No other food is quite as American as the burger. With a golden wheat bun and savory meat patty, the hamburger sneaks its way into every family gathering (even Meemaw’s funeral) and late-night munchies run. Thus, it represents the freedom to eat and the freedom to copy the same product over and over until it's been done all the way to hell; who says you can’t put gold speckles on a slab of meat?
With National Hamburger Day tomorrow, here is my definitive ranking of the best the burger joints across the greater Gainesville area:
5. Chomp It – Graham area
Hear me out: a key factor in burger selection is its convenience. Wedged into the Graham area dorms, there’s not much more gratifying than using your meal plan cash exchange on a quick bite at Chomp It. It’s ritualistic for freshmen to spend many nights here using up Flex Bucks from a fruitless meal plan and to be served a wet and soggy burger pulled from the freezer minutes before. Despite the lack in palate quality, the joint offers a shared relationship between hard-working students and workers as well as a legacy in the common struggle of satiating midnight hunger. A final bonus: it’s open ‘til 3 a.m.
Price for cheeseburger: $5.49
4. Burger King
Why a corporate America king you may ask? Dan Fitzpatrick, long-time chairman and CEO of the local Burger King franchisee, Quality Dining Inc., told the Gainesville Sun that the famous large Whopper was “created by the two (Burger King) founders David Edgerton and Jim McLamore in Gainesville back in 1957.” The two were passing through town to check on one of their Burger King restaurants when they saw a rival place with longer lines and bigger patties. The Whopper is obviously a sensation due to its accessibility and ubiquity in the burger scheme. A good combination of cheese, onions, tomatoes and lettuce with its straight-from-the-grill taste makes it a go-to. Then again, its widespread appeal can be overplayed. Gainesville can boast its conception of the Whopper, but it should also highlight its other pups from the beef litter.
Price for cheeseburger: $1.00
Price for Whopper: $4.19
3. Loosey’s – Downtown
Part bar, part restaurant, Loosey’s in the downtown area hits a sweet spot for spending any time of the day in good company. Playing some pool, drinking a cold one or listening to some local music can be accompanied by a thick juicy beef cheeseburger on buttery bread. Various condiments and toppings supplement a burger best enjoyed in dim light and an indie Gainesville band.
Price for half-pound Angus beef burger: $11.50
2. Conestogas Restaurant
Going to Conestogas evokes a sense of belonging in local life. Run by the same family since 1988, the homey atmosphere and building is supported by its historical existence as Beckham Grocery & Market, Robarts and Pettit Hardware, a pool hall and bar, a local newspaper, a waterbed manufacturer, and many other businesses over the past 130 years,” according to the Conestogas Restaurant menu. Burger-wise, they provide a quest of greatness in their “Main Street Monster Burger.” Three pounds of red meat on a bun is no joke; Those who succeed in conquering the beast get a shirt and key-lime pie. A venture like this is hard to come by and having one in Gainesville’s own downtown area is an experience not to be missed.
Price for Stogie burger: $13.99
Price for “Main Street Monster Burger:” $29.99
1. Relish Burgers
At number one is a business that covers all its bases. Fresh to order burgers at a diligent speed is a rare commodity, and Relish delivers with reasonable prices and great locations. They manage to set a standard in what should be expected from local burgers, easily beating any fast-food counterparts. Being able to go in and out with a burger, fries and drink in hand is exactly needed for the typical college tasks: bar hopping and studying. A plethora of sauces and toppings as well as leaner and plant-based options only increases a customer base that will endure with time.
Price for quarter-pound Angus beef burger: $4.95
Price for half-pound Angus beef burger: $6.95
the Avenue Staff's Honorable Mentions
Nora O’Neill - The Top’s Classic Black Bean Burger
The Top has many options for carnivores and vegans alike. While most black bean burgers are flavorless, mushy and just generally bad, The Top’s is flawless. It is crispy on the outside, well seasoned and delicious.
Chloe Greenberg - Dick Mondell’s Veggie Burger
A UF and Gainesville favorite, Dick Mondell’s is known for its great burgers, but what you probably didn’t know is just how good its non-beef options are. And let’s not forget, how could anyone ever say no to some Dick Sauce?
Alyssa Archard - Reggae Shack Cafe’s Jerk Veggie Burger
A twist on your standard grilled veggie burger with a delicious Jerk sauce.
Lonnie Numa - BurgerFi’s Beyond Burger
If you’ve ever felt bad for indulging in a juicy hamburger for the third day in a row, look no further than BurgerFi’s Beyond Burger to satisfy your next craving! This plant-based burger can appease even the most carnivorous eaters and will leave you feeling full and guilt-free.
Thomas Holton - Mac’s Drive Thru’s Cheeseburger
The simplistic, throwback style of Mac’s always makes me look at it for an extra second whenever I drive by. When I decide to eat something unhealthy, I don’t like when it’s dressed up as something other than what it is, and Mac’s cheap cheeseburgers don’t try to deceive you at all, giving you an authentic fast food experience.
Valentina Botero- Dick Mondell’s Impossible Burger
I recently discovered Dick Mondell’s but I can’t stop thinking about it’s impossible burger and how it’s as good as the real thing. Saving the environment has never tasted so good.
Contact Manny Rea at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With multiple locations throughout the Gainesville area, Relish has been serving its burgers to students and locals for years.
Manny Rea is a journalism sophomore and the current health reporter for The Alligator. He worked as a copy editor in his freshman year before moving over to the Avenue in summer 2020. He likes to listen to dollar-bin records and read comics, and he is patiently waiting to go back to movies and concerts.