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Best Burger in Tacoma-Seattle?

allboy May 19, 2008 07:28 PM

So who has the best burger in the Tacoma/Seattle area? I perfer road side places.

  1. f
    firecracker May 19, 2008 10:38 PM

    Lots of previous threads on this very topic, all. Do a search for good info.

    1. b
      Baboo May 20, 2008 05:49 AM


      I defer to anyone that has done this kind of research.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Baboo
        Leper May 20, 2008 06:03 AM

        Baboo, Thanks for the link! I agree with his choice of The Pick Quik in Fife was one of the region's best. Their fries are hand cut every morning and not frozen, processed drek. Now that the weather is great, their outdoor tables make for a perfect burger experience. For the burgers you have a huge range of options including sliced or chopped onions. Second on my list would be Two Bells Tavern in Belltown.

        1. re: Leper
          barleywino May 20, 2008 06:29 AM

          i wonder how he would rate LUnchbox Laboratory (Seattle)....

        2. re: Baboo
          jencke Jul 25, 2008 09:17 PM

          Anyone who rates XXX as the best burger in Washington can't be trusted. McDonald's is better.

        3. bbqer May 20, 2008 08:09 AM

          Being from a major bratwurst-and-beer area in Wisconsin, I still favor nearly any kind of meat grilled over charcoal. Does anyone know of any restaurants actually cooking meat over charcoal around here?

          1 Reply
          1. re: bbqer
            renes May 21, 2008 10:04 PM

            Kidd Valley makes some good burgers.


          2. j
            jamesbra May 20, 2008 08:01 PM

            I thought Two Bells was over rated to be honest. nice enough - honest place, but the burger was greasy, had a long feel of grease on the system and tongue hours after eating it which is not the case for truly fresh, non antibiotic, local beef ive become accustomed too.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jamesbra
              not the bad Steve May 21, 2008 12:11 PM

              I don't remember them being too greasy for my taste (maybe there's no such thing), but the stiff baguette was the deal-breaker for me.

            2. Barry CB Martin May 21, 2008 05:11 PM

              Up until a month or so - I might have said TwoBells in Belltown. Then Scott and Alegra opened up Lunchbox Laboratory in Ballard on 15th NW and about 72nd I think. I ate there the first couple of days they were opened - since then discovered by restaurant reviewers - and had their Prime Burger as well as several other when I returned nearly daily. GREAT stuff. Wonderful Sides. A bit small and they do sell out! So go early. The place can be cramped - take out is a good idea, but hanging out in the place is fun as well.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Barry CB Martin
                GreenYoshi May 22, 2008 12:50 PM

                Apples and Oranges. (at least apples and pears)
                Two Bells burgers are not in the same category as what the Lunchbox Labs folks do. They do the thinner patty style burger. The Lab has thick, heavy patty burger. There are times when one is appropriate and times for the other.

                That said, I don't like the baugette thing that Two Bells (and a couple others do), but that's a different topic.

                1. re: GreenYoshi
                  terrier May 22, 2008 01:40 PM

                  Zuh? Two Bells is definitely in the thick-patty category. That's what I like about their burgers. (But lunchbox lab and quinn's both beat them.)

              2. m
                mrnelso May 22, 2008 11:20 AM

                Like you, Scot Simpson prefers "road-side places," and he returned to that passion following his local successes wtth Blue Onion and Fork. He brings all those skills to his breakthrough hambuger joint, Lunchbox Laboratory, at 73rd and 15th NW, in Ballard. He and Allegra grind their own meats for their huge selection of unique burgers, make their own condiments, and offer surprises like smoked tea salt on tater-tots, kielbasa corn-dogs, and yummy shakes like chocolate cherry and Boston Cream. Oh yeah. Plan on taking some home, because you should probably not try to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mrnelso
                  jenn May 29, 2008 04:22 PM

                  You know, we tried Lunchbox and I have to say, we were a bit disappointed. Its not that it was bad or that we won't give it a second chance [my husband loves lamb and we will be back to try the lamb burgers] but none of the reviewers--me and three pups [2 with stellar taste] were that excited about our burgers.

                  We had 2 regular burgers, a bison burger and a wild boar. Burgerwise, I liked the goat cheese on the boar but the burger itself was just not that flavorful. Mind you, I am familiar with wild boar--I've had it other places plenty of times. I wondered if the ground meat just had too little fat or--based on the comment on the chart--if it had been in the freezer a bit too long. The regular burgers were okay. One was with cheese, one straight up. Despite discouragement from the woman running the register, the bison burger was most popular with the pups.

                  We also had 2 orders of fries and shared a nutella shake. As an aside, I thought the shake was small for the price and tasted more plain chocolate than nutella.

                  Condiment-wise we really really liked the satan's tears ketchup with one caveat: it ain't hot. I tried to order it on the burgers for the pups because these are sichuan food fanatics but the register woman insisted it would be too spicy. So I deferred but asked for some on the side to taste. The sample sauce came out with the fries and the little pups happily ate it all up with their fries and the lettuce from their burgers. So while tasty, NOT HOT.

                  In voting afterwards, eldest pup ranked Lunchbox after RedMill and Apple Pan [an LA burger joint]. I don't like to rate a place on a single visit so I shall defer to next time.

                2. pigeonmom May 26, 2008 03:01 PM

                  Zippy's in West Seattle.
                  16th and Holden.
                  They grind their own meat and offer Tillamook smoked cheddar.
                  Get extra napkins.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pigeonmom
                    sjreed Jul 29, 2008 09:21 PM

                    I'll 2nd the Zippy's chant as it's nice to have a good burger shack in West Seattle. It's something that was missing for a while.

                    Although a good burger is hard to turn down when it's on a menu (someone mentioned Spring Hill below and it does look awesome coming out) there's just something about a place that only does burgers - greasy, juicy and tasty - that makes it a real burger.

                  2. e
                    equinoise May 29, 2008 02:32 PM

                    For me, the top of the burger hierarchy remains:

                    Steelhead Diner > Quinn's > Palace Kitchen > Two Bells
                    [Haven't been to the Lab yet, and I haven't had the "ultra" version at Quinn's]

                    I think I may be alone on Steelhead as #1, but the wagyu burger attains this balance of being so greasy and delicious without soggily destroying the bun. Quinn's is not far off, Palace just slightly overcooked, and of course with Two Bells it's the baguette and No Fries Allowed.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: equinoise
                      barleywino May 29, 2008 03:34 PM

                      i actually like Steelhead's burger a lot too, but i stopped getting it after getting several that were inconsistent (like, the wrong temperature, or missing some of the toppings etc)

                      1. re: equinoise
                        mr.chorizo Jul 25, 2008 08:02 AM

                        What is the "ultra" version at Quinn's???

                        1. re: mr.chorizo
                          terrier Jul 25, 2008 08:59 AM

                          Wagyu beef patty, foie gras on top, braised short ribs beneath, and I believe a duck rillette spread on the bun.

                          Definitely an item to share with one or two other people.

                          1. re: terrier
                            Lauren Jul 25, 2008 09:06 AM

                            Having had both the regular and the "ultra" burger at Quinn's (shared, of course) I actually preferred the regular burger. Call me a purist......

                            1. re: terrier
                              jencke Jul 25, 2008 09:21 PM

                              I'll have to try the Ultra version -- that sounds awesome! I had the regular Quinn's burger the other day... not bad, but definitely not the best thick patty burger in Seattle. Do they always serve the Ultra?

                        2. y
                          yoyo11 May 29, 2008 02:36 PM

                          In my opinion, the Southwest burger at Blue Moon is one of the best. I haven't tried a traditional burger there, though, because I can never justify ordering anything but the Southwest.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: yoyo11
                            cscsman Jul 29, 2008 10:17 PM

                            The Blue Moon on 45th? Do they have food?

                            I love the sign on their door, "Sorry, we're open"

                          2. s
                            staffstuff May 30, 2008 08:31 AM

                            I've really enjoyed the thick burgers (kobe beef) at the Wing Dome...very tasty....charred well...great bun.

                            1. t
                              TacoBusHound May 30, 2008 03:45 PM

                              My definition of a good burger comes from the East Coast where anything over medium rare indicates questionable beef. Rating this way, Sport and Steelhead Diner are my two favorites. What I miss most is going into a cozy pub and getting a great burger...guess I'll have to try Two Bells again...

                              1. z
                                zoogrrrl Jul 24, 2008 11:07 PM

                                Oh my! Today I had my first Skillet Street Food burger. Doesn't get any better, and it was the perfect size.

                                Ranking the burgers I've had, and would have again, the last 6 months:

                                Queen Anne Grill * Stumbling Goat Bistro (tied)
                                Palace Kitchen
                                Lunchbox Laboratory
                                Red Mill Burgers
                                Nickerson St. Pub

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: zoogrrrl
                                  jencke Jul 25, 2008 09:22 PM

                                  Great list, Zoogrrrl... I'm looking forward to trying some of these!

                                2. g
                                  GreenYoshi Jul 25, 2008 09:22 AM

                                  I had this in another post as well, but Last Chance Chili Shack does a nice, thick flavorful burger.


                                  1. b
                                    BK5 Jul 25, 2008 12:47 PM

                                    I really enjoy the burgers at both King's Hardware and Bad Albert's, both located in Ballard.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: BK5
                                      zoogrrrl Jul 25, 2008 11:04 PM

                                      BK5 -- Thanks for reminding me to add Bad Albert's to my list. I finally got there in June and really enjoyed the Dock St. burger. I think I'd add it right above or below Lunchbox Laboratory. King's is on my list, and now Last Chance and the Wingdome. The latter is a block away and I didn't know they served burgers!

                                    2. s
                                      staffstuff Jul 25, 2008 04:41 PM

                                      the burgers are very good at the WingDome......

                                      1. spoton Jul 25, 2008 10:04 PM

                                        A second on King's Hardware, Stells, Zippy's and Palace Kitchen. I'm also into Spring Hill's burger. It's huge and tasty.

                                        I'm not feeling lunchbox laboratory. It made me feel gross. Skillet's was tasty, but I feel derivative of Father's Office in Santa Monica, CA- and Father's Office is far superior.

                                        Father's Office
                                        1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                        1. a
                                          ad.mich Jul 27, 2008 04:44 PM

                                          so long as it's still open, you won't find better in Tacoma than Little Holland Drive In.

                                          1. r
                                            rosesarefree Jul 28, 2008 10:55 PM

                                            Skillet Street Food is my favorite and I too felt gross after half a Lunchbox Laboratory burger. Scott's Dairy Freeze in North Bend is good for the drive in style due to their grilled onions. There is really a dearth of excellent burgers in the Seattle Tacoma area.

                                            1. a
                                              allboy Aug 1, 2008 06:29 PM

                                              Just a heads up on Little Holland in Tacoma. It will be closing maybe by the first of the year (2009) due to a comercial land sale. All you chowhounds that like burgers on here need to try this great burger place before its gone. One of the best in the state.

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