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Gift yourself a tour of downtown’s burger renaissance

The half-pound burger from SoulBelly BBQ. (SoulBelly BBQ)
The half-pound burger from SoulBelly BBQ. (SoulBelly BBQ)

Coffee bars and brew pubs may have started the revolution, but downtown’s culinary renaissance has taken a beefy turn in the past year. Amid all the lattes and IPAs are a panoply of superior burgers — so closely packed you could eat your way between them on foot, with two offerings literally next door to each other. Leading the way is a 10-year-old steakhouse, and together they’ve created a microclimate of magnificent chopped meat — gussied up with a chef’s touch, and taken to never-before levels of excellence.

Begin your burger crawl at Main Street Provisions (1214 S. Main St., mainstprovisions.com), where Justin Kingsley Hall’s 6-ounce patty of Altair wagyu is smothered in grilled onions and his own special cheese sauce. If it weren’t for the stiff competition, you’d swear this loosely packed, brioche-encased beauty was the apotheosis of beef. Continue your journey a couple of blocks south on Main Street, where a delicious, side-by-side conundrum awaits: the smoky intensity of Soulbelly BBQ’s half-pounder, dripping with American fromage and enough unbridled beefiness for an aged porterhouse (1327 S. Main St., soulbellybbq.com), or the double-double whammy of Nevada Brew Works’ masterpiece, a glorious mess of meat and cheese that easily feeds two (1327 S. Main St., nevadabrewworks.com).

Finish off your cholesterol-quest at Oscar’s Steakhouse (Plaza, oscarslv.com), where chef Ben Jenkins stacks his certified Angus patties (the best beef of the bunch) on a toasted bun smeared with tangy “plaza sauce” in an umami-bomb homage to the In-N-Out classic that inspired it. You won’t find four better burgers this close together anywhere in America.

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