I know that writing about the best burger I've had this year is like skipping out onto thin ice. As illustrated by the famous "Best Jucy Lucy" debate, Minnesotans are crazy about burgers and although I won't be as bold as to say that this is the best burger in town (this segment is about the best dishes I've had this year, not the undisputed champs), I will say that it is definitely worth checking out.
Winner: The Kitchen's "Perfect" Burger
I didn't expect to find such a killer burger at such a new and distant restaurant (Stillwater is a bit of a hike from SW Minneapolis), but I loved the surprise. The Kitchen's bacon cheddar burger had all the attributes of a great burger: A nice fat-to-lean ratio for the beef, excellent sharp cheese, thick-cut hearty bacon, and house-made amenities such as pickles, mustard and an awesome fresh baked bun. The folks up in Stillwater know comfort food and this burger was a perfect summer patio pleasure. You can catch more info here.
Runner Up: Cafe Maude's Grilled Burger
Again, another place that doesn't necessarily have a ton of burger cred, but they sure can craft a mean sandwich. It's a bit on the expensive side for the American favorite, but the extravagant topping options make for a more up-scale performance. I like mine with grilled mushrooms and bacon, but if I really wanted to bust my gut I could add on some St. Andre and a fried egg, although the damage to my cholesterol level may far out live the satisfaction of the burger.