By Allen Foster

Burgers are the blank canvas of the culinary world. It is where a master not only works wizardry, but also reveals his or her true personality. Is the creation minimalist or extravagant, a perfectly served up bare-bones dietary staple for carnivores or a fabulous flourish of the fanciful for the foodie? The thing is, with a burger, depending on your mood, both extremes — as well as everything in between — can be the perfect craving satisfier. Following is a wildly varied list featuring five of the most unique burgers in the region.

Fireside Smokehouse
237 Elmwood Ave.
Feasterville, PA 19053
(215) 357-9874
www.firesidesmokehouse.com

Tucked away in a scenic little neighborhood just a few miles from the city limits is a gem of a place you’d never know existed unless someone told you about it. The Fireside Smokehouse is a genuine best kept secret. It is a thriving neighborhood favorite with a great staff, an impressive selection of beers, and incredible edibles. When you want the perfect burger to go with those alcohol munchies, try the Pizza Burger. No, it’s not exactly what you’re thinking. This treat is a choice burger topped with mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce. Highly addictive!

Lucky’s Last Chance
4421 Main St.
Philadelphia, PA 19128
(215) 509-6005
www.luckyslastchance.com

Lucky’s Last Chance is the kind of place that just gets better with every visit. Located on Main Street in Manayunk, the upbeat atmosphere and 30+ constantly rotating beers make this thriving establishment a great hang. But what about the burgers? Lucky’s is known for creating some of the most interesting ground fare in Philly. Although you can experiment with gusto indulging in some fusion styled burgers, the best seller is also the most highly recommended. The Mac Attack is a juicy delight that has been topped with cheese and smothered with mac & cheese. Then, just to take it over they top, Lucky’s adds even more cheese! Are you drooling yet?

Smokin’ Betty’s
116 S. 11th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 922-6500
www.smokinbettys.com

Smokin’ Betty’s is upscale in all the most incredible ways. You truly feel like you’re creating an indelible moment whenever you walk through the doors to dine. One part of that is due to the attentive and amiable staff. The other part, however, is because of the food. More than a meal, Smokin’ Betty’s offers artistry designed to wow your palate. For a burger you will never forget, try the Tur-Duck-En Burger that is created with homemade stuffing, southern style gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, and sweet potato ribbons. A uniquely wonderful barrage of delicious.

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P’unk Burger
1823 E. Passyunk Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 468-7865
www.punkburger.com

South Philadelphia is an iconic neighborhood. Just mentioning the famed locale brings to mind a kaleidoscope of imagery and culture. With such a remarkable reputation, of course it is home to one of the most unique burger experiences you could ever dream of having. Made from humanely-raised, grass-fed cows that are antibiotic, pesticide, and hormone-free, it’s the Cuban burger. This savory selection is topped with ham, fried pickles, and Red Dragon’s cheddar, which is made with Welsh brown ale and mustard seeds. So good, even Rocky would be tempted to take a fall for it.

SpOt Gourmet Burgers, Steaks & Pork
4300 Powelton Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(267) 930-7370
www.facebook.com/spotburgers

Specializing in gourmet, hand-crafted burgers and an unrivaled dedication to customers, SpOt Gourmet Burgers, Steaks & Pork delivers its award-winning fare to the Drexel University area of the city. This mobile eatery has been recognized by The Food Network, Zagat, and Philadelphia Magazine as being exceptional. For a genuinely outrageous taste of Philly, try The Jawn: sliced ribeye, sloppy joe meat, fries, grilled onion, red onion, Cheez Whiz, and SpOt sauce. Granted, it’s not your typical burger, but that’s what this excursion is all about, finding the remarkably unique! In this, The Jawn definitely excels!

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