Is there a food that brings the general public in the United States together more than a burger? It begins with ground beef placed in a bun and from there it’s up to the eater. A typical burger includes toppings like lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and maybe even some pickles. These additions are truly delicious and make for a flavor experience that briefly brings to mind visions of what a perfect world could look like. But what if I told you they were only the tip of the iceberg in regard to the potential of what a burger can be? While most of us view the meal as an already-created masterpiece, some restaurants see the hamburger as a blank slate that can be used to bring even more beauty into this world. Eggs, peanut butter, guacamole, shrimp, mac and cheese, and bleu cheese are all on the table (and in the burger) when it comes to these 5 Birmingham establishments.
Paramount is among the best options in the city when looking for a guaranteed good time. Arcade games, a great drink selection, and creative burger (and hotdog) options all cross streams for an explosive good time. Some customer favorites include You’re My Boy, Blue (blue cheese, caramelized onions, and arugula), The Southern (Pimento cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, fried pickles, and ranch), The Forester (Sauteed mushrooms, garlicky mayo, crispy onions, and swiss cheese), and El Capitan (Bacon, avocado, pico de gallo, mayo, and pickled jalapenos).
There are places that get creative with burgers, and then there are restaurants that fully commit themselves to the art of unique goodness. Jack Brown’s is of the latter camp. Burger options include the Cobra Kai (cream cheese, pickled jalapenos, and jalapeno jelly), Elvis (peanut butter, mayo, applewood smoked bacon, and American cheese), Chiflet (applewood smoked bacon, fried egg, and American cheese), and the Greg Brady (Mac and cheese, American cheese, and Martin’s BBQ potato chips). There are also daily special burgers that bring even more wondrous options to the table. Two personal favorites are Thursday (When In Roam - chipotle pimento cheese, sweet jalapeno bacon jam, and fried crispy onions) and Friday (The Ponch - guacamole, applewood smoked bacon, white cheddar cheese, and sriracha mayo). Rumor has it the Sunday burger used doughnuts for buns.
Eating is a necessity to human survival, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be fun. Black Market fully gets this concept and embraces it head-on with the Trashcan Burger, which allows the chefs to use anything they want in the kitchen as a topping (you can omit one item). I was introduced to this great menu item by my oldest brother who also revealed the wisdom in ordering with a friend to make it like a competition. Other unique options include the Disgraceland Burger (peanut butter, jelly, egg, and bacon), Hades Burger (Jalapenos, peppers, sriracha, and cheese), and The Black Market Burger (mushrooms, bacon, spinach, onions, and muenster cheese).
Fat Charles is another Birmingham food great that knows how to have fun behind the grill. Following the food truck’s Instagram account is a great way to see the daily creations that the chefs come up with but be careful - you will be wanting to spend your money. Previous burger masterpieces include creations like the Triple Philly Cheesesteak Burger and the Double Teriyaki and cheese with grilled pineapple.
Rojo provides a blend of Latin and American foods, which brings some great burger options to the menu. A personal favorite is the Fuego Burger (pepper jack cheese, jalapeno bacon, cooked onions, and a side of habanero puree). Rojo also has some of the most delicious vegetarian and vegan burger options in the city.
Cover image from Jack Brown’s