If you are eating a locally-farmed burger in the Bay Area, chances are it came from the pastural farms of West Marin — where cows live a pretty good life. Thanks to UC Davis’ Agriculture and Natural Resources school, we’ve got a list of the various farms and their locations. Marin Sun Farms, Stemple Creek Ranch and Mindful Meats are among them. Being that it’s so close to the source, the North Bay could even be considered to have the lowest carbon footprint. If meat isn’t your thing, you can bet that the veggie burgers will use locally-sourced ingredients and will have just as much flavor. Here are our favorites places — if you haven’t been, go ahead and add them to your Burger Bucket List.
These are our North Bay Best Burger winners for 2023, selected by our editors — look for our readers’ choice winner, selected by our audience.
Featured Photo: Courtesy of Edward Franklin/Unsplash
Sausalito – Mill Valley – Tiburon
A burger at the Buckeye, with a glass of cab or beer (if you’re lucky you’ve showed up before they run out of their Pliny the Elder supply), is a litmus for anyone who claims to know where the best meal in town can be found. Chef Robert Price has curated the menu at Buckeye Roadhouse to capture the essence of Bay Area. If you want the basics, and you want it done well, Buckeye Roadhouse is your spot. Described as “fully garnished” on their menu, the Roadhouse Burger is a formidable player in the burger game by nailing the basics. It involves a solid and simple combination of smoky beef flavors, a black sesame seeded bun, and pickles. Of course, it comes with fries and all the fixings. Open Monday through Friday 4pm to 8:30pm, Saturday and Sunday noon to 8:30pm. buckeyeroadhouse.com
Opened in 2019 by renowned Marin restaurateur Bill Higgins (Buckeye Roadhouse, Picco, Bar Bocce, Bungalow 44) General Manager Jim Whaley and Executive Chef Michael Siegel, Floodwater turns out elevated bar fare and fresh pizzas in front of your eyes, courtesy of a wood-fired pizza oven — but it’s not just the pizza that has people talking. The elegantly approachable Californian menu a Waygu cheeseburger and veggie burger. Need we say more? floodwatermv.com
Stinson Beach – Point Reyes – Marshall – Tomales – Lagunitas-Forest Knolls
Maxine and John Gilbert and have been serving up some really, really good burgers at the Parkside Café for nearly two decades. Their secret? Keeping it local. The beef they use is sourced from only a few miles away, as are many of the condiments. Served on a brioche bun, the delicious, 8-ounce, grass-fed Niman burger comes with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and mustard aioli on the side. Add on Point Reyes blue cheese or Golden Gate bacon if you so desire. Eat inside or in the rambling garden or order take out and venture to the nearby beach or park. Open daily 7am to 9 pm. parksidecafe.com
Brewsters Beer Garden
It’s hard to say if there is a better presentation of NorCal-Beer-Garden-Cool-Vibe than Brewsters near the waterfront in the historic district of Petaluma. This open-air, 350-seat eatery is dog friendly, and just a super cool place to be. Added bonus: the food is delicious. Topping the list is the Sho-Burger, in honor of the late Todd Shoberg, who made a huge culinary splash in the bay area during his short lifetime and worked with Brewsters’ owner Mike Goebel at multiple locations. Goebel is donating $1 from every burger sold to a college fund for Shoberg’s daughter. The burger itself is a grass-fed ground beef from 4K Cattle Company, served on a brioche bun from Nisi’s Craft Bakery and topped with whatever the chef has found at the farmer’s market that day. Open Monday through Friday 11:30am to close, Saturday and Sunday 11am to close. brewstersbeergarden.com
Blue Ridge Kitchen
The comfortable and casual Blue Ridge Kitchen and cocktail bar in Sebastopol’s hip Barlow has a farmhouse vibe and plenty of style. Opt for the basic Barlow Burger — constructed with a potato bun, secret sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion and American cheese — or Matt’s Smash Burger — with caramelized onions, butter lettuce, heirloom tomato, gouda. For those who want to skip the beef, the Wood Grilled Portobello Muffaletta with havarti cheese, lettuce, tomato, crispy onion rings, sweet peppers secret sauce is sure to please. Open daily 11:30am to 7:30pm. brkitchen.com
Lauren's at The Buckhorn
Whether you are passing through town or spending some time in the charming town of Boonville, a stop at Lauren’s Good Food won’t disappoint. Their handmade burgers are served on a ciabatta bun with house made aioli and all the usual fixings. Lauren’s burger comes with caramelized onions, but there are bacon cheddar, mushroom Swiss, and veggie burgers on the menu as well. Open Friday and Saturday 11:00am to 9:00pm, Sunday, Monday and Thursday 11:00am to 8:30pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. laurensgoodfood.com