Best Places To Eat A Delicious Burger

You never forget your first visit to Swenson’s Drive-In, pride of Akron, Ohio, one of the finest little restaurant chains in the country that most Americans haven’t heard of. The house specialty is the Galley Boy, one of the most curious burgers in the country, a double with cheese in the middle, served with two special sauces: a smoky, sweet, and just-a-little-bit hot barbecue and a tartar-like sauce that tastes like it was made with dill pickles and some onion.

A toothpick sporting a stuffed green olive ties the whole thing together, and believe me when I tell you that this is one of the more memorable fast food burgers you’ll ever try. It is also one of the ugliest.

Swenson’s goes all the way back to the end of the Great Depression, long before the advent of the visual age in which we’re now trapped. They didn’t get to where they are now — with a nearly-global fan base that includes hometown legend LeBron James — making pretty food. Not so long ago, this wouldn’t have been all that remarkable, but after collectively staring into our phones for what feels like an eternity, the way our food looks has become almost more important than the way it tastes.

Certainly, there is beauty in a well-composed tray of barbecue, or a painstakingly-constructed sandwich, or one of those Detroit pizzas that probably wouldn’t be nearly as popular if they didn’t look so good on social media, but when it comes to the hamburger, everything runs aground. Here’s why — too often, burgers have become not about the meat, but rather the way they look dressed up for the camera.

Nowadays, the guy at the corner diner still grinding beef on the daily for his boring-looking (but delicious-tasting) burgers is hardly ever going to be lucky enough to be as famous, or appreciated, as the food stylist down the street who knows how to make the cheese look just so, as it melts down the sides. Both burgers might be spectacular, but only one of them is going to be Homecoming Queen.

That day at Swenson’s, I had to admit that I’d fallen into the same trap as everyone else who spends too much time scrolling. I had to eat one, then two, then I don’t know how many more burgers in Akron to understand where exactly I’d gone wrong. To this day, I haven’t managed to take a picture of a Galley Boy that would entice someone to eat one, but it doesn’t matter. I know it’s delicious.

The first thing to know about Mobile is that the city’s first recorded Mardi Gras celebration took place in 1703, a decade before New Orleans was even founded.

So fine, one city became more famous than the other, but the similarities between the two remain striking, perhaps nowhere more than in Mobile’s own Garden District, a charming patch where Callaghan’s Irish Social Club has thrived since the 1940s, evolving over time to become a prime destination for not only live music and good times, but also for a near-perfect bacon cheeseburger.

The bedrock: Angus beef, hand-smushed but never smashed, cooked up on a vintage flat top and topped with quality vegetables, plus very good bacon. Instead of fries, there’s a cooling tomato, cucumber, and onion salad to balance things out.