By George Motz
George Motz is the host of Burger Land. Check out behind-the- scenes photos from the show, and be sure to tune in to learn more about America’s burgers!
It all started with a documentary I made years ago called Hamburger America. The film visits 8 iconic and unique hamburger locations across the country and focuses not only on their amazing burgers, but also the people behind the burgers. Each restaurant featured in the film has been around for more than 40 years, uses only fresh meat, and in many cases can boast the fact that ownership has stayed within the same family.
Hamburger America aired on television and the book soon followed. Now in its revised form, Hamburger America, features 150 of the best roadside stands, nostalgic diners and mom ‘n pop burger joints. But it wasn’t just the tasty burgers that held my interest in American burger culture. It was the people. I was inspired to learn the rich histories behind each of the burger joints that I loved. And a decade later I’m still on a mission to preserve the great American hamburger.
Burger Land is the result of many years of traveling, eating, writing, and photographing hamburgers in America. Much like the book, Burger Land is a regional show where the viewer is immersed in a region of America that has great burgers. Equally though, the show profiles some of my hamburger heroes, because without them there would be no burgers.
One episode explores what I like to call the Wisconsin Burger Belt, or the latitudinal route between Milwaukee and Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. In the show I get to revisit my friends at Wedl’s, Pete’s and of course Solly’s Grille in Glendale, WI. The episode ends with a visit to a place in the region that I have not been to before, in this case it’s Village Bar in Madison. A second episode visits New Jersey with stops at White Manna, Rossi’s and one of my personal favorites: White Rose System in Linden. The New Jersey episode ends with a visit to a new joint in Newark called Hamburgao that serves a crazy Brazilian take on the burger.
The hope is that Burger Land inspires people to get on the road and eat what I like to call ‘primary source’ American hamburgers. A visit to any of my favorites can guarantee a great time, but more importantly it will help to preserve a sometimes overlooked part of American food history.