These days, it’s rare to read a restaurant menu and not see at least one burger offering, even in the most upscale locales. A few months ago, we were stopped at Bashas’ by a tourist asking us to recommend a restaurant that serves up an out-of-this-world burger. This made us pause and start to wonder, where can you find the best burgers in Sedona? So with the help of Joe McNeill and the Sedona Monthly staff, we set out on a noble, if indulgent, quest to identify northern Arizona’s best burgers. If this task had rested on the shoulders (or hips) of only one writer, I shudder to think of the look on their face when they stepped on the scale for the first time after the story had been written. We had our personal favorites already, but we continued to try the offerings at different locations in Sedona, the Verde Valley and Flagstaff. Obviously, not everyone made the list. (When you request your burger cooked medium, shouldn’t that mean pink on the inside rather than cooked to the consistency of a hockey puck?) But you can’t go wrong with these 13 favorites. And for those of you who can’t imagine a burger without fries, we have you covered. Bon appétit!
Marketplace Café – Brown Derby Burger
One must never underestimate the importance of a burger’s bun. It is, after all, the cocoon that contains all of the ooey, gooey goodness we crave. Sure, it’s what’s on the inside that matters. But there’s something to be said for first impressions, and the toasted, sourdough rustic roll that cradles Marketplace Café’s Brown Derby Burger (named after a chain of restaurants in Los Angeles) made us want to sink our teeth in at first sight. MPC’s roll is very similar to a ciabatta (Italian for “carpet slipper”) bun thanks to its somewhat crisp crust and a soft, chewy center. We like it because it’s sturdy enough to contain a half-pound patty, blue cheese, thick slices of bacon and delicate fried onions without falling apart after three bites (and for those of you who are prima donnas, it helps keep hands and fingers clean). Yet the roll’s mild flavor and porous texture doesn’t get in the way of the flavor of the meat and won’t leave you in a carbohydrate coma. MPC serves its rustic roll naked, so condiments don’t compete with the strong flavors of blue cheese and bacon (neither does the sourdough, which is extremely mild). Simply put, it’s bun-tastic. $11.95 – EAF
Marketplace Café, 6645 SR 179 in the Village of Oak Creek (928-284-5478).
Best Burger for Your Buck
Heartline Café Gourmet Take Out – Kobe Burger
The hamburger has come a long way since McDonald’s introduced the Big Mac to the world in 1967, and Heartline Café Gourmet Take Out proves the point. Meet Heartline’s Kobe Burger, a half-pound of Kobe-style beef from Snake River Farms in Idaho (the beef is raised in the exact same style as the famous Wagyu cattle – the original source of Kobe beef – of Japan). The extremely flavorful patty is topped with a slice of cabernet-soaked cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato. An oversized roll from Cottonwood-based Orion Bread Co. encrusted with quinoa cradles the entire concoction. We’ve seen similar burgers in the Phoenix metro area with price tags topping $15, but Heartline’s price of $9.75 (house-made sweet-potato chips are served on the side) makes this gourmet burger a steal. The Kobe Burger is only offered at Heartline’s Gourmet Take Out restaurant, which is open for breakfast and lunch. You won’t find it on the dinner menu at the Heartline Café next door. $9.75 – EAF
Heartline Café Gourmet Take Out, 1600 W. SR 89A in West Sedona (928-282-3365).