Sunday, September 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Is this Philly's top burger?

A Fishtown shop is the top-rated.

Is this Philly's top burger?

At Sketch in Fishtown, this is the smashed onion beef burger. SHARON GEKOSKI-KIMMEL / Staff Photographer
At Sketch in Fishtown, this is the smashed onion beef burger. SHARON GEKOSKI-KIMMEL / Staff Photographer

Zagat Survey has unleashed its lists of the top burgers in 25 U.S. cities.

Philly's top burger, according to Zagat voters, comes from a little storefront in Fishtown called Sketch Burger. It snagged a 28 out of 30 for food in the 2013 Zagat Survey, placing it in the upper echelon of all restaurants.

The review reads: “Super-messy burgers” and other “comfort-food” classics are “worth the hike” to this Fishtown “joint” where diners doodle while they wait and seating options include “vintage church pews”; Kobe beef and even vegan patties plus sauces that add “the right amount of sloppy, fatty goodness” are a testament to the kitchen’s “creativity”, and while it all “might cost a few bucks more”, “personal, passionate” service seals the deal."

The smashed onion burger - amped by pepper jack and garlic aioli - is indeed a thing of beauty.

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For the love of Philly food

Owner Phyllis Farquhar today said she was "surprised but delighted" at the honor. She attributed her success to "exceptional customer service and buying the highest-quality ingredients and not messing with them."

The Inquirer's Craig LaBan in 2010 praised Farquhar's vegan burger: "She experimented for more than a year to perfect her unique vegan burger, which has so many grains (quinoa, oats), beans (seven kinds), veggies (potatoes, carrots, onions), spices (coriander, cumin), herbs (spearmint), and textured vegetable protein inside, it's practically an entire health-food store on a bun. It is remarkably satisfying in flavor, with a deep-fried exterior crisp that makes it taste like the love child of a burger and a falafel - especially with tahini dressing. Polish it off with a sweet wedge of one of Farquhar's marvelously moist vegan cakes - either rich chocolate or tangy red velvet - and you can add the word decadent to that vegan meal, too."

Also making Zagat's list for Philly burgers:

2. Charlie’s Hamburgers in Folsom, Delaware County: "You can just taste the homemade love” in the “no-nonsense, bang-for-your-buck” hamburgers and “great” shakes from this “old-school” Delco “institution” dating back to 1935; if some find the digs “questionable”, fans insist the setting is “part of the charm”, leaving just one lament: “wish they would offer french fries”; P.S. now open every day."


3. Coco’s, the Jewelers Row bar: "“Delish burgers” and other “good ol’ bar favorites”, “cheap beer” (30-plus varieties) and “attentive” service are the selling points of this lively pub in the middle of Jeweler’s Row in Wash West, a convenient, budget-friendly stop for ticket-holders at the Walnut Street Theatre; 10 TVs keep sports fans happy, and tolerable decibels mean that “waiters don’t have to use sign language.”


4. Bobby’s Burger Palace, the Bobby Flay-owned eateries in University City and Cherry Hill: "Burgermeisters brave “lines out the door” for Bobby Flay’s “big, juicy, sloppy and delicious” hamburgers, “awesome” milkshakes and “unbelievable” sweet potato fries, served by a “friendly” staff at his colorful “fast-food joints”; though some gripe you “pay a premium” for the Iron Chef’s imprimatur, many are happy to “add crunchify to their vocabulary.”

 

5. PYT, the bar in Northern Liberties: “Chuck E. Cheese’s for hipsters” tucked into Northern Liberties’ Piazza, this affordable burgertory-cum-bar offers up an “original” menu of “crazy concoctions”, from “kickass, wacky burgers” to “amazing” “boozy milkshakes”; while opinions are split on the service (“super-nice” vs. “fail” with “attitude”), most agree “awesome” outdoor seating and weekend DJs will help keep “your inner child satisfied.”

 

Of course, you are welcome to weigh in with your own favorite(s) in the comments.

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