George Motz’s Hamburger America Book and Documentary

In early 2008, I ran across George Motz‘s Hamburger America website. I didn’t realize the greatness I was about to experience.

The book was way before George‘s show Burger Land on Travel Channel, his appearances as the Burger Scholar on his own show, and Alvin Cailan’s Burger Show. By the way, you can see me on the Burger Land episode in Miami.

There is the Hamburger America book, where Motz presents a hundred burger spots in 39 states. Many folks don’t realize there is also a 2005 documentary.

Burger Scholar George Motz with El Mago Shirt
Burger Scholar George Motz with El Mago Shirt

In it, George covers eight hamburger joints across the U.S. The film received a nomination for a James Beard Award, which is impressive in itself.

If you’re a burger fan, then you have found your nirvana. It will open your eyes for the first time to the regional specialties that make America great.

So, here are the burger joints in the doc and the book, their locations, and a little info to wet your whistle.

Special Intro to Hamburger America Documentary

In 2011, George recorded this intro to Hamburger America for me. It played right before the film screened at my 2011 Burgie Awards.

https://youtu.be/GpxRC_n-8MU
George Motz talks about the Hamburger America Documentary

Hamburger America Documentary

Hamburger America Film Poster
Hamburger America Film Poster

Here is George Motz’s Hamburger America documentary in its entirety for your viewing pleasure.

Full Hamburger America Documentary

Restaurants in the Hamburger America Film

There are 8 burger restaurants featured in the Hamburger America documentary.

The Billy Goat Tavern and Grill

A famous skit from Saturday Night Live (featuring John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Bill Murray) recreated the Billy Goat (430 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL) as the Olympia Diner, think Cheeseburger Cheeseburger. The little clip after the credits about the Billy Goat is probably the funniest thing in the film. The famed Billy Goat curse merits mention.

The Bobcat Bite

Bobcat Bite‘s (Sante Fe, NM) Green Chile Burger looks pretty amazing. Honestly, take a good look at it.

Dyer’s Burgers

Dyer’s Burgers (205 Beale Street, Memphis, TN) has been selling deep-fried hamburgers since 1912. This segment, when moving to their new location, is burger magic.

Louis’ Lunch

Established in 1895, Louis’ Lunch (261 Crown Street, New Haven, CT) reportedly served the first hamburger in 1900. The Library of Congress website states that the first hamburgers and steak sandwiches in U.S. history were served at Louis’ Lunch sandwich shop in New Haven, Connecticut.

An old-school vertical contraption flame broils the burgers. You have never seen anything like that. Only cheese, tomato, and onion should top your burger but NEVER ketchup, mustard, or mayo. Two pieces of toasted white bread sandwich your burger patty.

The Meers Store

The Meers Store (26005 OK-115, Meers, OK) serves 97% lean grass-fed Longhorn beef from their Longhorn herd. The owner is a character.

Some folks like mayo on their burgers we call this a Sissy Burger, others like ketchup on their burgers we call this Yankee Burger.

The Meers Store owner Joe Maranto

Solly’s Grille

Solly’s Grille (4629 N Port Washington Road, Milwaukee, WI) is home to the Butter Burger; you won’t believe it. It left me flabbergasted and in love at the same time.

Ted’s Restaurant

Ted’s Restaurant (1046 Broad Street, Meriden, CT) is home to the steamed cheeseburger. The cheese on this burger is mesmerizing.

The Wheel Inn Drive-In

The Wheel Inn Drive-In‘s (Sedalia, MissouriGuber Burger features a burger with melted peanut butter.

Hamburger America Book

The original Hamburger America Book by George Motz
The original Hamburger America Book by George Motz

Restaurants in the Hamburger America Book

Hamburger America released its current edition in 2018. This new third edition features 200 burger joints you need to visit. To simplify your life, I’ve listed all of them below. You still need the book to hear George’s thoughts on each one!

George Motz's Hamburger America 3rd Edition
George Motz’s Hamburger America 3rd Edition

Arkansas

  • Hamburger Station

California

  • The Apple Pan
  • Capitol Burgers (1965-2018) – CLOSED
  • Cassell’s Hamburgers
  • George’s Bar & Grill
  • Gott’s Roadside
  • Hinano Cafe
  • Hodad’s
  • Irv’s Burgers (1970-2018) – CLOSED then REOPENED JULY 1st, 2022 UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP
  • Jim-Denny’s
  • Joe’s Cable Car (1965-2014) – CLOSED
  • Marty’s Hamburger Stand
  • Pie ‘N Burger
  • Rocky’s Crown Pub
  • The Spot
  • Val’s Burgers

Colorado

  • Bud’s Cafe & Bar

Connecticut

  • Clamp’s Hamburger Stand
  • Harry’s Place
  • Louis’ Lunch
  • Shady Glen
  • Ted’s Restaurant

Delaware

  • Charcoal Pit

District of Columbia

  • Ben’s Chili Bowl
  • Tune Inn

Florida

Georgia

Idaho

  • Hudson’s Hamburgers

Illinois

  • Billy Goat Tavern & Grill
  • Charlie Beinlich’s Food & Tap
  • Fast Eddie’s Bon Air
  • Hackney’s on Harms
  • Moonshine Store
  • Paradise Pup
  • Top Notch Beefburger Shop

Indiana

  • Heinnies
  • Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop
  • Powers Hamburger Shop
  • Triple XXX Family Restaurant
  • Workingman’s Friend
  • Zaharako’s Ice Cream Parlor and Museum

Iowa

  • B&B Grocery, Meat & Deli
  • Canteen Lunch in the Alley
  • Hamburg Inn No. 2
  • The Irish Shanti (Late 1970s-2019) – CLOSED
  • Paul’s Tavern
  • Taylor’s Maid-Rite

Kansas

  • Bobo’s Drive In
  • Cozy Inn Hamburgers
  • Nuway Cafe

Kentucky

Louisiana

  • Camellia Grill
  • Judice Inn
  • Port of Call
  • Ted’s Frostop Diner

Maine

  • Harmon’s Hamburgers

Massachusetts

Michigan

  • Greene’s Hamburgers
  • Hunter House Hamburgers
  • Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger
  • Miller’s Bar
  • Motz’s Hamburgers
  • Redamak’s
  • Schlenker’s Sandwich Shop

Minnesota

  • Band Box Diner
  • Convention Grill
  • Gordy’s Hi-Hat
  • Hi-Ho Tavern
  • Lions Tap
  • Matt’s Bar
  • Tendermaid
  • Casper & Runyon’s Nook

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

  • Matt’s Place Drive-In
  • The Missoula Club

Nebraska

  • Bob’s Bar
  • Stella’s Bar & Grill

New Hampshire

  • Gilley’s PM Lunch

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

  • Brooks’ Sandwich House
  • Char-grill
  • Duke’s Grill
  • Hub Grill – CLOSED
  • Snappy Lunch
  • South 21 Drive-In
  • What-A-Burger Drive-In

North Dakota

  • Dakota Drive-In

Ohio

Oklahoma

  • Claud’s Hamburgers
  • Folger’s Drive-Inn
  • Hamburger King
  • Harden’s Hamburgers
  • J&W Grill
  • Johnnie’s Grill
  • Linda-Mar Drive-In
  • The Meers Store & Restaurant
  • Robert’s Grill
  • Sid’s Diner

Oregon

  • Giant Drive-In
  • Helvetia Tavern
  • Stanich’s Tavern

Pennsylvania

  • Charlie’s Hamburgers
  • Coney Island Lunch
  • Tessaro’s

Rhode Island

  • Stanley’s Hamburgers

South Carolina

  • Northgate Soda Shop
  • Rockaway Athletic Club

South Dakota

  • Nick’s Hamburger Shop

Tennessee

  • Alex’s Tavern
  • Brown’s Diner
  • Dino’s Bar
  • Dyer’s Burger
  • Fat Mo’s
  • Rotier’s Restaurant
  • Zarzour’s Cafe

Texas

  • 105 Grocery & Deli- NO LONGER SERVES BURGERS
  • Adair’s Saloon
  • Bellaire Broiler Burger – CLOSED
  • Blake’s BBQ and Burgers – CLOSED
  • Boots Burger
  • Burger Bar
  • Burger House
  • Casino El Camino
  • Chris Madrid’s
  • Christian’s Tailgate Bar & Grill
  • Dirty Martin’s Kum-Bak Place
  • Ed’s Place
  • Herd’s Hamburgers
  • Hut’s Hamburgers
  • Keller’s Drive-In
  • Kincaid’s Hamburgers
  • Kuby’s – NO LONGER SERVES BURGERS
  • Lankford Grocery
  • Longhorn Cafe
  • Morris Neal’s Handy Hamburgers
  • Melios Bros Char Bar
  • Stanton’s City Bites
  • Tookie’s Hamburgers
  • Top Notch Hamburgers

Utah

Vermont

  • Dot’s Restaurant
  • The White Cottage Snack Bar

Virginia

  • The Cavalier Store
  • Texas Tavern

Washington

  • Clark’s Restaurant
  • Dick’s Drive-In
  • Eastside Big Tom
  • Red Mill Burgers

Wisconsin

  • American Legion Post #67
  • Anchor Bar
  • Bud Willman’s Lunch
  • Charcoal Inn South
  • Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry
  • Joe Rouer’s Bar
  • Kewpee Sandwich Shop
  • Mickey-Lu Bar-B-Q
  • Nite Owl Ice Cream Parlour & Sandwich Shoppe
  • Pete’s Hamburgers
  • The Plaza Tavern
  • Solly’s Grille
  • Village Bar
  • Wedl’s Hamburger Stand and Ice Cream Parlor
  • Zwieg’s

7 thoughts on “George Motz’s Hamburger America Book and Documentary”

  1. In Texas, both Bellaire Broiler Burger and Blake’s BBQ and Burgers have permanently, and unfortunately, closed. 🙁

    Reply

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