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Where to get the best burgers in the Spokane area

The single burger at Durkin’s Liquor Bar in downtown Spokane comes with two patties plus shaved pickles, American cheese and dill mayo - and it’s glorious. (Adriana Janovich / The Spokesman-Review)

The burger – beloved, satisfying, comforting – is quintessential American food.

The building blocks are fairly simple: juicy ground beef sandwiched between two halves of a bun.

Then the fun starts.

It could remain a simple sandwich, a humble hamburger, with standard add-ons: mustard, ketchup, pickles.

Or, it could become a well-dressed multilayered creation, elevated, almost, to fine dining, with all kinds of accoutrements – from caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, bacon and avocado to egg and cheese – sliced, fried, crumbled, melted into a sauce.

From a few fast-food menus to gastropubs and restaurants, here are seven scrumptious burgers, plus a handful of honorable mentions.

This isn’t a definitive list by any means, and it’s completely unscientific. But, it’s a roundup of a few local favorites. How many of them have you tried?

Durkin’s Liquor Bar – The $15 single burger on the dinner menu at this downtown vintage-inspired diner features two patties, dill pickle, American cheese and dill mayo as well as house-cut fries on the side. It’s presented with a knife stabbed through its center, and it’s absolutely glorious. Add house-made bacon or a fried egg or both for a little bit extra. 415 W. Main Ave. Call (509) 863-9501.

Hogwash Whiskey Den – The $12 fried cheddar burger at this new place, in the Washington Cracker Co. building, comes with a slab of fried cheese that melts over butter lettuce, aioli and a thick, juicy patty. 304 W. Pacific Ave. (509) 389-7137.

Wild Sage American Bistro – At $16, it isn’t cheap, but oh, man, is it good. This upscale yet hearty beast of a burger features a half-pound of American Kobe beef and house-made pickle on a house-made onion bun and comes with hand-cut fries. (Consider splitting it, so you have room for a slice of the restaurant’s signature coconut cake, which you can split, too.) 916 W. Second Ave. (509) 456-7575.

Wandering Table – The $13 WT burger at Adam Hegsted’s contemporary American eatery in Kendall Yards is topped with smoked mayo, tomato jam, bacon, cheddar and mushrooms. Yes, please. 1242 W. Summit Parkway. (509) 443-4410.

Ruins – The dinner menu at Tony Brown’s charming 1930s-style diner changes weekly. But the $8 bacon burger has become a popular lunch staple and here’s why: Tillamook cheddar, pickles and pleasingly pungent and tangy garlic mayo. Add an egg for another dollar. 825 N. Monroe St. (509) 443-5606.

Churchill’s Steakhouse – Corn-fed Midwestern Angus and Hereford steaks range from $36 to $65 at this elegant downtown establishment. But on Wimpy Wednesdays, customers can enjoy $7 burgers all night in the lower-level lounge. Check Churchill’s Facebook page for details. 165 S. Post St. (509) 474-9888.

Hudson’s Hamburgers – Burger joints come and go, but this classic, cash-only, no-frills hole-in-the-wall has been grilling patties since 1907, so it must be doing something right. Choose from a hamburger, cheeseburger, double hamburger or double cheeseburger, but do not ask for fries; they’re not on the menu. Technically, tried-and-true Huddy’s is in Coeur d’Alene, but it’s also an Inland Northwest institution, so it’s included here.207 E. Sherman Ave., Coeur d’Alene. (208) 664-5444.

Honorable mentions

Downriver Grill’s DRG Chipotle BBQ Burger. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Downriver Grill’s DRG Chipotle BBQ Burger. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review) Buy this photo

Downriver Grill – It’s difficult to pin down; the chef’s special “Burger of the Moment” is always changing. Check out super-stacked variations on its Instagram feed, and keep in mind that Wednesday is happy hour all day with $10 burgers. 3315 Northwest Blvd. (509) 323-1600.

The Al Capone Burger at Prohibition Gastropub features coated-bacon and a fried egg. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
The Al Capone Burger at Prohibition Gastropub features coated-bacon and a fried egg. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review) Buy this photo

Prohibition Gastropub – The secret ingredient in these burgers: coffee grounds, which chef-owner John David Leonetti says help impart flavor and keep the beef juicy. Served on a bed of fries, the $11.50 Bootlegger includes blue cheese, while the $14 Al Capone features fried egg and cheddar. Both come with candy-coated bacon on brioche buns. 1914 N. Monroe St. (509) 474-9040.

Wisconsinburger – There are too many burgers at this popular South Perry neighborhood site to recommend just one. But the Awe Geez burger ($11.50) features beer-battered cheese curds as well as sharp cheddar. Add bacon for $1.84, house-made bacon jam for $2.30 or an egg for $1.15. 916 S. Hatch St. (509) 241-3083.