Spicy baja chicken burger at Smashburger

Did you know that the name hamburger originally derives from HamburgGermany‘s second largest city, from where many people emigrated to the United States? In High GermanBurg means fortified settlement or fortified refuge; and is a widespread component of place names. Originally what started out in the 15th century as a piece of meat between two slices of bread, has now taken countless new forms and emerged into a class of it’s own.

In U.S., upscale burger restaurants like Farmburger, Smashburger and Flip have given way to more refined palates that reject the fast food chains. Focus is on freshness, organic and bold flavors. The traditional burger has gone beyond meat and bread; it now has crab cakes, lobster patties, tuna, lamb and other meats that weren’t originally associated with the burger.

Another popular item in the burger land is the vegetarian burger. Made with potatoes, mixed vegetables or black beans, every chef has a unique twist on it. Check out the lily’s nut burger at UrbanPl8 in Atlanta made with walnuts, cashews, brown rice, aged cheddar, spicy sour cream and whole wheat muffin.

Lily's nut burger at Urban Pl8

The chain Smashburger has caught like wildfire around the nation. A fast casual restaurant serving smashed up patties that are crispier and more flavorful offer chicken, beef and vegetarian options. With sides like sweet potato fries, fried pickles and rosemary truffle fries, Smashburger is offers more upscale food than your typical American diners.

Another favorite of mine is Farmburger, with two locations in Atlanta. With casual picnic style tables and self service, they offer 100% grass fed beef sourced locally and seasonal menus. Their concept is of “building your own” where you pick your toppings and cheese. Interestingly, their quinoa burger is one of the best vegetarian burgers I have come across. It’s actually good for you!

Flip burger boutique has taken the entire burger concept to a new height. They have a sleek interior decor, a full bar, hip music, shakes made with liquid nitrogen and menu that includes influences from around the world. Their portions are small and ideal for ordering multiple sides with – pan roasted brussels sprouts and vodka battered onion rings. Perfect for a date night, this one is not for kids.