I’ve chosen to title this Miami’s 10 Best Specialty Burger but in all honesty it should be called Miami’s 10 Best Regional Burgers which I thought might be a little confusing.
All across the United States if you do some traveling and/or driving like I do you will encounter Burgers that feature prominently in certain areas. For Miami, the Frita Cubana is our regional specialty although I’m sure Pincho Factory would like for me to say that the Toston Burger is one also (which I kinda just did) since it’s popping up on menus everywhere.
Now if you’re a stickler you’ll see that this Top 10 is really a list of 9. I could have made it an official Top 10 but since the Deep Fried Burger & Frita Cubana were combined I thought 9 was the right number. And truthfully, it’s my list after all.
John T. Edge (Hamburgers & Fries) and George Motz (Hamburger America) were sources for most of my knowledge on Regional Burgers.
Specialty Burger Type: Deep Fried Burgers & Frita Cubana
Lil’ History: Dyer’s Burgers in Memphis opened up in 1912 with a unique style of Burgers cooked in their own fat on a cast iron skillet and over time that pool of fat grew to full on deep fried proportions……The Frita Cubana, a popular street food in Cuba was brought to Little Havana in 1962 by Ramos Estevill (the original Fritas Domino).
Best Known Interpretation: Dyer’s Burgers in Memphis, Tennessee AND El Rey de las Fritas in Miami
Miami Version: Fritas Domino‘s Deep Fried Frita Cubana
Fritas Domino’s Deep Fried Frita Cubana
Specialty Burger Type: Green Chile Cheeseburger
Lil’ History: 100% a creation of New Mexico, a state who embraces it with their own Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail that features a list and map of almost 100 restaurants serving this delicacy.
Best Known Interpretation: Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Miami Version: OTC‘s Green Chili Bacon Cheeseburger
OTC Restaurant’s Green Chili Bacon Cheeseburger, pic by Burger Conquest
Specialty Burger Type: Guber Burger aka Burger slathered with Peanut Butter
Lil’ History: The Wheel Inn Drive-In created the Guber (Goober) Burger in the 1950s.
Best Known Interpretation: The Wheel Inn Drive-In in Sedalia, Missouri (now closed)
Miami Version: Rok Brgr‘s Fat Elvis with Peanut Butter, Thick Cut Pepper Smoked Bacon & Strawberry Jam
Rok Brgr’s Fat Elvis Mini-Burger, pic by the305.com
Specialty Burger Type: Juicy Lucy aka Cheese Stuffed Burger
Lil’ History: The city of its creation is not in question but Minneapolis’ Matt’s Bar and the 5-8 Club both lay claim to creating the Juicy Lucy in the 1950s or in Matt’s Bars’ case, the Jucy Lucy.
Best Known Interpretation: Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Miami Version: Jr’s Gourmet Burger‘s Outside Is In Burger
Jr’s Gourmet Burger’s Outside Is In Burger
Specialty Burger Type: Luther Burger aka Burger w/Doughnuts replacing Buns
Lil’ History: Rumored to have been created by singer Luther Vandross when he had run out of Burger Buns.
Best Known Interpretation: The Lady & Sons in Savannah, Georgia
Miami Version: Bulldog Burger‘s Luther Burger
Bulldog Burger’s Luther Burger
Specialty Burger Type: Patty Melt – Burger w/Grilled Onions & Cheese on Rye Bread.
Lil’ History: It was created by Tiny Naylor in the late 1940s/early 1950s in California. I’ve got a great recipe for one at my A Little Patty Melt History post by the way.
Best Known Interpretation: Du-Par’s Late Night Diner in Los Angeles, California
Miami Version: Jefe’s Original Soul Shack‘ Classic Patty Melt on Sourdough w/Horseradish Mayo
Jefe’s Classic Patty Melt
Specialty Burger Type: Pimento Cheeseburger
Lil’ History: Pimento Cheese is really a Southern thing and according to Pimento Cheese expert John T. Edge, South Carolina is a hot bed for Pimento Cheese Burgers with every 3rd Burger Joint in town having one on their menu. J.C. Reynolds created it in the 1960s.
Best Known Interpretation: J.C. Reynolds and his Dairy Bar in Columbia, South Carolina (now closed)
Miami Version: Tongue & Cheek‘s Cheek Burger w/Pimento Cheese
Tongue & Cheek’s Cheek Burger
Specialty Burger Type: Slider, which is not a synonym for Mini Burger.
Lil’ History: Sliders were the original popular version of the Burger that swept the nation. In 1921 Wichita, Kansas when White Castle first opened up they served Sliders (balls of 100% beef smashed on a flat top, covered in thinly sliced onions and buns that steamed right on top of the Slider).
Best Known Interpretation: White Manna in Hackensack, New Jersey
Miami Version: Jersey Dawg‘ s Slider
Jersey Dawg Slider
Specialty Burger Type: Steamed Cheeseburger – Burgers cooked in a steam chest/cabinet
Lil’ History: Created by Jack’s Lunch in Middletown, Connecticut in the 1920s. At the Middlesex County Historical Society site you can see a pic of the original Cheeseburger Steamer.
Best Known Interpretation: Ted’s Steamed Cheeseburgers in Meriden, Connecticut
Miami Version: Latin House‘s Steamed Cheeseburger
Latin House’s Steamed Cheeseburger