Indy’s 13 Best New Burgers

So many new beef-and-bun beauties, so little time. We picked the ones worth sinking your teeth into.
Green Chile Cheeseburger from Jaggers

Indiana may love its pork,

but the Circle City has had just as much affection over the years for beef—patties, in fact, thick, juicy, and charbroiled, or smashed flat to crispy perfection on the griddle. Beloved chain Burger Chef got its start here in 1957, and Steak ‘n Shake housed its headquarters in Indy for more than three decades. Between devouring elk burgers and Big Uglies at Bub’s and the deliciously messy, egg-topped Rise & Shine at Boogie Burger, we can hardly count all of the neighborhood pubs and dives whose bun-cradled offerings have risen to cult status (or, in the case of The Workingman’s Friend, national burger renown). But in the past handful of years, a new wave of creative, burger-focused restaurants have hit town, adding the likes of ghost chilis, lotus chips, jumbo lump crab, and burnt cheese rings to the local equation. Order up!



Green Chile Cheeseburger


Yes, Jaggers has a drive-thru—but the restaurant, a test concept by Texas Roadhouse’s founders, has an upscale vibe with drum lighting and big screens. The burgers, stacked with two ground-daily-onsite patties, feel fancy for a fast-food spot, too. Pick the Green Chile Cheeseburger: a mild chile layered over oozing pepper jack, seven ounces of beef, and lettuce. $6.99. 7833 S. U.S. 31, 781-0855; 14570 Mundy Dr., Noblesville, 773-3022;


Goatsnake Burger from Kuma's Corner

 Goatsnake Burger

Kuma’s Corner

The 10-ounce Goatsnake may be named after an L.A. doom-metal band, but the bright flavors bring to mind something much more mild: frolicking in a meadow on a spring day. Herbed goat cheese anchors the patty to the Chicago chain’s righteously fat pretzel roll, a solid base for the toppings: poblano-corn relish and frizzled onions, tied together with a citrus-kissed hot sauce dressing. $14. 1127 Prospect St., 929-1287,


317 Burger from 317 Burger

317 Burger

317 Burger

This Broad Ripple eatery’s straightforward namesake creation sears its competition as the repeated bestseller. The restaurant slices into the entire cheese case—provolone, Swiss, American, and Gouda—to top off a premium Black Angus patty so juicy it has to be tamed by a thick, chewy potato roll. A swipe of garlic aioli and a stack of bacon deepen the richness of the eight-ounce stunner. $12. 915 E. Westfield Blvd., 251-1317,


It's Nacho Burger from Between the Bun

It’s Nacho Burger

Between the Bun

Turns out, you are the type of person who sees “It’s Nacho Burger” on the lengthy menu and doesn’t scoff, but smiles. At the first layer of jalapeños; at the crosshatched cheddar jack cheese; at the zip of spicy sour cream; at the Doritos, nacho-flavored and ready to stain your fingertips. The patty, marinated in a top-secret mix of housemade seasonings, is best when cooked medium well. $9.29. 102 S. Madison Ave., Greenwood, 300-8327,


Bourbon Burger from Bru Burger Bar

Bourbon Burger

Bru Burger Bar

Topped with just bacon, a bourbon-peppercorn glaze, and Havarti, the Bourbon Burger shuns complexity. But on a roster of eight-topping experiments, the bold, savory flavors stand out on the patty, a “signature grind” of sirloin, chuck, and brisket. Best of all, this one doesn’t fall apart like so many of Bru’s messy options. $10. 410 Massachusetts Ave., 635-4278; 12901 Old Meridian St., Carmel, 975-0033;


Porky from B Spot Burgers


B Spot Burgers

Piling shredded barbecue pork atop a quality patty of sirloin, brisket, and chuck seems like carni-overkill, but the smokiness marries with the beef like a burger that just came off a backyard grill. Tangy slaw and a squirt of coffee-barbecue sauce from the selections on the table elevate the sandwich to respectable gloppiness. The beef is cooked to steak temps, so listen to your server’s description. $9.49. Ironworks, 2727 E. 86th St., 802-7678,


The Haus Burger by Burgerhaus

The Haus Burger


This pick may not grab your attention with frills like fried eggs, balsamic reduction, or champagne cheddar, but its classic set of toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion, and cheese) on a buttery brioche bun leaves room for you to bask in the glory of the patty: a half-pound blend of brisket and chuck from Michigan’s Davis Creek Farms. Upgrade to Gouda for a pop of creamy tang. $9.50. 335 W. 9th St., 434-4287,


Spicy Jalapeno Baja Burger from Smashburger

Spicy Jalapeño Baja Burger


The dry heat and pipe tobacco–like flavor profile of this option transport you—in spirit, anyway–—to Austin, Texas, where the jalapeño reigns as the state pepper. The Denver chain’s never-frozen Angus beef patty, smashed on a hot-buttered grill, tops a bun flecked with macerated chipotle peppers and buttresses a heap of guacamole, pepper jack, lettuce, tomato, onion, and fresh jalapeños. $6.59. 2560 E. 146th St., Carmel, 798-2168,


Grab the Bull by the Horns from Beefcake Burgers

Grab the Bull by the Horns

Beefcake Burgers

At this polished, patriotic rodeo of a mini-chain, you get to dress your own burger based on how many two-ounce patties you want. Giddy-up and go for the tallest stack: five layers, with your choice of cheese on a whole-wheat bun. Tread lightly with the free toppings—the point is to let the beef’s unadulterated umami sing. $8.49. Multiple locations, including the flagship at 1642 Olive Branch Park Ln., Greenwood, 215-4192,


Scratch Burger from Scratch Truck

Scratch Burger

Scratch Truck

Honest and free (well, in the Transcendental sense), this one-third-pound wonder focuses on a mix of chuck, brisket, skirt steak, and nonconformity in an age when burger-makers try to outdo each other with toppings and artifice. Sure, it has gorgonzola, arugula, and bacon marmalade, but those work in harmony with the beef. As Emerson might have written: To be a burger in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. $9.25. for schedule


Game Changer from Beast

Game Changer


The name of this offering from an Irvington-based burger truck says it all. A brioche bun holds a quarter-pound Fischer Farms grass-fed patty (perfectly medium rare, as requested) doused in cinnamon-imbued Chinese Five Spice seasoning and nestled atop cookie butter, a nut-free cross between peanut butter and gingersnaps. Sriracha slaw caps it off—its kick neutralized on the burger but fully restoked when forking up what falls from the patty onto the plate. $10. 426-2756,


Burnt Cheese Burger by Punch Burger

Burnt Cheese Burger

Punch Burger

What any other short-order cook might toss in the garbage is exactly what makes Punch Burger’s breakout item a hit. A sheath of (intentionally) scorched yellow cheese adheres to a rounded patty of locally sourced, grass-fed Angus on a soft toasted bun with LTO and icebox pickles. The crisp cheddar doily tastes like molten Cheetos meets jerky—salt and char with a hit of grill gunk and a unique coagulated chew. Delicious. $8.18. 137 E. Ohio St., 426-5280; 12525 Old Meridian St., Carmel, 564-0637;


BBQ Burger from Flamme Burger

BBQ Burger

Flamme Burger

Owner Henri Najem spent two years perfecting a locally sourced blend of brisket, short rib, and sirloin. After that, not just any grill would do, so he helped design a wood-burning model that uses applewood chips to boost the beef’s flavor. This blessed mess doesn’t need any help, though. Jalapeños, onion straws, melted Swiss, and zingy chipotle barbecue sauce provide plenty of taste between a soft brioche bun. Have napkins—and water—ready. $8.95. 8594 E. 116th St., Fishers, 436-1929,


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