Impending winter begs for the fortitude of a good burger, and we loosen our belts and unhinge our jaws in search of perfect patties. Join our restaurant guide and local foodie Tim Tebeau as he maps out the best Northern Michigan burgers.
826 W. Front Street, Traverse City, 231.932.1760
Step through Slabtown’s threshold and pause a moment to take it in: the ancient wood floors, the intoxicating aroma of caramelized meat and onions, the primal burger urge that suddenly grabs you. Launched in 2008 in TC’s historic west side neighborhood of the same name, Slabtown proffers a juicy palette of 13 proprietary patties that slide off the gleaming flat top grill each day by the hundreds. Individually hand-forming an 80 percent lean hybrid grind from Fireside Farms, Slabtown delivers inventive arterial emergencies such as the Slabtown Special, a double burger with American cheese, grilled onions, lettuce and Slabtown sauce, and the perennial favorites of Slabtown sycophants, the Big Blue Burger (stuffed with bacon and blue cheese) and Pungi’s Pepper Patty (jalapeño cream cheese). The crew cuts and double fries 200 to 400 pounds of fresh Idaho spuds daily and dusts them with a nearly narcotic secret seasoning. Choices include scratch-made soups, black bean veggie burgers and quasi-heart healthy wraps, but you’ll be hard-pressed to stray from the chalkboard burger menu. Join us this month as we bite into some the North’s best burgers. (Check out this profile on burger slinger/general manager Jake Dunn.)
415 Main Street, Frankfort 231.352.4702
Five ounces of fully customizable Angus grind await your appetite at this favorite Frankfort watering hole. Add blue cheese, bacon and a pint to beat back the chill rolling off Betsie Bay.
6487 Western Avenue, Glen Arbor 231.334.3754
Built on hand-slapped chuck and nested beside thick-cut steak fries, Art’s Original is a burger for the purist. Add a batch of fried smelt to feed your waxing winter metabolism.
428 East Front Street, Traverse City 231.995.0570
Epic eight-ounce patties come in 18 tasty installments, such as the bacon, egg and spinach-dressed Breakfast Burger or the Tex Mex with chorizo, guacamole and white cheddar.
Roquette Burger Bistro
103 Park Avenue, Charlevoix 231.237.9016
This farm-to-bun bistro in Charlevoix uses local meat and produce for arty signature burgers with bacon jam, brie and arugula or wild mushroom confit, grilled scallion and truffle oil. Housemade condiments.
The Mitchell Street Pub
426 East Mitchell, Petoskey 231.347.1801
Eat the juicy, iconic olive burger amid curious taxidermy, rock memorabilia and strewn peanut shells. Great tunes from the jukebox and Michigan microbrews on tap.