Review: Best Burgers Around White Bear Lake

The best spots for America’s classic cuisine around the lake.
Looking for a different topping for your burgers? How about fried egg? The Scotch egg burger at Manitou Station is a good place to start.

How do we love burgers? Let us count the ways! The fact is this favorite American fare is so well-loved it’s sometimes taken for granted. They’ve charmed us with versatility and ubiquity, so we assume that burgers always will be there for a lip-smacking meal. But look again: Today’s greasy beef patties come in many incarnations that are all worthy of exploration if not adoration. We’ve hooked up with some of the best looking, cleverest concoctions around. 



Manitou Station

This “Station creation” enhances the humble hamburger with a mixed beef and pork patty topped by a fried egg, sautéed onions and spicy mustard. Rich spiced meat is balanced by the sharp tang of the mustard and silky-smooth sauce once the yolk is broke. Somehow the bun manages to soak up the juicy goodness while remaining crispy on the exterior. $10. 2171 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.2300


Washington Square

Herbivores and carnivores alike find love at first bite at Washington Square with this half-pound patty of Portobello mushroom and wild rice served with a side of blue cheese dressing. The nutty burger is lightened with green specks of fresh tarragon and sage, and accented with thinly shaved onion rings and frilly green-leaf lettuce. We love the bounteous house salad as a side. $10.95. 4736 Washington Sq., White Bear Lake; 651.407.7162;




Admiral D’s Waterfront Tavern

They had us at “dirty.” Admiral D’s signature bourbon burger is irresistibly decadent. The hand-formed beef patty is topped with sautéed mushrooms, bacon and bleu cheese, then lavished with the tavern’s special sweet bourbon sauce. The whole shebang gets grilled to order before presenting on an angel-soft white bun. $9.95. 4424 Lake Ave., White Bear Lake; 651.330.3101




When does a burger cross the line? The Donatelli burger sounds suspiciously like a pizza to us, topped with pepperoni, onions, green peppers, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese—it even comes with a side of classic Italian red sauce. Our verdict? It’s still a burger, and a great one at that, as the half-pound of fresh, grilled ground beef ultimately reigns supreme. $10.99. 2692 E. County Rd. E, White Bear Lake; 651.777.9199


The Bierstube Steakhouse and Grill

We’ve always loved a good Reuben, so imagine our excitement to discover a burger graced with the same classic ingredients: sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese and briny corned beef. The whole delicious mess is sandwiched between toasted pumpernickel slices, garlic-crusted for an extra kiss of flavor. $8.99–$9.99. 2670 E. County Rd. E, White Bear Lake; 651.773.5854



Keys Café

If you haven’t tried bison yet, get thee to Keys Café, where Barb Hunn makes an admirable bison burger that will convert you in a single bite. This robust patty is accompanied by cranberry chutney and melted white-cheddar cheese, a winning duet of tart and sweet. Bison has a mere fraction of the fat and calories of beef and chicken, so this burger can be indulged in guilt-free. $13.99. 2208 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.2885



Rudy’s Redeye Grill

Rudy’s burger philosophy is simple: Start with the best ingredients, and don’t mess them up. The signature Rudy Burger—with bacon, cheddar and barbecue sauce—proves true to these ideals. Freshly ground Angus is hand-formed and cooked medium-rare over a charcoal broiler. The bacon, smoked with a special mix of apple and hickory wood, complements the tangy, not-too-sweet homemade barbecue sauce. $10. 4940 Hwy. 61 N., White Bear Lake; 651.653.6718



Roman Market

The cleverly named Juicy Lucius is an Italianate translation of Minneapolis’s own Juicy Lucy, the ingenious cheeseburger with the cheese cooked into the middle of the meat. Cooks at Roman Market hand-stuff the patty with dolce gorgonzola, a mild blue cheese that gushes forth in a delectable ooze of meat juice and cream. This luscious flavor bomb is judiciously garnished with garlicky aioli and a bed of balsamic-dressed mixed greens. Get extra napkins. $11. 460 Stillwater Rd., Willernie; 651.653.4733



Ingredients Café

This burger starts as a classic—all-natural Angus beef grilled to order—and tiptoes into the realm of upscale creative with an herb-flecked focaccia bun and soft goat-cheese topping. Chef Shannon Ommen prides himself on nailing the beef’s temperature every time. You can be sure the meat is always fresh, as Ingredients Café has no freezer space. $9.95. 4725 Hwy. 61, White Bear Lake; 651.426.6611