Famous James Presents:
The Greatest Cheeseburgers Ever!
I've eaten a lot of cheeseburgers in my day. I have purchased them
in big fancy establishments, greasy spoon diners, tropical hideaways, highway rest stops, and fast food chains in
small towns, big cities, and even from a floating riverboat. If one could ever be called a cheeseburger
connoiesseur, it would be me.
One day, while thinking up stupid ideas and listening to Jimmy Buffett cds,
it seemed appropriate to share my experiences in cheeseburger-eating with my readers. He did this in the liner notes
of his box set, but that was years and years ago. I think the world's ready for an update. Several reasons inspired
this decision... First, if I ever manage to sell any t-shirts or other merchandise from
this site, I could call eating cheeseburgers a business expense and deduct my lunches as related and necessary. I could also
conceivably get noticed by any of the soon-to-exalted cheeseburger meccas and get sent lots of coupons and
vouchers. All of you folks will also know where the best cheeseburgers in America are, and can plan
vacations accordingly. Everybody wins! Especially my future cardiologist...
Anyhow... enough nonsense. In no particular order, here's a list of what I've found to be the
GREATEST CHEESEBURGERS EVER:
Islands, Santa Clarita, CA
Combine a laid back tropical vibe, surf videos playing in the background, and gourmet quality burgers. I had a
half pounder on a whole wheat bun. Absolutely incredible. I could eat a burger there every day and never get sick of it.
Cheeburger Cheeburger, Jensen Beach, FL
It's in the food court of the Treasure Coast Mall. They always impale an olive on an oversized toothpick, which is used to hold the burger together. It's pretty big, so the toothpick is more than a decoration. When I come here I usually get a "serious" burger with American cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, ketchup, and mustard. The onion rings are good too. You can also get a half order of fries and a half order of rings, in the event
you're as indecisive as I am with regards to "side dishes".
Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Orlando, FL
This is mecca for cheeseburger eating. Though a bit overpriced, all fans of burgers should visit at least once
in their lifetime. I went in with very high expectations, but Margaritaville delivers.
Nationwide Freezer Meats, Sacramento, CA
And in the category of worst name, best burger, the winner is - Nationwide Freezer Meats. This place is just east of downtown
Sacramento, on the corner of 19th and H. The specific location is given here because you'll probably drive right by if
you're not looking for it. Hell, there's a chance you could *walk* by and miss this place. It really just looks like
an abandoned warehouse - there's hardly a sign or any advertisement outside. But you'll kick yourself if you skip this joint.
Get a French Ground Steak Burger with cheese (it's about 1/3 pound), and hold the sauce. The rolls are incredible, and even though
you'll gasp at paying $12 for a burger, fries, and a Coke, it's well worth it. It should also be noted that the plank fries
are enormous - imagine a huge potato run through an apple corer. You will need extra ketchup. Extra points are given for
the awesome displays of gluttony - there are pictures of people eating 10-patty burgers near the cash register. Trust me -
forget the stupid mango watercress salad of whatever foofy midtown restaurant your girlfriend is trying to drag you to, ditch
her, and come here instead. You'll thank me later.
Bubba's Burgers, Kapa'a, HI
On the sign hanging outside, there reads the following: "We Cheat Tourists, Drunks, and Attorneys". 2 out of
3 ain't bad, so I headed in. Ordered the Double Bubba Burger and fries. It was the messiest creation I've had
in ages, but NOT greasy. Very juicy, but little grease. They only use beef grown locally, which did have a different
taste than burgers I've eaten closer to home. It should also be noted that they use a TON of diced onion, and relish
every bun. Trust me - it's worth it. Even if only to get a pair of shorts with "We Relish Your Buns" printed on 'em
Kalapaki Beach Hut, Nawiliwili, HI
Go upstairs for a gorgeous view of Kalapaki Beach. Eating cheeseburgers is always more pleasurable if you
get to see some folks surfing nearby. Anyhow, this was 1/3 pound of Angus beef called the Big Beach. It was
quite good, and although there's only room for about 20 people in the restaurant, it doesn't feel too crowded.
The Shack, Kapa'a, HI
Oh my Lord... Had to get the Double Shack Burger, which is almost a half pound of ground beef before you add
the other stuff. The other stuff being... cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion... and SAUSAGE. Oh yes - it was as unhealthy
and deliciously tasty as it sounds. I don't know what it is about Portuguese sausage, but it's a damn brilliant
accompaniement to a huge cheeseburger. If you go there though, sit on the right side, closer to the bar. You'll
get a nice view of Kealia Beach through the always-open windows.
Fannie Ann's Saloon, Sacramento, CA
Honestly, I've had better burgers. But my company at the time was very cute, so they have to get a plug here. And
this endorsement is only here until that unnamed aforementioned cute chick who doesn't like me that way (y'know, that might have to be yet another
character for the cast of FJ.com...) goes along with me to a better place... :-)
Tommies, Bakersfield, CA
Driving home from a vacation, I hadn't eaten anything all day. Saw a sign that read "Tommies World Famous Hamburgers".
Of course, I had to go check 'em out... I was very impressed. The onions were diced, the tomato was juicy without
sogging up the bun, and the bun was toasted. They lose points for being connected to a gas station, but frankly
at the time I was so hungry I could have eaten the gas hoses. Best served with NO special sauce.
Johnny Rockets, Arden Fair Mall, Sacramento, CA
I actually discovered this place because of this website... When I get film developed for the concert gallery,
I take it to a camera store in this mall. One day I opted for one-hour service and walked about to get some lunch.
I went in and ordered the Smokehouse Burger, which is 1/3 pound of meat, Tillamook cheddar cheese, bacon, onion
rings, and a smoky BBQ sauce. There's a 50s-vibe inside, and the counter help will even give you a few nickels
to put into the jukebox. It's also a sin to go here and NOT order a chocolate malt and a Cherry Coke. I can't go into
this place and NOT spend $20.
Cheeseburgers & More, Jupiter, FL
My picture is actually on the wall there. (It's got my name and the inscription "Go Noles" on it, if you should ever
fancy looking for it yourself.) I ate the one-pounder, with a side of fries. Worth every agonizing bite (and the
extra 400 points of cholesterol). I ordered mine medium well, with American cheese, lettuce, onion, and ketchup.
It was served on a monstrous roll, which was surprisingly stable. You'd think that a roll big enough to hold an
entire pound of meat would prove to be too doughy, or would fall apart. Not the case.
Hamburger Heaven, Palm Beach, FL
Nestled just about 1/2 mile north of the nauseatingly-highbrow and completely detached-from-reality Worth Avenue rests
a classic 50's style greasy spoon. This place has been there forever, and has seen the evolution of the island from
a quiet retreat for the super-privileged to the unwelcomed attention of Beverly Hills Extreme. It's gotta be the only place
where you could conceivably see a long-haired vagrant like me sit at a bar three seats down from a Kennedy and not get wrestled to
the ground by security. The burgers are served on buttered and toasted rolls, and if you order a shake, they'll give
you the tin. That tin will fill your glass at least 2 times, and the shakes are made from real ice cream. Just
stay away from the tartare, which they really do serve. By the way, it's bad form to go here and ask for it
"well done" - blue blooded teenage soda jerks just don't have a dorky sense of humor, I suppose...
Dickey's, Dallas, TX
Primarily a rib joint, Dickey's was a one-time treat for me. I was stuck in Dallas, with no friends or family
nearby. I wasn't in the mood to try anything new, so I settled for a cheeseburger. Surprisingly, it was very
good. Good enough that almost 5 years later, I still have the 32 ounce plastic drink cup in my cupboard. Every
time I use it, I think, "Man, Dallas sure sounds like a good idea right now..." Order your cheeseburger plain
though - the meat picks up seasonings from the other stuff cooked on the grill. Very cool side benefit.
Jasper's Giant Hamburgers (Fulton Ave), Sacramento, CA
You're gonna have to just trust me on this one. I was hesitant too, when I noticed that the place had been bought out
and the menu changed to reflect the addition of the "teriyaki burger" and "pot stickers" as a side... I was downright
ornery at first... But if you go in and get the double giant cheeseburger, it still comes with perfectly shredded
lettuce, 2 thick chuck patties, red onion, and 3 slices of cheddar. Put it on a bakery-style roll, and it's quite
a magnificent creation.
Steak N Shake, Gainesville, FL
This place is on University Ave, and perfectly toasts its sponge-bread rolls. There's a little ring
of crisp around the outside, and they use ground steak for the burger. They also have hot pepper sauce, which
when used in an inappropriate manner, will result in your friend Dave crying in the bathroom and screaming,
"I'm blind" at the top of his lungs. Use with caution. Also be aware that the fries are very small, and will
either result in you needing to use a fork to eat them, or pounding them down like PikNik shoestring potato
chips. Best experienced on a hot day after spending the afternoon TOOBIN down the Ichetucknee River.
Willie's Burgers, Folsom, CA
I debated leaving them off the list simply because they serve wine. Burger joints aren't allowed to serve wine. That's
just a rule. Then I realized that it is a California burger joint, so I cut 'em some slack. Very tasty slab of meat,
dripping with toppings. It's very messy, but worth it. I do recommend ordering it without their special sauce, but
that's just so you can experience the greasy goodness of the extra cheese.
In N Out Burger, Rancho Cordova, CA
Back to FJ.com
I know what you're saying... Big time chain places aren't eligible. But as a concept, this place works.
No freezer or microwave on the premises. You actually see people slicing real potatoes to make fries. They
don't make anything until you order it. Plus, they don't cave into the wussy mentality of serving something
for everyone. On their menu is: Burgers, fries, shakes, and soda. That's it. No stupid salads. You won't
find a vegetable here unless it's capable of being fried or topping a burger. Finally, a chain that gets it
right... Get the double-double and an order of fries. But don't even try to bring it home. Trust me - eat
it right there. You'll only mess up your upholstery if you try to eat it in the car, and the fries need to be