Not all burgers are created equal. In fact, it's hard to find burgers that are even comparable.
They all have meat and a bun. But that basic formula has been cut, stretched and altered, added to and subtracted from, translated and transformed into near-unrecognizable forms, according to whose palate it aims to please. In spite of the nearly insurmountable difficulties, I have attempted an exhaustive-well, exhausting-review of approximately a jillion Utah burgers, excluding major chains. My conclusion?
No matter what kind of burger you prefer, Utah's got it.
Dark, quiet and home to one of our favorite burgers, David's is a throwback to when lunch came with a two-drink minimum. 2324 S. Redwood Road, West Valley, 801-972-9688.
Shooting Star Saloon
Straight outta Gunsmoke, except for the giant stuffed St. Bernard and the burgers, which come with potato chips because "We are not a restaurant," as the menu says. 7350 E. 200 South, Huntsville, 801-745-2002
Lucky's gotta lotta good burgers (See: Garlicburgers. See: Stuntburgers.) The Big Benny sits about a foot high because that's what a stack of four 7-ounce patties, house-smoked bacon, ham, cheese and sauteed onions measures up to. Their Celestial burger is made with smoked bacon, grilled onions, cheddar cheese and chipotle barbecue sauce on a Stoneground bun. 135 W. 1300 South, SLC, 801-487-4418
A burger made famous by the ravenous appetites of river-runners who make Ray's their first stop after days of whitewater, sun and freeze-dried food. 25 S. Broadway, Green River, 435-564-3511
Because this is an Irish-style pub, they call them "paddies," but the burgers here are pure Americana. There are several stuntburgers, but we like the Western burger, with onion rings, cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce. 1491 S. State Street, SLC, 801-468-1492
The straightforward burger is made with Certified Angus ground chuck-no hormones or antibiotics-patties served on an onion Kaiser, with mayo, lettuce, onion and tomatoes. Period. 1063 E. 2100 South, SLC, 801-463-9393
The White Owl
The Owl Burger is a legend in the mind of every USU graduate who slugged beers on the tavern's roof-top deck where the smoking grill turns these beefy babies. Your waitress tells you "Your burger's ready," and you head up to the grill and dress your own. 36 W. Center St., Logan, 435-753-9165
The Big Benny from Lucky 13
To find what other burgers made the cut, pick up the September/October issue of Salt Lake magazine on stands now!