The 17 Most Influential Burgers of All Time

We interviewed burger historians and experts (hello, dream job!) to determine which patties made the biggest impact on the burger industry—and the world at large.

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33 comments
ConnieJohnson
ConnieJohnson

What no Billy Goat Cheeseburger made famous by John Belushi on SNL.

pattycakes562
pattycakes562

Original Tommy's Chili Cheese Burger is the tastiest!

sonio
sonio

Red Robin's 'Octoberfest' burger - tops them all!!!

BenJoseph
BenJoseph

Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.

I know Time listed the "McDonald's Burger", but to not even mention the "Big Mac" is criminal.  I would place it above the White Castle as the most influential of all time.  

MHS
MHS

Never liked burgers always eat proper healthy meals and keep your good looks for life 

BigUglyMike
BigUglyMike

The "Big Boy" burger. Different local restaurants had the franchise for it. In Northern KY and Cincy area it was Frisch's. They also had the "Swiss Miss" burger which was on a rye bun with swiss cheese.

SmoothEdward1
SmoothEdward1

 Most Influential Burger of All-Time? Are they kidding? What's next, a list of French Fries that altered the course of history? 

PasadenaChamber
PasadenaChamber

Two big misses: The Bob's Big Boy double patty burger and the invention of the cheeseburger at the Rite Spot in Pasadena, CA in 1924... (I mean how can you acknowledge somebody putting cheese inside a patty and ignore Lionel Sternberger who first put cheese on a patty and served it to a customer?)

jordie
jordie

What about Daniel Boulud changing the way restaurants created burgers? THAT was epic and notable as well as Chef Mark McEwan's "Bymark" Burger in Toronto, that had is actually written about in college and high school business  textbooks because of how it changed the way chefs and restaurateurs could charge for quality

Weynerowski
Weynerowski

The Jucy Lucy was probably made by the first man making the first burger. I made one stuffed with shallots, Monterey jack cheddar and bacon crips wayyy before this article came out using my IMAGINATION. Intellectual property is sometimes taken too far!

kinneytj
kinneytj

Are you kidding about the Jucy Lucy?  2008?!?  It has been around for much, MUCH longer than that.  Your inaccuracy discredits the entire article.

humtake
humtake

That Ramen burger sounds awesome.  The only part of this whole slideshow that is dead wrong is when they say the Big Mac is a deluxe burger (on the Whopper slide).  Sorry, but the Big Mac is anything BUT big.  It's so ridiculously tiny and bready that I'm still surprised it ever became popular.  The worst burger ever.

zaglossus
zaglossus

A lot of these burgers are only known to locals or foodies. Influential burgers should be limited to those widely available anywhere not just to some trendy precinct of Manhattan, San Francisco or Los Angeles. Umami burger - what the heck is that?

FrankTalker
FrankTalker

Re: Jucy Lucy. Both Matt's and the 5-8 Club were selling Jucy Lucys (or "Juicy Lucy" at the 5-8) looooong before 2008. I ate my first at Matt's sometime around 1984 ... and the burger was already very well-known by then.

mir.imp
mir.imp

I'm extremely disappointed that there is no mention here of the very first hamburger, invented in Akron, OH by the Menches brothers. Akron holds a burger festival each year that is most definitely worth mentioning, especially in an article about influential burgers. 

MikeofLA
MikeofLA

I HIGHLY doubt IN-N-Out uses animal style/protein style because some single location grease shack in Atlanta influenced them... actually, I am certain of it. Therefore, it was "replicated", it was coincidental. 

pmeisels
pmeisels

We were in Atlanta 2 years ago and wanted to go to the Varsity because we were told how amazing their burgers were.  How the french fries had the most amazing taste....Needless to say, we were looking forward to going.  We were very disappointed.  When grease is running down your arms, the fries are mushy at best and the coca cola coming out of the tap was as flat as it could be, we considered the VARSITY to be a total bust.  The place was not all that clean either.  The tourists come in because its so close to the Coco Cola Museum and the CNN building etc.  and they are fed the line about the Varsity being an "Atlanta institution"...It's just another greasy burger joint that has a certain appeal, but for the price of the food, and the rudeness of the staff behind the counter, the fact that the tables were not being bused....I would never go back there again.  If I had to rate the VARSITY....1 being the worst and 10 being the best....I would give it a 2.  

NuAngel
NuAngel

Somebody has clearly forgotten the definition of the word "influential."  If you want interesting, exciting, unique, delicious, terrible, funniest, over priced, least expensive, or "burger-like" burgers, then something on this list might apply.  But 17 "influential" burgers?  Let me get you a dictionary...

EMDurks
EMDurks

The Jucy Lucy has been popular in Minnesota for nearly a century. Matt's Bar, home of the Jucy Lucy (the misspelling was unintentional but has stuck around for nearly 100 years) and the 5-8 Club Juicy Lucy both claim to be the first of it's kind. To say it became popular in 2008 is completely wrong. That just might be when the nation found out about it because of Man Vs Food. 

PasadenaChamber
PasadenaChamber

Time's Milestone obit of Lionel Sternberger in 1964 acknowledges his invention of the cheeseburger. (Just an FYI.)

idc74
idc74

It says burgers are American and that MOS is a Japanese chain of restaurants. Which is correct.

StevenPfeiffer
StevenPfeiffer

@FrankTalker  

 From Matt's website:

Matt’s Bar & Grill, now a Minneapolis landmark, began in 1954 as a neighborhood burger eatery. Shortly after we opened, founder Matt Bristol explains how the “Jucy Lucy” was created when a local customer asked for two hamburger patties with a slice of cheese in the middle. Upon biting into this new, molten hot burger, he exclaimed “that’s one juicy Lucy”, and a legend was born. Customer demand grew so quickly, we forgot to add the “i” and the “Jucy Lucy” has now become a local culinary hero. Remember, if it’s spelled correctly, you just might be eating a shameless ripoff! 

Schnoozen
Schnoozen

@mir.impActually, the first one (according to the Library of Congress) was sold at Louis' Lunch in New Haven, CT.

CobraChoppergirl
CobraChoppergirl

@pmeisels Ditto, my dad worked at Varisty way back in the day (60's) and he took me there.  I was equally let down.  Just a greasy home grown burger joint, like is common all across America.  Here in our home town, we had a "What-a-burger".    It becomes an icon because its the only thing not a franchise around, and so that makes it "original" and "local colorful".  But its not, its just a mom and pop business run as cheaply as possible to turn a buck, spitting out greasy burgers.

yshabazz2
yshabazz2

@pmeisels You don't go to the Varsity because the food is good (it really sucks) you go to the Varsity because its famous.  Its a landmark.