BEST BURGERS - 2004
We went far and wide searching for the best burger. We traveled the highways, the byways, and even the skyways, hunting for a burger with great flavor and also great spirit. We tried burgers stuffed with foie gras, burgers filled with molten cheese, burgers as soft as cream cheese, burgers made from cows with elaborate provenance and pedigree. But no matter where we looked, the burger that kept appearing in our mind's eye was the Band Box's humble, all-American "baby burger"--so we went back to this teensy diner in the shadow of the Metrodome and discovered that yes, this icon is in fact king of an overcrowded field. The key is simplicity. Take the meat patty, to start with: It's crisp, flavorful, and humbly unadorned, the flavor created simply by the magic of caramelization, from the ever-going grill. The bun, then, is soft and grill-griddled, a treatment that renders it sweet and crisp. The toppings are classic--leaf lettuce, fresh tomato, pickles, slices of red onion. Tuck them into the bun with the patty and you discover that sacred American combination of rich, sweet, salty, and crisp-fresh. That's all! A burger that costs less than a cup of fancy coffee, covers less acreage than a Krispy Kreme, but manages still, in every bite, to convey the very taste of authentic Americana.