Eight years after his first L.A. restaurant Petit Trois began its famed journey, Michelin starred Chef Ludo Lefebvre has stepped out of his coveted California-based comfort zone with his new joint in lower Downtown Denver, at the recently opened Thompson Hotel. In his new diner Chez Maggy, the James Beard Award finalist has brought “a little bit of ‘him’” to Denver, mixed with the classic Colorado charisma.
The restaurant is named after Margaret Stewart Braun, the late mother-in-law of chef Ludo Lefebvre. Braun passed away in 2019 after a tragic car accident in Colorado. This new endeavor is a homage to her memory. Chef Lefebvre has stated that this new restaurant would reflect his French background, but with an openness to all that Colorado has to offer.
The French, brasserie-style menu of Chez Maggy reflects the unique and tastefully understated approach of chef Ludo Lefebvre to classic French cuisine, with dishes inspired by French mountain ingredients and traditions of various regions across France. Maintaining the chef’s signature take on traditional French dishes, the menu includes escargot, duck à l’orange, different takes on steak fries with a choice of mustard sauce or cognac pepper sauce, steak tartare, trout almondine, pate, classic French onion soup, smothered Croque monsieur, decadent ‘Frenchified’ Denver omelet, and many more. The chef also plans to cook with fresh seasonal Colorado produce, changing out 30-40% of the menu every few months.
Along with the regular dining services, Chez Maggy will also handle room service offerings for the guests at the Thompson Hotel Denver. This means that the guests can enjoy the Denver omelet, pate, Croque monsieur, or steak — all without leaving the comfort of their suites. The boutique hotel and the in-house signature restaurant opened on February 7th this year.
If you live in America, you have quite a few great burger options around you. There’s a lot of delicious burger joints spread throughout the US, and we’ve listed some of the best ones for you.
Chris Madrid’s – San Antonio, Texas
This family-owned restaurant was founded by Chris Madrid, then a fresh college graduate, in 1977, and is now run by his family after his passing in 2012.
You have a lot of choice in Chris Madrid’s in terms of food – you can stick to the safe, popular pick of the oozing Cheddar Cheezy, or indulge in their specialty – the Tostada Burger.
Fred’s Meat & Bread – Atlanta, Georgia
The name is kind of an understatement – Fred’s Meat & Bread offers way more than just…well, “meat and bread.” This small eatery in Krog Street Market, Atlanta claims to make sandwiches, but in reality, they are mostly burgers.
The joint offers a diverse range of burgers, inspired by food from around the world, starting from Spain to Vietnam. You can choose to go for a Korean cheesesteak or an Italian grinder, or even stick with your classic Bacon Cheeseburger. Whatever you choose, Fred will not disappoint.
Bless Your Heart Burgers – Portland, Oregon
Located in Pine Street Market of Portland, Oregon – Bless Your Heart Burgers are probably one of the best joints you can visit if you want a burger with a thick, juicy patty that comes with plenty of condiments.
Their Carolina Burger is especially noteworthy, coming with chili, onions, coleslaw, yellow mustard, pure American cheese, and homemade pickles. This burger joint is one with a unique goal – they bring you classic American burgers of today but drive you back to childhood with their flavors.
BurgerFuel – Indianapolis, Indiana
If you’re a New Zealander, the name “BurgerFuel” might be familiar to you. A burger restaurant chain that began its journey in Auckland in 1995, it finally sailed across the Pacific and reached Broad Ripple Village of Indianapolis in 2017.
BurgerFuel takes pride in making gourmet burgers with natural, fresh ingredients, and it’s paying off big time. Their rich, juicy burgers come in vegan, vegetarian, non-GMO, and organic options as well, and go hand-in-hand with some cheese, shakes, and their specially-made aioli.
The Company Burger – New Orleans, Louisiana
If you’re looking for the most authentically sourced burgers in America, look no further than in the American southeast, where The Company Burger is located in New Orleans, Louisiana. As a burger joint that makes its own buns, pickles, and mayo, it’s no surprise that they produce one of the best burgers in the South.
They do not have a wide range of choices, providing their usual medium patties, bread-and-butter pickles, and cooked onion, but these will leave a taste on your mouth that you will remember for years.
Gabby’s Burgers & Fries – Nashville, Tennessee
If you’re ever looking for a dose of motivation, give a quick visit to Gabby’s in Tennessee, and you’ll see a man who is living his dream. The owner of Gabby’s sold his profitable business to spend more time with his wife and kids and opened this small joint in Humphreys Street in Nashville.
Their signature dish is the Gabby – two cheesy patties combined with the perfect bun. Gabby’s also has something called the “Secret Menu,” which offers special dishes that can only be unlocked through the password.
Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill – Fort Lauderdale, Florida
It’s impressive how many hidden gems you can find in Florida’s strip malls. One of those gems is Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill in Fort Lauderdale – a small family-run eatery where the mom runs the counter and the son runs the grill. Besides burgers, you can also find homemade ribs, wings, soups, salads, and desserts there.
However, the highlight of Gilbert’s is their special burgers – “The Hottest” Burger, made with homemade hot sauce and ghost pepper, or maybe the Havarti Bacon Burger, which is served on a toasted buttered English muffin.
Kopp’s Frozen Custard – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The moniker of this joint can be misleading, but it’s only an illusion – Kopp’s can definitely offer you the best burgers in Wisconsin. This is a restaurant chain that was founded by the 109-year-old Elsa Kopp back in 1950, and it still runs strong all over Milwaukee – specializing both in delicious burgers and frozen custards!
Their menu is huge – offering a wide range of burgers, toppings, sundaes, flavors, and beverages to choose from, and their Jumbo Cheeseburger is one of their most unforgettable options.
The Stand Arcadia Burger Shoppe – Phoenix, Arizona
No, The Stand isn’t a horror-themed burger joint based on Stephen King’s 1978 novel – it’s quite the contrary. Whilst Stephen King’s novels will scare you, this burger joint in Phoenix, Arizona offers you nothing but comfort – in the form of burgers and tacos.
Their exquisite burgers are topped with lettuce, tomato, kosher dills, and their very own Stand Sauce – enough to make anyone salivate. In addition, you can ask for caramelized onions with your burgers to get a taste of what heaven feels like.
Bill’s Burgers – Los Angeles, California
In an increasing flashy and urban city like Los Angeles, it’s hard to imagine a burger joint that has managed to hold on to tradition for decades – but this is precisely what Bill’s Burgers does. The 94-year-old Bill Elwell is somewhat of a legend to his customers, flipping and grilling burgers himself in the same old joint since 1965.
The menu is simple, and the burgers comprise of lettuce, tomato, onions, mayo, and cheese – but they offer mouth-watering deliciousness with their extra seasoning.
Tookie’s Hamburgers & More – Kemah, Texas
The name of the burger joint might remind you of the Tooks, but unfortunately, this joint has nothing to do with Hobbit, although their story is quite interesting as well. The founder of Tookie’s took (pun intended) inspiration from the Tooker Brother store he remembered as a child, but its real specialty comes in burgers.
They have a huge menu with a variety of items to choose from, made with freshly cut beef and locally sourced toppings that leave a delicious taste in your mouth.
Triple XXX – West Lafayette, Indiana
Triple XXX might call itself a family restaurant, but it’s much more than that – it is what makes Purdue students feel at home. The menu does its best to reflect this as well, by naming dishes after Purdue athletes – so, you can grab yourself The Bernie Flowers All-Pro or enjoy The Ashley Burkhardt.
The first drive-in restaurant in Indiana, this is a popular choice for families too – thanks to their hand-cut sirloin beef patties and amazing onion rings.
Petey’s Burger – Queens, New York
It’d be hard to find anyone in America who hasn’t heard of In-N-Out Burger. Whilst In-N-Out is exclusive to the West Coast, the East Coast also has something to boast of their own – Petey’s Burgers.
First opened in NYC in 2008, Petey’s Burgers offers thin, double-stacked patties with Russian dressing and slices of American cheese, which is complemented perfectly with a soft, moist bun. They also have a crazy special sauce that you would definitely miss out if you don’t try it.
Town Topic – Kansas City, Missouri
It was 1937 when Claude Sparks decided to open a small diner in 2442½ Broadway in Kansas City, Missouri, and sell burgers for five pence each. More than eight decades later, you obviously won’t get burgers for the same price, but the taste probably remains the same.
The cozy, cramped diner is perfect to enjoy a solitary meal with a 1930s vibe around you, and their menu offers a huge list of burgers and sandwiches that you can enjoy with homemade chili or other side dishes.
Small Cheval – Chicago, Illinois
Not to be confused with the similarly named Chicago diner called Au Cheval, Small Cheval is a small, fast-paced burger joint comprising a simplistic menu – cheeseburgers, hamburgers, and fries. The burger joint also allows guests to have drinks and shakes and features an enclosed patio space during winter months.
However, their burgers, which have a likeness to their sibling Au Cheval, is what makes them so awesome – a small, juicy patty complemented with onions, pickles, and American condiments.
Cherry Cricket – Denver, Colorado
What makes Cherry Cricket special isn’t its burgers (although, they are amazing). What makes Cherry Cricket so unique is that it’s more than a burger joint – it is the heart of Denver. This is a place for friends to meet up after ages whilst munching on onion rings and playing darts.
When it comes to the food, there are no pre-arranged burgers that you might choose from. You can customize your burger any way you want, even with peanut butter – but Cherry Cricket will still deliver something marvelous.
Pie ‘n Burger – Pasadena, California
California is home to a lot of tasty burger joints, and Pie ‘n Burger is one of its most awesome ones. It was founded in 1963 in Pasadena and has had all its recipes preserved. The joint itself looks nothing special – it’s an old-fashioned eatery that specializes, as you would expect, in burgers and fruit pies.
However, all you need is a bite of a classic burger adorned with pickles, lettuce, Thousand Island dressing, and American cheese, and you’ll know what you’ve been missing out on.
White Hut – Springfield, Massachusetts
If there’s ever a restaurant that’s the perfect example of revival, it’s White Hut of Massachusetts. Originally founded in 1939, the casual, counter-serve diner closed up in February 2020, much to the dismay of food-lovers.
However, it was bought out and reopened only six months later in August, and it came back stronger than ever. That’s a good thing – it’d be a shame if their grilled onion-laden burger patties were gone forever.
Nation Kitchen & Bar – Cincinnati, Ohio
Nation probably wins the award for the “Most Humorous Establishment Name” – deriving its name from the temperance movement advocate Carrie Nation, who opposed the prevalence of intoxicating beverages, even before the Prohibition. Despite the irony, Nation offers truly some of the best drinks and burgers in America.
Their special Nation Burger is the favorite of many in Cincinnati, which comes with their six-ounce patty and smoked cheddar cheese – served with Memphis BBQ sauce, onion straws, and horseradish aioli.
Keller’s Drive-In – Dallas, Texas
Keller’s Drive-In is by no means a fancy hamburger restaurant. This is a small, old-school burger joint located in the Northwest Highway of Dallas, Texas that offers great burgers to motorcyclists and families. This is a hamburger shop that has been thriving since 1950, and yet they offer amazing burgers that start from less than two bucks!
The juicy patties are generously topped with tomato, onion, pickle, ketchup, and mustard and placed inside a soft, seeded bun that would bring back the 1950s nostalgia inside you with their jukebox.
Miller’s Bar – Dearborn, Michigan
This list contains a lot of old-school burger joints, but rarely does anything match the likes of Miller’s Bar – an ancient watering hole that has been around since 1947. Although the name suggests it’s a bar, the real specialty of the place is their burgers, which has stood through the test of time.
Their prices are a little higher than most joints, but it’s definitely worthwhile! Their burgers come with a thick patty coated with onions, ketchup, pickles, and melty cheese – wrapped in just a wax paper and served instantly.
Loretta’s Northwesterner – Seattle, Washington
In a world where chain fast-food restaurants are dominating the food industry, diners like Loretta’s are a blessing. Loretta’s is a tiny dive bar located in Seattle – a simple, no-frills place that is the perfect spot for neighborhood hangouts.
Their burgers look small and modest on the outside, but with one bite of the Tavern Burger, you’ll feel the cheese oozing into your mouth along with the juicy patty, the buttered bun, and the yummy toppings. This is a burger that would leave you craving for more.
Hubcap Grill – Houston, Texas
If you ever visit Houston, there’s a high chance that you would run into at least one Hubcap Grill, with four locations around the city and one airport outpost. You would think that growing into a chain restaurant would take its toll on their burgers, but their taste hasn’t been compromised one bit.
Made of fresh chuck beef which is hand-formed into patties and homemade toasted buns, their mouthwatering burgers are definitely worth a try!
Grill Marks – Greenville, South Carolina
Grill Marks currently has three locations in South Carolina – two in Greenville, and one in Columbia, but the first one in downtown Greenville is still their best. The burger joint uses chopped certified Angus beef instead of ground, and this gives the patty a unique fuller and richer texture.
Their onion rings and fries are brilliant as well, and one that would make you want to come back to SC over and over.
Nic’s Grill – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
At first look, you might feel disappointed by Nic’s Grill. The restaurant is a small one – and you would wonder how this joint even made the list. Once you order your first half-pound, though, your opinions will start to differ.
Although the owner Nic has stopped grilling burgers at present, you would still find a delicious burger filled to the brim with cheese and toppings, and served with an overload of French fries and a fork.
Chroni’s Famous Sandwich Shop — Los Angeles, California
L.A. Times critic Jonathan Gold only had good things to say about the chiliburger at Chroni’s Famous Sandwich Shop. “Painted with yellow mustard and sliced with a meaty, emulsified chili a few degrees spicier than the rest; robust, tasting distinctly of the grill,” he wrote. “Piled high with ripe tomatoes and crisp sheaves of lettuce.”
Amazingly, this chiliburger has been a part of LA culture for about a century and Chroni’s have been serving them since the late ’40s.
Better Luck Tomorrow — Houston, Texas
When it comes to burger joints in Houston, Texas, you can do a whole lot worse than Better Luck Tomorrow. The burger of a James Beard Awarding-winning chef, this beef patty is laden with cheddar cheese, red onions and caramelized ones too.
Restaurant editor of Food & Wine Jordana Rothman claims that the patty is actually cooked in beef fat. Moreover, the burger has an umami kick to it, especially after being sandwiched between two slices of homemade bread made with Parmesan cheese.
Pizza Loves Emily — Brooklyn, New York
Emmy Burger is something that you really have to earn to make it a part of your life, truth be told. “Kindly, we decline substitutions or modiﬁcations on this item. Limited availability per night,” it says on the menu.
If you are able to make this burger your own, you will expect to get a dry-aged patty with a bunch of Grafton cheddar cheese piled on top, as well as caramelized onions and Korean chili sauce.
Pool Burger — Austin, Texas
There are plenty of awesome spots to have burgers in Austin, Texas, and Pool Burger is right at the top of the list. It seems to have a tiki bar thing going on inside the 1968 Airstream trailer that this burger joint is located in. Austin people flock from all over to try out their eight different burgers.
However, Food & Wine‘s Jordana Rothman’s favorite is definitely The Deep End. This triple-patty is made from Wagyu beef and is topped with bacon, Dijonnaise, Swiss cheese, and jalapenos.
Cecconi’s — Miami Beach, Florida
While “Dirty Burger” might not be the most appealing name for a burger, hang on as we break down why there’s nothing to worry about. Apparently, this burger has a thin patty, a “special sauce,” and is covered with lacy Parmesan cheese – which, let’s face it, are all wonderful things.
Apparently, only members of Soho Beach House can try out this burger. However, one can also try it out at the Italian restaurant in the club’s lobby from 4-7 pm.
Workingman’s Friend – Indianapolis, Indiana
In the Midwest, the “smash burger” is kind of a big deal and Workingman’s Friend in Indianapolis might be the very best at it. This dive bar, which is nearly 100 years old, is home to a truly stunning smash burger, whose cooks throw the patties into their griddle and work their magic.
The burgers are so flat and yet still extremely filling. You can buy singles, doubles and cheese-topped versions of this iconic burger. If you’re in this neck of woods, don’t miss out!
The Cozy Inn – Salina, Kansas
Sliders are a big deal in Central Kansas and this one at The Cozy Inn in Salina is up there with the very best. These small but onion-laden burgers have been in production since 1922. Amazingly, this was the same year that White Castle opened up in Wichita.
These burgers would be slid down the counter with waxed paper, ushering in the name “sliders.” What’s even more amazing is that one could buy one of these bad boys for just five cents.
4505 Burgers & BBQ Restaurant — San Francisco, California
A lot of burgers on this list have a name, not this one though. Instead, Chef Ryan Farr simply calls it the “best damn grass-fed cheeseburger” on the entire menu. Topped with onion, lettuce, a secret sauce and Gruyere cheese, this quarter-pound patty with a bun laden with scallions and sesame seeds is a real priority for any foodie who is visiting San Francisco any time soon.
“It’s always cooked to a perfectly juicy medium-rare,” Eater restaurant editor Hillary Dixler Canavan said.
Little Jack’s Tavern — Charleston, South Carolina
If you are ever hanging out in Charleston, South Carolina, you simply have to try the Double Tavern Burger at Little Jack’s Tavern. John Amato, who is the executive chef here, doesn’t try to overcomplicate things with this burger.
Topped with seasoned mayo, American cheese and a bun laden with sesame seeds, this is as perfect as it gets. In fact, Bon Appetit editor-at-large Andrew Knowlton named Double Tavern the best burger of 2017. It can be eaten in just four bites!
Santa Fe Bite – Santa Fe, New Mexico
New Mexico is home to some truly awesome burger joints and the Santa Fe Bite is right up with the very best. Seeing that New Mexico is a prime location for green chili cheeseburgers, you can expect to find some really good ones here. The chili peppers are usually chopped and thrown on top of the patty.
The previous owners of the once-great Bobcat Bite have since opened this awesome eatery. “The burger itself has steak-y heft,” Eater‘s Bill Addison says.
HiHo Cheeseburger – Santa Monica, California
When it comes to choices of burgers, HiHo Cheeseburger may not impress you – they have the usual classic cheeseburgers, their special HiHo cheeseburgers, and a gluten-free vegetarian option – all of which can be made spicier.
However, when it comes to taste, this hamburger restaurant from Santa Monica stands out big time. The thin, seared patties of their burgers are made of 100% grass-fed wagyu beef, which is best enjoyed with their hand-cut, twice-fried fries, and thick, creamy milkshakes.
Brooks’ Sandwich Shop – Charlotte, North Carolina
Names can be deceiving, and Brooks’ Sandwich Shop is its perfect example. Located in North Brevard Street, Charlotte, NC, this little roadside shop that only offers takeaway is the perfect place for burger lovers. The shop was founded by the twins David and Scott Brooks in 1973, and it’s still running smoothly almost half a century later.
Their menu might only boast burgers with bacon and cheese, but you can have them topped with mustard, onion, and a brilliantly smoked chili that compliments the juiciness of the patty perfectly.
White Manna – Hackensack, New Jersey
The White Manna is arguably the best burger joint in Hackensack, New Jersey, although they have a doppelganger called White Mana (with one “n”) in Jersey City. The burger joint was founded in 1939 at the World’s Fair and moved to Hackensack in 1946, where they have been serving mind-blowing burgers ever since.
Their burgers come with an oozy, gooey, juicy patty – packed with onions and meatballs, and covered perfectly with potato buns. If you want the burger of a lifetime, White Manna is the place to go.
Grind Burger Kitchen – Louisville, Kentucky
What began as a small food truck in the spring of 2012 grew into a full-fledged brick-and-mortar diner within only two years when Liz and Jesse Huot finally set up shop in East Market Street, Louisville.
Grind Burger Kitchen is known for its crispy, crusty hamburger patties, which goes hand-in-hand with its fresh buns and delicious toppings. The eatery offers vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options as well, so no matter what your preferences may be – Grind Burger Kitchen has your back.
Al’s Burger Shack – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Al’s Burger Shack has more than one location, but it’s their Chapel Hill joint that is the most popular and the favorite of the many Americans who have driven through North Carolina.
They are a small diner that specializes mostly in burgers and hot dogs, but one bite of Classic, Paco, or Mookie will tell you why they are considered so awesome. Besides, their potato fries are one of a kind – perfect to enjoy with a juicy patty and soft buns.