I am writing this to tell you to eat burgers, and where. But really I am writing this to tell you to watch “Bob’s Burgers,” one of the best shows ever made about running a restaurant and/or being part of a family. It is hilariously funny. It is also artful, original, pointed, and sweet. It’s full of puns, musical numbers, and running gags. Did I mention it’s animated? A good place to start is any of the episodes from its 12 seasons — or “The Bob’s Burgers Movie,” which opens May 27.
The movie’s plot, according to its website: “While Bob and Linda struggle to keep the business afloat, the kids try to solve a mystery that could save their family’s restaurant.” This is not a spoiler alert, because “Bob’s Burgers” is always in some way about the struggle to keep eponymous restaurant Bob’s Burgers afloat, even if that’s just subtext. (Feel free to insert biting joke here about insurance coverage, landlords, and/or the failure to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.)
As one of the running gags, each episode features a “Burger of the Day” with a punny name, like the “A Good Manchego Is Hard to Find Burger” or the “She’s a Super Leek Burger.” In that spirit of variety — although you’ll have to name them yourself — here are 12 great burgers to eat in the Boston area, one for each season of the show.
The Bred Classic, a pitch-perfect bacon cheeseburger, is a clear choice at this Lower Mills burger joint. “It’s made with love,” says chef-owner Tambo Barrow (plus grass-fed beef, applewood-smoked bacon, American cheese, and aioli). But options abound — from the Maui (with pineapple, ham, plantains, crispy onions, habanero pepper jack, and barbecue sauce) to the Parisian (with a fried egg, bacon, caramelized onions, mushrooms, brie, and truffle aioli). There are also veggie versions and a jerk salmon burger with crispy onions and slaw. Don’t miss the hand-cut fries — or the smoothies! Look for a second Bred coming soon; it’s set to open in the Seaport District in July.
2255 Dorchester Ave., 617-698-0103, www.bredgourmet.com; $12-$14.
The Capital Burger
You’d expect the burgers at this spinoff of steakhouse Capital Grille to be great, and you’d be right. Made with beef from famed signature-beef-mix-maker Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, they arrive juicy and perfectly cooked to temperature. There’s a namesake Capital Burger, a riff on French onion soup: It’s topped with caramelized onions, gruyere, and shallot aioli. But I’m a fan of the simpler bacon cheeseburger, with Vermont cheddar, candied smoked bacon, and tomato jam. It’s both delicious and a real time saver, as I don’t need to eat again for at least 24 hours. It comes with fries cooked in beef tallow or a salad. Because the Capital Burger (opened in March 2021) is sibling to the Capital Grille, you can eat it with a glass of fancy cabernet, but there are also spiked milkshakes.
159 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-262-1333, www.thecapitalburger.com; $18.
Thank goodness Charlie’s Kitchen still exists, preserving a corner of the classic Harvard Square. Around since the ‘50s, it is rightly famed for several things: its great jukebox, its beer garden, and its double cheeseburgers. They’re a simple, satisfying neighborhood staple, best consumed with a beer and waffle fries.
10 Eliot St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-492-9646, www.charlieskitchen.com; $10.
Crazy Good Kitchen
The burgers at this Malden diner — run by Tony DeSouza, a former butcher from Brazil, and his family — have appeared on a show called “Cheat Day USA,” so, yeah. They come in several styles, but who could pass up the Hot Mess & Cheese, a mash-up of the burger with a good ol’ steak and cheese sub: smashed beef patties, shaved steak, American cheese, griddled onions, and cheese sauce, on a sesame brioche bun. You can also get loaded fries and tots, over-the-top shakes, and frozen acai bowls (for Not Cheat Day USA). There’s also a CGK on Newbury Street.
906 Eastern Ave., Malden, 781-480-4729; 268 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-936-4359; www.crazygoodkitchen.com; $13.50 (single patty) or $18.50 (double).
Does a burger make sense on the menu of a Japanophile haven offering sushi, ramen, and more? Perfect sense, especially when it’s this cheesy-gooey chuck and wagyu short rib patty, with a side of salty fries. Japanese-style dashi pickles tie it in thematically and lend a welcome hit of umami and acid.
1271 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston, 617-670-0507, www.hojokoboston.com; $19.
Among the dumplings, Sichuan dishes, and hand-pulled noodles on the menu at this restaurant, with branches in Watertown and Arlington, are what’s billed as “Chinese burgers” — a.k.a. the classic street food rou jia mo. They come with fillings such as cumin lamb and stewed pork, sandwiched between discs of wheat bread. You can also find them at places like Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe, the aptly named Xi’an Rougamo (where the bread is super extra flaky), and more.
58 Mount Auburn St., Watertown, 617-923-0227; 1312 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, 781-646-8080; www.hometastema.com; $4.98-$5.58.
From the team behind Celeste in Somerville, this new Huron Village restaurant serves one special burger amid the ceviches, causas, and other Peruvian dishes. The hamburguesa La Royal features alpaca in the patty, along with beef and lamb. (You’ll find another alpaca burger at Tambo 22 in Chelsea.) It’s served with Guatemalan cheese on a Hi-Rise bun, with yuca fries — perfect Cambridge fusion fare. Goes well with pisco cocktails.
221 Concord Ave., Huron Village, Cambridge, 617-823-1595, www.laroyalcambridge.com; $22.
Little Big Diner
Ramen is the main attraction at this Newton restaurant from the team behind Buttonwood, Jinny’s Pizzeria, and Sycamore. So the burger on the menu stands out. An offering since the day Little Big Diner opened, it remains for a reason: It’s really good. The flat patty is served “Hawaiian-style,” with chunky, spicy pineapple sambal, crunchy battered onions, lettuce, and mayonnaise. It comes on a King’s Hawaiian bun, of course.
1247 Centre St., Newton, 857-404-0068, www.littlebigdiner.com; $11.50.
At this special neighborhood joint in South Boston, you’ll find a rare convergence: It offers both great beef and veggie burgers. Chef-owner Asia Mei’s mushroom and tofu burger is so solidly satisfying that carnivores often order it, she says, sometimes topped with bacon and fried eggs. The patty is made with wild mushrooms, local tofu, and herbs, seared crisp and with a tender, juicy inside. There’s also a classic beef cheeseburger, as well as a rotating burger of the month: For May, it’s the “Spring Has Sprung,” with feta spread, peas, cucumbers, and pancetta.
152 Dorchester Ave., South Boston, 617-752-4191, www.moonshine152.com; $19-$23.
R.F. O’Sullivan & Sons
When the longtime Somerville haunt R.F. O’Sullivan’s closed in 2021, it left an empty space in the local burger hall of fame. The consolation: There was still a branch in Lynn serving up the hefty, juicy patties. Now R.F. O’Sullivan & Sons has opened (again) in the Somerville spot, under new management but still slinging burgers. Try the Celtic, a bacon cheeseburger; the Greek, with tzatziki, roasted red peppers, and feta; or the Don’t Poke the Bear, with bacon and a maple-bacon glaze plus fried egg and cheddar.
282 Beacon St., Somerville, 617-945-1551, www.rfosullivanandson.com; $14-$15.
Griddle me this: What could be better than three delicious little burgers for under 10 bucks? Somewhere between a slider and a patty melt, they come in iterations such as the original (American cheese, ketchup, and relish), the Californian (Muenster cheese, avocado mayo, and tomatoes marinated in olive oil), and the Mexican (ancho chile cheese sauce and cilantro-lime salsa). Get a trio for $9, or pick an assortment for $3.25 each. They come on olive oil brioche toast from Snappy Pattys’ mini loaves baked in house. Can burgers be … cute?
454 High St., Medford, 781-219-4804, www.snappypattys.com; $9.
There are ever more options for scratching your meatless burger itch around town. Veggie Galaxy is a top choice, going beyond Beyond Meat to create its own patties. At this funky meatless diner, you’ll find the likes of the Galaxy Burger, a beet-lentil-mushroom burger; the Kendall Square, a sweet potato-black bean burger with roasted red pepper puree, onion rings, garlic mayo, and arugula; and the Mac ‘N Stack, crispy fried seitan “chick’n” with tempeh bacon and sriracha mayo between two mac ‘n’ cheese waffles. (And you can substitute a Beyond Meat patty in any of them if you wish.) Options!
450 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge, 617-497-1513, www.veggiegalaxy.com; $13.99-$16.99.