I’ve had a lot of hamburgers in my 28 years. My extensive research dates all the way back to my formative years. I believe I even had a birthday party at McDonalds one year (not that their Big Mac should rank among any sort of food related “Best Of” list). I’ve had fancy burgers, casual burgers, burgers made of Kobe beef, burgers made on a greasy spoon griddle that is probably older than my Grandparents, and the world famous In-N-Out burger.
Up until recently the best hamburger I had ever had was at Palena in Cleveland Park. The Palena burger is simple, affordable and delicious…it also doesn’t hurt that it is cooked by a former White House chef. (Something tells me Bill Clinton would have loved this man).
Then I took a trip to Saugatuck, MI and encountered the burger at Salt of the Earth in Fennville. This hamburger is the best burger I’ve ever had in my entire life. This burger was so good that I almost passed out at the table. It was 10 out of 10 on my Foodie Delight Scale.
The folks at Salt of the Earth are doing something truly special and admirable at their restaurant. The full restaurant consists of a bakery, bar, and dining room. Almost everything is made in house. Their meat and produce are all locally sourced. The hamburger is a perfect example of the love and dedication that goes in to their food. The meat is brought in to the restaurant in large slabs. The chef then grinds his own meat and creates his own patties. The egg bun with a sprinkling of sea salt is baked in the restaurant. The lettuce, tomato (which I actually thought was cut a little too large…the only complaint in an otherwise perfect dish), and grilled onions were grown only a couple of miles from the restaurant. Even the mustard, ketchup, and mayo were made in house.
For all intents and purposes Salt of the Earth is way off the beaten path. But it provided one of the best meals in our week long vacation in Western and Northern Michigan. We couldn’t stop talking about this hamburger for the rest of the trip. We dream about this burger. We will return to Fennville….for this burger!