The (Unofficial) Definitive Ranking of Bloomington Hamburgers

An important part of maintaining good mental health is socializing. And today, you have the perfect excuse to socialize with friends and eat a delicious meal because…

It’s National Burger Day! If you’re like me, there is nothing more satisfying than that first bite of a perfectly cooked hamburger. Fortunately for me (and hopefully you), I live in an amazing town that produces some of the best hamburgers in the state.

In order to get the true Bloomington hamburger experience, I’ve created a list of my top seven hamburger places in town.

Please note: A few of these burgers are located at places that only serve those who are 21+. If you are not over 21, please just dream about these burgers until you are old enough to eat them, instead of buying a fake ID. I know it can be tempting to try and get one just to try the meaty goodness, but it’s really for the best.

If you absolutely cannot live without one, ask a friend who is 21+ to order you a burger for takeout. If you are 21+ and can go into these places, please be sure to drink in moderation if you do decide to drink. 1 drink per hour is a fine pace to drink at. Also, be sure you have a way to get home safely. Please don’t drink and drive!

#7 Opie Taylors

Opie Taylor’s is a classic in Bloomington. They have a huge selection of burgers available with a number of different toppings. This is a blessing and a curse because it means there’s a little bit of something for everyone, but it also makes your decision that much harder. How can you narrow it down to just one when they all sound

Photo credit

so good?! I’ve tried a number of different burgers there from the Northsider to the Tom Allen Experience to the Taco Burger, and they’ve all been pretty good.

The reason Opie Taylor’s isn’t at the top of my list is because the burger itself isn’t as good as some of the others. I’ve had some overcooked burgers there too, which is a no-no for a place whose main dish is burgers. They also have different pricing for beef, chicken, turkey, and veggie burgers, which I understand, but most of their competitors don’t, so it puts them at a disadvantage.

But the topping selection makes it a great contender. Pro Tip: Opie Taylor’s has the ABSOLUTE BEST mozzarella sticks in town, so make sure to order those as an app. Oh! And sometimes they’ll give you a free app if you sign up for their text club #worthit.

#6 BuffaLouie’s

While most people go to BuffaLouie’s for wings, I normally stick with a burger. The cool thing about BuffaLouie’s is that you have the option of each burger being beef, chicken, or black bean at no extra cost, which is great if you don’t like/can’t eat meat. If you’re looking for something delicious and covered in all things fat and fried, go for the Sweet Lou. It’s a bacon cheeseburger smothered in their famous Sweet Lou barbeque and topped with a fried onion ring. Soooo delicious.

The Steak Burger at Big Woods Bloomington | photo

#5 Big Woods Bloomington

I’ll admit, I haven’t been to Big Woods since they overhauled their menu this past year and changed from Quaff On to Big Woods. What I do know is that Quaff On used to have one delicious hamburger, and I would be greatly surprised if that changed. In just looking at their new menu, their burgers look to be more artisan with toppings like onion jam, bistro sauce, crimini and porcini mushrooms, and pimentos. The biggest downfall with Big Woods is the price. My advice? Save Big Woods for a time when mom and dad are visiting and will pick up the tab.

#4 Nick’s English Hut

If you are looking for a true American hamburger with no frills, stop in at Nick’s. The patty itself is seasoned well and is so juicy and delicious. Add in a side of Sink the Biz fries, and you’ll be in burger heaven.

Look at this deliciously perfect burger from Upland! Photo credit

#3 Upland

Upland is one of those places that I’ve yet to find something I don’t like. I’ve tried a good portion of their menu, but those burgers call my name every time. What I like about Upland is that they don’t overlook the patty. While other burger joints focus heavily on the toppings, Upland makes sure their patty is seasoned and cooked to perfection.

Upland has a black bean burger for vegetarians, and you have the option of chicken or beef for their normal burgers. Or you can be exotic and try a buffalo burger for a few dollars more (also #worthit). I personally don’t like spicy burgers, so I’ve only stuck with the Classic (go for the gouda!), Bad Elmer’s Favorite (mmm BBQ bacon), and the Side Trail Burger. Upland is also a contender for some of the best fries in Bloomington, which only adds to the experience.

March’s Burger of the Month: the Tipsy Big Burger | photo

#2 The Tap

The Tap is like Upland – I’ve yet to find something I don’t like on the menu. I also just love the atmosphere. One of my favorite things about The Tap is they have a new burger special each month, and have a different summer and winter menu. These burgers can be a little pricier, but they are so tasty that you won’t even care. How can you not love a burger smothered in beer cheese or better yet, lobster mac ‘n beer cheese? It is truly a delicious work of art.

The Tap also takes my vote on best fries in Bloomington. Order the Tap Fries as an app to experience all four dipping sauces (beer cheese, parmesan garlic aioli, sun dried tomato pesto crema, and chipotle ranch). Then when it comes time to order your burger, choose a healthier side option. You know, like more mac ‘n beer cheese.

#1 Bubs

Sometimes it’s good to be ugly! Bubs is my absolute favorite burger place in Bloomington, and maybe the world. If you are looking for the true American burger dining experience, you have to go to Bubs and try one of their “ugly” burgers. This is arguably the best seasoned burger you will ever experience sandwiched between the most perfectly created bun. It’s truly the complete package.

Think you can tackle The Big Ugly? photo credit

Also, it’s the only place that I know of in town where you can have an elk burger. As a person who sometimes substitutes venison for beef, I was apprehensive about trying the elk burger for the first time, for fear of it being gamey, like venison. I assure you, it is not. What it is, is a juicier more flavorful burger than any beef burger I’ve ever experienced.

I attribute Bub’s success to its simple menu. They only have a few items on the menu with their lead hitter being The Big Ugly burger, which is just their regular burger that weighs in at one pound. After being cooked. If you finish it, you get your picture on the wall along with eternal fame and glory.

The one downside is that you have to pay extra for a side of fries, but honestly, I could eat this burger without fries. What I can’t eat it without is one of their delicious milkshakes, which is hands down the best milkshake in town. Strawberry milkshake + elk burger = perfection.

Now get there and eat all the burgers!

Did we leave a burger out or rank one wrong? Leave a comment and let us know which one is your favorite!




Have a thought, question or opinion on what you read? Share here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s