The burger does it on its own, plus the complimentary mayonnaise bar, I mean really, it's a bar, with various mayonnaises, yeah they went there and I'm coming back.
Save room, because we're heading to Mid-City where the newcomer Frey's Smoked Meat Company shows us they've got the chops for more than smoked meats. The flatty is just one of two species of burgers available at this carnivore's delight of a restaurant. The other option, of course, the fatty. The real difference, with the flatty you get two quarter pound patties smooshed with some cheese, while the fatty is one big honking half pound burger ready to dominate the bun. The burgers here give everyone what they want and come with a basket of fries that keep your mouth full.
The show must go on, so we must go to Bayou Burger in the Quarter. The burgers at this joint are meant to give your cardiologist a heart attack just by looking at the menu. They kitchen here is unabashed at their gargantuan creations that will most likely leave the restaurant partly in your stomach and partly in that doggie bag for dinner (or maybe a second lunch.) Here the cheese is shredded and pours out of the bun as well as the other toppings that make this burger the understatement of a two-handed meal. Beware, though, priced like most French Quarter grub spots, you may pay like a tourist, but you'll leave happy.
Finally, this place is a bit of secret, Primitivo on O.C. Haley doesn't bill itself as a burger joint, but I found a happy hour burger for ten bucks that will make you wonder why they have anything else on the menu. For the record, the rest of the menu is fantastic, but the burger, oh the burger! The happy hour burger is in constant flux as the chef decides what kind of toppings it'll be blessed with each day. During my visit, the wagyu beef patty was luxuriously crowned with braised greens, goat cheese, and a ham aioli, yeah that's right, ham aioli, mind blown right? That's basically pork mayonnaise. The chef nooks a handful of their delightfully addictive homemade chips and this is a winner for lunch.
Overall, the perfect burger may not be the easiest meal to agree on, but I'd bet you'll have no problem grubbing on these burgers until that Holy Grail of grilled meat and pillowy cheese is one day discovered.