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Best Burger Toppings
PJ’s Village Pub and Sports Bar – Boomer Burger
You expect a super selection of burgers at a sports bar, and PJ’s Village Pub delivers, with some of the most creative toppings we’ve seen on any burger menu. There’s the Hawaiian Burger, the Fajita Burger, the Red Wine Burger, the Sedona Red Ranch (chili) Burger, the Ultimate Chicken Burger and, the pub’s signature concoction, the Boomer Burger. The Boomer features a one-third-pound certified-Angus beef patty topped with American cheese, grilled pastrami, Swiss cheese, mayo and mustard on a brioche bun. If meat is your favorite thing on earth, this burger has your name on it. All burgers come with your choice of fries, potato salad or coleslaw, and a pickle. Sit at the bar or one of the tall cocktail tables, wash your Boomer down with your favorite brew and watch the game on one of the pub’s many televisions. If you need to work off the calories, there are always the pool tables in the back. $9 – EAF
PJ’s Village Pub and Sports Bar, 40 W. Cortez Drive in the Village of Oak Creek (928-284-2250).
Best Nostalgic Burger
Bing’s Burger Station – Deluxe Cheeseburger
If you’re nostalgic for the days when you used to share an ice cream milkshake and two straws with your sweetheart – or if you’d just like to feel like you’re in a scene from Grease – check out Bing’s Burger Station in Old Town Cottonwood. Everything here is reminiscent of the Fabulous ’50s (including the prices). The restaurant’s exterior looks like a service station, complete with a red Plymouth parked out front; the interior walls are decorated with license plates, and golden oldies play on the stereo; and the gleaming steel kitchen is open, and surrounded by a lunch counter while the booths are clad in metal-flaked vinyl. The menu is brief but delicious. You can’t go wrong with the Deluxe Cheeseburger, a quarter-pound all-beef patty with a hefty portion of cheddar cheese and your choice of mayo, lettuce, pickle, tomato and onion. Keeping with the theme, this delightful blast from the past is served in a red plastic basket. Fries are an additional cost (see sidebar). Wash it all down with a real ice cream shake, malt or a selection from Dick’s Old Time Soda Fountain Drinks. Almost better than the burger are the gracious service and friendly smiles from the staff. They just don’t make ’em like they used to, folks. $3.95 – EAF
Bing’s Burger Station, 794 N. Main St. in Cottonwood (928-649-1718).
Best Burger With A History
The Haunted Hamburger – The Haunted Hamburger
The Haunted Hamburger is the crown jewel of the Jerome Palace, an old building that was once a boarding house for copper miners working for The United Verde Mining Company. But don’t let this burger’s name spook you; the half-pound patty is charbroiled to mouthwatering perfection and honors an anonymous bovine’s ultimate act of sacrifice with a reverential slathering of mushrooms, crisp bacon, cheddar and Swiss cheese, green chilies and sautéed onions. Served up on a freshly baked homemade bun, this macho delicacy is complemented by a choice of baked potato, twice-baked potato, coleslaw or our own personal favorite: chunky, golden steak fries. The meal is generous, so brace yourself for a stuffing, but if you’re really hungry you can up the ante by going for the Double Haunted Hamburger, which packs twice the meat, twice the cheese and twice the bacon for a measly two bucks more. We’re not ashamed to admit it: The Haunted Hamburger may offer up chow with a spectacular bird’s-eye view of Sedona and the Verde Valley; but for us, the juiciest sight of our visit was the burger on our table, which we pounced on like a blood-starved vampire rushing to beat daylight. $10.29 – JM
The Haunted Hamburger, 410 Clark St. in Jerome (928-634-0554).
Best Exotic Burger
The Cowboy Club Grille and Spirits – Big Game Burger
So here we go again with the meat that comes from an animal I prefer seeing frolicking in the wild: The Cowboy Club’s Big Game Burger is made from free-range antelope and topped with roasted onions, chipotle aioli, boar bacon and Shaft blue cheese. But like the rest of the menu at The Cowboy Club, this burger is a taste of Sedona and the high desert that you aren’t likely to find in many other restaurants, and when in Rome…. The antelope is mild in flavor, and it’s chewier than beef (the same goes for the boar bacon, which is definitely tougher than regular pork bacon). The antelope has more of an exotic flavor than buffalo, but I enjoyed it despite myself. A nice-sized portion of sweet-potato fries is served on the side. We also love the fact that The Cowboy Club offers Arizona beers and wines – I washed down my burger with a Page Springs Vino del Barrio Blanca. For all you city dwellers, if you really want to experience the flavors of Arizona, this burger’s for you. $15.79 – EAF
The Cowboy Club Grille and Spirits, 241 N. SR 89A in Uptown Sedona (928-282-4200).
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