Yesterday, that absolutely impeachable culinary resource--the USA Today--named the 51 best burgers in the United States: one for each state, then an extra for the District of Columbia. In order to assemble said list, the paper turned to local experts in each state--newpaper writers, bloggers, magazine staffs, television producers and the occasional development or visitor's bureau flack--and asked them all the same simple question: what's the best burger inside your borders, and why.
Best Burger in Washington. No, really.
The results were...spotty. I've lived a bunch of different places. And I do love me a good cheeseburger. So I have some pretty strong opinions about the burgers on offer in, say, New York, New Mexico, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida and various other Western states. And while I didn't agree completely with a single pick anywhere in the list of states on which I had a reasonable opinion, I was impressed with the fact that all of the picks made were of places that I didn't only know, but liked a lot.In New York, Manhattan and the five boroughs lost out completely to an Upstate favorite: Tom Wahl's. Wahl's does have a damn fine burger--char-grilled and juicy and almost wet with cheese--but the best in the area (and I would argue, the entire state) is still at Schaller's in Rochester.
My friend (and former comrade-in-eats) John Lehndorff picked Park Burger in Denver, Colorado--a great burger place but, in my opinion, not as good as Bud's Bar in Sedalia. In New Mexico, 5 Star Burgers took the prize for its green chile cheeseburger (at least in the opinion of an app writer in Santa Fe), but that's just wrong. New Mexico has the Owl Bar, and the Owl Bar doesn't just have the best green chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico, it has the best green chile cheeseburgers in the world, hands down.
Here in Washington State? Our own Jay Friedman (author of the weekly Voracious feature Sexy Feast) chose Pick-Quick Drive In in Fife as having the best burgers in the entire state, saying, "Pick-Quick Drive In in Fife is the place to visit when you want the whole package: cooked-to-order burgers, greasy-in-a-good-way fries and thick milkshakes -- some made with seasonal fruit. As the name implies, you best order quick to avoid the wrath of those in line behind you. But then you can relax as you enjoy your burger at a picnic table surrounded by beautiful flowers."
And in this case, I have only one problem with Friedman's choice: I've never been.
So what do you think, folks. Does Pick-Quick have the best burgers in the state? Or is there some other little stand, shack, joint or full-on, sit-down restaurant that has the hot burger action you crave? More to the point, is there someone out there who truly loves Pick-Quick and can second this massive vote of confidence from Friedman? Also, if any of you happen to have been inspired by this pick and are thinking of heading out on a little burger road trip, can I have a ride?
Comments below. You know the drill.
Oh, and while we're on the subject of Pick-Quick, here's another little note: Almost as if to coincide with this nice hit of national press, I got an email last week informing me that, after 60 years of operating solely in Fife, Pick-Quick was going to be opening its first expansion store. The new location will be in Auburn, on the corner of Auburn Way and 12th Street, and the official groundbreaking happened just a couple days ago.
No word on a solid opening date yet, but the owners are looking at sometime this winter--which will be perfect because the original Pick-Quick (which has only outdoor seating) usually closes up shop between December 1 and February 1. This new spot will be staying open year-round and will be about five times the size of the 485-square-foot Fife location--including indoor seating.