Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Phoenix >
Jul 24, 2011 11:53 AM

Why are cheap hamburger so rare?

That is, geographically rare - no reference to the length of cooking time.

Specifically, I was reading the article that was, I think, posted here, of Howard Seftel's reviews of "best" hamburgers, and I was perturbed that so many of them were over $10, which means that by the time you add tax and tip...

Shouldn't it still be possible to get more good hamburgers at $6 or less? Did he just not look hard enough?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I think it is because if some people put the word gourmet in front of the word hamburger on the menu, on the sign outside the restaurant they can charge $10 or more for a burger. I would like to see somebody use maybe 25 people, blinfold them, feed them a high priced burger and a 6-7 dollar burger and see what percentage of them would choose the cheaper burger. Not paying any attention to the ambience of the restaurant, How many of you have had a $10 burger and thought it was over priced?

    1. Fida, I just re-read Seftel's most recent Hamburger article; your post piqued my interest. You're correct that many, if not most, of his burger choices (especially in the Excellent or Very Good categories) are high-priced, in the $10 range that you mentioned. My own fave el-cheapo, The Chuckbox in Tempe, was on the Very Good list at $4.09, sides extra. There were a couple of others but I cannot speak to their excellence while I can sing praises to The Chuckbox. Granted it is a college dive but a delicious college dive. A bit further up the price scale, depending on your choice, is Four Peaks Brewery also in Tempe.

      Check out the "Good" category, there are a lot more choices here fitting your criteria.

      1. Then Chuckbox was the only one of the list I've been to, and I was glad to see it there. But surely there must be others?

        I wasn't so much asking why places charge $10 - obviously they'll charge as much as they can - but rather wondering if reviewers look hard enough. Or if it's even possible to really search when a city is so sprawling.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Fida

          "Or if it's even possible to really search when a city is so sprawling."

          In theory, that's what we're supposed to be doing.

          1. re: Dmnkly

            If you're doing a review on burgers in the valley, you need ot either block off geographical areas or commit to doing some travel. Otherwise you are suspect in my book, and I know the Phoenix area well, and it is spread out, but how damn lazy are you?

            1. re: EWSflash

              Being comprehensive in a large city as a solo critic is impossible unless you go laser-focused. You cover what you can. Being comprehensive and covering everything is supposed to be *OUR* thing. Folks on food boards are the front lines. The foot soldiers. Boots on the ground, covering square mileage like no solo critic can. Point being, when's the last time somebody in Phoenix walked into someplace for no reason other than it seemed nobody else had and then posted about it on Chowhound? We can criticize critics for not living up to the task of being completely comprehensive, or we can get out there and do it ourselves. We have the numbers, I just don't see the will, so I'm not so sure we should be throwing stones, is all.

              If even just the small handful of people who posted in this thread committed to finding and trying two under the radar cheap burger places during the month of August -- just two -- we'd have a real start to a valuable thread rather than a bunch of posts where we sit around scratching our heads and complaining about Seftel.

              So I'll start. I just found one two weeks ago. Chicago's Taylor Street, on Scottsdale Rd. just north of the 202, makes a great simple, greasy cheeseburger for $3.50. A couple of thin patties, griddled fresh, loads of cheese, the usual vegetables and condiments on a big sesame seed bun. It's not a steakhouse burger, but as greasy cheeseburgers go, it's hot and squishy and delicious and pretty damn irresistible. And at $3.50, it's absurdly cheap.

              Who's next?

              1. re: Dmnkly

                "Point being, when's the last time somebody in Phoenix walked into someplace for no reason other than it seemed nobody else had and then posted about it on Chowhound?"

                Okay, I'm going to be really annoying and answer my own question. May 28th -- two *months* ago -- in this thread ( is the last time somebody started a post with a report about a place they'd tried.

                That's the problem. Not Seftel.

                1. re: Dmnkly

                  Giant Burger in Mesa on Broadway/Lindsay. Griddled to order. This little place is kind of an old-fashioned diner with maybe 10 tables and a a few counter stools. It's in the Fry's shopping center between a Subway and a Sports Memorabilia shop. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, have a pie case (I don't think they make the deserts in-house, but they are still very good, try the cheesecake), and make thick milkshakes. I'm not sure how much a cheeseburger is, but it's not expensive at all. The place is *packed* on weekend mornings for breakfast.

                  Ted's in Tempe makes a decent charcoal grilled burger also for those times when you just don't feel like a dog.

                  Has anyone tried the new burger place that opened on the SE corner of McClintock/Guadalupe in Tempe? Forgot the name...

                  1. re: Jen76

                    Habit Burger is the new one on McClintock /Guadalupe - burger taste is good, bun, not so much.

                    Smashburger is the very best in my humble opinion - great meat, great bun, great grilled onions....yuMMy!

          2. I'm going to throw this out there cuz' I was looking for a review of burgers in Phoenix - Brio (Italian chain restaurant - Happy Hour only 3:30pm to 6?) Awesome burger . . .go figure. Really, I'll bye making my errands around the valley just to coincide with the $2.95 burger.