Photo by Tony Valainis
2721 E. 86th St., 317-757-2888
The new beerhouse inside Ironworks Hotel adds some gastropub finishes, like a toasted bun and crispy porter-soaked pickle chips to its Brewery Cheese Burger. The telltale Mickey D’s ingredient is the tangy-sweet burger sauce that pulls all of those flavors together.
Grindstone Public House
101 N. 10th St., Noblesville, 317-774-5740
A holdover from Grindstone’s parent restaurant, the Clancy’s Topper dates back to the chain’s original burger stand in Noblesville. Visually, it’s a dead ringer for the one sold beneath golden arches, complete with a three-part bun. But this version gets a swipe of house tartar sauce, and has the sturdy construction of a plated (not bagged) restaurant burger.
The Historic Steer-In
5130 E. 10th St., 317-356-0996
Everything about this carefully preserved eastside diner triggers food memories, from the crunchy ice in the drinks to the epic laminated menu to the regulars at the horseshoe-shaped counter. The Twin Steer has its own nostalgic charm, layering two burgers with a slip of sunny American cheese. The only thing that could make it more perfect is a side of thick crinkle-cut fries.
Punch Bowl Social
120 S. Meridian St., 317-249-8613
Not every Big Mac doppelgänger wears its resemblance quite as brazenly as The Knockoff Burger. Its ingredients might come off as slightly fancified—the beef patties are grass-fed and hormone-free, and the pickled onion garnish takes some liberties. But with American cheese and Thousand Island–like Comeback Sauce, this hefty burger gets the flavor profile just right.
28 W. Georgia St., 317-777-7770
You might think that a tony burger restaurant that shares DNA with Indy’s red-meat patriarch, St. Elmo Steak House, would steer clear of anything resembling fast-food grub. One bite into Burger Study’s Double Major, and the detour from coffee-rubbed Wagyu beef makes perfect sense. Two patties, seared to lock in a good crunch around their lacy edges, bulge from beneath a properly squishy bun, with melty American cheese and a dollop of Study Sauce.