BECAUSE THIS IS A burger town of burger lovers who take their burgers quite seriously indeed—if memory serves, there was even a burger caucus not so many years ago, though we suspect, given the lack of burger updates, it’s since become defunct—it feels almost necessary to say: These aren’t perfect burgers. They’re darn good burgers, and in most every instance worthy of superlative stature, but the reason we’ve collected this stand-out and, ahem, stand-up list of burgers is this: As summer looms and the grills are broken out and cracked open and their grime is sheared away in flakes big as tree bark to grill char-lined burgers stacked with the same series of lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles … Reader, sometimes we just want something different. Something varied in texture and flavor, that not only veers from the beaten path but dons a pair of rocket boots and leaves the path behind altogether. And these burgers? These are different burgers. They’re sweet and spicy, cheesy, eggy, sometimes less than meaty, (in one instance, fala-full of lentils, sunshine and rainbows). In a word, you could say they’re delicious. And as far as we’re concerned, in this burger town of burger people, they stack up pretty darn well.
1. PB&J Bacon Burger from North Bar
Sure, there are other ways to recapture grade-school nostalgia. But none of them are anywhere as delicious. (3812 J.F.K. Blvd., North Little Rock; facebook.com/501northbar)
2. Nuremberger from The Pantry
That house-ground brat patty? All sorts of delish—but it’s the whole grain mustard that really makes us swoon. (multiple locations; littlerockpantry.com)
3. Curried Falafel And Lentil Burger’wich from Big Orange
It takes a really special burger to turn our heads from Big O’s Atom Bomb and White Truffle Pecorino. But this? It’s a special burger.
(multiple locations; bigorangeburger.com)
4. The Burger (with Pimiento Cheese!) from Capital Hotel Bar and Grill
Not to say there’s anything wrong with a box of crackers. But, far as we’re concerned, there are better ways to eat pimiento cheese. And this is all of them. (111 W. Markham St.; capitalbarandgrill.com)
5. Thai Chicken Burger from The Southern Gourmasian
One bite of this edamame hummus- and pickled red onion-topped patty and you’ll wish everything tasted like chicken. (219 W. Capitol Ave.; thesoutherngourmasian.com)
6. Shiitake Mushroom Burger from The Root Cafe
You might ask: “Why would you ever order a mushroom burger when one of the finest burgers in the city is on the menu?” And we would say, “Um, have you tried this thing?” (1500 Main St.; therootcafe.com)