Old diner vibes (and, duh, smash burgers) abound at Meg's in Pioneer Square.

Eden Hill Provisions

Technically, in its journey from Eden Hill's off-menu secret to centerpiece of the brand-new casual Eden Hill Provisions down the street on Queen Anne Ave, Maximillian Petty's smash burger became less smashed. In his new kitchen, it's smashed thin, then cooked over a lava rock grill with a bit of weight on it. But quibble over the particulars and you'll miss out on the Big Max, an ode to the fast food original, reworked with a chef's exactitude: two dry-aged patties, secret citrus sauce, and smoked gouda on a soft challah bun. Eden Hill Provisions may be new, but the burger benefits from an entire summer of R&D at the Queen Anne Farmers Market (and the fries are superbly salty and slightly thicker than a shoestring). A side counter up front, next to all the bottles and jars of "provisions" for sale, does burger orders to-go.

Mean Sandwich

Dan Crookston had dreams of opening a burger shop until he took over Ballard's bare-bones house of original sandwiches. He recently added the smash burger that launched his restaurant ownership dreams; it's available in limited quantities from 4 to 8pm each day. A pair of quarter-pound dry-aged patties get smashed alongside onions, mayo, housemade pickles and mustard, and "government cheese," aka the defiantly melty processed stuff. While it's hard to bypass house classics like the steak tartare club or signature Mean Sandwich (fat hunks of corned beef, mustard, pickled red cabbage, an unexpected gust of mint), a burger does go awfully well with Mean's mighty “skins and ins” side dish—fried chunks of baked potato instead of fries.

Meg's Hamburgers

You could be fooled into thinking Meg’s Hamburgers has been around for decades, with its neon signage, dinerlike pale yellows and light blues, plus the old-school charm of a joint that knows burgers. And Meg’s knows burgers. Here they come as smash patties, adorned simply with special sauce, and cheese if you want it. It’s a purist’s dream on fluffy buns, inside a low-slung brick building in Pioneer Square. Get the beef fat french fries.

Loretta’s Northwesterner

The burger at South Park’s stalwart watering hole has been a legend for years, and rightfully so. It tastes like fond memories from a midcentury, small-town drive-in—fat slice of cheese melted over a slender chargrilled patty, squishy bun, sprinkle of onion, and coins of dill pickle. The tavern’s been-here-forever ambience is just a bonus.

Shake Shack

The crazily beloved franchise from New York City just opened its second Seattle-area location in Kirkland. While the concretes, crinkle-cut fries, and chicken burger have their devotees, this is the house that smash burgers built. The original ShackBurger is bun-patty-topping ratio perfection, but the Westlake location has a Seattle-specific variation known as the Montlake Double Cut: a double cheeseburger which includes Just Jack cheese from Beecher’s, caramelized onions, and a grainy mustard-mayo.

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Shake Shack

$ American/New American, Burgers Multiple Locations

The crazily beloved franchise from New York City just opened its second Seattle-area location in Kirkland. While the concretes, crinkle-cut fries, and chicke...

Loretta's Northwesterner

$ American/New American 8617 14th Ave S

The burger at South Park’s stalwart watering hole has been a legend for years, and rightfully so. It tastes like fond memories from a midcentury, small-town ...

Meg's Hamburgers

$ Burgers 200 S Jackson St

You could be fooled into thinking Meg’s Hamburgers has been around for decades, with its neon signage, dinerlike pale yellows and light blues, plus the old-s...

Mean Sandwich

$ Sandwiches/Deli 1510 NW Leary Way

A bare-bones counter in Ballard delivers something rare: sandwich combinations that feel truly new or unexpected, not just an ever-more-outrageous pileup of ...

Eden Hill Provisions

$$ American/New American, Burgers 1935 Queen Anne Ave N

Just two blocks down on Queen Anne Ave from the elegantly wallpapered mothership, Maximillian Petty and his wife Jennifer have opened the more casual Eden Hi...