We couldn’t include every great burger we tried in order to come up with our list of the 40 best in the area—here are five runners-up.
Royal Burger at the Royal
501 Florida Ave., NW
The magic of this burger lies in both the patty—crafted from 28-day dry-aged beef—but also its creamy, crunchy accessories. It gets slathered with a pimento-cheese-like spread and piled with pickled-cabbage slaw and bread-and-butter pickles.
Oklahoma Fried Onion Burger at Frank’s Burger Place
11265 Triangle Ln., Silver Spring
Pedro Matamoros may not have the name-brand recognition of his contemporaries, but when I see the veteran chef’s name attached to something, I check it out. Matamoros—who once led the kitchens at Tabard Inn and the late 8407—opened this tiny Wheaton smash-burger spot in June. It’s star offering is this lacy-thin patty smashed into a ton of sweet onions, then gilded with cheddar and pickles.
Cadillac at PJ Clarke’s
1600 K St., NW
The New York-based tavern’s most famous creation is this seared, pink-centered cheeseburger loaded with bacon and American cheese. At its downtown DC satellite, the ground-chuck patty is delicious in both towering full-size and slider iterations.
Mac Burger at Main Street Pub
7140 Main St., Clifton
This cult burger spot, hidden inside Clifton General Store, regularly draws folks from far outside of the picturesque suburb. Although I’m a fan of several of its big, messy burgers, my blue ribbon goes to this thick patty draped in American cheese and loaded with lettuce, onions, pickles, and Russian dressing.
Primrose Burger at Primrose
3000 12th St., NE
This Brookland wine bar is famous for its onion soup—and its onion-soup-like burger. The patty is made from dry-aged beef from Virginia’s Seven Hills Farm, and topped with Duke’s mayo, sweet onion jam, and Gruyere. The stocky fries on the side are a major bonus.