Well-made hamburgers and cheeseburgers abound in Pennsylvania, and these 10 restaurants excel at grilling up quality ground beef (or plant-based alternatives) and placing it between two buns for what just may be America’s favorite hand-held meal.
Have you ever wondered why hamburgers are called hamburgers even though they’re made from beef, not pork? In the mid-1800s, according to History.com, German immigrants fleeing a political revolution came to the US, bringing their rich food culture with them. German butchers who set up shop in American cities prepared chopped steak the way they did in Germany, and restaurants called it “Hamburg-style” chopped steak on their menus. The ham in hamburger, as well as the burger in hamburger, come from the name of the German city Hamburg, not from the type of meat.
Well-made hamburgers and cheeseburgers abound in Pennsylvania, and these 10 restaurants throughout the state excel at grilling up quality ground beef (or plant-based alternatives) and placing it between two buns for what just may be America’s favorite hand-held meal.
Route 66, Lancaster
The casual Route 66 restaurant serves smashed-style burgers made from a custom culinary blend with Black Angus beef and both Impossible and falafel plant-based. Burgers are served with one, two, three, or four patties on a Pennsylvania-produced Martin’s Potato Roll and fries are hand cut, steak-style, or curly. Facebook reviewers rave about the “delicious, not frozen fries” and the burgers that “are off the charts delicious.” Service is “fast and friendly” at this restaurant where the food is “absolutely delicious.”
The Burgerly, New Hope
The Burgerly serves four indulgent burgers from the titular offering — a cheeseburger with savory onions, pickles, and house burger sauce — to The Magnificently Mushroom Crazy — Portabella and Cremini mushrooms, American and Muenster cheeses, fried cherry peppers, fresh greens, micro cilantro, and ketchup. Many Facebook reviewers mention the burgers are among “the best they ever had,” or, as one person said “The. Best. Burger. Ever.” And the “seasoned fries were awesome! Crisp outside, light as air on the inside.”
Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub, Clearfield
People drive long distances to Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub because it’s “worth the trip for delicious burgers,” as one reviewer on Facebook says. The pub serves 24 different half-pound burgers and several other very large or very spicy “challenge” burgers. In this creative variety of burger choices is the Grilled Cheese Burger, a burger topped with grilled onions and cheddar, served between two grilled cheese sandwiches in place of a bun.
Burgh’ers Brewing, Zelienople
Burgh’ers Brewing is a smash burger joint and craft brewery focused on local, ethical, and sustainable food and drink. They source all ingredients from local farmers and offer 12 different burgers, each served with fries. Their Fox Chapel — with goat cheese, mixed greens, pickled onion, and balsamic reduction — was a winner in a James Beard Competition, a high culinary honor. Reviewers say, “delicious burgers, nice selection of beer, good atmosphere and great service” and give “thumbs up to flavor wizards.”
Babe’s Grill House, Palmyra
Babe’s Grill House, close to Hersheypark, is committed to buying as much of its menu as possible from local farms, including the beef for their organic burgers that come in five different versions: a classic that includes cheese, a Bangin’ Burger that includes bacon, blue cheese and jalapeños, a cast iron patty melt, and a mushroom truffle burger. Reviewers rave Babe’s is “an exceptional taste experience.”
Ad Lib Craft Kitchen & Bar, Harrisburg
Ad Lib, located inside the local Hilton, offers food and drink favorites “turned on their side” and full of surprises. The Ad Lib burger, topped with Vermont cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, and Dijonnaise and served with tavern fries, is a customer favorite, with Yelp reviewers raving the burgers are “cooked to perfection and featured crispy house fries on the side.”
Moon & Raven Pub, Williamsport
Two beef burgers and one veggie burger are on the menu at the under-the-radar Moon & Raven Pub, an establishment reminiscent of Irish, English, and Scottish pubs. Reviewers find the veggie burger with fries “good and something different than just a Beyond burger” and the Moon & Raven Burger — made of lamb and beef with bacon and caramelized onions — a “really high quality, solid choice.”
Jekyll & Hydes Gastropub, Erie
Jekyll & Hydes offers creative takes on classic bar fare, paired with their 34 beers on tap. The Dr. Jekyll Burger is a classic half-pound burger, but the pub also offers two plant-based alternatives, the Mr. Hyde Black Bean Burger and an Impossible Burger. All come with shoestring fries or a choice of five other sides. The food, including the burgers, is “great” with “very reasonably priced drinks,” according to Trip Advisor, and one vegetarian diner was “shocked on how accurate the taste & consistency” of the Impossible Burger was.
The Nyx, Clarks Summit
Two basic burgers and ten signature burgers make up a large portion of the menu at The Nyx, where locals enjoy an elevated dining experience. With such a focus on burgers, they’d better be good, and Trip Advisor reviewers confirm they are saying, the Nyx has “incredible burgers, fries and onion rings” with one reviewer raving, “I don’t know what they do to that meat to make it so delicious but it was probably one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.”
Over the Bar Bicycle Cafe, South Fayette
There are six burgers to choose from on Over the Bar Bicycle Cafe’s menu, and each of them can be made with a ground beef burger, grilled chicken, or an Impossible burger. Served with hand-cut potato chips or coleslaw, most of the burgers offer creative, but familiar toppings. The Dirt Rag Delight burger, however, is slathered with fresh ground peanut butter, and topped with dill pickles and American cheese. One Trip Advisor reviewer confirms the combination is good, saying “tasting is believing! Surprisingly good!” The more traditional burgers do “not disappoint” and “the seasoning on the fries is awesome.”