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RI’s Best Burgers 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012


The eventual onset of fall and back-to-school time has us thinking about the ultimate, everyone-loves-them comfort food: burgers. We’ve had some phenomenal ones since last year’s burger round-up, and here are this year’s five upscale favorites.

Harry’s Bar and Burger, Providence

A recent trip to San Diego had us visiting California’s favorite burger joint, In-N-Out Burger. We waited in long lines for these cult classics…and then we realized we had a place back home that did this kind of burger so much better. The recipe is simple: a thin, juicy patty, cheese, pickles, lettuce and a secret sauce somewhat akin to Russian dressing. Sitting in the California sunshine, we longed for a Harry’s burger. It’s no wonder this Providence restaurant has developed its own cult following, what with a delicious array of slider-sized burgers that are always perfect… nor is it any wonder that the likes of Forbes and Travel and Leisure have named them one of the top burger joints in America. Haven’t been? Oh, trust us. Just go. 121 North Main St, 228-7437. www.harrysbarburger.com

New Rivers, Providence

Inevitably, when you talk to other foodies about the Providence restaurant scene, this iconic place is mentioned. New River established its reputation for the finest food under original owner Bruce Tillinghast, who was one of the first to set the culinary bar high for the capital city. The torch has now been passed to chef and now owner Beau Vestal, who turns out some of the best food in the city. While the New Rivers burger is a casual representation of Chef Beau’s talent, it couldn’t be any more right-on. A nice portion of local Blackbird Farms beef cooked to perfection and served without too much fuss. This means you get to taste a really good beef burger exactly as it should taste. 7 Steeple St, 751-0350. www.newriversrestaurant.com

White Horse Tavern, Newport

The White Horse is exactly the kind of place where you would expect to find a good burger. But Chef Rich Silvia has been consistently improving the quality of everything on the menu of this Rhode Island institution by using the top local farms and constantly sourcing the best ingredients he can find. The burger here is included in that effort, and it shows. On a recent visit we ordered one with bacon, cheddar and caramelized onions, and the quality of each – the thick-cut bacon, the Vermont cheddar, and the truly caramelized (not just sautéed – you notice a difference in the sweetness) – made for a perfect burger. Sublime hand-cut fries rounded it out. Best part is that every Wednesday you can get this burger and a draft for only $15. 26 Marlborough St, 849-3600. www.whitehorsetavern.us

Cook and Brown Public House, Providence

We couldn’t blame you if you wanted to order something more upscale off of Chef Nemo Bolin’s fabulous menu: the roasted and confit of duck, the hand-cut fettuccini, the ricotta gnocchi. But if it’s damn-good burger you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to order this simple, delectable creation. Locally-sourced beef, caramelized onions, farmstead cheddar cheese, Russian dressing served atop the freshest roll and alongside crunchy, house-made potato chips. On a recent visit four of us all chose the same burger and boy, it was one happy four-top. 959 Hope St, 273-7275. www.cookandbrown.com

Thee Red Fez, Providence

Small and artsy with a limited menu and a hipster vibe, the Fez is a favorite of those who know burgers. Don’t let the atmosphere fool you – some of the best, most creative food in Providence comes out of this kitchen. We like the barbecue burger and the burger topped with the fried egg – it adds a richness to the juicy beef that is unbeatable. Some of the best fries around will accompany your burger. If you aren’t in the mood for beef try one of their epic grilled cheese sandwiches, or really, anything else on this inventive menu. 39 Peck St, 272-1212.


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