Why go: Spike Mendelsohn, fresh off a stint on TV’s Top Chef, had the look of a culinary carpetbagger when he swept into town last year. But the fast-foodie has earned his place near the top of the local burger hierarchy with creatively topped patties and some of the best milkshakes around.
What to get: Colletti’s Smokehouse, a patty messily topped with bacon, cheddar, fried onions, and barbecue sauce (it took top honors in the Food Network’s annual Burger Bash contest); turkey burger topped with avocado and Muenster (a spoonful of mango chutney makes the patty taste so good); chili-and-cheddar-topped burger with sour cream; Blazin’ Barn, a Vietnamese-style burger dressed up like banh mi; thick milkshakes in such flavors as toasted marshmallow, black-and-white, and soursop-strawberry.
Best for: A desk lunch (everything is packaged to go); a quick dinner or late-night snack.
Insider tip: Fries and onion rings have been soggy, which is too bad because there are good sauces to go with them, such as Old Bay– and Sriracha-flavored mayos; use them on the plain cheeseburgers instead.
Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.
>> See all 2009 Cheap Eats restaurants here