In the recent years, Cologne has been hit with a burger boom. Hip diners have opened up everywhere, serving classic and extravagant burger creations that whet the appetite of locals and tourists. Meat-lovers, vegans and even gluten-intolerant burger fans all get their money’s worth at the following seven burger joints.
Die Fette Kuh
Restaurant, Fast Food, Vegetarian, American, $$$
Day and night, burger fans queue outside Die Fette Kuh, lured by juicy meat and tasty toppings. The 200-gram beef burgers come with avocado and sesame-mayonnaise (Teriyaki Burger), homemade BBQ sauce and caramelised onions (BBQ Bacon Cheese) or chili con carne, cheddar cheese and jalapeños (Chili-Cheese Burger). Vegetarians will be happy to hear that most burgers are available as veggie options. Add some fresh thin-cut fries or some coleslaw, and you’re in burger heaven. The weekly specials are particularly creative.
For the staff of Freddy Schilling, making burgers is a craft. Their organic beef is grilled on lava rocks, the sauces homemade, the buns freshly baked and all ingredients sustainably grown. With their no-fuss Purist Burger, the intense meat flavour has priority, while Bruno’s Burner is smoky with jalapeños, and the spicy Big Kahuna comes with grilled pineapple and melted cheese. Vegetarians and vegans can swap beef for a vegan patty, and gluten-free buns are available. Portions are opulent, but if you’re hungry, you can add a side.
Südstadt Burger is the local pride of Cologne’s burger joints. Their Merowinger Burger combines the highlights of Cologne’s local cuisine: potato pancakes, applesauce and slices of fried black pudding. Their French burger is topped with truffles, the Greek one with feta cheese and olive tapenade, and the Indian option with curry paste and mango chutney. If you feel less adventurous, they have some classics on the menu, as well as great sides such as chili cheese fries and coleslaw. Vegetarian options are available as well.
Beef Brother takes the back-to-the-basics approach – meat is at the centre of attention here. The joint turns the focus to medium-grilled beef and adds little distraction to their creations. The simple menu ranges from the hamburger and cheeseburger classics to a couple of more creative combinations with gorgonzola or mozzarella and pesto. The veggie option comes with breaded goat cheese, mustard and chili sauce. Tip: it’s always worth checking for the weekly special.
In the middle of the traditional brew houses and pubs of the city’s Old Town square, the two girlfriends behind Fräulein Herborths create burgers that stand out. The grass-fed beef comes from local farmers, and the firm-to-the-bite bun is a crossover between brioche and pretzel. The Italian Job is topped with tomato, mozzarella and ham. Local patriots are won over by the Kölsche Jung with black pudding, fried onions and mustard. Add a side of homemade fries and a craft beer for the perfect meal. Most burgers can be ordered as a vegetarian version.
Alte Metzgerei proves that you can get fantastic burgers outside of Cologne’s city centre. Their vast choice of tasty burgers makes it worth venturing across the Rhine to the Dellbrück quarter. The retro-style interior and tiled walls recall the days when the shop was home to a butchery. The meat comes from local farmers, and the sauces are made in-house. One of the highlights is the New York Steak Burger with point steak, BBQ sauce and roasted onions.
A quick look at the menu and you will realise that you won’t be getting any beef here. Bunte Burger has specialised in making extravagant vegetarian and vegan burgers that get even omnivores’ mouths watering. Their burgers consist of homemade buns spread with pesto and yummy patties that vary with every item on the menu. Some are soy-based, others are made from mixed beans (Desperado Tex Mex Burger), polenta and dried tomatoes (Don Corleone Italo Burger) or even jackfruit (Pulled Jack BBQ Burger).