San Diego fires up the grill for National Cheeseburger Day

Did you know that in 1926, 16-year-old Lionel Sternberger is rumored to have introduced the cheeseburger when he was working as a fry cook at his father's Pasadena sandwich shop, “The Rite Spot”? He dropped a slab of American cheese on the sizzling patty and, voila, the cheeseburger was born. Order up.

Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant’s BH Burger is an upgraded version of the classic, made with a half-pound patty of ground chuck, topped with aged white cheddar cheese, fresh heirloom tomato and house-pickled red onion. It’s served on a buttery brioche bun with crispy, Parmesan topped truffle fries on the side. 2202 Fourth Ave., San Diego, (619) 231-0222. bankershillsd.com

Bleu Bohème’s croque de garcon is an open-faced hamburger, made with a house-ground Angus beef patty, topped with brie cheese, crispy Parmesan ham, caramelized onions and a fried egg. It’s served on a brioche bun. Executive chef/owner Ken Irvine recommends topping it with foie gras. 4090 Adams Ave., San Diego, (619) 255-4167. bleuboheme.com

Cafe 222 offers a vegetarian twist to the classic cheeseburger with its house-made black bean-quinoa burger, topped with curry mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and choice of cheese. 222 Island Ave., San Diego. (619) 236-9902. cafe222.com

Mezé Greek Fusion puts a twist on cheeseburgers with its Mezé burger, a mix of ground beef, lamb, feta cheese, garlic, onion and mint, topped with sauteed onions, mushrooms, Swiss cheese, fiery feta and garlic aioli. 345 Sixth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter. (619) 550-1600. gaslampmeze.com

Poke It’s ribeye riceburger is made with sushi rice pressed and fried to form the buns of the burger, then sandwiched together with teriyaki ribeye, cabbage salad, avocado and a hint of sriracha. 690 University Ave., Hillcrest. (619) 773-6486. pokeitsd.com

Smokeyard BBQ & Chop Shop brings barbecue to the bun with their Smokeyard Burger, a toasted bruiche bun filled with thick cut bacon, lettuce, tomato, crispy onions, grilled mushrooms, signature barbecue sauce, aioli and aged white cheddar. 4313 La JollaVillage Drive, Suite 2265, San Diego. (858) 630-7427. smokeyard.com

Coaster Saloon’s coaster burger is piled high with bacon, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, Thousand Island dressing, lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles. 744 Ventura Place, Mission Beach. (858) 488-4438. cohnrestaurants.com/coastersaloon

Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge’s namesake burger, Leroy’s burger, is served with white cheddar, bacon jam, house pickles and signature truffle fries on the side. Round out your meal with a craft cocktail or pint from an extensive craft beer lineup. 1015 Orange Ave., Coronado. (619) 437-6087. leroyskitchenandlounge.com

Draft Republic unites bacon and blue cheese to create its bacon and blue cheese burger, made with a half-pound grass-fed beef patty, house-made maple bourbon bacon and blue cheese on a warm pretzel bun. Available at 4282 Esplanade Court, La Jolla and 5958 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad. cohnrestaurants.com

Royale! Cocktails and Hamburgers will serve a meat-free version of its crowd-favorite burger called the vegan royale, made with a house-made black bean/quinoa patty, fried eggplant, sautéed mushrooms, pickled veggie slaw, spicy veganaise on a whole wheat bun. 4204 Voltaire St., San Diego. (619) 431-5653. royalesd.com

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