In a test of taste and digestive agility, we sampled the best burgers in the state — from the turkey patty to the two-pounder and all the condiments in between.
Photography by Pat O'Connor
Messy, drippy, or cheese-laden, often casual, sometimes luxe, few dishes are as bodacious as the burger.
From a modest turkey patty to an indulgent two-pounder of Angus beef, we sampled 46 creative variations from all over the state .
So break out the bib, bring on the condiments and dig into Rhode Island’s favorite comfort food!
A family friendly bar, Red Bridge has no airs, just a delicious dripping mess of a half-pound burger. $8.99. 22 Waterman Ave., East Providence, 438-3899, theredbridgetavern.com.
With locations popping up all over, Fat Belly's is Rhode Island's most recognizable rustic sports bar. Burgers are everything a NFL fan wants: big, messy and straightforward. $7.99. Numerous locations, fatbellyspub.com.
The American’s ten-ounce patty tastes like manly char and is topped with the mother of all bacon strips: a quarter-inch thick and pure pork goodness. Add in havarti, spinach, grilled onions and a domed sourdough kaiser and you've got a burger that demands respect. $16. 555 Valley St., Providence, 865-6186, 311ironhorseway.com.
Farmstead's La Laiterie Bistro makes a mean burger, in part because it’s topped with an enviable and extensive selection of cheeses from their shop next door. In addition to a dense, grass-fed burger, don't miss the crispy planks of fried polenta. $18. 186 Wayland Ave., Providence, 274-7177, farmsteadinc.com.
Spiced Pear has been getting press for its burger for years and with good reason. A mixture of ground Kobe beef and pulled Kobe brisket covered in cheddar, coleslaw and red onion jam, it's the most enviable mess in the state. $29. 117 Memorial Blvd., Newport, 847-2244, thechanler.com.
Over the Top
It’s Called: Irish Mac
Where: McBride's, 161 Wayland Ave., Providence, 751-3000,
Foundation: Angus beef.
Extras: potato pancake, lettuce, tomato, special sauce. Bun: triple decker.
Consequences: It's not the burger that's going to do you in, it's that you're likely to down it with three pints of Guinness and forget you even ate. Order a second in the thick of your alcoholic haze and you can check in at the attached funeral home.
It’s Called: Banh Mi Burger
Where: Julians, 318 Broadway, Providence, 861-1770, juliansprovidence.com, $9
Foundation: kimchi, housemade chicken pate, cilantro mayo, jalapeno.
Extras: bacon, fried egg.
Bun: bulky roll.
Consequences: This cultural hybrid counteracts the fat with enough acid and heat to highlight the modern more than the masochistic.
It’s Called: Mt. Everest Burger
Where: Mews Tavern, 456 Main St., Wakefield, 783-9370, mewstavern.com, $44.99
Foundation: two pounds of black Angus beef.
Extras: A mountain of fries, and four pickles (to aid digestion?)
Bun: An entire loaf of Italian bread.
Consequences: Pleasure. Pain. More pain. This is not right on any level, in any culture. You should be praying for forgiveness and a colonic.