America’s Regional Cheeseburger Styles [MAP]

Despite the fact that they were actually invented by the ancient Romans, burgers — with or without cheese — are an American phenomenon. In fact, upwards of 50 billion are consumed on U.S. soil every year. But with such widespread admiration for the fast-food staple, there’s bound to be some deviation from the standard model.

As it turns out, there’s a burger style from almost every region in the U.S. that riffs on the classic bun-patty-cheese-LTO (lettuce, tomato, onion) recipe. While some styles employ simple changes — take California’s addition of avocado — others, like Georgia’s glazed-donut-encased Luther burger, take their techniques and toppings to more unconventional territory.

Check out our map below for VinePair’s comprehensive guide to 22 of America’s regional burger styles.

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America’s Regional Cheeseburger Styles [MAP]

Butter Burger

In Wisconsin, more means more. And in this case, that means more butter. This burger is prepared with butter baked into the bun, slathered on it, or packed into the burger meat itself and piled with whatever toppings one’s heart desires. While mainly found in its home state, you’ll also find this dairy bomb served in 26 states at beloved Midwestern chain Culver’s (which was also born in Wisconsin).

California Burger

California produces over 200 million pounds of avocados each year, so it’s no surprise that the soft, green fruit made its way onto the state’s staple burger. Often joining avocado (in some cases, guacamole) between the buns are toppings like lettuce, tomato, cheese, and bacon.

Carolina Burger

Originating in North Carolina, this burger includes a whole barbecue spread inside its bun, where you’ll find a cheese-coated patty, chili, yellow mustard, and coleslaw.

Deep-Fried Burger

For a lunch that will send you to the couch for a nap faster than you can say “grease,” try Tennessee’s deep-fried rendition hailing from Dyer’s in Memphis. Its beef patty is deep-fried in beef tallow, which gives the meat a crispy outer layer and juicy middle, before it’s topped with cheese, sliced white onions, pickles, and yellow mustard.

Fried Onion Burger

Allegedly created during the Great Depression at the Hamburger Inn in Ardmore, Okla., the fried onion burger — or the onion burger, for short — was originally a means of saving money. Cash was in short supply back then, so in order to make his hamburger meat last a little longer, restaurant owner Ross Davis smashed onions into burger patties while still on the griddle to give customers more bang for their buck. The burger is served the same way to this day.

Frita Cubana

Originally from Cuba, the Frita Cubana made its way to Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood by the 1960s, and it remains popular today. The style includes a thin patty, ketchup, diced white onions, and fritas cubanas (a.k.a. thin-sliced, crispy potato strings).

Green Chile Cheeseburger

The New Mexican green chile cheeseburger is rumored to have been created for the physicists working on the Manhattan Project. The story goes that the scientists would show up at San Antonio, N.M.’s Owl Bar and Café each night and order their cheeseburgers with a side of green chile sauce, an integral part of the state’s cuisine. One night, there were no clean ramekins to serve the sauce in, so it was added directly to the burger bun instead. The green chile burger was born, and today, it’s served basically the same way: with a helping of the spicy sauce atop an LTO-stacked patty.

Guber Burger

For peanut butter fans, look no further than the guber (or goober) burger. Native to Missouri, the burger finishes cooking beneath a heaping scoop of peanut butter, which melts against the bun before standard toppings are added. It’s bizarre, but who are we to judge?

Juicy Lucy

If you prefer your burgers stuffed with cheese, you’ll feel right at home in Minnesota. The Juicy Lucy’s name allegedly comes from a customer at Minneapolis’s Matt’s Bar & Grill. He requested a burger with two patties and a slice of cheese in the middle, and upon his first bite, he exclaimed, “That’s one juicy Lucy.” The name stuck and the style has since caught on outside state lines, with restaurants all across the country serving up stuffed cheeseburgers piled high with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles.

Luther Burger

Also known as the donut burger, Georgia’s beloved Luther sees the standard bacon cheeseburger smashed between two glazed donuts. The sweet-and-salty sandwich was allegedly created by late American singer-songwriter Luther Vandross, who’s said to have repurposed donuts as makeshift buns when he ran out of bread.

Loose Meat Sandwich

If the phrase “loose meat sandwich” sets you on edge, perhaps you’ll recognize this burger variation by its alternate name: the tavern sandwich. Instead of a patty, this Iowan burger packs cooked ground beef inside its bun along with cheese, onions, pickles, ketchup, and tomato.


American Horror Story: Montana’s Nutburger. Originally from Butte, the burger includes a smashed beef patty topped with — wait for it — salted peanuts and Miracle Whip. Yum?

Jersey Slider

Not to be confused with the Jersey Slide (a driving maneuver that involves speedily crossing several lanes of traffic sans blinker to exit a highway), we’re talking about the miniature ground-beef burger topped with dill pickles or onions and sandwiched into a slider bun. The style was popularized by White Manna Hamburgers in Hackensack, N.J., where the sliders are served with crinkle-cut fries and milkshakes.

Olive Burger

The Michigan-born variation is exactly what it sounds like — a beef cheeseburger topped with a strange mixture of mayo and sliced green olives. Some versions skip the mayo and add the olives to the melted cheese, but either way, the olives are essential.

Pastrami Burger

As the name suggests, the pastrami burger includes a big, fat, juicy patty topped with thinly sliced pastrami. But it doesn’t end there: Utah’s famous interpretation is also loaded with cheese and a heaping helping of Thousand Island dressing.

Patty Melt

While the patty melt is beloved all over the U.S., its roots can be traced back to L.A. The burger variation smothers a beef patty with melted Swiss cheese and caramelized onions before it’s smashed between two slices of toasted rye bread. Some versions of the patty melt swap out the rye with Texas toast for a bit of cheesy, garlicky crunch.

Pimento Cheeseburger

Pimento cheese is delicious on its own, and we’re willing to bet it’s even better on a burger. Most popular in the Deep South, this burger is believed to have been created in Columbia, S.C., sometime in the 1960s. In addition to pimento cheese, its thin patty also tends to be topped with a helping of chilis and LTO.

Poached Burger

Competing with the butter burger for Wisconsin’s sandwich crown is the poached burger, which was first created at Pete’s Hamburgers in Prairie du Chien. Its beef patty is cooked on a flat-top grill filled with water and onions, a step that imbues the meat with more flavor. As the water boils, the burger cooks and poaches slightly, hence the name. The burger is finished off with onions and yellow mustard or horseradish mustard, but no cheese.

San Antonio Bean Burger

There’s a lot going on between the buns of the San Antonio Bean Burger. And no, it doesn’t involve a vegetarian, bean-based patty. Instead, a beef patty is smothered with Cheez Whiz, refried beans, chopped white onions, and Fritos.


Also known as a dough burger, the slugburger is adored in its home state of Mississippi. Originally created by John Weeks in 1917, the burgers are prepared by stuffing the meat with thickening ingredients like flour, eggs, or breadcrumbs. Weeks himself called the burgers Weeksburgers, but due to their low cost, the nickname slugburger stuck (“slug” was a slang term for a nickel).

Steamed Cheeseburger

Allegedly created at Jack’s Lunch in Middleton, Conn., the steamed cheeseburger is made in a stainless steel tray placed above a vat of boiling water. As the steam rises, the patty cooks, resulting in moist meat sans the typical char. Steamed burgers are traditionally served on non-toasted buns with the guest’s choice toppings.

Theta Burger

Created at the now-shuttered Town Tavern for the University of Oklahoma’s Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, the Theta burger is known for its slathering of mayo, hickory barbecue sauce, shredded cheddar, and dill pickles.

*Image retrieved from Lukas Gojda via