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Burger Battle

Every day there’s a battle being waged: a battle between almost every kind of burger imaginable, fighting for your affection and appetite. There are the classics, the throwbacks keeping things reassuringly familiar; the big burgers, throwing their weight around with big patties (half-pounders) and towering above the competition, or just overwhelmingly large in all respects; the fancy burgers, tempting you with wagyu, Kobe, or specialty meats, house-made aiolis, and aged smoked cheeses; the patty melts, the criminally overlooked black sheep of the burger family; and beyond burgers, where vegan and vegetarian patties can—and often do—win over even the most skeptical carnivores. Arm yourself with napkins and stretchy pants, because we’re taking you on a tour of the region’s best, biggest, juiciest burgers. 


Rancho Cordova’s Famous Burgers & Brew prides themselves on burgers so good they’re famous (I mean, it’s right there in the name). Their classic hamburger—a six-ounce chuck patty, Thousand Island dressing, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and red onions on a fresh, pillow-soft bun—is a burger done REAL good (but never well-done, if you get my drift). It’s the good stuff. And there’s no better chaser for a burger than an ice-cold craft brew; luckily, there’s plenty on tap! 3101 Zinfandel Drive, Suite 132, Rancho Cordova, 916-476-6192,

Famous Burgers & Brew's Classic Burger

Located in the Riverside Minimart/Chevron gas station in Lotus, the term “hole in the wall” does a disservice to the excellent Take A Bite Deli. The food is delicious (to-go only), and their burgers are one of the best-kept secrets in the foothills. You can’t beat their cheeseburger for tasty simplicity: a juicy hamburger, flat-top grilled to perfection, and served with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, mayo, and mustard on a sturdy bun. 7215 State Highway 49, Lotus, 530-642-8482, @takeabitedeli

Take A Bite Deli Cheeseburger

If the Boss burger at Auburn’s Burger & Cream asked you to come in on a Saturday, you’d say, “hell yes!”; aside from Bruce Springsteen, it’s the only Boss that I’ll happily answer to. Boasting a 1/3-pound patty (100% all-natural Angus chuck) with house-made sauce, lettuce, tomato, bacon, onion rings, and Swiss and American cheese; why yes, it would be my honor to add a cover sheet to my TPS report for YOU, Boss burger. 403 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn, 530-888-1119, 

Burger & Cream's Boss burger

Wayback Burgers takes you (way) back to a time when cars had both fins and radios, and when you ordered a burger, you got a burger. Their signature classic burger delivers on its promise with simple ingredients done right: two beef patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mustard, and ketchup on a sturdy yet soft bun. Shake, rattle, and roll! 9250 Fairway Drive, Roseville, 916-771-9416; 1300 East Bidwell Street, Suite 100, Folsom, 916-597-2697, 

Wayback Burgers’ Classic Burger

Fred’s Burger in Rocklin is a relative newcomer to the area, and they come bearing excellent burgers and a commitment to fresh ingredients. You can’t go wrong with their take on the classic hamburger, featuring a flame-grilled beef patty with lettuce, tomato, onions, and homemade house sauce on a brioche bun. Burgerlicious! 4210 Rocklin Road, Rocklin, 916-747-5174,

Fred's Burger Hamburger



At Roseville’s legendary Squeeze Burger, cheese is not so much an ingredient as an accessory. Grilled until it’s melted and semi-crunchy, and a good couple of inches in diameter around the burger itself, they don’t call it a “cheese skirt” for nothing! Paired with a 1/3-pound patty, the Squeeze burger with cheese” comes with mayo, mustard, tomato, lettuce, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun—a deeply accessorized burger that won’t soon be forgotten. 106 North Sunrise Avenue, Suite C1, Roseville, 916-783-2874,

Squeeze Burger's Squeeze Burger with Cheese

Samuel Horne’s Tavern knows how to satisfy the hungriest diners; bring a big appetite and chow down on their famous Cootie burger. You might need an extra pair of hands to wrangle this handheld, though. The 1/3-pound hand-pressed Angus beef topped with pepper-jack cheese, spinach, serrano aioli, serrano chiles, and an over-easy egg served on a potato bun is large and in charge. This is what you call grubbing and grinning! 719 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-293-8207, @samuelhornestavern

Samuel Horne's Tavern's Cootie Burger

The cheeseburger at Bones Roadhouse isn’t flashy (and there might be words if you do call it that), but it’s definitely BIG. Weighing in at half a pound, it’s more than a meal, and it comes with your choice of cheese, Bones sauce, lettuce, tomato, and raw or grilled onions; you can also add bacon, pastrami, avocado, or an extra patty (or two) if you’re looking to make it an even bigger mouthful. More good news for Gulliver: their onion rings are HUGE, too. 4430 Pleasant Valley Road, Placerville, 530-644-4301

Bones Roadhouse Cheeseburger

Mario’s Early Toast might be known for their brunch, but don’t sleep on their delicious (big) burgers. Cowboy up to the BBQ cowboy burger: a half-pound beef patty topped with jack cheese, onion rings, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and BBQ sauce, served on a Truckee Bread Company brioche bun with parmesan butter spread. Oh, and ask for the garlic fries! 8425 Sierra College Boulevard, Roseville, 916-771-2173; 1950 Douglas Boulevard, Suite 7A, Roseville, 916-347-7741; 4460 Rocklin Road, Rocklin, 916-259-1616; 6693 Folsom-Auburn Road, Folsom, 916-510-2430,

Mario's Early Toast's BBW cowboy burger

There’s a monster in Georgetown: the brisket burger at The Rustic Divide! Affectionately known as “the monster,” it’s become a local favorite, and for good reason. This monster is a half-pound of tender, flavorful house-ground brisket (with house-made seasoning), served with green-leaf lettuce, pickles, red onions, sliced tomatoes, and your choice of cheese and homemade BBQ sauces on a toasted brioche bun. Guaranteed to stick to your ribs and terrorize your appetite. Bring a second stomach for the sides; the bacon mac & cheese is scary good, too! 6037 Front Street, Georgetown, 530-333-4840,

The Rustic Divide's Brisket Burger



There’s nothing better than a tender, flavorful burger and the Kobe-style cheddar burger at Sienna delivers on both fronts in a big way. Juicy, flavorful Kobe-style beef topped with shredded lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onions, melty cheddar, and Thousand Island dressing on a soft, toasty bun. And the rosemary parmesan frites are out of this world! 1480 Eureka Road, Roseville, 916-771-4700; 1006 White Rock Road, Suite 200, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-9694,

Sienna's Kobe-style cheddar burger

 Have you ever tried a bison burger? You don’t have far to look:  the one at Relish Burger Bar is a bonafide taste sensation. Enjoy premium ground bison, served with aged smoked gouda, and topped with caramelized onions, spring mix, and Bulleit bourbon aioli. Ah, the three best food groups: exotic meat, smoky cheese, and bourbon. 1000 White Rock Road, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-3111,

Relish Burger Bar's Bison Burger

“Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play...” Roseville’s Range Kitchen & Tap may not offer deer and antelope, but they do offer some tasty specialty meats like elk, bison, and even boar bacon! Try the Range burger with elk, served with their signature drive-thru dressing, lettuce, tomato, balsamic red onions, dill pickles, and local beer cheese on a toasted bun. Seldom is heard a discouraging word about the food on this menu, that’s for dang sure. 1420 East Roseville Parkway, Suite 160, Roseville, 916-865-4317,

Range Kitchen & Tap's Range Burger



That Dam Place in Folsom prides themselves on great tasting food, and their classic patty melt esquire doesn’t disappoint. The juicy grilled six-ounce burger with mayo, Swiss cheese, and grilled onions on grilled rye is a mighty, melty, tasty combo. The eatery is also infamous for their service with a smile, and just a little sassiness—let’s have more of that out in the world, please! And more patty melts. 1013 Riley Street, Folsom, 916-790-8182,

That Dam Place's Patty Melt Esquire

Bricks Eats & Drinks on Placerville’s Main Street is one of those unofficial places where everybody knows your name. Their extensive menu yields a few mainstay comforts, and one is for sure their patty melt: a tender Angus beef patty with grilled onions, Swiss cheese, and special sauce, served on crunchy grilled marble rye. Grab yourself a libation while you’re at it; the sign says Eats AND Drinks, so you know, when in Rome. 482 Main Street, Placerville, 530-303-3480,

Bricks Eats & Drinks’ Patty Melt

Roundhouse Deli is a local favorite—the kind of place that folks not in the know might call a “hidden gem.” They’re a gem alright, not only for their curbside smoked tri-tip taco Tuesdays, but the classic diner menu of burgers, sandwiches, and more. It’s exactly the kind of place you should order a patty melt, and theirs is the goods: a juicy burger served with grilled onions, mustard, and Swiss cheese on delicious marble rye. Enjoy the Roseville railway memorabilia while you munch! 604 Church Street, Suite A, Roseville, 916-786-9023,

Roundhouse Deli's Patty Melt

Nancy’s Café in Auburn has become a brunch hotspot for their hillbilly benedicts and apple crisp French toast, but it’s the friendly service and inviting atmosphere that keep folks coming back—and their great diner-style menu of comfort foods is a good reason to stay. Nancy’s patty melt honors the classic with a half-pound ground beef patty served with grilled onions and Swiss cheese on toasted rye; and you absolutely need to pair your patty melt with a side of Nancy’s garlic fries—or what are we even doing here? 356 Elm Avenue, Auburn, 530-878-5099, @nancyscafeauburn 

Nancy’s Café Patty Melt

Moo Moo’s Burger Barn invites you to enjoy a pastoral, cow-themed, a-moosing pun-filled atmosphere that will get you in the moo-d to enjoy some udderly delicious chow. (When we said puns, we meant it.) With some great old-timey moo-sic on the radio, order up a Moo Melt, Moo Moo’s take on the classic patty melt with a 1/3-pound, all-beef hamburger patty served on grilled rye with American and Swiss cheese, Moo sauce, tomato, and grilled onions. Don’t ponder the irony of eating said cow in a cow-themed restaurant while the cows look on. It’s fine. It’s totally fine. 2330 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 170, Rocklin, 916-872-1261,

Moo Moo’s Burger Barn Moo Melt

Junior Restaurant & Lounge knows how to deliver on flavor and a flair for the fancy without getting carried away. Their bistro burger boasts a flavorful Wagyu patty, topped with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and Junior’s signature “Comeback Sauce” on a brioche bun. It’s hard to believe that simplicity tastes this good! 390 North Sunrise Avenue, Roseville, 916-886-8092,

Junior Restaurant & Lounge's Bistro Burger

Fine dining doesn’t have to be intimidating. Sometimes the best way to enjoy a “fancy” restaurant is to try their take on a familiar dish. Taste Restaurant & Wine Bar in Plymouth is one of the region’s foremost purveyors of dining finely, and their Taste burger is an absolute must: flavorful Angus beef served with bacon jam, goat cheese aioli, arugula, mushrooms, and truffle-rosemary fries; trust me, your taste buds will be tap dancing with joy by the end of this meal! 9402 Main Street, Plymouth, 209-245-3463,

Taste Restaurant & Wine Bar’s Taste Burger



Local Heroes serves classic burgers in a friendly and welcoming diner-style setting. Despite all the burgers and such, they’re not overlooking the veg heads: their flavorful black bean burger is a hit with the vegetarian regulars, and it comes served with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and house sauce on a brioche bun. All the flavor of a great burger with none of the guilt! 1120 High Street, Auburn, 530-820-3030,

Local Heroes’ Black Bean Burger

Sunflower Drive-In in Fair Oaks has been serving up veggie burgers for 45 years—since 1978! That’s way before it was cool to even be a vegetarian, and almost as long as this writer has been alive (let’s not get hung up on that though). Their famous NutBurger is a delicious house-made nut “meat” patty made from a mix of almonds, walnuts, cashews, carrots, rice, a plethora of spices, and their namesake sunflower seeds. It comes served on a whole-wheat bun with sauce, onions, pickles, tomatoes, romaine, and sprouts. The NutBurger’s still got some moves, so just watch your backs all you young whippersnapper veggie burgers. 10344 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Fair Oaks, 916-967-4331, 

Sunflower Drive-In’s NutBurger

Zest Kitchen is a labor of love for two local Roseville women showing the region just how flavorful and downright decadent vegan food can be. Their Zest veggie burger is giving less “here’s a frozen patty we thawed for you,” and more “flavor-bomb, anyone?” vibes. Grilled to order, it features a flavorful patty made from sprouted beans and fresh veggies, topped with house-made "white cheddar" sauce, grilled onions, and fresh tomato, lettuce, and cucumbers on your choice of bread. And yes, it tastes THAT good, and it’s 100% vegan. 2620 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1, Rocklin, 916-824-1688,

Zest Kitchen’s Veggie Burger

Old Town Grill has been a staple on historic Main Street Placerville for over 20 years, helmed by the former executive chef for the Sacramento Kings. The extensive menu features plenty of burgers, sandwiches, and salads, as well as creative options for non-meat eaters, like their hearty, healthy, and flavorful Earthburger: a black bean and Southwestern-seasoned patty topped with sautéed mushrooms and jack and cheddar cheese on a whole-wheat bun. 444 Main Street, Placerville, 530-622-2631,

Old Town Grill’s Earthburger

Rocker Oysterfeller’s of Placerville might be best known for slinging tasty oysters up here in the foothills, but they’ve also got some darn good burgers and mains, and they’re looking out for the non-meat eaters, too. Their popular Rocker smashburger is also available with a half-pound plant-based Beyond smashburger, topped with Vermont cheddar, baconaise, lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles on a tuxedo bun served with Kennebec potato fries. There’s plenty of add-ons too, like roasted jalapeños, avocado, a fried egg, onion rings, and more! 564 Main Street, Placerville, 530-295-9408, 

Rocker Oysterfeller’s Beyond Smashburger


Must-Try Milkshakes

Taylors has over 350 flavors of milkshakes: almost one for every day of the year. We suggest you start with the Dory—a delicious swirl of vanilla ice cream, tangerine, passion fruit, and blue raspberry—and go from there. 3636 Taylor Road, Loomis, 916-652-8255,

Taylors’ Dory Milkshake

Shoestring is a 30-plus year institution, and their old-school shakes are as classic as a Ford Fairlane. The Oreo shake is where it’s at. 1320 Broadway, Placerville, 530-622-7125

Snooks Candies & Chocolate Factory can always tempt you with homemade chocolates, but don’t miss out on their milkshakes, made with Gunther’s ice cream. We suggest Chocolate, naturally. 731 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-985-0620,

Nubbin’s Drive-In evokes the classic drive-in diners of yesteryear. Want a classic milkshake flavor to set the scene? What's more classic than Pineapple? 308 Washington Boulevard, Roseville, 916-782-2084,

The Breakroom offers monthly milkshake flavors (past specials have included Minty Grasshoppper and Strawberry Shortcake), but thankfully their heavenly Orange Creamsicle milkshake is on the permanent menu. 4131 South Shingle Road, Suite 7, Shingle Springs, 530-763-6761,

The Breakroom’s Orange Creamsicle

Leatherby’s Family Creamery is a legend in our area, thanks to an old-school ambiance and homemade ice cream that’s rich, creamy, and oh-so good. Keep it simple with a Vanilla shake, or “shake things up” with whatever their flavor of the month may be. 2455 Iron Point Road, Folsom, 916-510-2373; 610 Twelve Bridges Drive, Lincoln, 916-209-3757,


Soak up the suds at Solid Ground Brewing with an order of their aptly named Handcut Fries—that, yes, are hand cut every morning and fried-to-order in-house. 552 Pleasant Valley Road, Diamond Springs, 530-344-7442,

Solid Ground Brewing’s Handcut Fries

FLB’s Sriracha Fries are a bonafide strike, thanks to a fiery kick of sriracha powder sprinkled on top of the freshly fried spuds. 511 East Bidwell Street, Folsom, 916-983-4411,

The fancified Parmesan Truffle Fries at Ikeda’s in Auburn are ridiculously good; we won’t judge if you indulge in them and a piece of the bake shop’s famous apple pie for lunch! 13500 Lincoln Way, Auburn, 530-885-4243,

Ikeda’s Parmesan Truffle Fries

The Brass Tap’s Loaded Fries come with aged cheddar jack cheese, sour cream, smoky bacon, and scallions, and feature the best of all fries: the crinkle-cut. 5150 Commons Drive, Suite 101, Rocklin, 916-246-2729,

The Garlic Fries at Bar 101 work some serious magic with seasoned garlic, parmesan, and parsley. 101 Main Street, Roseville, 916-774-0505,

Bar 101’s Garlic Fries


by Sharon Penny

Famous Burgers & Brew photo by Jyo Bhamidipati ©stylemediagroup. Take A Bite Deli and Fred's Burger photos by Jyo Bhamidipati ©stylemediagroup. Burger & Cream photo by Caity Sardella. Wayback Burgers photo courtesy of Wayback Burgers. Rustic Divide Restaurant photo by Raber Photos. Samuel Horne's Tavern photo by Victoria Rosensteel. Mario's Early Toast photo by Michael Sato from Satostudio @satostudios. Squeeze Inn photo by Dante Fontana ©stylemediagroup. Bones Roadhouse photo by Jyo Bhamidipati ©stylemediagroup. Range Kitchen & Tap photo by Sam Bevand. Sienna and Relish Burger Bar photos by Jyo Bhamidipati ©stylemediagroup. Junior Restaurant photo courtesy of Junior Restaurant. Taste Restaurant & Wine Bar photo courtesy of Taste Restaurant & Bar. Bricks Eats & Drinks, Roundhouse Deli, and Nancy's Café photos by Jyo Bhamidipati ©stylemediagroup. Sunflower Drive-In photo by Bridget W. via Yelp. Local Hereos photo by Jyo Bhamidipati ©stylemediagroup. Taylors photo by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup. The Breakroom photo by Audrey Pearce.