Salem, Massachusetts has become quite the foodie’s paradise over the years, and the local burgers are no exception. Whether you’re craving a standard (yet delicious) old-fashioned burger, a meatless patty, or maybe even a burger topped with seafood, Salem’s burger scene has something for everyone.
Sombrero Burger from Opus
You can never go wrong with a traditional burger, and thankfully Salem is home to plenty of restaurants serving up just that, often with the freshest local ingredients. For this classic lunch or dinner meal, visit Red’s Sandwich Shop, Rockafellas, the Tavern in the Hawthorne Hotel, Bit Bar, or Turner’s Seafood, or if you happen to be by Pickering Wharf: Brodie’s Seaport, the Regatta Pub at the Salem Waterfront Hotel, Sea Level Oyster Bar and Kitchen, or Finz Seafood and Grill.
If breakfast is your favorite meal of the day, or if you just cannot decide between ordering breakfast or lunch, consider trying one of Salem’s breakfast burgers. In the downtown area, Village Tavern serves the Hangover Burger, topped with a fried egg, bacon, spicy ketchup, and cheddar cheese. For a waterfront meal, visit Longboards Restaurant & Bar on Pickering Wharf, where the menu features a burger topped with a fried egg, bacon, American cheese, and crushed tater tots.
Spicy Mushroom Marsala Burger from Opus
Barbecue fans rejoice! Many local restaurants have created special versions of the traditional rodeo burger, which can be found on menus all over town. The Cowboy Burger at Brodie’s Seaport comes topped with American cheese, smoked bacon, onion rings, and a drizzle of barbecue sauce. Also on Pickering Wharf, The Texas Burger at Longboards features toppings like pulled pork, barbecue sauce, fresh-sliced jalapeños and cheddar cheese.
Back on Essex Street, Village Tavern’s Rodeo Burger includes onion rings, V-Tav BBQ sauce, cheddar, cheese, lettuce, and pickles, and Rockafellas’ Louisiana Burger comes with cheddar cheese, bacon, and pulled pork, pickled onions, along with a drizzle of Kansas City BBQ Sauce.
Looking for a burger with an extra kick? Try the Fire House Burger from Longboards, topped with hot sauce, jalapeños, and Ghost Pepper jack cheese. Another spicy variation can be found in the Siracha Burger at Sea Level, made with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, Siracha mayo, and pickled jalapeños, all served on Texas Toast.
Sweet Caroline Burger from Village Tavern
Salem even has an answer for those craving Italian food on National Hamburger Day. The Caprese Burger on Rockafellas is just what the name suggests, a burger topped with fresh mozzarella slices, tomato, and drizzled with a house-made Pesto on a buttered brioche bun. Back at Longboards, try the Italian Burger, which in a sort of burger/meatball sub hybrid includes marinara sauce, provolone, and shaved parmesan cheese.
Bleu cheese is a popular burger topping in Salem! Both Rockafellas and Longboards offer burgers topped with bacon and bleu cheese crumbles, and the Hawthorne Hotel is home to the Sweet Onion Blue Burger, made with bleu cheese, fig, onion and bacon jam with arugula.
Mushrooms, peppers, and onions
Classic mushrooms cheeseburgers are available at Rockafellas (with Swiss cheese) and Longboards (with Cheddar cheese). Also at Longboards is the Ballpark Burger, with sautéed peppers and onions, Dijon mustard and American cheese. Village Tavern offers two onion-topped burger varieties: the Sweet Caroline Burger with balsamic caramelized onion, smoked gouda, and fig jam chutney, and the Bacon Brie Burger with candied bacon, brie cheese, V-Tav whiskey bacon jam, salt and vinegar onion straws.
Elk Burger from Bit Bar
Seafood lovers can opt for a burger made entirely of seafood instead of meat, or as a topping on a classic burger. Turner’s Seafood serves a Tuna Burger made with seasoned ground yellowfin tuna and topped with Asian slaw, and wasabi aioli on a griddled bun, and the Salmon burger, char-grilled and topped with a fried egg, lettuce, tomato, and remoulade. Another variation of seafood burger can be found at Sea Level: The restaurant’s Caliente Shrimp Burger is crafted using a fresh shrimp patty with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado ranch, and spicy pickles. Additionally, the Hawthorne Hotel serves a Shrimp Scampi Burger, a blend of shrimp, garlic, lemon zest, Italian parsley, white wine, and crushed red pepper, topped with tomato, arugula, and lemon-garlic aioli.
If you prefer your seafood be a topping rather than the patty itself, Pickering Wharf is the place to be. The Sea Level Burger is topped with crispy fried clams, coleslaw, and Sea Level Sauce, the Finz Burger is topped with fried oysters, Boursin cheese, bacon, and onions, and Brodie’s Seaport serves the Surf and Turf Burger with aged Cheddar, smoked bacon, and North Atlantic lobster.
Sauerkraut isn’t just for hot dogs. Try it with a Reuben Burger at Sea Level featuring kraut, Sea Level Sauce and Swiss cheese, or at Longboards with corned beef, kraut, Wharf Sauce, and Swiss cheese.
Shrimp Scampi Burger from the Tavern on the Green at the Hawthorne Hotel
Salem has no shortage of wonderful vegetarian options, including black bean burgers, veggie burgers, and even a falafel burger. Black bean burgers can be found at Bit Bar, Brodie’s Seaport, and the Hawthorne Hotel. Other veggie burgers are available at Finz Seafood and Longboards, and Village Tavern also serves up the V-Tav Veggie Burger, made with a falafel patty and topped with tzatziki and tapenade, lettuce, tomato, and onion.
The list of burgers doesn’t stop there! Opus’ Maverick Burger rotates nightly, offering something different for each visit. Bit Bar serves up an Elk Burger with smoked cheddar and bacon served on a doughssant with black garlic icing. A grilled turkey burger is available at Rockafellas, and guests at Longboards can even snack on a Mac and Cheese Burger.