Burgers Done Right: Fresh, Flavorful Options for Every Palate


Unless you’re living a meat free existence, the craving for a juicy cheeseburger probably strikes every once in a while. Perhaps less “every once in a while” and more like “daily.” Either way, you can still enjoy the occasional burger without sacrificing your health (or flavor).

How does one do so? Well, for starters, stay away from the fast food drive thru. The food is cheap for a reason, my friends, and it’s not because it’s delicious and full of nutrients. It’s much easier to chow down on a cheeseburger without feeling (as much) guilt when you’re taking a bite of a flavorful blend of beef, not a grease sponge.

While I’m certainly not going to stop you from gorging on a quadruple patty at your local grease trap, you might find you’ll enjoy a burger more from one of the following establishments:

Red Dog Saloon, 250 W. Summit St., Milford, sources it’s beef locally and makes a burger so mouthwatering, you’ll instantly put this restaurant into your regular rotation. The Dog’s half-pound burgers are made with meat from the local Village Butcher, and it’s delivered fresh every day. The meat itself is phenomenal, and there are seven different specialty burgers on the menu, in addition to the plain Jane burger and cheeseburger.

A few of your choices include the Rodeo Burger (topped with an onion ring, house made Yeehaw BBQ Sauce and melted cheddar cheese), Slawtastic (topped with homemade coleslaw, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese, served on Rye bread), and Frannie Burger (two slices of thick cut bacon and American cheese atop the patty).

The Burger Loft, 44045 5 Mile Rd., Plymouth, is located above the golf pro-shop at The Inn at St. John’s. Each burger is crafted with your choice of meat, but you’d be crazy to not choose the quarter pound (or half pound) signature beef brisket blend.

It’s a build-your-own-burger place, so you have your choice of cheese, toppings and unique spreads and dipping sauces (like Sriracha mayo and roasted garlic-herb mayo).

If you prefer, you can order a heart healthy turkey burger, marinated chicken breast burger, pan seared Atlantic salmon burger or vegetarian Gardenburger. But like I said, why you would pass up the signature brisket blend, I have no idea.

Moo Cluck Moo, with locations in Dearborn Heights and Canton, will appeal to those of you looking for a quick, quality meal at a low price. I’d like to put an emphasis on quality—the beef, chicken breast, bacon, dairy, cheese, toppings, and even the cooking oil are all 100 percent natural.

The beef is fresh, never frozen, and comes from hormone and antibiotic-free humanely raised cattle that were fed a completely vegetarian diet. Even the cheese is free of hormones and antibiotics, and the milk it’s made from is sourced from family owned dairy farms. This is a burger you can enjoy without wrecking your diet, in addition to your wallet—a Moo Burger costs a mere $3.25!

Burgers are served on a homemade Sweet Protein bun (which are actually GOOD for you), or wrapped in lettuce for those of you counting calories.

Each month there’s a different Craveables menu (specialty items for the month), and December’s includes a Peppercorn Moo burger, topped with spicy peppercorn aioli and crisp onion straws.

Monk Beer Abbey, 419 S. Main St., Royal Oak, is a beer bar that reflects all things Belgium, right down to the beef itself. There are three different burger varieties, and each patty is hand made with Belgian Blue beef.

The first includes homemade bacon, edam, iceberg lettuce and tomato; the second is topped with braised beef cheek, smoked gouda cheese, avocado, iceberg lettuce and tomato, and the last comes with shaved pork belly, cheddar, apple slaw, iceberg lettuce and tomato.

Each order includes pomme frites (a fancy way of saying “French fries”), or you can choose duck frites for an additional $2. Whichever burger you select, Monk Beer Abbey provides a unique dining experience and a seriously tasty burger.

Red Crown, 15301 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe Park, participated in the 2013 Detroit Burger Brawl and won judge’s pick for “Best Flavor,” so this is not a burger you want to miss out on. They’re a little on the pricey side ($12 to $15), but oh so worth it.

The Red Crown Burger (topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, American cheese and secret fancy sauce), is simple, yet packed with flavor. Add bacon for a few extra bucks and you’ll be in heaven. I mean, this is an award winning burger, people.

Beau Jack’s Restaurant, 4108 W. Maple Rd., Bloomfield Hills, serves award-winning ground round burgers, as well as Piedmontese beef burgers made with naturally raised beef free of hormones and antibiotics. This specialty blend is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than beef’s “healthier” alternatives, chicken and fish. A burger that’s better for you than salmon? I’ll take it.

The beef is delivered fresh daily, and all seven of Beau Jack’s specialty burgers can be prepared with Piedmontese beef for only $1.95 extra.

The restaurant’s signature burgers include Gary’s Choice (with bleu cheese and sautéed mushrooms), The Nostalgia Burger (three patties with American cheese, onions, pickles and secret sauce), and South of the Border (burger topped with chili and onions).

All of the above burgers give you an excuse to enjoy a burger without feeling bad about it, and that’s something to celebrate. With a burger! Now remember, in case you haven’t read it on every restaurant menu in existence—the bacon and avocado cost extra.