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Adam H. Callaghan

The Burger Heatmap: 8 New Maine Burgers to Eat Now

The new classics.

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It's hard to find a restaurant without a burger. It's harder to find a restaurant with a burger that blows your mind. Here are eight places in Maine, newer or with updated versions, that are must-visits if you're a fan of ground beef patties done right. Note: these map points are in alphabetical order.

Know of any that were left out? Share 'em in the comments. Prefer to debate about the best burger in Maine, regardless of newness? There's a forum post for that, too.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Belle's on Wheels

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10 Shapleigh Road
Kittery, ME 03904
(508) 380-4938
This fixture of the Tributary Brewing Company parking lot serves up a rotating menu of sliders, including the Big Belle, a two-patty ground beef brisket burger with lettuce, tomato, American cheese, and Thousand Island dressing. The local take on a Big Mac hits all the right nostalgic notes with the same amount of mess but better ingredients.

2. Bramhall

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769 Congress St., Portland
ME, 04101
(207) 805-1978
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Reviving a beloved neighborhood bar isn't easy, but Mike Fraser and his team have done a great job honoring the past while putting their own modern touches on the underground space. The menu is a perfect example, showcasing familiar yet decadent dishes like the Archer Angus beef burger with bacon ground directly into the patty.

3. East Ender

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47 Middle St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 879-7669
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In their previous roles as owners of Small Axe Truck, chefs Karl Deuben and Bill Leavy wowed Portland with their cold-smoked burger. Naturally, the signature dish survived the transition from Small Axe to the new East Ender, which the duo reopened in March. For $14 at lunch, the latest iteration of the evolving burger is topped with Stilton and caramelized onions, with a side of greens and tempura onion rings.

4. Grace

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15 Chestnut St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 828-4422
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Known as one of the most breathtaking restaurants in the city, Grace is no slouch in the food department, either. The Grace Burger with cheddar, tomato confit, and pickled onions is always available from the small plates menu, but every two weeks the restaurant features a new Rival Burger, a twist on the formula like a southwest salmon burger with red cabbage slaw and lime avocado aioli. And at $6 each, you can definitely compare them in one sitting.

5. Nosh Kitchen Bar

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551 Congress St
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 553-2227
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Nosh's Apocalypse Now Burger put the eatery on the map, but its kitchen never stops coming up with absurd ways to fill your belly. Case in point: the $12 Slab Burger, which uses the signature dish from sister restaurant Slab — enormous, billowy Sicilian-style slabs of pizza — as the buns, along with sharp Provolone, cherry pepper sauce, and basil pesto. Godspeed, intrepid eater.

6. Rudy's of the Cape

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517 Ocean House Rd
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
(207) 799-0270
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Reopened after years of planning, Rudy's has stepped up its food game. The burger reflects that: it's $14 for house-ground beef with kidney fat cooked to 125 degrees in a CVAP (controlled vapor) oven, which is like a bagless sous vide technique. Topped with local bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and caramelized onions, served with parmesan fries. Quinoa or turkey burgers are also available for those craving something less beefy. [Photo: Don Littlefield]

7. Thistle Pig

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279 Main St
South Berwick, ME 03908
(207) 704-0627
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Breezy Hill Farm provides much of the meat for Thistle Pig thanks to owner/chef Ben Fecteau's family connection. Fecteau has made an art form of comfort food, including the $14 grass fed beef cheeseburger with such accoutrements as crunchy onions, pickles, and green tomato aioli.

8. Thurston's Wicked Good Burgers

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699 Forest Avenue
Portland, ME 04103
(207) 879-1377
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A local restaurant that feels like a chain, Thurston's offers the "have it your way" approach that many burger fans crave. Build your own with free toppings like sauerkraut and sauteed mushrooms, or get the Thurston Burger with cheddar cheese sauce, grilled onions, applewood smoked bacon, and zesty house sauce, all for $6.50. Don't be surprised if you see Thurston's franchising the concept within a few years.

1. Belle's on Wheels

10 Shapleigh Road, Kittery, ME 03904
This fixture of the Tributary Brewing Company parking lot serves up a rotating menu of sliders, including the Big Belle, a two-patty ground beef brisket burger with lettuce, tomato, American cheese, and Thousand Island dressing. The local take on a Big Mac hits all the right nostalgic notes with the same amount of mess but better ingredients.
10 Shapleigh Road
Kittery, ME 03904

2. Bramhall

769 Congress St., Portland, ME, 04101
Reviving a beloved neighborhood bar isn't easy, but Mike Fraser and his team have done a great job honoring the past while putting their own modern touches on the underground space. The menu is a perfect example, showcasing familiar yet decadent dishes like the Archer Angus beef burger with bacon ground directly into the patty.
769 Congress St., Portland
ME, 04101

3. East Ender

47 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101
In their previous roles as owners of Small Axe Truck, chefs Karl Deuben and Bill Leavy wowed Portland with their cold-smoked burger. Naturally, the signature dish survived the transition from Small Axe to the new East Ender, which the duo reopened in March. For $14 at lunch, the latest iteration of the evolving burger is topped with Stilton and caramelized onions, with a side of greens and tempura onion rings.
47 Middle St
Portland, ME 04101

4. Grace

15 Chestnut St, Portland, ME 04101
Known as one of the most breathtaking restaurants in the city, Grace is no slouch in the food department, either. The Grace Burger with cheddar, tomato confit, and pickled onions is always available from the small plates menu, but every two weeks the restaurant features a new Rival Burger, a twist on the formula like a southwest salmon burger with red cabbage slaw and lime avocado aioli. And at $6 each, you can definitely compare them in one sitting.
15 Chestnut St
Portland, ME 04101

5. Nosh Kitchen Bar

551 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101
Nosh's Apocalypse Now Burger put the eatery on the map, but its kitchen never stops coming up with absurd ways to fill your belly. Case in point: the $12 Slab Burger, which uses the signature dish from sister restaurant Slab — enormous, billowy Sicilian-style slabs of pizza — as the buns, along with sharp Provolone, cherry pepper sauce, and basil pesto. Godspeed, intrepid eater.
551 Congress St
Portland, ME 04101

6. Rudy's of the Cape

517 Ocean House Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
Reopened after years of planning, Rudy's has stepped up its food game. The burger reflects that: it's $14 for house-ground beef with kidney fat cooked to 125 degrees in a CVAP (controlled vapor) oven, which is like a bagless sous vide technique. Topped with local bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and caramelized onions, served with parmesan fries. Quinoa or turkey burgers are also available for those craving something less beefy. [Photo: Don Littlefield]
517 Ocean House Rd
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107

7. Thistle Pig

279 Main St, South Berwick, ME 03908
Breezy Hill Farm provides much of the meat for Thistle Pig thanks to owner/chef Ben Fecteau's family connection. Fecteau has made an art form of comfort food, including the $14 grass fed beef cheeseburger with such accoutrements as crunchy onions, pickles, and green tomato aioli.
279 Main St
South Berwick, ME 03908

8. Thurston's Wicked Good Burgers

699 Forest Avenue, Portland, ME 04103
A local restaurant that feels like a chain, Thurston's offers the "have it your way" approach that many burger fans crave. Build your own with free toppings like sauerkraut and sauteed mushrooms, or get the Thurston Burger with cheddar cheese sauce, grilled onions, applewood smoked bacon, and zesty house sauce, all for $6.50. Don't be surprised if you see Thurston's franchising the concept within a few years.
699 Forest Avenue
Portland, ME 04103

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