National Hamburger Day is May 28 and National Cheeseburger Day is September 18, but every day is a good day for a good burger or cheeseburger. Always one to prepare and plan, I started thinking of all the great burger joints in the Kenosha Area. Whether you are looking for a giant stuffed burger or a thin patty with all the trimmings, single or double, charbroiled or grilled, grass-fed, Kobe, or maybe even a veggie-variety, pink or no pink, with fries or onion rings… you’re sure to find exactly the burger you want here. And a lifetime in the Kenosha Area makes me a (self-proclaimed) authority on the options, so here’s the beef on the burger scene!
* denotes vegetarian burger options available
Big Star Drive-In - Since 1954, Big Star Drive-In has been dishing out burgers, fries, and other specialty items. Known for their summertime carhop service, this restaurant is only open half of the year making it a priority place to visit mid-March through early September.
Signature Burger – A Quarter-Pounder with Cheese. The cheese used is an America style, melty blend that coats the burger patty.
Bristol 45 Diner* - It’s Throw Back Thursday every day at Bristol 45 Diner. This restaurant opened in 2008 but was designed to feel like a 1950s diner. While the menu is extensive, the burgers and milkshakes are the heart of the business. Keep your eyes peeled, you may see some classic cars and Elvis while dining here!
Signature Burger – The Bristol 45 Bomb Burger is a 10 oz. charbroiled patty that is topped with BBQ sauce, Cheddar Cheese, and Haystack Onions.
Captain Mike’s* - If you love a good Gastropub, Captain Mike’s is about as cool as they come. Offering a huge selection of beer and whiskey, the pub part is on point. But more than standard fried bar food is served up from the small kitchen – a complete offering of Mac and Cheese and hamburgers are what make Mike’s famous. Build your own creations or check out the wildly (and sometimes inappropriately) named combinations.
Signature Burger – The Bobandi is easily one of the most curious burgers on the menu. The grass-fed patty is stuffed with Velveeta cheese and peppered bacon, then beer-battered and deep fried.
El Camino Kitchen* - Located in Pleasant Prairie, just minutes from I-94, this restaurant offers a diverse menu and burgers are popular! In addition to being able to build your own double stacked burger, there are nearly a dozen specialty creations on the menu with playful ingredients randing from fig marmalade and brie to bacon fundido and onion straws!
Signature Burger - The San Francisco Burger which features two 4 ounce beef patties, Cherrywood bacon, a three cheese blend, and house-made guacamole for the perfect blend of flavors at this fusion-style restaurant.
Johnny’Z Pour House - If you’re in search of a neighborhood pub with amazing food, plenty of TVs to watch the game(s), and a friendly atmosphere – Johnny’Z is the place for you. While “The Pour House” is typically known for their chicken and shrimp offerings, this gastro pub serves up some tasty burger offerings, too.
Signature Burger – The Pour House Burger is on the regular menu, but they have basic burger specials every Wednesday (all day) and Saturday (Noon – 5 p.m.). The basic burger includes a 4-ounce griddle-cooked patty and cheese. You can add extra patties for just $1 each – with no limit to the patty-stacking!
Ron’s Place - A Kenosha icon, Ron’s Place is famous for their well-above average bar food and their 40+ flavors of Long Island Iced Teas! With nearly 50 years in business, it is safe to say that they know a thing or two about service up tasty food and drinks.
Signature Burger – The 5 x 5. This is a half-pound burger from paradise - served just the way mentioned in that song. A sesame seed bun, your choice of cheese, lettuce and tomato, ketchup and mustard at the ready, with pickles and onions waiting at your table. Try it with their curly fries for a winning combination. (A 2 x 2 kids’ version is also available!)
The Down Town'R Saloon - Located in Downtown Kenosha, The Down Town'R offers a southwestern feel and food to match! From tacos and elotes to pulled pork and ribs, you'll find big flavors and great drinks at this restaurant and bar.
Signature Burger – The Chili Burger is packed with southwest flavors. Served open faced on Texas toast, a beef patty is topped with house-made smoked chili, cheddar cheese, and onions.
The Garage* - Among the newest establishments on the burger scene, The Garage offers quite a bit of history. This business occupies a bar building that once served autoworkers from the American Motors / Chrysler Plant, which used to be located across the street. The menu offers a variety of appetizers including Poutine and Fried Pickles, as well as fancy burger creations with names like the El Camino and Green Javelin – everything on the menu seems to have a nod to the auto-manufacturing heritage of Kenosha.
Signature Burger – The Custom Job aka a Build Your Own burger! Check “Under the Hood” – which means to stuff the burger. Add “Details” with a side of Parmesan Garlic Fries or Garage Slaw. Check out “Dents and Dings” for sauces and look at “Body Work” for extra toppings like BBQ Pork, Smoked Gouda, and Fried Eggs!
The Spot Drive-In* - An American Classic, as it opened on July 4, 1945 – the original owner of The Spot Drive-In simply “wanted a drive-in.” The famous red and neon sign is a beacon for anyone in search of a good meal that will “hit the spot.” Three generations, and now a second family have been involved in this locally-owned business and it is going strong thanks to their never-frozen beef burgers and homemade root beer!
Signature Burger - A Double Cheeseburger with everything and grilled onions! A thin patty that seems to be smashed into a soft bun will melt in your mouth.
Waterfront Warehouse* - This industrial-style restaurant is just one block from Lake Michigan and offers everything from flatbreads and salads to burgers and loaded fries. The atmosphere at Waterfront Warehouse offers large windows for a bright dining experience and the music is always on point.
Signature Burger - Wisconsin’s Own Merkts Cheese & Bacon Burger boasts two 4-ouce patties, thick cut Cherrywood smoked bacon, and Merkts signature cheese spread. Bonus: you can choose from regular fries, sweet potato fries, waffle fries, or curly fries!
So, grab your stretchy pants and do a burger tour of the Kenosha Area! Just like snowflakes, no two burgers are alike! I promise, you won’t leave our foodie destination on an empty stomach.