Finding a good burger in a city is easy. There’s Dick’s in Seattle, Kopp’s in Milwaukee, In-N-Out across the Southwest, and Culver’s everywhere in the Midwest. But there’s something about being in the middle of nowhere and finding a great burger place. A cheeseburger in paradise is wonderful, but a cheeseburger in the boondocks is even better. Here are my six favorites:
Sebastian’s Store is south of Big Sur, near San Simeon — definitely the middle of nowhere, about half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco and nowhere near the 5. If you’re heading to Hearst Castle, this is the place to stop for food. But beware: it’s damn slow. The cheeseburgers are huge. The salads are huger.
Green chile cheeseburgers are a New Mexico thing, and pretty much all of New Mexico is the middle-of-nowhere. Big D’s is in Roswell, the UFO town, but the real reason to visit is this burger. You’re almost definitely not going to see any aliens, but if you eat here, you’ll definitely get a great burger.
Green River’s claim to fame is that it’s where people stop when they’re going somewhere else. Seriously, it’s a river-rafting starting point and I-70 fuel stop. That’s about it, but you can get a great burger at Ray’s Tavern. They serve beer too, but you need to order food to get a beer. Oh, Utah. You’re so quaint!
Indian Pass is basically the one corner of Florida that seems to have been overlooked. Honestly, it was overlooked — omitted from early maps — and that may have saved it. Come here for miles of untamed beach at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. Eat at Indian Pass Raw Bar … every day you can. Get the local oysters too.
I love the Tavern in the Adirondacks for many reasons, but I really like that they just serve one thing — burgers. There’s no menu, no mess, nothing. Onions or no onions, cheese or no cheese. Simple. Wonderful.
Many of the best parks in California are operated by the counties. This one is a county park and some genius decided it needed a burger shack to go along with the campground, beach, sun, etc. Fucking genius. Yes, the burger is great, but the view is even better. You’re on the edge of the beach here. Seaside dining doesn’t get better. Nothing else is close — a factual statement on many levels.