THOUGH THE HISTORY of ground meat goes back as far as ancient Egypt, the hamburger as we know it, served with a yeast bun, is a relatively recent invention from the late 1800s. Story has it that Oscar Weber Bilby invented the modern hamburger in 1891 just west of Tulsa, Okla. His Fourth of July burgers were so popular that more than a hundred people showed up every year to his annual party.
Burgers are probably the quintessential American meal. The golden arches are known worldwide.
Fortunately, here in Kirkland we have more than the “national” choice. Kirkland Patch sampled, gorged on and critically tasted burgers throughout our town to bring our readers the following list.
The Locally Sourced Deal Burger
OK, so Burgermaster is technically in Bellevue. We Kirklanders have considered it on our home turf for as long as it has been around. Burgermaster serves hormone-free, locally sourced, grass-fed beef in all its burgers for a fraction of the price of other socially conscious burgers. We think adding bacon and cheese is always a good idea, but would steer clear of the double meat and cheese of the Burgermelt, a gluey mess. And though the drive-up/eat in your car concept is a novelty blast from the past, there’s something to be said for a table.
The Manliest Burger
The Hector’s Burger is juicy and flavorful. The shiny topped bun works well with the burger and doesn’t fall apart. We definitely recommend adding the bacon and cheese. Avocados are another option, but may provide too much “slide.” It comes with shredded lettuce, tomato slices and a whole onion slice. The sheer heft of the meal probably fulfills all your caloric needs of the day and may induce a post-mealtime nap.
The Most Unusual Burger
Since 1996, The Slip has been serving burgers and drinks from its tiny - and I mean minuscule - cinder-block building near Marina Park. Management claims that their most popular burger is the Peanut Butter Bacon Burger, which initially sounds a bit repulsive, but is actually quite tasty. The peanut butter can be thick in places. It is a love-it or hate-it kind of sandwich. We liked it.
The Gourmet Burger
Trellis, located in the Heathman Hotel, is known as the farm-to-table, seasonal menu jewel of Kirkland. And they have a fine burger. Deliciously prepared with a brioche bun, it is especially tasty with the pickled onion strings. But it comes with a hefty price tag, so don’t forget your credit card.
And let’s face it, when you go to a place as nice as Trellis, you really don’t want to order a burger. Burgers are for sunny afternoons spent at the beach and backyard get-togethers, not a nice evening out at a high-end farm-to-table restaurant.
Which brings us to our winner.
The Best Overall Burger
Kidd Valley’s Bacon Burger has crisp salty bacon, a juicy patty, shredded lettuce and tomato slices, flavor and a price that’s easy on your wallet. In essence, it’s everything a burger should be. And it is located on Lake Washington Boulevard, just across from Houghton Beach, which means easy access on those lazy days of summer.
We know this list is not exhaustive, and certainly it is a subjective issue. We’ve heard good things about burgers at Brix in Juanita Village and Game Neighborhood Grill & Bar further north in Juanita.
We are, of course, willing to entertain other opinions.