My friend Joe A. loves burgers like Kanye loves Kanye, which is why I've been hounding him to share his list of (mostly) local places for the tastiest ones. Thankfully, he (Should I be calling him a burger-ologist or something?) has acquiesced, with one caveat - he wants you to know that he's a fan of the Wimpy-style, thinner hamburgers. With that in mind then, here are Joe's 5 tried and tested favorites:
1. The Roast House (Pawtucket)
The bun makes the burger and The Roast House does it best. Not too much bun and the burger overflows said bun. Burger is also nice and juicy. (I like mine well done.) You can get a larger patty and it's served with fries. When burger mode hits, I'll get two for take out or go inside for a hot burger and a cold Gansett. Priced very reasonably around $8.00.
2. Chelo's (Various locations, but I go to Rumford.)
Well known for their food and the burgers are no exception. Good variety of choices and bun style, make sure to order fries well done as they are sometimes a little undercooked. Their cheeseburger is an award winner, very tasty, a bit smaller than the Roast House offering and thus, second place on my list. Burger can also be "beefed up" for about a buck more. $7-8 per burger
3. Kip's (Pawtucket)
Want an authentic diner burger? Look no further than Kip's. It's been on the corner of Armistice and Newport Ave. for decades. Charbroiled, toasted bun, yummy fries. Burgers are a bit on the small side, but are inexpensive enough that you can get two or three for what you pay at another restaurant. Extra points for still having relish trays and catsup and mustard in those red and yellow squeeze containers. Burger meal is around $5.
4. Smashburger (Warwick)
New place and after a rocky start, it's very good. Been here a couple times and never disappointed. Fresh beef burgers, true Wimpy size, and good fries. Bit of a rich person's place. My meal of two burgers plus fries was a little over $20 bucks. Burgers are served open face and brought to your table. Decent style of fix-ins, but they do charge extra for some of them.
5. Five Guys (Various locations, but I go to Seekonk.)
You can watch them cooking your burgers while enjoying complimentary peanuts. Buns are also toasted. Huge variety of condiments you can add on to your burger (I love getting A-1 sauce on mine.) at no extra charge. Points lost for fries being hit or miss in taste and sometimes underdone to be raw. Also, not crazy about the skin-left-on-the-potato style. And don't leave your burger in the foil too long or it will get soggy. Two burgers and fries runs about 15 bucks.
Joe's Honorable Mentions
I stop at these whenever I'm in the vicinity:
- Johnny Rockets - Another variation on diner style burger. Little too greasy for me, but the shakes make up for it.
- Red Robin - Hundreds of different burger styles. You can also create your own. Another place that's a little pricey, but the burgers are to die for.
Photo Credits: Photo courtesy of Getty Images.