9 Great Burger Restaurants in Sonoma County
There’s just no beating the burgers here in Sonoma County. This classic American meal can be paired with an ice-cold craft beer or a big ol' glass of Zinfandel.
For our best burgers, dig into these made-to-order beauties. Go nuts with the toppings, from melted blue cheese and hickory bacon to pepper jack cheese and roasted Anaheim chiles. We’ve even got non-carnivores covered, with veggie burgers so good you'll never miss the meat.
Acme Burger, Cotati
Seasoned Chef Todd Kniess knows how to make a perfect burger. He stuffs toasted Sonoma County-made Franco American Bakery sesame seed buns with goodies like grass-fed Sonoma Mountain Beef Company meat and “awesome” sauce, a spicy spin on Thousand Island. He powers up the toppings with add-ons that include jalapenos, Redwood Hill goat cheese, sautéed mushrooms, applewood smoked bacon and (wait for it) truffle butter.
If you’re craving something other than beef, Acme can make that happen, too. Choose from local Willie Bird turkey; a plant-based Beyond Burger slathered in hummus; buttermilk fried or seared chicken breast; an ahi burger with wasabi mayo and pineapple; flash-fried Bodega rock cod; or seared pork belly confit capped in a crunchy mix of kale, Brussels sprouts, golden beets, carrots, and cabbage slaw.
Amy's Drive Thru, Rohnert Park
The first hint that this isn't your typical fast-food spot is the living roof, planted with drought-tolerant plants that add a kick of green to the arched, wood, steel and glass structure. It's the ideal complement to Amy’s plant-based menu, where all-natural veggies and grains offer a healthy alternative to traditional fast food.
Take the signature Amy’s Burger, a meaty-textured yet meatless patty of soy, organic veggies, and wheat bulgur that's layered with sweet pickles, lettuce, tomato slices, cheese, and special sauce on a soft bun. This delicacy can also be ordered vegan and/or gluten-free.
And want fries with that? You know you do. Amy's taste-tested more than 1,000 recipes to create the ideal organic French fry, made from potatoes that a local farm grows especially for them.
Palooza Brewery and Gastropub, Kenwood
Palooza owners Jeff and Suzette Tyler originally opened a hot dog cart to serve gourmet franks across Sonoma County, but folks loved it so much that the couple expanded to this full-fledged brick-and-mortar operation in Kenwood.
Beyond their signature hot dogs, you can also order their amazing burgers, crafted of chuck-brisket meat patties on a Racer 5 bun. Mouthwatering toppings include Pinot Noir-sautéed mushrooms and an aioli of brie, caramelized onions, bacon, and apple. The kitchen cooks up delicious, meatless Impossible Burgers, too.
The Wurst, Healdsburg
Right off the plaza in Healdsburg, this local favorite is known for authentic Polish dogs and Sheboygan brats, along with legendary milkshakes, root beer floats, sundaes, and craft beers.
That said, don't write off their burgers. The enormous “Wurst Cowboy,” for instance, comes with a J Brand beef patty, cheddar cheese, Liar’s Dice BBQ sauce, bread-and-butter pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, and onion rings, all wrangled into a fluffy bun. Pair this bonanza with an ice-cold Little Sumpin' Sumpin' from Lagunitas on the dog-friendly patio, and have yourself a feast.
Slice of Life, Sebastopol
It’s “The Natural Choice” for vegetarians, but don’t let that worry you if you love meat. Serving tasty eats since 1974, the focus here is on flavorful vegetarian and vegan alternatives to your favorite foods. That means no animal products except dairy cheeses, and many fat-free, low-fat, dairy-free and lactose-free choices. Burgers, for example, come on organic whole wheat buns, topped with grilled onions and mushrooms, sprouts, dairy-free mayo and pickles.
Inside the bun, you can tuck into patties fashioned from nuts, seeds, and grains; black beans; or vegetables, all best topped with “fakin’ bacon,” soy cheese, and guacamole. The owners call their French fries “hot airs,” since they’re oil-free, fat-free and guilt-free; try them in sweet-potato style, too, or coated in fresh garlic.
Dog House, Bodega Bay
After more than three decades of business, the owners must be doing something right with this tiny place, which sits right beside the Bodega Post Office. One thing is their delicious burgers made with fresh-ground chuck. Depending on how big your belly is, you can get a third-pound or half-pound burger piled with what you like for fixins. If you’re feeling healthy, there's a turkey burger, salmon burger, or garden burger, or pair your meal with a mountain of hand-cut French fries and/or an honest-to-goodness real milkshake in classic chocolate, strawberry or vanilla.
This little diner doesn’t look like much from the outside, but step inside and you'll find it’s an adorable spot with cooks that simply rock the kitchen. Their basic sourdough cheeseburger is the bomb, but browse the choices of more than 16 combos – a buffalo cheeseburger, perhaps, or Cajun, or teriyaki Swiss? There’s even a ramen burger, on a crispy nest of noodle bun. Healthy touches include gluten-free bun choices, a house made garden burger, and a turkey burger.
Mike's at the Crossroads, Cotati
Tucked away off a twisting intersection at Old Redwood and Gravenstein highways, it can take a little navigation to get here, but once you do, you’ll be rewarded with more than a dozen burger options, each loaded with at least a half-pound of chuck.
Come early if you want to grab one of the 10 tables or dozen bar stools set on vintage checkerboard flooring, and pay heed to the bull's head mural snorting "One Mean Burger"—'cause that’s what you’re in for. Some of our favorite selections include the Stinky Breath, with sweet roasted garlic; the Great Western, with homemade barbecue sauce and bacon; or the Krush, with sautéed mushrooms, onion, and garlic in a Zinfandel glaze.
Maybe all you need to hear is the recipe for the Kin Burger: 8 oz. of spice-rubbed coarse-ground beef grilled to order with smoked white cheddar, applewood bacon and homemade barbecue sauce, topped with lettuce, onion and tomato on a sesame brioche bun with your choice of spuds. Or maybe the Y.B.C. Burger does it for you, griddled on the flattop and buried under melting cheese (veggie version available, too).
Whatever your preference, this restaurant from two former GMs from the Guy Fieri empire specialize in juicy, first-rate burgers that require two hands and plenty of napkins. Don’t miss their spuds, either, served as garlic fries, Parmesan fries, sweet potato fries, or sweet potato tater tots.
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet