May is National Burger Month and Miami.com’s guest writer, the Burger Beast, is your guide this month to all things burger related.
This week, I’m offering up a history lesson on some of Miami’s most solid burger institutions. These are burger joints that have been around for decades and for good reason: They still make killer burgers you can only find in South Florida.
Pay attention, class.
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9000 W. SR 84, Davie, among other locations
Char-Hut was founded in 1976 at an old Royal Castle location in Miami Gardens. They just had their 40th anniversary last year, but many folks in Miami-Dade County don’t even know about them. You really can’t call yourself a “South Florida Burger Expert” without having eaten here at least once.
Order: Grab a couple of Char-Burgers with cheese, mustard and ketchup, some onion rings and a birch beer.
Jack's Old Fashion Hamburger House
591 S Cypress Rd, Pompano Beach
Jack’s has been around since 1972 with two locations in Broward County. They cut and grind their beef daily to make sure that their burgers are as fresh as possible.
Order: The Original one-third pound cheeseburger with grilled onions. Add mustard and pickles, an order of chili cheese fries and a root beer float.
10417 S Dixie Hwy., Pinecrest, FL 33156
Even the owners don’t know when exactly Keg South opened but they believe it was the early 1960s. This small but mighty Keg South will envelop you with its scent of char-grilled beef. The best seat in the house is at the counter right by the grill. It’s where all the action is.
Order: The one-third pound Keg Burger with cheese. Skip the chips and order the fresh-cut fries with an ice-cold draft beer. (They have several craft selections.)
2500 NW 7th St., Miami, FL 33125
Burgers have regional specialties around the United States and in South Florida, it’s the frita cubana.
Fritas were street food in 1930s Cuba and generally served after dark out of carts (similar to New York hot dog vendors) to the theater crowd. Morro Castle wasn’t the first frita cubana joint in Miami (that was Fritas Domino). They opened a year later in 1962 in a former Dairy Queen location.
Unfortunately on this, their 55th anniversary, they will be shutting the doors. The property it sits on was bought recently and the building will be torn down in the next couple of months.
So get there before this piece of history is lost.
Order: Frita (comes with onions, ketchup and julienne potatoes), an order of Miami’s best churros and a batido de mamey (mamey shake).
2700 NW 79th St., Miami, FL 33147
The first Royal Castle opened up shop in the Little River part of Miami in 1938.
In 30 years it grew to more than 200 locations in Florida, Louisiana, Georgia and Ohio. Once William Singer (Royal Castle’s founder) sold the company in 1969, its death warrant was pretty much signed.
Last ditch efforts to save the company included opening the Criterion Steak House, a Pizza Garden & the Royal Sky Campground in the early 1970s. By 1975, the decision was made to liquidate the iconic Miami chain during which some employees were allowed to purchase individual locations. All these years later only one location is still open.
Order: A six-pack of sliders (with cheese, pickles and onions). What, that’s not enough food for you? Trust me, it is.