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your favorite burgers and beef ribs in washington, DC area ...including Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Tysons Corner, etc

I'm going for a weekend burger & beef rib run down to D.C. !
Planning to go to RAYS HELL BURGER (of course!), and BIG BUNS in Arlington,
plus the Matchbox for mini's..

What else is going on with burgers (Charbroiled is my fav. ), and BEEF ribs?!
Tnx in advance!!!

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  1. Burgers:

    You've already got Rays Hell Burger on your list, which is the best IMO.

    I would also put BGR on your list - it's better than Big Buns IMO. There are locations in Alexandria and Bethesda. A new location is opening soon in Arlington (Lyon Village).

    For a high end burger, go to Central in downtown DC.

    Beef ribs? I haven't found any in the area worth mentioning.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jaydreb

      JAYDREB: I noticed there was also a BGR inside the Mirage Casino, Las Vegas, when I was there a few months ago...(where the Siegfield and Roy tiger exhibit used to be!)
      (the BGR was packed!)

      I will definitely put BGR on my "to do" list; just a matter of what city I'll end up trying it at...
      When you mentioned BGR, I also thought of ELEVATION burger, which I know is big in the DC area... .......I had the pleasure of trying Elevation in the Philly area, and enjoyed it very much ...(did'nt care for their olive oil fries, though)

      1. re: ellen4441

        The place you saw in the Mirage would have been something different. BGR Burger Joint is only local and has various locations in the area. Here's their website: http://www.bgrtheburgerjoint.com/

        The Burger Joint
        106 N Washington St, Alexandria, VA 22314

        1. re: cheesepowder

          Appreciate the corrected info, CHEESEPOWDER !!
          I just did some googling, as realize that I got BGR mixed up with the "BLT burger" in the Mirage Casino ..(& in NYC & Hong Kong)

          So, NOW, I've got TWO more burger joints to try, BGR, and BLT, as they both sound good...
          tnx, again...

          1. re: ellen4441

            The first BGR was in Vegas- the owner lives here and opened a few more BGRs in the DC area over the past couple years.

    2. I'll second Matchbox on 8th Street. The burgers and fries at Rustico are pretty decent, and they have a huge selection of domestic and imported beers to wash it down.

      DC has never been a barbecue beef rib town. Your best bet is probably someplace in Koreatown for bulgalbi, but nothing comes to mind as outstanding.

      827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314

      1. Hi Ellen. Are you looking for grilled ribs? If you like traditional slow cooked beef short ribs, my favorite place is Florida Avenue Grill. Fork tender short ribs with an onion brown gravy. Yum. The place is divey diner style with comfort/soul food.

        Florida Avenue Grill
        1100 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

        1. I had some good braised short ribs last week at Chef Geoff's in Tyson's corner. It is a weird place, corporate and definitely for the expense account crowd, but I liked my short ribs. Then again braised short ribs are cheap and easy to make at home and are always better than paying for them.

          Chef Geoff's
          3201 New Mexico Avenue, Washington, DC 20016

          5 Replies
          1. re: sekelmaan

            Chef Geoff's expense account crowd? It is a mediocre, medium priced place (at least downtown). Nothing to write home about, but hardly among the most expensive places around...

            Chef Geoff's
            3201 New Mexico Avenue, Washington, DC 20016

            1. re: ClevelandDave

              I almost made it to the Tysons Corner area location for a burger...
              Wonder what I would think of that Chef Geoff's burger: MEDIOCRE , or a WINNER???
              (well, maybe next DC visit!)

              Chef Geoff's
              3201 New Mexico Avenue, Washington, DC 20016

              1. re: ellen4441

                IMHO, you've got better ways to spend your time than at Chef Geoffs both generally for their food and specifically for the hamburger, Ellen.

                Chef Geoff's
                3201 New Mexico Avenue, Washington, DC 20016

                1. re: ClevelandDave

                  Re: Chef Geoff's : appreciate your honest opinion, Cleveland Dave. !!
                  Do you find the burger preparation too plain? Flat top grill?
                  (Nice charbroiled or seared/griddled is my favorite, by far..)

                  How is the burger quality?

                  Chef Geoff's
                  3201 New Mexico Avenue, Washington, DC 20016

                  1. re: ellen4441

                    Juicy but flavorless, bun is nothing special, I think the fries are frozen. Char I don't know from- like mine medium rare. I mean it isn't a bad burger, but I certainly wouldn't go out of my way for it.

          2. DCDeb and Sekelmann: I tend to like the charbroiled style, more so than the braised style ribs...
            (but those slow cooked fork tender braised ones can hit the spot!)

            MONKEYROTICA and JAYDREB: Had a feeling DC was not really a beef rib town..
            not that much was coming up on my google searching!
            (seems like theres more beef ribs in Baltimore to try, like the Big Bad Wolf BBQ....
            next visit !)

            I DO love those Galbi Beef Ribs....when I lived in L.A., I used to go to some good Korean restaurants.... delish sizzling ribs on the $7.95 lunch special in Gardena ....

            I've actually put SLADE'S American Grill on my "return list", cuz I remember having a delish mesquite broiled burger there in the Tysons Corner Mall, (5 years or so ago) and I wanna see if lightning can strike twice...

            Tnx, everyone for the useful replies thus far !!!

            4 Replies
            1. re: ellen4441

              We do have great Korean in the area if you want us to point out a bbq joint or two.

              1. re: ellen4441

                Slades is long gone. You might want to check out former top chef competitor Spike Mendelsohn's Good Stuff eatery on Capitol Hill for burgers.

                1. re: nickdanger

                  Slade's @ tysons mall is now Nortons. Same menu, same staff, same manager, new owners, very reasonable prices. Their burgers are still very good. I stop by for lunch whenever I'm in the mall.

                  1. re: wristband

                    Hi wristband!
                    I found out Slade's had closed when I was googling on the internet during my
                    megabus ride down to DC ! (looks like it's only been a year or 2 since they closed?!)

                    But, glad to see such a similar looking joint, Norton's, in it's place at
                    Tysons Corner Mall...
                    and thanks for confirming that the burgers are still real good there, WRISTBAND!
                    (I already had stopped at 3 burger joints by 6 pm Sunday, (I was stuffed!), so I
                    will put NORTON'S on my to-do list...

              2. Agree Ray's is the area's best burger in the 'big, a bit messy, lay it all hang out but pay close attention to quality' category I just invented for the purpose of this post. But, as pedestrian excellent burgers go, have to add Saint Ex on 14th to the list as at least as good (if not better) than spots like Matchbox or Big Buns. For the best gourmet ("high end" as another poster terms it) burger, Palena in Cleveland Park is the clear winner. Love Central for many things but, for burgers at the high end, Palena gets the nod. They bake their own buns and pickle their own pickles. Inspired stuff along with the region's best gnocchi, caesar salad and roast chicken. No joke.

                3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

                24 Replies
                1. re: nwdchound

                  Well, I'm back from my overnight stay in Washington , DC area!! April 18th-19th...
                  I took the train from AC to Philly, then the Megabus from Philly to DC ..(1st time MEGABUS rider...loved it)

                  I hit MATCHBOX, RAY'S HELL BURGER, BIG BUNS on my 1st day!!
                  And GLORY DAYS GRILL, Fairfax, on my abbreviated 2nd day !!

                  (4 burgers in 30 hours !!!)
                  My FAV burger ended up being GLORY DAYS GRILL, surprisingly...
                  nice juicy, firm charbroiled burger, the taste & texture really agreed with me!
                  (loved their fun "buffalo chicken dip" , as well...

                  My least fav. burger was also a surprise to ME, and probably to YOU Chowhounders, too!
                  I did not think RAY'S Hell Burger was worth all the hoopla...
                  The meat quality seemed real good, but I found the 10 ounces proved too big to cook throughout properly (my "medium" was rare/raw in parts)....
                  Burger a mushy texture; I prefer firmer ...
                  And the roll was not really my type...
                  Guess I'm in the minority (10% or so??) of foodies who wanted to fall in love with Ray's , but just did'nt ....

                  Please check out my pics attached!

                  1. re: ellen4441

                    Big Buns better than Rays?! Blasphemy!! (-;

                    I agree that Rays cooks their burgers somewhat rarer than most, but I like it that way. You're also not the only person who's not a fan of the bun.

                    Hope you enjoyed your trip.

                    1. re: jaydreb

                      Hi JAYDREB,
                      I respect you liking your burgers on the rarer side...
                      I used to go for medium rare, but lately I've been leaning more with the medium..
                      (med rare/medium, cuz I do like a little pink...but I do like it HOT...)

                      I'd do Ray's again, and say "medium well" this time...
                      I should've known better, as I'd read on Yelp that others found the burgers cooked
                      rarer than they ordered...

                      I had a great time in DC, Jaydreb, and would do it again in a heartbeat!
                      Gonna take my bf down there Aug. 1st to see the Phillies play the Nationals...
                      (but, I might sneak another visit or 2 in before that!)

                      1. re: ellen4441

                        Ellen, I second your thumbs down review of Ray's. I think that R is way way overhyped. Many love Ray's burgers - not me.

                        Hope you can report on Norton's on your next visit to see if matches your fond memories of Slade's. I eat a lot of burgers at different spots around town and think Norton's continues to be one of the very best burgers in the DC area.

                        1. re: wristband

                          Woo hoo !! So glad to hear that I'm not totally out of my mind regarding Ray's! Hey, WRISTBAND, we are very like minded on that one...I luv it!!

                          Here's some pics from my fav. burger out of the 4 DC area joints I visited!
                          It was from the GLORY DAYS GRILL in Fairfax, VA...
                          Monday, 4-19-10

                          Ironically, the burger I did'nt expect as much from , was the one I liked the BEST! I mostly was turned onto Glory Days, cuz I noticed that they have BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP on their menu, which they don't seem to have here in Jersey !!

                          I will definitely experience Norton's burger next time, and I'll make sure to report back on here..

                            1. re: ChinoWayne

                              tnx much, CHINO WAYNE !! I believe we've chatted a bit on the L.A. boards..,,,,always like reading your posts !!!

                              (I'm a Jersey gal, but had a few stints of living in L.A.)...(and love the beef ribs at Joey's BBQ in your neck of the woods in Upland, CA)

                            2. re: ellen4441

                              The prime burger at Glory Days is pretty decent. Goes great with a tall ice-cold Stella.

                              1. re: flavrmeistr

                                I noticed that Glory Days had 2 choices of burgers; the prime was $1.50
                                more.... I will put the prime version on my "to do" list ...
                                ...I thought that was a bit unusual, to give one 2 burger types...
                                cuz why not just offer your best one?

                                1. re: ellen4441

                                  "I thought that was a bit unusual, to give one 2 burger types...
                                  cuz why not just offer your best one?

                                  Glory Days isn't really a gourmet or "destination" restaurant, it's a family restaurant or sports bar, depending on your perspective. Only Chowhounds (might) go there for a very special burger. The primary clientele may simply not spend more than a certain amount for a burger no matter how good the person making up the menu thinks it is, so if they're with a group and feel like having a burger, they have an option.

                                  It's not like the menu implies "you may not like this one, better get the one that costs more." At least I hope not. ;)

                                  1. re: MikeR

                                    All I know is that it is a consistently decent burger. The quality and flavor is better than those at comparable establishments (Ruby Tuesdays, Hard Times, etc.). Nothing else on their menu is of particular interest to me except the giant mug of ice cold Stella Artois draft. Sort of like Belgian Budweiser, but goes great with a burger.

                                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                                      & I really enjoyed their crispy fries at Glory Days...they went down real well with the burger , as well...

                                      I had the fresh lemonade with mine, but your ice cold Stella sounds good!!

                                      1. re: ellen4441

                                        We ate at BGR in Arlington for the first time last night. It was quite good. We shared the Greek burger and the Wellington, and both were finger-licking good. I may actually like this place better than Hellburgers, if only because of the roll.

                                        1. re: cabster

                                          I was heading in that direction, so I thought I'd give BGR a try for lunch this afternoon. For the search-challenged, it's in the Lyon Village shopping center, a couple of doors from the more famous Italian Store. They don't even have a sign up yet.

                                          I had the lunch special - burger, fries, and drink for $8.99 and absolutely waddled out. I asked what "medium" meant there, and when the counterman said "pink" I ordered medium rare, which was done just the way I like it. Visible red but no blood oozing out. I tasted a fry at the counter and it was just barely lukewarm, so I asked for a replacement order when they cooked a fresh batch, and sat down to enjoy the burger. It was quite good, but I think that Ray's tasted more, well, meaty, though I liked the BGR bun better.

                                          Oy! This is another place that will go on my "don't order the fries here without a backup team" list. They were quite good, though over-salted IMHO, but I'll bet I could have assembled nearly two good sized baking potatoes if I stacked up all the pieces. It was just way too much, I ate barely half the batch. I have the same complaint about Five Guys. Ray's at least gives a sensible sized load.

                                          I'm now going out for a long walk.

                                          1. re: MikeR

                                            hmm. I happened upon BGR at Lyon Village after their first week of being opened. Found burger at BGR under-seasoned (or not at all) but liked the fries.
                                            BGR has 10 oz of aged prime, so no bleed factor when cooked. Note: the special is only available during lunch. They seem to have more options for their double-dipped fries then for their burger. Standard fries here are Yukon gold, with option for sweet potato fries. There are three other seasoning options avail for your fries. Friend enjoyed the turkey burger, but not so much with the veggie burger. Lobster sliders looked interesting. Could probably put away 4 of the burgers if tempted.
                                            Ray's burger is 10oz of fresh prime and a lot of meat juice (depending on temp). Strangely enough, often my 2nd burger is over-done (even if ordered separately 5 minutes later). LOTS of options for your burger here, but keep it simple. Cant recommend the fries. I always order 2 with dutch mustard seed guoda and only one other topping. The meat juice hits the brain and stops me from consuming more. Not complaining b/c am happy :9 Signature Ray's Hell Burger is definately worth a bite. Packs a 1, 2 punch without the 3 on exit.
                                            FYI, Ray's Hell Burger has a take-out/carry-out in their old location, just a few doors down.

                                            Ray's Hell Burger
                                            1713 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

                                            1. re: hungryT

                                              This week I tried Red Hot and Blue's Monday night "Any burger $5" special (burger, fries, drink) and it was quite good. I asked what the choices of burger were (this was at the RH&B Express on Hillwood Ave in Falls Church) and the guy behind the counter pointed ot the sign advertising the special, which had a picture of a thoroughly stacked burger. I think that there are other choices on the menu at the more formal restaurants.

                                              This one was at least an 8-ouncer, cooked with a good crust on the outside and just starting to turn pink on the inside, not dripping blood but still juicy. There was a slab of cheese and a small handful of fried onion rings with a dab of a sort of remoulade sauce topping the onions, lettuce and tomato on the side. Fries were OK, not as crispy on the outside as I like, but there were plenty of 'em. It really filled me up.

                                              If I go for this again, I'd probably ask for the onion rings on the side (I took most of them off and ate them with a fork) and maybe potato salad instead of the fries. But all in all a good burger and a good buy for five bucks. I wish they had it at lunch, but it's only after 5 PM.

                                              1. re: MikeR

                                                great detailed report, MikeR..
                                                I love a good crust, and pink inside...
                                                we actually have a Red, Hot, and Blue location here in Jersey,
                                                an hour away from me in Cherry Hill...
                                                (wish they had beef ribs!)

                                                1. re: ellen4441

                                                  I was just at a party where RHB catered and they had beef ribs. Surprisingly decent (though not outstanding).

                                              2. re: hungryT

                                                Had a plain burger today at BGR at Lyon Village and it was WAY over-salted! They must have read your review, hungryT! It had lots of pepper as well, which was fine. The bun is very good. The fries were hot and fresh, but not my favorite.

                                                1. re: Transplanted Texan

                                                  made a 2nd trip with a different friend. I had the Wellington and buddy had the plain. Wellington was tasty, borrowing flavors from its many toppings. However, my friend's plain burger was unremarkable. Also, can't help but think the patties are significantly smaller than 10oz.. maybe they're only 1/3 lb patties? if not for the fries, I would have left hungry.

                                        2. re: flavrmeistr

                                          Have you compared the Glory Days standard with the prime burger? And if so, is the prime worth a buck and a half more?

                                  2. re: ellen4441

                                    Is it just me or does that patty look like a charred brick?

                                    1. re: biscuit

                                      try THIS other pic of the Glory Days burger .... perhaps the juicy flavor shows thru more ?!?

                                      And , I threw in a bonus pic of the "Buffalo Chicken Dip" !

                          1. Here's my BIG BUNS burger....(pics attached)...Arlington, VA
                            Great charbroiled flavor, bun could've been a drop softer...
                            These are my fav type of places, ones where you order at the counter, and they give you a # to take back to the table...

                            Tnx, Fellow Chowhounders!! Keep those burger & beef rib ideas pouring in !!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: ellen4441

                              BGR the Burger Joint is my favorite in DC. The Wellington is ridiculously good and I will be getting the Cuban the next time I go. Great milkshakes here as well.

                              BLT Steak has braised short ribs that are served in a lidded, cast iron pot. They are intensely beefy and fork tender. It is expensive but if you are jonesing these are worth the splurge.

                              1. re: CDouglas

                                Re: BLT braised short ribs...
                                I love cast iron cooking!! Cuz usually that means crusty!

                                And I will try and get to BGR the next time I'm in DC, for a burger & milkshake!!

                                1. re: ellen4441

                                  I had a really good ground brisket burger at Ted's Bulletin. Really moist and cooked to order on a sesame roll. Nice char on the outside as well. These weren't fried on a griddle. They're the same people who run Matchbox, so I'd expect their burgers to be tasty.

                                  They also have a braised beef rib sandwich that I'm going to have to try. It's served on grilled cheese bread with vermont white cheddar, arugula and red wine gravy. And they have an EXTENSIVE menu of milkshakes for both kids and adults (Bailey's, Moca Kaluha, White Russian, etc.) made with the old timey milkshake mixers.

                                  Ted's Bulletin
                                  505 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

                              2. re: ellen4441

                                does that receipt show $14 for the "best buns" burger, all told? do they charge for each addition, like pickles, lettuce, etc?

                              3. Rays Hell Burger, Central and Palena would be my 3 recommendations. I have yet to try the burger at the Tune Inn but I have heard it is delicious. Central has my favorite burger in the city, it is truly divine. Enjoy.

                                3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

                                Tune Inn
                                331 Penn SE, Washington, DC

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Jeremy303

                                  tnx, Jeremy!
                                  I see I have some more joints to try on my next DC "burger run" !!

                                2. A lot of people may disagree with me, but I really like Good Stuff. I've always found their burgers good, but I have to admit, I think the milkshakes are what keep bringing me back.

                                  And I have to agree with your decision to go to Matchbox. Their sliders are the best I've had anywhere.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: lilkimbo

                                    The slider thing has been disappointing to me, no matter where I go. I like the idea of them, but what it usually means is three or four dinner rolls each containing a small wad of dry, overcooked meat. Is there any place that has miniature juicy little burgers?

                                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                                      It's been a bit since I've been there, but Ramparts in Fairlington used to make some good ones.

                                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                                        Matchbox or Ugly Mug on Capitol Hill - same recipe - they work out well for me every time.

                                        1. re: flavrmeistr

                                          Hey, Flavormeister!
                                          You can see the JUICES from these MATCHBOX sliders soaking the roll!
                                          I can relate to your "overcooked, dry meat" sliders.... (that is a pet peeve of mine)
                                          However, I believe the Matchbox version will "MEAT" your standards...
                                          & there was pink inside..

                                        2. re: lilkimbo

                                          For the first time I had a hamburger at Good Stuff; I usually get the mushroom burger. I have to say the Sunnyside burger (with fried egg and bacon) is damn tasty. Nothing wrong with that.

                                          1. re: lilkimbo

                                            HI lilkimbo, flavrmeistr, & all !
                                            Here's some pics of my Matchbox sliders! (eaten on April 18th, 2010

                                            1. re: lilkimbo

                                              Good Stuff will go on my list , too, now!
                                              I see they have "thin, griddled" burgers...
                                              charbroiled is my personal fav., but I can appreciate a good griddled and/or seared burger , as well!

                                            2. whitlow's on wilson has a good burger and monday it is on special (half-price).

                                              cowboy cafe has a decent burger, too -- the deal there is on tuesday -- half-price.

                                              1. I just had the beef ribs at Coastal Flats in Tyson's Corner (inside the mall) this past weekend, and was very satisfied with them! The bbq sauce they use is mustardy, but it wasn't too sharp (I'm not a huge fan of straight-up mustard) and wasn't too sweet/sugary. Just perfect for the tender ribs (which fell right off the bone). If you love beef ribs, this is definitely one to try. Even their cole slaw was good, and I usually hate cole slaw with a passion.

                                                Coastal Flats
                                                7860 Tysons Corner Ctr, Mc Lean, VA 22102

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: yfunk3

                                                  COINCIDENTLY, I was also at COASTAL FLATS that weekend eating BEEF RIBS!
                                                  (Sun. May 16th, 630 pm, bubbly gal, back table on left, lol ..)
                                                  I ordered the mustard bbq sauce on the side, just to play it safe, and to get the full beef flavor...

                                                  AGREED : fall off the bone!
                                                  AGREED: sauce was not too sweet/sugary

                                                  great service from Anatasia ...
                                                  p.s. This is the 3rd time I've tried posting these pics!!

                                                  1. re: ellen4441

                                                    hello o bubbly one, would you please tell us what the black stuff is on those ribs?

                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                      You must mean the crust ...
                                                      Love my crusty ribs!!

                                                      1. re: ellen4441

                                                        oh yeah, those were way crusty. in the realm of looking rather charred. maybe it was just the lighting. ;-).

                                                    2. re: ellen4441

                                                      Ah, now my mouth is watering again. :o)

                                                      Incidentally, mine weren't nearly that charred and weren't all separated like that. Came in three big pieces for me. So I guess it depends on the day! I'm betting with the usually-good Coastal Flats service, you can ask that your ribs not be too charred?

                                                      Coastal Flats
                                                      7860 Tysons Corner Ctr, Mc Lean, VA 22102

                                                      1. re: yfunk3

                                                        actually, I found my beef ribs just right... extra crusty, but not burnt ...
                                                        I bet I would've liked yours , as well, yfunk3 !

                                                        Sounds like ours were both perfectly suited for each of us , though!!!!!

                                                  2. I'm guilty of being a Ray's devotee, but I'm surprised that Carlyle never comes up on any burger lists. It's a serious contender. It's really a well-crafted, excellent surprise.

                                                    1. I love Elevation Burger in Falls Church City off Lee Highway. They also have fantastic fries.
                                                      Matchbox too has a good burger.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Cher55ox

                                                        I agree with you on both counts, Cher55ox.....
                                                        I conquered Matchbox on one of my recent DC visits..(even posted some "slider" pics in previous posts on here!)

                                                        I went to that Elevation Burger in Falls Church , the one in that nice Harris Teeter shopping center.... I tried their choc. shake...(very sinful and good!)
                                                        was too stuffed for a burger, but I loved the Elevation Burger I experienced in the Philly suburbs earlier in the year....extremely fresh...although those olive oil fries did'nt do much for me...

                                                      2. Most underrated burger in town is from 'G Street Foods'. Believe me, I've been to all the places mentioned here but there's something special about the G street burger....it's a very simple, no frills burger but for some reason it is just perfection! I've convinced all my co-workers to try it and EVERYONE says it's their favorite burger.

                                                        G Street Food
                                                        1706 G St NW, Washington, DC 20006