The quest for the best burger in town

The MOAB is Mama Burger’s largest burger featuring two patties, French fries, tomato, lettuce, grilled onions, green chilies, bacon, cheddar cheese, house sauce, pickles and jalapeños.

Flagstaff has no shortage of local options when it come to the American classic, the hamburger. I set out to find out which is the best, and in doing so visited four of the most popular burger joints in town. I will judge each restaurant on service, convenience, quality, price and atmosphere. I am setting out to find the best burger experience taking everything into consideration.

Bun Huggers

Rating: 3/5

It has been a decades old favorite of locals and students since it opened in the late 1970s.

I ordered a Mushroom Hug and received my food in a reasonable amount of time and the staff was friendly. Nothing about the service, good or bad, really stood out to me, which I suppose is a positive. What did stand out was the location of the restaurant, which is on Milton near the Rt. 66 intersection.

My burger was very well done. The meat seemed to be good quality, but it was hard to tell because the patty was dry from being slightly overcooked. The swiss cheese and mushrooms were a good combination and paired well with the rest of the burger. The bun was delicious, crispy and definitely good quality. My biggest complaint was the size of the burger, which I was expecting to be much bigger for the price of $7.99.

Bun Huggers may as well be a museum that serves burgers. The walls littered with memorabilia commemorating Flagstaff is a testament to this. It also features a fully serviced bar that stays open late. The glossy wood tables pull the whole atmosphere together and really accentuate the dive-bar feel. It is inviting and comfortable.

Whether watching a sporting event or having a family meal, the warm atmosphere of Bun Huggers will make you feel right at home. Unfortunately, the burger is mediocre in comparison and slightly overpriced.

Diablo Burger

Rating: 5/5

Rave reviews, gourmet burgers and 100% open-range, grass-fed beef — Diablo Burger is a modern twist on an American classic.

Here, I ordered a Señor Smoke and, although the beer will not be factored into the review, my server recommended a very good IPA to pair with my choice of burger. I was impressed. The staff was very knowledgeable of the menu and helped me pick the perfect burger to review. The service was slightly slow but I expect it is because the cooks put a lot of effort into making the food. Located at the old-town mall, it is a convenient stop while in downtown Flagstaff.

The grass-fed patty was perfectly cooked to a medium rare, and is the best quality beef I have ever had on a burger. It was juicy, tasty and local. The toppings were plentiful but did not take away from the tasty patty as I enjoyed the spicy flavor. I could have done without the avocado as it did not fit well with the rest of the toppings. The bacon was thick and full of flavor. The burger was simply phenomenal, but at a hefty price. Expect to pay a premium for the quality ingredients.

Diablo Burger fits right into downtown Flagstaff. The mural on the circular outside wall of the restaurant is a testament to the creative cuisine that awaits insides. The seating is limited but features an outside patio. My only complaint is the dimly lit inside area, which was a bit excessive albeit an essential part of the room’s ambience.

Diablo Burger is daringly creative. The experience comes at a sinister price, but is a must for the burger-lover and foodie alike.

Mama Burger

Rating: 4/5

For almost a decade Mama Burger has been a popular spot among Flagstaff residents.

The service was lightning fast and to the point. My burger, the Kahuna Burger, was brought out quickly and the staff was attentive to make sure that everything was correct. I was impressed considering it was very busy when I visited.

My burger was delicious and cashed in at $5.25. The patty was not very thick but still had a nice flavor and texture. The ingredients were tasty as well. The teriyaki sauce was present just enough to make the burger unique and flavorful. The fresh green peppers were my favorite part of the meal. The quality and price is comparable to that of a fast-food joint such as In-N-Out Burger but the unique toppings made this burger stand out. You can’t beat it for the price.

When I arrived parking was very limited and I had to park down the street. The dining area was extremely limited and there was nowhere for me to sit. When I did eventually find a seat my party and I were crammed into a tiny booth. The space is simply not large enough to account for the amount of customers when it gets busy.

Mama Burger offers an excellent burger priced competitively with the fast food options around town. Expect to deal with a crowd and have a hard time finding a place to dine in during the peak hours.

Dog Haus

Rating: 3/5

This dog house shaped drive-thru on Rt. 66 is hard to miss and has been locally owned for over 50 years.

The owner was present and operating the drive-thru when I arrived. He took extra care to make sure the burger I ordered was what I wanted. However, the drive-thru was positioned awkwardly and the location makes it difficult to get to. The drive-thru is quick, albeit not particularly convenient.

The patty on the Ortega Burger was mediocre quality and cooked well done. None of the ingredients stood out and the Ortega chili pepper was not complemented by anything. This is an average burger with a chili pepper that you can get quickly and for a low price. I enjoyed it for what it was and would return if it was convenient.

Due to the limited outdoor seating and absence of indoor seating, I would not dine out at again.

The Dog Haus is an adequate option for locals or tourists traveling the Mother Road to get a quick bite to eat. This isn’t the best burger in town, but it doesn’t need to be.

All in all, I will let you decide which burger satisfies your tastebuds.