I’ve had the pleasure of being part of a burger-loving group for more than seven years. Yes, you read that correctly. Buffalo has its very own “Hamburger of the Month Club” – HOTMC for short. Our group is large and diverse, with a combination of people from a wide cross-section of backgrounds and neighborhoods. What we all have in common is the love of a good burger – plain or fancy.
Here are a few personal favorites. Definitely difficult to narrow it down, and with a massive list of restaurants grilling them, there are plenty of new burgers to explore and love. The places I selected may be varied in style, presentation and location, but they all know how to make a bun proud and a visitor happy.
Allen Burger Venture
Located in the heart of the Allentown neighborhood, ABV, as it’s lovingly called, offers a wide variety, and as the name implies, burgers are the main event. Fresh, dry–aged, grass–fed Angus beef burgers are hormone and antibiotic free and sourced from verified humane and sustainable ranches. They offer great combos; one that includes peanut butter and jalapeno peppers. My fave is the Number 3 – caramelized “Ommegang“ onions, apple wood bacon and porter cheddar. Mmmmmmgood.
The Black Sheep
West of Richmond Avenue, there’s a growing restaurant scene and The Black Sheep was among the first to see the potential of this now vibrant neighborhood. Their remarkable burger is house-ground with marrow and suet and only available at the bar and adjoining tables. The locally raised beef (chuck) comes on a house-made bun with the chef’s secret cheesy good sauce among other accouterments. A winner for sure.
Macky’s Essex Street Pub
Known to most locals as simply The Essex, this is a true neighborhood dive bar – and I mean that in the most affectionate of terms. The burgers are a half-pound beef patty, flat grilled with a variety of standard and standout toppings. In warmer weather, the sidewalk patio is a great place to perch, any time of day or night.
Soho Burger Bar
For the downtown crowd, Soho is your ticket to a great burger fix. Served on a brioche bun, the beef is ground to the chef’s specifications by a beloved Buffalo butcher shop, Johnny’s Meats. Served with chips and a pickle, there are a number of signature burgers to choose from. And to accommodate any non-meat eaters in the crowd, there’s a portobello veggie option.
Marble and Rye
Another excellent downtown option, this handsome restaurant focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients, and that goes for their delectable burgers. House-ground, with burger options ever-changing, any one of them would go down nicely following a cocktail thoughtfully prepared from a wide selection of whiskeys and other libations. With owners who are passionate about quality and the total dining experience, this is another great option for dining in the “new Buffalo.”
Ted’s Hot Dogs
The same red hot charcoals that give Ted’s hot dogs their patented semi-blackened crispiness are the same that make their hamburgers and cheeseburgers a simple pleasure. When I call this burger basic, I mean it in the best way. A thin patty (or two) is cooked to juicy perfection with just a little char on the outside. Topped with all the “works” that you’d normally add to your hot dog, this burger is delicious and manageable, meaning that, with each bite, you get the full flavor of the burger, cheese and all the fixins.
Big Ditch Brewing Company
Towering, cheesy, juicy, and unexpected. When you think of brewery food, a burger that’s on par with some of the more upscale eateries in the city might not be what comes to mind. Big Ditch keeps it simple with a single, excellent option; the cheddar bacon burger is a classic take on the traditional backyard-style burger.
Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs
The evolution of Frank from food truck to brick-and-mortar took their burger game to the next level. Offering seven different burger varieties, including the Hogtied burger (BBQ sauce, crunchy onions) to the Joker burger (lettuce, onion, pickles, sesame seeds and special sauce) plus veggie options, the burger possibilities ripe for the picking. Don’t forget to order a side of their Buffalo-famous fries, too!