Editor's pick: Two taste-testers sampled 31 burgers in Rochester. Here are their results.
Cheeseburgers are quintessential American comfort food.
But who has the very best burger in town? Hungry for the the answer, a pair of local taste tasters recently set out on a restaurant-to-restaurant analysis.
The duo, Heidi and Steve, focused on local restaurants rather than national chains. This basically boiled down to looking at anything that was not a "franchise." They did, however, sample from local businesses with more than one location (I.e. One Newt's and one Whistle Binkies location were visited).
In total, they tried burgers from 31 different restaurants in Rochester.
Borrowing from the old adage that begins "you can put lipstick on a pig....", they decided the best way to truly find the best burgers was to know who has the top foundational burger elements and preparation.
"The theory was that if you can't make a great basic cheeseburger, then all the fancy sauces and extras are really just masking what's underneath," says their report, which presents itself akin to a scientific study. "So at each restaurant the same sandwich was requested: cheddar cheeseburger, medium-rare."
The reviewers considered the following elements to be the desirable components of the sandwich. Each piece of criteria carried equal weight:
- Patty Flavor: Needed mild seasoning, clear beef flavor, light char.
- Patty Juiciness: Dry = bad. Looking for a burger that is succulent.
- Doneness: Cooked to proper temperature (medium-rare).
- Bun Flavor: Cut surface lightly buttered and toasted, Quality bread.
- Bun to patty ratio: The bun needs to stand up to the juices of the burger but not so much bread that you don't notice the burger, and not so light that it feels like caloric air.
- Cheese Flavor: Looking for a basic quality cheddar cheese flavor.
- Cheese Melting and Ratio: The cheese should be completely melted onto the patty, contribute to the overall moisture of the sandwich, and there should be enough cheese that one can discernibly taste it,yet not overpowering the patty flavor.
Overall sandwich: Forager
Runners up: CB3, The Loop, ZZest & Half Barrel
Top patty: Pappy's Place
Runners up: Forager, ZZest, The Loop & CB3
Top bun: Forager
Runners up: The Loop, CB3, Half Barrel & ZZest
Top fries: Chester's
Runners up: Five West, Grand Rounds, Roscoe's & Salute!
Best dining experience: The Loop
Runners up: ZZest, Forager, Half Barrel & Five West
Notes: The above results were produced independently of the Med City Beat. For more local restaurant accolades, check out Rochester's Finest 2016.
As for our vegan and vegetarian friends, a trusted source tells us that The Loop has a damn good veggie burger.
This post was originally published in September 2016.