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Indy’s Best Burger Joints are Both Old and New

By: Brian Mayo | June 27, 2018, 8:00am
Indianapolis Burger Restaurants
Indianapolis has had a love affair with restaurants dedicated to the burger for decades. From the inception of Burger Chef in 1954 to the Steak ‘n Shake headquarters laying roots in the 1970’s, locals have always been obsessed with this culinary creation. Fast forward to today and you’ll find many chefs around the city are cooking up delectably creative variations on this beloved American staple. With many options (and opinions) on where to find the best burger joint in town, you’ll want to be sure to try these. In no particular order, here are 10 of Indy's best burger joints:

1. Bru Burger Bar | Mass Ave

Bru Burger
  Bru Burger Bar is consistently ranked as one of the best burger restaurants in the city. This small chain takes the foodie approach to its burgers, meaning these chefs take great care in finding unique and exciting ingredients. For instance, their Stilton Bleu Cheese Burger is topped with pear-bacon jam and truffle aioli, with the addition of fried onions for good measure. The Farmstead Burger comes replete with shaved Brussel sprouts, prosciutto and apple mostarda. If you can’t decide between Mexican food or a burger for dinner tonight, split the difference with Bru’s Mexicali BBQ Burger which comes with white queso, pickled jalapeños, guac, fried onions and house chipotle BBQ sauce. Messy? Yes, but delicious nonetheless. There is one burger that seems to standout as one of the most talked about on the menu, and that’s the Bourbon Burger. Topped with bacon and horseradish Havarti is well and good, but it’s the peppercorn-bourbon glaze that really sets it off. Bru’s most popular spot seems to be its Mass Ave location, but with a handful of locations around Indiana, as well as Lexington and Cincinnati, you’re never too far away from these ridiculously delicious creations.
Bru Burger Bar | Mass Ave
410 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204

 

2. Between the Bun | Greenwood

Between the Bun
Everyone knows that the most unassuming places always house the best grub. Between the Bun may look like a simple house-turned-restaurant but this Southside haunt is not to be overlooked. With two burgers on the Indy Star’s “Top 10 Burgers You’ve Never Tried But Should” list, BTB’s focus is on, shall we say, unique creations. The most glaring example of this is The PB&J Burger. Yes, you read that correctly. They take a fire-grilled burger, smother it in peanut butter, top it with pepper jack, smoked bacon and jalapeños, and then proceed to drizzle the entire thing with maple syrup. In sticking with the sweet/spicy theme, the award-winning Cookie Monster burger once again features smoked bacon and pepper jack cheese with the addition of Sriracha drizzle and cookie butter.
Between the Bun | Greenwood
102 S. Madison Ave Greenwood, IN, 46142 US

 

3. Workingman’s Friend | Hawthorne

Workingmans Friend
Workingman’s Friend and F.C. Tucker have something really awesome in common—we were both founded in 1918! While F.C. Tucker continues to innovate and change to stay on the cutting edge, Workingman’s Friend recognizes what has made their establishment loved by so many for so long, and they prefer to keep much of their business “old-school.” Even the name invites a sense of pleasant nostalgia. This bar/diner on Indy’s near west side is in a pretty dated building, serves lunch only, and doesn’t accept credit cards. However, this is one book you definitely don’t want to judge by its cover! Their famed double burger is unique in one way: instead of focusing on thick burgers piled high like many restaurants today, they smash their patties thin with a scalding grill and flash cook them into crispy-edged perfection. There is a reason they have been around almost 100 years—they have raving fans, and really are a legitimate contender as the best burger in Indy. It’s definitely one of my personal faves!
Workingman’s Friend | Hawthorne
234 N Belmont Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46222

 

4. Punch Burger | Downtown & Carmel

Punch Burger
The folks at Punch Burger pride themselves on their dedication to cooking up local, grass-fed, antibiotic-free beef. This concept adds another level of sophistication to their already impressive menu. With a mainstay location downtown on East Ohio Street, and another more recent franchise opened in Carmel, these Indiana guys have burgers that pack a punch (pun intended). One unique element about Punch’s menu is the ability for customers to create their own burger from a plentiful list of ingredients and even meats. How about a duck patty on a pretzel bun with ghost pepper cheese, a fried egg and spicy aioli? Go ahead and throw in some sweet potato tots for good measure. While Punch Burger does serve a wide-range of craft beer, they’ve somehow still managed to be voted one of the Top 25 Family-Friendly Restaurants in the U.S. by Urbanspoon.
Punch Burger | Downtown & Carmel
137 E Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204

 

5. Burgerhaus | Ransom Place, Schererville & Valparaiso

BurgerHaus
Burgerhaus takes pride in two things: craft beer and gourmet burgers. On the burger side, they use a blend of fine meat cuts imbued with succulent seasonings from around the globe. With three locations, Burgerhaus is bringing their own neo-European grub and stylings to folks all around the Hoosier state. One item to always look out for when patronizing Burgerhaus is the B.O.T.M., also known as their Burger of the Month. This month for instance, one can indulge in a USDA Prime ½-pound behemoth seasoned with togarashi (a seven-spice Japanese blend) which sits on Sriracha mayo, Asian slaw and a honey citrus sauce. But atop the burger is where it gets really interesting. Here you’ll find Asian marinated steak and veggies, Gouda cheese and Wonton crisps.
Burgerhaus | Ransom Place, Schererville & Valparaiso
335 West 9th Street, Suite D, Indianapolis, IN 46202

 

6. 317 Burger | Broad Ripple

317 Burger
At 317 Burger, premium Black Angus beef is king, and their hand cut fries might just be the queen. The menu here may have the widest selection of mouth-watering options, so we’ll just let the ingredients speak for themselves: The Bison Burger is made with Red Frazier Bison, provolone and whiskey glazed onions. The Breakfast Burger is half ground beef, half bacon with egg, gravy and cheese on a croissant bun. The Village is a half-pound of the aforementioned Black Angus with potato sticks, pimento cheese, tomato and pickle. The Jerk Turkey Burger is smothered in jerk sauce and piled with pineapple mango salsa. Enough said. 317 also recently acquired a parking lot a mere minute away from the restaurant, making it even more convenient for customers.
317 Burger | Broad Ripple
915 E Westfiled Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46220

 

7. Bub’s Burgers & Ice Cream | Carmel, Zionsville & Bloomington

Bubs Burger
People come to Bub’s for one reason: The Big Ugly. As you can surmise from the name, this monolith weighs in at one pound…but note that’s AFTER it’s cooked. While not the prettiest burger in the world, though this is a fact they wholeheartedly embrace, The Big Ugly is without a doubt delicious. Even featured on an episode of Man V. Food, this full pounder is about the size of a small child’s head and will run you about 20 dollars. On the bright side, if you finish the whole thing, you’ll be immortalized with a picture of yourself on the restaurant’s wall of fame. The Elk Burger is another staple at Bub’s. High in protein and low in fat, the Elk Burger is also available Big Ugly style. If you somehow have room left over in your poor stomach, look to an old-fashioned malt shake for dessert.
Bub’s Burgers & Ice Cream | Carmel, Zionsville & Bloomington
210 W. Main Street, Carmel, IN 46032

 

8. Box Burger Truck | Central Indiana

Box Burger
Last but certainly not least is Box Burger Truck. Following the recent mobile food truck craze, Box Burger is just that, a box on wheels serving up delicious burgers. Like most food trucks, their menu is small. This allows for the cooks on board to focus on making sure every Black Angus burger is absolutely perfect. The kicker here, though, is the seasoning. Box Burger uses a secret spice blend on both their burgers and their hand-cut Idaho potato fries. On the burger side, basic toppings like L/T/O/P are free, though you have the option of premium add-ons like bacon or egg for $1. While the burger here is our focus, it’s worth mentioning their Black Angus hot dogs are not far behind on the taste spectrum. Follow them on Twitter @boxburgertruck to find out when they will be at a location near you!
Box Burger Truck | Central Indiana
SR 135, Greenwood, IN 46143

 
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