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November 22, 2014

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Where to find the best burgers in Las Vegas

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MGM Entertainment

The $5,000 burger. Can’t afford it? Don’t worry. Keep reading to find out where in Las Vegas to get one that tastes just as good.

Are you a foodie?

Check out these related stories from the current edition of Las Vegas Weekly.

How do I put this gently? Sometimes readers can be downright clueless.

In the May issue of Travel + Leisure magazine, a reader survey picked America’s Best Burger Cities, a pretty extensive Top 20. And guess what? Las Vegas wasn’t even listed. San Antonio? Sure. Phoenix/Scottsdale? You bet. Savannah, Georgia, that burger-slinging burg, why of course!

Are you kidding me?

I’ve lived on both coasts and visited many places in between, and I have never seen anywhere so obsessed with burgers as Las Vegas. Ever since Kerry Simon won Iron Chef America with a hamburger and Hubert Keller opened Mandalay Place’s Burger Bar in 2005, hamburgers have become an ever-expanding obsession of visitors and locals alike.

Just look at how many restaurants dedicated to them are on the Strip—the aforementioned Burger Bar, Mirage’s BLT, Paris’ Le Burger Brasserie, Harrah’s KGB, Palazzo’s I Love Burgers and Cosmopolitan’s Holsteins, to name a few. Not to mention the high-end options available at nearly every steakhouse in town and the plethora of fast food blanketing the Valley, from Five Guys to In-N-Out. Even McDonald’s has a unique “Viva McDonalds” here and Burger King the flagship Whopper Bar at Rio.

I recently completed my second survey of Vegas’ best burgers for an online blog, and many of our top chefs are passionate about patties and buns. I’m talking about people who work at Comme Ça, Delmonico, Bradley Ogden and Carnevino. They create bites like the teensy thumb-burgers at Guy Savoy’s bubbles bar, the mouth-melting Firecracker burger (made with Bhut Jolokia chili pepper and chipotle salsa) at Aria’s Skybox or Bachi Burger’s habachi-grilled patties topped with yuzu aioli, lemongrass, kimchi, yamamomo peach or Ko Chu Jang mayo (whatever the heck that is).

In what other city can you spend $5,000 on a burger, like you can here at Fleur? (Okay, it’s “only” $75 without the pricey Petrus pairing.) And where else can you get into passionate discussions with star chefs about the merits of using Kobe/Wagyu, Prime, Certified Angus, New York, skirt and other cuts along with staples chuck and round? The Broadway Burger Bar at New York-New York brags that its beef comes from 100 percent grass-fed, free range cows from Uruguay. Carnevino claims its burgers are dry aged for at least 90 days.

And while it’s trendy to talk about grinding your beef in-house, Binion’s snack bar Downtown on Fremont Street has been doing that daily basically forever (for a patty that’s still hard to beat at $6).

If the folks in Savannah are putting this much time and energy into perfecting their hamburgers, I will fly there and sashay through Lafayette Square in my mama’s petticoats. Until then, America, if you think you have a burger that can beat what we’re grilling here in Las Vegas, I have two words: Order up.

* * *

When Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened in Henderson a couple months ago, debate among our readers raged: Is it better than In-N-Out? Smashburger? Read some of the comments they posted on the original story below.

    • Five Guys Burgers and Fries
      Photo by Justin M. Bowen

      newnvres (Ben Lambert) says:

      Great Burgers - loved them in Virginia/DC. Fries orders are on the Huge side. This is a splurge - not an everyday meal. Can't wait to go. Usually best burgers in town, I like them better than In and Out Burgers. Steak and Shake - I would stick with the Shake. McD's,BK,Wendy's, etc.. have dollar burgers for a reason.

    • Five Guys Burgers and Fries
      Photo by Justin M. Bowen

      poppaD says:

      I ate there first in Geogia,they are NOT LIKE IN N OUT. The fries are better and not dry. They have cajun fries and regular. Free bags of peanuts were good too! They let you throw your shells on the floor in Georgia but not California. The staff was young and polite and very diverse, this is not the old south, black and white kids working together and suprisingly no hispanics! These kids are doing jobs that bush said "Amerians don't want to do". You can put anything on your burger just like at your house.And the hot dogs are grilled and very good!

    • Five Guys Burgers and Fries
      Photo by Justin M. Bowen

      doolish1 (John Dooley) says:

      5 guys is better than in-n-out but more expensive. In-N-Out is awesome and more of a fast food comparison. 5 Guys is more like getting a diner burger in a bag especially with all the topping choices. No tipping also! Cant beat the peanuts while you wait!

    • Five Guys Burgers and Fries
      Photo by Justin M. Bowen

      vegaslen says:

      Love the burgers - better than Fatburger. Fries could be better - no other choices for sides, unless you consider the free peanuts.

    • Five Guys Burgers and Fries
      Photo by Justin M. Bowen

      smartone618 says:

      I ate at one of these in DC last year. It was really good, but they packed it in a bag (I was dining in) with like a million french fries and when I unwrapped the burger, it was smashed in the shape of a softball... still good though!

    — Originally published in Las Vegas Weekly.

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    1. Five Guys is the most overrated bread-meat-bread places 'round town.

      I can't bring myself to eat at Smashburger because it sounds too much like the same concept as Coldstone Creamery.

      Though there are some excellent choices in town, my fave burger is The Impressionist at Create.

    2. I vote for the one pound stuffed burger with fries at Hash House for $12.95

    3. Smashburger for me!

    4. It has been said that Henry Ford's daily lunch was a Filet Mignon Burger, which impressed those who he dined with -- would like to audition one -- does anyone know if there are any local joints serving up Burgers made of Filet Mignon?

      : {

    5. Binion's burgers all the way!

    6. There's not a burger joint in town that can compete with a pulled pork sandwich. :)

    7. Holstein's for me. Not too often, of course... their classic burger with a pizza twinkie appetizer is enough calories for a few days.

    8. I would like to give a big Thank You to Smashburger. They gave out free burgers for veterans on Memorial Day. I took my uncle out, we had a nice time, and we enjoyed the experience. We dont see eachother a lot, it was a nice thing to do on their end. Thanks again

    9. A good old fashion Steak n Shake Burger or a Hot and juicey White Castles fresh off the grill. All the others can just go into bankruptcy, espically McDonald's.

    10. I guess I'll take the $5 INN N OUT. I just took a big hit on my pay and benefits. Not that I would ever splurge on a $5,000 burger, even if I had the money. LOL

    11. In N Out is by far the best value in town for a burger. I prefer Smashburger over the likes of Five Guys and Fat Burger. I tried Five Guys and Smashburger on the same weekend and I thought Smashburger crushed it. Five guys = GREASYYYY!!!!

    12. I am honored to be featured in this article!