Burger Queen

Empress Burger, Empress Tavern

Burgers may be an American staple, but you know a good burger when you have one. During happy hour at Empress Tavern (Monday through Friday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m.), you can get your hands on the Empress Burger ($6). The chefs say they wanted to elevate the diner-style burger, and they weren’t kidding. Two thin-cut patties made from half beef brisket and half chuck steak, topped with thin-sliced mortadella, sharp cheddar cheese, an onion relish with hints of sweetness, shredded lettuce, and special sauce; a housemade amalgam of mayonnaise, ketchup, diced pickles and liquid smoke. This tasty mouthful is all sandwiched between two fluffy, glazed buns. What’s not to love? 1013 K Street, empresstavern.com.