Who makes the best burgers in Seattle? That’s a great question. It’s an ongoing debate in the Emerald City, and let’s be honest, we’ll never really know the answer. You have your opinions and I have mine. I will say this though — no “best burgers in Seattle” conversation is complete without a mention of Red Mill Burgers.
Originally started in 1937 on Capitol Hill, Red Mill Burgers operated until 1967. It wasn’t until 1994 that the new Red Mill Burgers first opened its doors. According to the Red Mill Burgers website, “Owners John and Babe Shepherd named Red Mill in honor of their two late sisters, Kathleen and Monica Shepherd, both of whom worked at the original Red Mill as waitresses and would bring home french fries and other goodies for their younger siblings.” There are now three different Red Mill Burgers locations in Seattle: Phinney Ridge (312 N. 67th St.), Magnolia (1613 W. Dravus St.) and the Red Mill Totem House in Ballard (3058 N.W. 54th St.).
Like I mentioned earlier, there’s no way of knowing who really makes the best burgers in Seattle, but Red Mill Burgers has one of the best track records. Their Double Bacon Deluxe with Cheese was named one of the ’20 Hamburgers You Must East Before You Die’ by GQ, and it was also mentioned by Oprah on the Oprah Winfrey Show. For ten straight years, Seattle Weekly named Red Mill Burgers the “Best Burgers in Seattle.” If that’s not enough for you, renowned chef Tom Douglas has even called Red Mill’s Verde Veg the best veggie burger in Seattle (while its beef counterpart is hyped by several publications in the city). The list of accolades for Red Mill Burgers goes on and on.
I’ve been to Red Mill Burgers too many times to count. The mere mention of a Red Mill burger makes my mouth water. I’m obviously not the only one, because no matter what time of day it is. there’s always a line there (at the Phinney Ridge location, at least). The last time I went to Red Mill Burgers, I ordered the Bacon Deluxe with Cheese (pepper bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickle, red onion, American cheese and Mill sauce) and onion rings (which have also been called the best in Seattle). On top of the beef burgers, Red Mill Burgers also serves up chicken burgers, grilled cheese, fish n’ chips (at the Totem House location only), and much more. Don’t miss out on their milkshakes and malts, either. There are more than a dozen different flavors, including boysenberry, butterscotch, and truffle mint.
NOTE: I honestly have no idea what’s in the aforementioned Mill sauce, but some argue that’s what puts Red Mill Burgers over the top. I’ve only seen it described as “spicy mayo.”
Red Mill Burgers is hyped for its burgers and onion rings, but they’re also known for their bacon. There’s truly a mound of it piled high next to the grill. When you’re ordering at the Phinney Ridge location, look to your left — you’ll see the layers of bacon piled high. The mound of pork is such a big hit now, Red Mill Burgers even sells postcards featuring the bacon. It’s crisp, delicious, and peppery.
I want to mention a couple other quick notes before I let you go. Red Mill Burgers is a bit old school. They only takes cash and checks, and they don’t allow cell phones. Keep that in mind when you head there.
I’m clearly on the Red Mill Burgers bandwagon. I’ve done nothing but hype the heck out of this place. It’s one of my favorite spots to grab a burger in Seattle, and it has been since I was introduced to the place years ago. You’re likely reading this because you’ve never tried Red Mill Burgers before. Here’s my advice — go there (I suggest the Double Bacon Deluxe with Cheese or the Verde Burger with Anaheim peppers) and see how it stacks up with the best burgers in Seattle. I know one thing — you won’t regret giving Red Mill Burgers a shot.
Have you ever tried Red Mill Burgers? What did you think? What’s your favorite item on the menu? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more great places to eat, drink and be merry in the Emerald City!