While many people may consider Five Guys DC’s local burger chain, I’d make an argument for Z-Burger. Over the years, Five Guys has expanded nationally, but Z-Burger is still a small chain with only a handful of locations around the metro area.
I like the location at 14th and Park Road in Columbia Heights, which has a pretty simple menu: burgers, hot dogs, cheesesteaks, fries, onion rings, soda and milkshakes. That’s it. Don’t come looking for health food here.
While I usually avoid buying a hot dog at a restaurant, the ones here are pretty delicious – good quality dogs cut in half and grilled, topped with tasty Z-Sauce (maybe some kind of tangy mayo). The fries are also pretty good, less greasy than the Five Guys variety, and the burgers shine – my buddy from California said they’re the closest he’s had to In-n-Out Burger, that state’s famous chain.
Milkshakes are also delicious – they have 75 flavors, so you’re bound to find something you’ll like. I’m a fan of the mango-kiwi. The cheesesteaks are huge and satisfying, too.
Inside, the restaurant is surprisingly nice for a burger spot. It’s a careful renovation of part of the old Tivoli Theatre – there are murals, high ceilings with fancy woodwork, and a ’50s burger shack vibe. (And supposedly ghosts.) Rapper Drake hung out there, too.
There’s plenty of seats inside, plus a few outdoor seats on the patio or you can take your burger to the plaza across the street.