If there is one crime in this world you simply cannot get away with, it's sneaking Boogie Burger garlic fries into an office building without being noticed. It's also dangerous because those garlic fries, famously piled with little bits of that fresh minced goodness, are one of the most delicious iterations of fried potato this fine city has to offer. But let's get real: it's all about those thick, juicy patties of meat — with onion rings! with fried eggs! with all the toppings! Boogie Burger also does a damn good buffalo chicken sandwich, and God forbid you get a sack of the trifecta. The smell will linger in your car and in your pores for days, and lucky you.
1904 E. Broad Ripple Ave., 255-2450
BRU Burger Bar
BRU Burger has long been making a name for itself as the undisputed champ of the Indianapolis burger scene (it's a thing). There, you can find burgers with guacamole, exotic cheeses, and a menu that frequently rotates. It may be called a "burger bar," but BRU serves all kinds of tasty dishes, from salads to nachos. Still, the reason you go is to get a pint and grab a juicy patty with all the toppings (or none of them, because they'll do that, too) and enjoy the deck. It's got one of the best outdoor spaces on Mass Ave, nestled right in the center of all the action. Start your night out there and have a burger before hitting the bars.
410 Massachusetts Ave., 635-4278, bruburger.com
Punch offers a small selection of proprietary burgers, including the truly outstanding Thai, topped with peanut butter and sweet chili sauce. Try it on the pretzel bun to get the most from the sweet/savory contrast. Also excellent was the Aloha, a highly satisfying creation featuring ham, pineapple, Swiss cheese and teriyaki sauce. Fans of all-day breakfast will love the Southern Sunrise, with its perfectly cooked fried egg and generous topping of guacamole and hot sauce. In addition to the proprietary burgers, diners can choose from dozens of toppings to create an almost infinite variety of sandwiches. A vegetarian option in the form of a portabella mushroom cap is also available in place of beef or turkey. Perhaps best of all, and what confirms Punch's advantage over every other fast food joint in town, is the availability of beer. With several local brews on tap by either the glass or pitcher, this is the clincher.
137 E. Ohio St., 426-5280; punchburger.com
MacNiven's Restaurant & Bar
MacNiven's is as close as you'll get to a day spent on the lochs, with Scotch eggs, haggis (yes, real haggis) and Roast Beef MacHattan. They also serve plenty of American food, too, if the Scottish fare doesn't appeal, like MacNiven's famously unusual flat angus burger: an enormous flat piece of angus beef grilled and then folded up onto the bun. Make sure you get a beer on draft and sit by the windows to enjoy the warm days. In the winter, it's a great place to hide out from the cold and drink beers until the chill leaves your bones. Winter also makes it a great time to taste their rich, hearty steak pie.
339 Massachusetts Ave., 632-7268, macnivens.com
Working Man's Friend
Crispy-edged burgers for cheap and tables that haven't been replaced in a few decades: this is the essential WMF experience. Their cheese will drape over your simply-dressed patty in a glorious golden robe. The fries will be fried, salted, and plated — no frills, ever. And you don't need even half a frill when your burgers are as good as they are at Working Man's Friend. One of the most telling signs that this place is the burger truth? The lunch crowd is one of the most diverse groups of people you'll ever encounter — from construction workers to judges and lawyers — because everyone loves an inexpensive, perfect cheeseburger and fries. (CASH ONLY.)
234 N. Belmont Ave., 636-2067
Yet another out-of-town small franchise moved into the canal space at the new residence downtown. The parking structure is royally weird, so we recommend that you walk down to this spot — that said, we absolutely recommend a visit. The menu setup is simple, but the burgers and fries are pretty killer. With a nice selection of local beers on tap, it's hard to beat an ice cold brew and a thick, juicy burger. We also give double props for advertising "spicy" fries that actually had a tasty amount of real heat in there, which made the beer go down that much better.
335 W. 9th St., 434-4287, indy.burgerhausrestaurants.com
Glory be to Twenty Tap's juicy patties. Alongside what could be the best fries in the city (How do they get them so crunchy?!), Twenty Tap serves grownup burgers for grownup palates. You can get some with bacon jam, fried eggs, and anything else you might want to dress it up with. More importantly, no matter what kind of burger you get, it is guaranteed to pair well with one of the beers on their 37 taps.
5406 N. College Ave., 602-8840 twentytap.com