The fondest memories I still have from my stay in the States are all food related: the ice cream sandwich I had wandering the sunny streets of San Francisco, sharing a brownie in DC while sitting on a bench surrounded by cherry blossoms, or the Indian takeaway feasts I had with my roommates. Back then, we even made something like a bucket list of all the great burger places we wanted to try and soon we found ourselves arguing about which burger was the best. Back in Berlin, I realized that people here too are as passionate about this topic as ever and that, first and foremost, there needed to be certain criteria in place to be able to determine what makes a burger a favorite:
For me, and this may sound heretical, the only burger is a cheese burger. I can go on about this for hours, but the most important thing is the cheese and how it should smoothly melt on the patty just like I experienced it at Shake Shack. (An experience that still makes me look for flights to London from time to time just so I could visit their single European outpost.) And unlike some other burger enthusiasts who swear by toasted buns, I like them a bit more soft. So keep this in mind as we proceed to take a bite out of Schiller Burger.
In Berlin, there’s already a great community of burger places, ranging from the bustling mainstay The Bird to smaller joints like Marienburger or Berlin Burger International. Though the first Schiller Burger was opened only about two years ago in Schillerkiez, it now has already expanded to three locations, all situated in the south of Berlin. I went for the ‘original’. Secluded in an up-and-coming yet still quiet cobblestone area, the place’s brick-wall interior immediately put me in the mood for some American culinary delight.
While waiting for my order, I chatted with the owners and they told me that the whole staff was recruited from their closest friends. Looking at the menu, it certainly seems they have fun at work: since the area is called the Schillerkiez, all the burgers are named after works of the famous 18th-century German author (best buds with Goethe), though none of these really bear any relation to the plays they’re named after. There is, for example, the Maria Stuart burger (4,50 Euros) that comes with mozzarella, the Räuber (2,50 Euros) that is slightly smaller, and not to forget the Don Carlos (4,50 Euros) with barbecue sauce and bacon.
In order to compare it to Berlin’s best burgers, I decided on a classic cheeseburger they called the Glocke (4 Euros), organic meat is two euros more and worth it both for flavor and your conscience, and you can choose from a wide range of sauces to make the best out of your burger experience — from sour cream to chili cheese or mango, the staff is always making new ones. It doesn’t really matter which one you choose, since they’re all delicious and it just depends on whether you prefer something spicy or fruity — but be sure to order the sweet potato fries on the side! They’re everything one could ask for from a bag of fries: crispy, yet still slightly soft inside and the sweetness only adds to the satisfying bites of burger.
With a bun freshly baked from Schiller Bäckerei next door, my burger still had a soft texture that, together with the melty cheese, makes for a somewhat soggy bite; exactly how I prefer to have my burgers. All in all, Schiller Burger is a safe bet for your burger urges, and we suggest putting it on your list of favorite burger places in Berlin!