From classic cheeseburgers and unique flavor combinations to unconventional fresh takes on this American cuisine, I have narrowed down my favorite top 5 favorite local burgers in West Michigan.
I love burgers almost as much as I love Mexican tacos. There’s a reason that burgers can be found in most American restaurants, no sandwich comes close to beating its flavor! I get super excited when I see unique burgers with homemade sauces and unexpected toppings.
For the last two years, I have traveled all over West Michigan to discover new burger joints. It wasn’t until the beginning of 2020 when I decided to create a list of my top 5 all-time favorite local burgers.
When COVID hit and Gov. Whitmer issued an order to close all bars, dine-in restaurants, gyms, coffee houses, and most public places on March 16, 2020, I had to stop my tour until most of the restaurants were able to open up again with a dine-in option. I am thankful that I was able to complete my burger tour this year.
Choosing just 5 burgers was a very difficult process because there are many great burgers here in West Michigan. I would say there are well over 5 to 10 burgers worth eating here. Being someone who had to do the “hard work” (I take burger patties very seriously), believe me when I say that you absolutely have to add these to your bucket list of burgers to try.
Friendly warning! We’re working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.
Southwest burger at Schaendorf Brewing Co.
Southwest Burger $10
The Schaendorf Brewing Company is a family-friendly restaurant that has been run by local dairy farmers since 2018. They have some of the most delicious food around because they offer such fresh farm-to-table cuisines. The brewery itself was built back in the late 1800s and is a beautiful historic building being restored in downtown Allegan. Once the hall right above the brewery is open, it will be a space where people can choose to reserve weddings, corporate events, or special celebrations. I love this place; it looks like an excellent spot where friends can get together for a good time.
Their southwest burger has pico de gallo, Havarti cheese, southwest sauce, and fresh jalapenos on top. I’m not sure exactly what they put in their southwest sauce, but it tastes incredible! The southwest burger is a spicy burger that is oozing with flavor. The beef is seasoned to perfection and is one of those burgers that you simply can’t put down once you start eating. I love that they use brioche buns because they tend to hold up well under all the burger’s weight and juices as you eat. Each of their 7-ounce burgers comes with your choice of fries, potato chips, coleslaw, or cottage cheese. They cut their own fries every day, and those are deliciously addicting. Hands down, this restaurant knows how to make fantastic burgers, and I highly recommend their southwest burger.
El Aguacate at Brick and Porter
El Aguacate $12
Located in the heart of Grand Rapids, this pub has a pleasant atmosphere, and their menu features many classic pub food options. Every Thursday, they have a special where you can get $5 off all burgers ordered between 5 and 11 pm. Thursdays also have an all-day happy hour, so this would be a great place to celebrate a night out right before the weekend hits.
I was born in Mexico and we use aguacate for almost anything. In case you didn’t know, aguacate is the same as avocado. The El aguacate burger on the Brick and Porter menu immediately caught my eye, and I’m happy to say that it is a smashing hit. It is a whopping half pound grilled burger topped with fried avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, and melted pepper jack cheese. What really makes this well-seasoned burger stand out is the spicy jalapeno aioli sauce. It adds some nice heat at the end and is one of my new favorite burger sauces that I wish I knew how to replicate. Their burgers are served on a brioche bun and includes an order of beer battered fries on the side. Gluten free buns are also available for only $2 more.
Cottage burger at Cottage Bar
Cottage burger $10.99
This bar has been a Grand Rapids favorite since 1927. Cottage Bar still has its original art deco mahogany bar inside and is the oldest bar and restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids. It is open for lunch and dinner Mondays through Saturdays. In the summer months, they have an outdoor cafe where guests can sit and enjoy their meals as well.
It seems that the people behind this restaurant have done something right because their high standards have been maintained all through the ages even though it’s gone through a few different owners. The Cottage burger was voted best burger in Michigan by USA Today. After hearing that, I just had to try it for myself. Their third pound burgers are always cooked to order and served hot and fresh. The Cottage burger is topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, green olives, melty Swiss and American cheeses, and their signature hickory mayonnaise. For me, what makes a perfect burger is being able to taste each ingredient individually. The Cottage burger is served on a dark rye bun, which isn’t seen very often for most burgers. However, all of the flavors of this famous burger created such a distinct flavor that really wowed me. I think there must be something in that hickory mayonnaise that makes it taste so special.
Fletcher’s Best Burger at Fetcher’s Pub in Texas Corner
Fletcher’s Best Burger $11.99
This place has a sports bar vibe to it. Fletcher’s Pub has two locations, one on Oakland Drive in the Oakwood Plaza and one at Texas Corners in Kalamazoo. The Oakwood Plaza location used to be where Kalamazoo’s Main Street Grille was over 10 years ago. Both locations offer the same menu and they have some tasty food options. There are a lot of different daily and weekly specials offered at Fletcher’s Pub.
I knew when I walked in and took a look at their menu, I had to try Fletcher’s Best Burger. Personally, I am a lover of burgers that have sunny side eggs on top. This number is a half pound burger topped with smoked white cheddar cheese, homemade bacon jam, garlic aioli sauce, lettuce, tomato, and finished off with a sunny side up egg. Let me just say that this is certainly a mouth-watering favorite of mine now! The bacon jam and garlic aioli along with that runny egg really did it for me. Those flavors makes you experience a spectacular mouthful of goodness in every bite. It is hard not to love this juicy burger so be sure to grab extra napkins before you dig into it.
West Village Double Cheeseburger at Butcher’s Union
West Village Double Cheeseburger $11.75
Everyone is welcome at this modern gastropub. Butcher’s Union is located just north of downtown Grand Rapids on the west side of the Grand River. They don’t require reservations, but it is best to add your name to the waitlist on busy weekend nights. This pub sources local ingredients from trusted farmers to help support the community. Their goal is to be a place where passion, purpose, and a good time can all come together.
The West Village Double Cheeseburger is the most expensive sandwich on their menu but it is worth every penny. You get double the beef which means it has double the amount of flavor! It has a special Butcher’s Union beef blend topped with melted cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, spicy pickles, and creamy aioli. This is way better than your average double cheeseburger because you will have melty cheese on both beef patties. The caramelized onions and spicy pickles add a really nice touch along with the creamy aioli that ties all the ingredients together. It sits on an onion brioche bun which is simply perfect for this burger. Add on a side of hand cut fries for just $2 more and you are looking at a satisfying meal.