Central Washington has a serious burger culture, and you see it all over the Yakima Valley.
There are burger stands, burger restaurants and burger drive-ins all over the place. And that's in addition to the bars and restaurants that have a burger (or a whole list of burgers) on their menus. Telling someone from Yakima your favorite Yakima burger is risky, though, because you're liable to start an argument. Everyone has their favorite, and those opinions are deeply felt.
As such we offer the following selection of burgers, not necessarily as the area's best but as a good representation of the local burger culture.
The Sports Center Burger
Place: The Yakima Sports Center, 214 E. Yakima Ave., Yakima
Highlights: Bacon, ham, grilled mushrooms and onions, cheddar cheese and a fried egg
Details: Stacked so high it almost touches the ceiling, this burger is basically lunch topped with breakfast. It's a little pricey for a burger, but it's worth it.
The Garbage Burger
Place: King's Row Drive In, 210 S. First St. in Selah
Highlights: Bacon, ham, cheese
Details: The Garbage Burger, so named by former King's Row owner (and former Selah Mayor) Bob Jones, is the epitome of value for your money. It's a burger-joint burger at fast-food prices. And, as an added bonus, King's Row has just the right small-town burger-joint ambience. Like you walk in and feel like you should be wearing a high school letter-jacket.
The Big Miner
Place: Miner's Drive-In Restaurant, 2415 S. First St., Yakima
Price: $7.48 if you want cheese (you do)
Highlights: A giant burger patty on a giant bun
Details: This is a controversial pick. Because of longevity and savvy marketing, Miner's is considered THE Yakima burger place, especially to out-of-towners. As such, it has its share of "actually, it's not really that good" detractors. Thing is, it's a pretty good burger. And it's a Yakima institution with a huge, varied menu of delicious, bad-for-you food.
The Wimpy Burger
Place: Bill's Place, 206 S. Third Ave., Yakima
Highlights: A good all-around burger; nothing fancy, just lettuce, pickles, tomato and onion
Details: This is the burger-and-a-beer burger. It's cheap, greasy and delicious. And for about a sawbuck, you can pair it with one of the million (or so) local beers Bill's has on tap on any given day. If you're looking for a simple, honest burger at a great neighborhood bar with great people and beer, you're looking for the Wimpy Burger.
Ron's bacon cheeseburger
Place: Ron's Tacos & Burgers, 1529 W. Lincoln Ave., Yakima
Highlights: An ungodly amount of bacon
Details: Ron's specializes in maximalist versions of your favorite junk food. Ask for a small soft-serve ice cream cone, and they'll give you a tower of ice cream that scratches heaven. Ask for a bacon cheeseburger and they'll pile on two hogs worth of crispy bacon. It's perfect late-night food, but you can get it all day long.
A few more we swear by
Yakima: Majors Restaurant, 1705 W. Lincoln Ave. and 1902 S. Third Ave.; Stop & Go Drive Inn, 2820 Fruitvale Blvd.; Famous Burger & Teriyaki Sandwich, 401 W. Lincoln Ave.; Norm's of Yakima, 5 N. Front St.
Union Gap: Jean's Cottage Inn, 3211 Main St.; Pepp'rmint Stick, 4002 Main St.
Terrace Heights: Provisions, 2710 Terrace Heights Drive.
Zillah: The Chophouse at the Old Warehouse, 705 Railroad Ave.