They may be completely made up in most cases, but that hasn’t stopped TV fans from wanting to try the offerings a long list of fictional burger places. After all, once they view these delectable creations on the small screen, it’s hard not to want to sample them in real life.
For adults who grew up as kids watching Spongebob battle Plankton for the recipe for Krabby Patties to the millennials who always wondered if Honko Burger was really as good as In-N-Out, it’s about more than just what’s piled on the patties. After all, some foodies spend their lives trying to find the perfect burger.
Of course, not every made-for-TV burger is highly desirable—some are downright unpalatable, which makes the existence of them in the shows all the more interesting. Sometimes these gastronomical pieces are focal points of the entire show—like the daily dining experience of Gilmore Girls or the oft-loved to-go bag hailing from Paunch Burger on Parks and Recreation.
Whatever the flavor fans desire, it’s no doubt existed on one of their favorite cartoons, sitcoms, or TV movies. And while it’s hard to imagine what a real-life Honko Burger or Krusty Burger would taste like, some of the burger offerings here have made their way into faux-turned-famous restaurants off-screen, too.
From the flavorful and highly desired Krabby Patty to the arguably gross concoction that is a McBurgertown burger a la Family Guy, here are 20 TV burgers ranked by how badly fans want them in their mouths.
If you were a kid growing up in Canada in the ‘80s, you probably remember the show You Can’t Do That on Television. The show was similar to both the United States’ All That and Saturday Night Live, with young kids and teens performing skits. One such skit involved Barth’s Burgers, with Barth himself taking the kids’ orders and delivering the food. And among his unsavory restauranteur practices were things like smoking in the restaurant, showing up to work looking gross and unkempt, and telling the (often grossed-out child) customers that he “never” gives his customers “real meat.” No thanks!
Most people recognize Beavis and Butt-head from their rounds on the ‘90s television circuit, but most people probably don’t think much about them these days. Of course, the series did last until 2011, and there have been many spoofs of the show’s content both during and after the show wrapped. But do you remember the episode that featured Burger World? The fast food joint isn’t as fast when Beavis and Butt-head join the cooking crew, and despite the visual similarities with McDonald’s, this place is not top on our list of places to grab a quick bite. The titular characters not only mess with the food in unsavory ways, but they also take forever to get orders ready.
Genetic engineering and artery-clogging beef: what more could you want from a fictional fast-food burger? In the Family Guy world, that’s exactly what Peter Griffin and his family got—that, and an anthropomorphic cow. Peter apparently has a stroke after eating too many burgers from the place, although he also orders huevos rancheros in another episode. Apparently, McBurgertown offers more than just cheeseburgers with an abundance of heart-clogging grease, including burgers topped with a ton of bacon. The family-friendly (sort of) restaurant also gives out children’s toys with its kids meals—heart attacks for everyone!
We understand that McDonald’s has been wildly popular all over the globe despite its clown mascot, but the same can’t be said of The Simpsons’ Krusty Burger. Founded by a clown and serving food that got it marked as “the unhealthiest restaurant in the world,” this place isn’t a spot we’d like to frequent. Of course, once the IRS seized it, the restaurant got a bit more interesting—instead of the “krusty burger,” we instead got “tax burgers” and an “IRSwich.” Still, Krusty the clown had the foresight to create a vegetarian burger—with the unfortunate side effect of the menu item using tainted barley that made people sick. That said, we’d skip Krusty’s.
This burger harks from a much newer cartoon, one that only debuted on Nickelodeon recently. But The Loud House is another catchy kids’ program that even makes grownups laugh, and even inspires a serious hankering for some flavorful fast food burgers at times. The restaurant at the center of the Loud family’s dining experiences is Burpin’ Burger, which has its very own jingle that talks about how it has “Grade B beef and lots of spice.” Of course, for a family with eleven mouths to feed, it’s understandable that the Louds would resort to this drive-thru burger joint that claims its food tastes “twice as nice” when it comes back up in the form of a belch. Sold, right?
If you’ve never seen The Flintstones, have you really had a childhood? In the United States, at least, Fred Flintstone and his family inspired multiple generations to enjoy fruit-flavored “pebble” cereal, plenty of plastic toys, and even burgers. Well, at least, we would have if the Bronto Burger restaurant was real. In the intro to the Flintstones cartoon, you can watch Fred and his family pull up to the drive in and cart off a rack of what appear to be Brontosaurus ribs, but the stone-age restaurant has more than just gigantic ribs. There are also burgers on the menu, although we’re not sure if the Flintstone-era chefs have discovered a way to craft buns.
Another ‘90s baby favorite, the show Rugrats featured babies and toddlers but somehow still enthralled plenty of older kids throughout its nine seasons. The show even included a short series where the kids were tweens—among other special movies and spinoffs. Most of the shows centered around the babies misunderstanding things in their world and going on adventures to try and fix things—which meant that even visiting Boingo Burger for a Wacky Meal was filled with craziness. The offerings at Boingo Burger include the Boingo Burger itself, plus kids’ meals which featured a burger and chips plus a toy. The restaurant also had candy and ice cream which, of course, the babies made use of in their exploits.
How I Met Your Mother is another fan favorite show which has inspired plenty of youthful exploits and real-life imitation. But actually, the McLaren’s restaurant on set was inspired by a real-life pub location. In the show, though, Lily—one of the show’s main characters—says that the burger from McLaren’s was “like Christmas in my mouth—meat Christmas.” If that’s not a ringing endorsement for a burger we have to try, then we’re not sure what is. Of course, you could travel to New York City and stop in at McGee’s, but there are no guarantees that the burger will be as Christmasy as the TV version apparently was.
Another throwback we would have loved to dine at is The Max from Saved By The Bell. Fortunately for fans, this restaurant does exist in Chicago—the restaurant is modeled after the one from the show, complete with the kitschy color scheme and throwback décor. The regulars on the show always met at the spot and played out their relationship issues and other high school drama, but the burgers and fries (plus the shakes) always looked delicious. Besides, old-school restaurants—a la In-N-Out—always have that fresh flavor that we want in our not-so-fast food. And odds are, the fries at The Max weren’t from the freezer.
Even if you don’t “feed” on people, Mystic Grill from Vampire Diaries probably has something to satiate your cravings. And if you were bummed that the restaurant doesn’t exist in real life, there’s a real-world version in Georgia. So pack your bags, and you can try a plate at Mystic Grill—at least, if you get there before another epic vampire fight wipes it out. That happened quite a few times on the show—but every time, the restaurant rises from the ashes to keep on serving delicious food—the kind for humans, at least, not vamps. And it stayed pretty popular too—but maybe that’s just because it was the only casual restaurant in town.
Most fans of Parks and Recreation remember the scuffle over the soda tax with Paunch Burger, but that wasn’t the highlight of the restaurant on the show. The fast food joint sold menu items like a “greasy lard bomb” and a “Number 2,” which was evidently some sort of breakfast item but could have also been a burger. Their motto is “it tastes amazing” and their point is that who really cares what’s in it if it’s delicious. And if our real-world burger places are any indication, they’re right about that! Still, we’re not quite sure we’re down with the 128-ounce soda option, although we might need it to wash down that lard bomb.
This one is a major throwback, back to the era of Happy Days in the ‘70s and ‘80s, so most kids these days probably have no idea who Fonzie was. But with a setting in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Happy Days was a mostly family-friendly sitcom complete with a drive-in—Arnold’s—and plenty of good old-fashioned troublemaking by Fonzie and the rest of the gang. If you’ve ever wished you could frequent a restaurant where servers roller-skated up to your window to take your order, Arnold’s is your kind of spot. And while there’s not much said about the menu, we’re sure the classic burgers and fries would hit the spot.
If you’re old enough to remember Doug from the ‘90s cartoon, you probably have rather fond memories. The show centered on friendship, unfortunate mishaps that Doug always seemed to recover from, and even a bit of high school romance. All of that meant that Doug was just like us—he even had to get some cash from his dad to eat at the local burger joint, Honker Burger. The restaurant appeared to have been modeled after In-N-Out, meaning it’s high on foodies’ lists of must-try burgers from TV. Of course, first we have to learn how to order—apparently the burger to beat is a “moo cow,” according to Skeeter.
Now that Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are married and have a family, fans of That ‘70s Show can finally rest in their fandom. The show was a huge hit in the United States, meaning its iconic (yet fake) fast food was just as important to fans. And although it seemed like any other fast food restaurant of the era, the place was chill enough that the guys in the crew all applied to work there. Eric’s the only one who gets a job, but his friends’ run-in with the owner of the burger shop results in them stealing the place’s mascot—the drive-thru clown. All that aside, everyone did seem to enjoy their burgers…
Technically, Big Kahuna Burger wasn’t part of the TV world—it was featured in a handful of movies, including Pulp Fiction, though, and other movies by both Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. The fictional chain featured Hawaii-inspired food items that popped up in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, too. These are standard US burger fare, however, with just cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes—no word on what makes them “Big Kahuna” worthy. Some restaurants do feature a “Big Kahuna”-branded menu item, though, so maybe you can have one in real life. Just don’t tell Quentin and Robert their trademark burger is now off the screen and in the real world.
Any restaurant with the name “doublemeat” gets most foodies’ votes, but it was a little wonky in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in the 1990s to 2000s. Buffy got a job there to make some quick cash, but the episode took a dark turn when it seemed that the secret ingredient in the Doublemeat Medley, the signature burger, was something more sinister than spices. The thing is, the chicken and beef concoction was actually made from a vegetable concoction, which the fast food spot definitely didn’t want getting out. So since it’s not made from humans, anyone want to try a bite?
Fortunately for Bob’s Burgers fans, some of the recipes are actually coming to life—according to Food and Wine, Blue Apron came up with some recipes such as “Quantum of Salsa Burger” and a “Gouda Wife Burger” so that fans of the show could have a taste at home. We can’t lie—those sound amazing, but there are also at least 149 “special burgers” from the show—and there’s no way Blue Apron is going to develop recipes for all of them. So for now, we’ll just have to enjoy the puns and maybe make our own take on the “Charbroil Fair Burger” or the “Kale Mary Burger.”
Here’s a TV restaurant that the Gilmore Girls fandom can’t get enough of—so much so, in fact, that they inspired a chain of pop-up Luke’s Diners back in 2016. They gave away free coffee and thrilled fans for a single day—but then the Luke’s locations disappeared. Of course, there was much more to love about the TV restaurant than free coffee. It was a place where Lorelai and Rory spent time gabbing and grubbing together, and the burgers looked especially good when we were at home watching from the couch. And that seemed like Lorelai and Rory’s go-to: just a burger and fries to hit the spot. The thing was, it wasn’t always a good idea to stop in and face Luke’s potential wrath. Hopefully the pop-up Luke’s were cheerier.
A good burger is messy, right? So does that mean that a Good Burger from the ‘90s hit All That and the follow-up film Good Burger is truly the best burger? If you didn’t see the show, picture this: comedy greats of the millennial generation, Kenan and Kel, “served” sloppy burgers with secret sauce to all kinds of celebrity visitors. But did any of them actually get to eat their burgers? I honestly can’t remember—but why else would then-great artist Aaron Carter or actor Frankie Munoz show up for a bite? Of course, plenty of gross stuff also happened on the show—but that doesn’t stop us from wanting to try a Good Burger.
What’s really in a Krabby Patty? The world may never actually know—because Mr. Krabbs keeps the recipe a closely guarded secret. Although, you’d think that since Spongebob literally spends his entire life slaving over the Krusty Krab grill, he may have some inkling of just what’s in those tasty patties. He has the toppings down pat, so much so that it’s become part of his muscle memory, but that doesn’t mean he knows the seasoning blend or anything else. After all, have you seen the cooler—AKA the Krabby Patty vault? It’s piled with patties, begging the question—where do they come from? We may never know—but we still want to try one.