Your Guide to the Detroit Burger Scene

11 restaurants that are serving up can’t-miss options
Brome Burger
The Mex at Brome Modern Eatery is a cheesy indulgence that features corn salsa, pickled jalapeno, avocado, and chipotle mayo. Photograph courtesy of Brome Modern Eatery

From creative menu items in Corktown to Cuban-inspired eats downtown, the Detroit burger scene is anything but boring. Here’s where to eat. Here’s a look at some of the city’s most mouthwatering creations between two buns.

Brome Modern Eatery

Brome is a restaurant that focuses on minimizing its negative impact on the planet while making fresh, healthy food. Brome pledges to only use 100% organic beef that has been grown responsibly. The restaurant also has a large selection of vegetarian and vegan options, including the much-lauded Impossible burger, a plant-based patty made with a molecule called “heme,” which gives the patty an authentic, meaty flavor. Brome Modern Eatery, 607 Shelby St., Detroit; 313-403-1200; 

Royale with Cheese

This restaurant, named after that famous conversation between Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta’s characters in Pulp Fiction, is serving up some creative burger creations in Midtown. The menu goes far beyond the ordinary with options like the Royale, a burger featuring brisket, corn relish, caramelized onions, avocado, smoked gouda fondue, coleslaw, and “Royale Sauce.” Royale with Cheese, 4163 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-315-3014; 

Basement Burger -junk burger-
Basement Burger’s Junk Burger is big on flavor with caramelized onions, fried pickles, garlic mayo, and more making it into the mix. Photograph courtesy of Basement Burger

Basement Burger Bar

This family-owned spot has become known in the area for its twists on classic burgers like the Philly Burger, Tropical Burger, and the Italian Stallion. For those with even bigger appetites, Basement has featured burgers like the Junk Burger, a beef burger with red pepper mayo, garlic mayo, smoke BBQ ketchup, bacon, caramelized onions, mozzarella sticks, fried pickles, crispy onion straws, and cheddar cheese sauce. Basement Burger Bar, 1326 Brush St., Detroit; 313-818-3708; 

The Food Exchange

No Detroit burger guide would be complete without mentioning the home of the famous Big Baby Burger, a whopping 12-ounce patty topped with corned beef, Swiss and American cheeses, lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, mayo, ketchup, and mustard on an onion roll. The menu touts other classic burger variations, as well, with the enormous, juicy 3/4-pound patties being the focus. The Food Exchange, 8455 Harper Ave., Detroit; 313-579-5616;

Lover’s Only

This downtown Detroit spot comes through with diner-inspired décor and flavors. The star of this cozy-yet-modern upgraded lunch counter is the burgers, which feature grass-fed, pasture-raised Michigan beef. You can go for a classic smash or transport your taste buds with selections like the Bitter South, a burger topped with “comeback sauce,” hash browns, fried onions, and Emmental cheese on toasted rye bread. Lover’s Only, 34 W. Grand River ?, Detroit; 313-986-1174;

Frita Batidos PCSteveJulin
Frita Baditos opts for fries inside its burger, making for an unexpected bite. Photograph courtesy of Steve Julin

Frita Batidos

Ann Arbor-based Frita Batidos recently opened up its first location in Detroit. The spot serves up burgers inspired by the Frita, a Cuban sandwich that is made from a chorizo patty. The burgers are topped with shoestring fries and a fried egg on top of a soft egg bun. Along with traditional Fritas, you can create your own burger with options like a chicken, black bean, beef, or fish patty, with the ability to add other toppings like thick-cut bacon or cilantro-lime salsa. Frita Batidos, 66 W. Columbia, Detroit; 313-725-4100; 

Mercury Burger and Bar

With a malt shop-esque atmosphere that harkens back to Detroit’s past, this Corktown spot is turning out some of the city’s best burgers. Menu items range from familiar burgers like The Classic to the original like Southwest Detroit. The signature burger features a chorizo slider atop a beef patty, jalapeños, muenster cheese, tortilla strips, avocado, pickled spiced carrots, and salsa on the side. Mercury Burger and Bar, 2163 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-964-5000 

Zo’s Good Burger

Zo’s Good Burger is all about living the good life, which obviously includes eating one of the restaurant’s famed, huge burger creations. Pick from one of six house burgers, like the signature The Good Burger, a burger topped with mozzarella sticks, American cheese, onion rings, and an in-house sauce all on a pretzel bun. You can also build your own custom creation with Zo’s Good Burger’s long list of toppings and accouterments. Zo’s Good Burger, 2894 W. Grand Blvd, Detroit; 313-771-0022;  

Grey Ghost Burger PC Sarah Fennel
Grey Ghost keeps its approach to burgers simple and delicious with this dish. Photograph courtesy of Sarah Fennel

Grey Ghost

This hip eatery is serving up elegant plates of food, placing particular emphasis on its butchery. There is only one lone burger on this menu, and it is no surprise that the end product matches the rest of the restaurant’s ethos: simple, luxurious, and delicious. The menu option for the burger features one singular request to “put an egg on it.” We highly recommend you oblige. Grey Ghost, 47 Watson St., Detroit; 313-262-6534; 

Green Dot Stables

Within this small dive — full of horse racing paraphernalia and décor — the kitchen is cranking out a menu of offbeat yet tasty sliders. Classics like a Coney Dog and Cheeseburger meld with the more experimental options like the Korean (beef patty, peanut butter, and kimchi) or the daily special Mystery Meat. Green Dot Stables, 2200 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit; 313-962-5588; 

Checker Bar

This legendary burger bar in the heart of downtown Detroit is still keeping things fresh and original. The burger lineup is stacked to the max with interesting flavors and inspirations. Classics like the Checker Burger or the Double Bacon Cheese Burger never fail to satisfy. Also, crazier combinations like the Greek-inspired Mount Olympus or the Apple Burger, which features grilled apple, goat cheese, spring mix, and garlic aioli, are adventurous tastes worth trying. Checker Bar, 124 Cadillac Square, Detroit; 313-961-9249;

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