Carnivore craving

What foods are Philadelphia known for? Cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, hoagies and definitely water ice. Never before have burgers been on the list.But don’t write off Philly for its red meat. More than ever, burgers are

What foods are Philadelphia known for? Cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, hoagies and definitely water ice. Never before have burgers been on the list.But don’t write off Philly for its red meat. More than ever, burgers are making a comeback
in the City of Brotherly Love, and with so many restaurants, finding a good burger spot is as easy as buying a new pair of shoes.

Like a Pat’s over Geno’s fan, burger lovers
have their favorite pick, and they’re sticking by it no matter what. For the amateur carnivore, I conducted a taste test on five burger places in Philly. I found that some burgers will satisfy your taste buds, others will have you asking for more and still others a refund.

Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries
1527 ChestnutTNUT St.

This burger heaven opened its doors only a few months ago, and has already created
a name for itself.

The company was recently named “Best Burger 2006” from “Philadelphia Magazine’s” Best of Philly. The burgers are pricey, but worth every penny. A cheeseburger costs $4.79, fries not included.

The regular-sized burger comes with two pieces of meat and your choice of 15 toppings – all which are free, including
lettuce, mayonnaise, sauteed mushrooms, barbeque sauce and even A-1 sauce.

“I saw the ‘grand opening’ sign and decided to try it,” said Douglas Clark, who’s been a faithful customer ever since. “It’s better tasting and better quality.”

Five Guys burgers are never frozen and their patties are 100 percent lean American beef. The burger isn’t unusually large but it’s packed with meat. One bite and you’ll be hooked.

“It’s definitely a place for carnivores,” Clark said laughing. Check out the walls of Five Guys for their collection of articles from East Coast publications praising the taste of the burgers. Customers can glorify their burger experience too with a giant comment board on which customers spill how they feel. One customer drew a picture
of himself eating a burger, while another customer wrote, “I drove 30 miles just for one of your burgers.” Yes, the burgers are that good.

334 South St.
* & 1/2

Great spanish fries, good margaritas and the worst burgers ever. I thought it was just me. The “Philadelphia City Paper” named Copabanana in its Hall of Fame for “Best Burger,” and a recent poll on AOL’s City Guide named Copabanana the third best burger place in Philadelphia.

I realized it can’t be that true because the guy sitting at the table next to me only took one bite of his burger. The burger was burnt to a crisp. Burnt to the point where you can scrape the meat with a knife like it’s a piece of toast.

But, that’s not the only problem. The burger cost $5.95 and that’s all you get – the burger, bun and Copa mayonnaise sauce.

For toppings, add an extra 95 cents, but you can’t just ask for lettuce and tomatoes. Copabanana has named combos for the toppings.

You can get the “Brighton” which is bacon and cheddar, or for the creative minds, you can get the “Acapulco” topping – guacamole
and salsa.

On top of that, the burger didn’t have a taste to it, besides the burnt part. Plus, the bacon didn’t taste right either.


Marathon Grill
121 S. 16th
**** & 1/2

This place is ideal for the health conscious diner to splurge on a burger. Marathon Grill is known for its diverse menu that includes homemade soups, grilled turkey burgers and salads. Unlike the bad experience with Copabanana, when I asked for my burger to be well done, it didn’t arrive burnt.

On the other hand, the burger was a little pink. Their Best of Philly Hamburger is 100 percent prime beef, so you can order it as either a six-ounce platter ($8.50) or an eight-ounce ($8.95).

The burger comes with lettuce and tomato. Marathon offers combos of toppings, which are free, like the smoked bacon and cheddar combo. Marathon also offers a combo of pickles, onions and Thousand Island dressing for those who want a “burger salad.”

The prices may be a little high, but you get a big burger and a good portion of fries.

Johnny Rrockets
443 South St.

“You’re guaranteed to have a good time,” said manager Joe Toper. Johnny Rockets has one of the best atmospheres around. This 50s style restaurant is full of smiles and good food. Not only is Johnny Rockets well known for its burgers, but for its milkshakes, onion rings and friendly service.

“Everything we do is about presentation,”
Toper said. “We try to make everything eye appealing.” The only problem was the burger was a little bland. The hand-packed, 1/3-pound burger is a good size, and it will fill you up. Johnny Rockets has a variety of burgers, including the Route 66, which is topped with grilled mushrooms and onions with Swiss cheese.

“We adhere to everyone. You can have a side salad, the veggie burger or you can get a double [burger] with a diet coke,” Toper said.

Ruby Tuesday
1625 Chestnut St.

Ruby Tuesday advertises its “hand-crafted”
burgers, and they certainly get an ‘A’ for effort. The restaurant has some burgers that sound appetizing, like the Buffalo Bleu Chicken, Smokehouse Burger and of course, the Ruby Minis, which are four little burgers with onion straws stuck in them.

“They don’t really have a taste to them,” said Valerie Pierre, a paralegal student who recently dined at the Ruby Tuesday location in Center City.

“I can still taste the grease in my mouth.” Pierre tried the Ruby Minis for the first time. The Ruby Minis, which come with potato chips or fries, cost $8.99. For $8.99, you would think that it would be a sizeable meal. If you order take-out, you get a large platter container.

Open it up, and prepare for a disappointment.

You get as many fries that come from one potato. Pierre was disappointed.

“You pay all this money for a little bit of fries and a burger where you can taste everything but the meat,” she said.

Jacqueline Covey can be reached at

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