This last week, I was given the opportunity to transform my taste buds, taking on an extreme amount of flavors as I dived into burger after burger to determine Lincoln’s best.
Each burger restaurant had something different to offer, as far as tastes and toppings go, but I was able to compile a list of the top-four restaurants that need to be tried out.
Dempsey’s Burger Pub, 228 N. 12th St.
Located just off University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s campus, right by the local FedEx is a large wooden door, leading into a beautiful pub. Nowhere else in Lincoln have I found a restaurant that serves some of the most ornate and delicious burgers, along with a vast selection of alcoholic beverages. Each burger, from the House Burger, topped with sharp cheddar, tomatoes - local when in season - lettuce, onion and pickles, to the Thai Peanut Butter, an amazing combination with bacon, jalapeno-pineapple chutney, peanut butter and cilantro, is made with loving perfection. One burger that I had the greatest pleasure consuming was the Poutine Burger. Currently, a weekly special - but soon to be provided as an off-menu option - the Poutine is topped with french fries, gravy and cheese curds. Far from the norm, this burger originates from Quebec, Canada, and brings together flavors that I would never expect on a burger. But it works. I’m always craving something different, so the salty flavors and robust scent made the experience grand. Another tip for students: Every Monday, Dempsey’s cuts its hamburger prices in half for students and faculty. With a burger between $4 and $5.50, there’s no question that for a burger so close to campus, Dempsey’s is a no-brainer.
Greta’s Gourmet, 5560 S. 48th St.
In a close second place is Greta’s Gourmet, located just south of Highway 2 and 48th Street. I had the honor of trying out each of the restaurant’s six burgers. With no hamburger press near the deli, each burger is crafted by hand with each topping expertly selected. A wow factor for this deli is that it serves a tumultuous amount of food. Aside from the burgers are the signature sandwiches and bratwursts, along with a variety of meats that you can bring home and indulge in later. A row of spices are lined up at the deli for customers to use in their own dishes, but that are also available for purchase. My favorite burger from Greta’s Gourmet would have to be the Balsamic-Bleu. Topped with Dijon aioli, balsamic reduction, roasted red pepper and spring greens, and served on a butter-toasted bun, the Balsamic-Bleu was my favorite. Bursting with flavor, this burger is full of delight with every bite. All day on each Friday, you can experience all of the love that is in these burgers at a reduced price of $8.49 for the burger, kettle chips and a beverage.
Honest Abe’s Burgers and Freedom, 854 N. 70th St.
Located just a few steps from 70th and Vine streets is one of the most popular burger restaurants in Lincoln. Although not nearly as large when it comes to the seating arrangements of the previous restaurants, Honest Abe’s is a favorite because of the variety of flavors placed on each burger and its homemade fries. People keep coming back every day to indulge in new flavors. I tried three of the restaurant’s burgers – the Greatest Burger Ever (aptly named), The Fireside and the USA Burger. Out of these three, my favorite burger was the Greatest Burger Ever. A six oz. patty topped with applewood bacon, grilled onions, romaine lettuce, American cheese, awesome sauce and ketchup, the burger lives up to its name. Although I may never learn the secret of the sauce, the burger was packed with flavor, along with the Parmesan truffle fries. With a variety of burgers and toppings ranging from pickled red onions and cucumber yogurt sauce to sautéed spinach and roasted grapes, there is indeed something for everyone’s tastes.
HF Crave, 2801 Pine Lake Road
Winners of the KLIN’s Burger Wars, HF Crave was voted “Best Burger in Lincoln.” Each burger is created with the meat from Hollenbeck Farms Beef and topped with fresh, local ingredients. Most of the menu items are also gluten-free. Juicy and tender, each burger poses an invitation to come back for more. I was given four burgers, the Cowboy Up, Rasta, Stuffed Pepperjack and one of the restaurant’s specials: Berlin. Out of these four, my favorite was the Rasta. Seasoned with Jamaican Jerk, the Rasta is served with mango habanero chutney, lettuce, Thai chili sauce and a red pepper ring. HF Crave was the first burger restaurant on my list of places to try out, and I indulged my taste buds with every bite. Although the flavors combined well together, the price of more than $10 for a burger felt a bit steep for me.
Lincoln’s best burger? Though tough, the winner is the Poutine burger from Dempsey’s Burger Pub.