I love tacos. And pizza. And macaroni and cheese. Whenever I crave these favorite foods of mine, I almost always know where to go to satisfy my craving. However, cheeseburgers are a bit different. There’s a lot of different varieties and a lot of different ways burgers can go wrong. Sometimes I have great ones at an establishment, then on my next visit the burger is absolutely terrible. (This happened to me at Boozie’s in downtown Davenport recently. I used to love their burger and the last one I had was near inedible, it tasted like grill smoke and onions.) Sometimes I just want a plain ol’ cheeseburger, a nice, flavorful patty with a the few simple ingredients to speak for themselves. Other times I want a burger that has magic on top, like fried cheese curds or a poblano pepper.
So here I go, on a quest for the best burger in the QCA. (However I will list some honorable mentions from out of town because I travel a lot. And I eat a lot of burgers.) In no discernible order, as each burger is on this list for its own reasons..
Bass Street Chop House – Can you say ‘gourmet’? – Moline, IL
Right now Chef Doug Lear is creating a new gourmet burger regularly. It’s not exactly weekly, not on a consistent schedule, but there’s always one available at the bar. Now, you may think that $15 is a bit much for a burger, but, it will be one of the BEST burgers you’ve ever had. If you order a beer, with tip, plan to spend $25. Treat yourself to this little gem. My friends and I have had a few different versions of the burger in this gourmet burger series and every single one of them has been worth it. Bass Street Chop House is located at 1601 River Dr #100, Moline, IL 61265.
Lee’s On 14th – A true, classic burger – Rock Island, IL
Rooster’s Sports Bar & Grill – Let’s talk about Bacon Jam – Rock Island, IL
I don’t have a picture of this burger….yet. I have had their Bash Burger twice now and it is amazing. It’s a bacon burger but not only has strips of bacon (that Rooser’s cures themselves) on it, but is garnished with bacon jam. Yeah that’s right, bacon JAM! It is so sickly sweet and delicious. I had bacon jam for the first time at Barley & Rye, it is currently on their meat and cheese platter and it is so decadent – I highly recommend it with the magic blue cheese they have. The second time I experienced bacon jam was at Rooster’s, and the third was this past week at a delicious diner in Iowa City called Pullman’s. That’s the pic below.
QC Coffee & Pancake House – The Burger Not On a Bun – Rock Island, IL
This is another meal at this cafe that was recommended to me multiple times. It’s only an 8 ounce patty but this burger is filling. There’s the beef, bacon, cheese, pico de gallo, served within a tortilla. It is a delicious burger, and if you order it with a side of fruit, it almost feels healthy.
Central Standard – Oh No You Didn’t! Burger – Davenport, Iowa
Though this burger can be a bit greasy, it is absolutely worth it. Topped with fried cheese curds and fried pickles, cheese and buffalo sauce. This is such a savory treat, and they have a great beer list to choose from. I would go on the off hours, during the week or for lunch though, they get pretty busy during the busy, weekend hours.
Barley & Rye – The Bacon, Egg, and Poutine Burger – Moline, IL
Decadent. Rich. Filling. Amazing. I have never had french fries quite like this, they were perfect, they were soaked in the cheese/gravy sauce of the poutine but weren’t soggy at all, just so savory. Yum.
(Also, I’ve been asked what’s in the mason jar – smoked gouda tomato bisque. Don’t wonder, you already know, it was delicious.)
Front Street Brewery – The Cajun Burger – Davenport, IA
This burger is a wonderful combination of sweet, spicy, and savory. Front Street makes their own pickles and jalapeños…or would it be that they pickle their own pickles…? Anyways, they make for delicious garnishes. Throw on some jalapeño-crusted bacon and Pepper Jack cheese, you have yourself one delectable burger. Pairs nicely with an IPA.