Jennifer and Guff Brown have been all over Arizona, but when they decided to open a burger bar, only one place made sense. “We wanted to be in the Verde Valley,” Guff says. “It just seemed like the best spot in the state.” Finding a newly constructed space in the small community of Cornville, the Browns were able to design G’s Burgers, their homage to ground beef, from the ground up.
Burgers are in Guff’s blood. He grew up in Flagstaff, cooking at his mom’s restaurant, Mrs. Brown’s Burger Bar — for decades a popular stop for those headed to the Grand Canyon on U.S. Route 180. That was also where he met Jennifer, who has a degree in hotel and restaurant management from Northern Arizona University. In 1999, the couple opened Quartzsite’s Palo Verde Café; they ran it until 2014, but the idea of a burger restaurant never went away. “I was always thinking about different burgers and different ways of doing things,” Guff says. “Everybody loves a burger, and I always wanted to do a gourmet burger shop.”
The 14 burgers at G’s range from straightforward to whimsically decadent. Alongside a standard burger with the usual fixings and special sauce, there’s the Mac-n-G’s: a brick of macaroni and cheese, stacked on Texas toast atop a burger with cheddar cheese, bacon, tomatoes and house mayo. The Howdy Pilgrim boasts a ground turkey patty and house-made cranberry sauce. And the Breakfast Burger features pepper jack cheese, bacon and a fried egg. Popular burger alternatives include a pork tenderloin sandwich, inspired by Guff’s time in Indiana as a child, and an array of other sandwiches, salads and munchies.
The restaurant opened in 2015 and quickly developed a following among Verde Valley residents, along with day trippers from Phoenix and Flagstaff. And it got a boost in 2019, when USA Today noted that G’s was Arizona’s best-reviewed burger joint on Trip-Advisor. The restaurant also benefits from being within a few miles of several wineries, although diners not on their way to or from a tasting can get a beverage from the full bar instead.
Some of the visitors from up north are devotees of the Momma Brown Burger, a re-creation of the Giant Burger from Mrs. Brown’s. Jennifer says her favorite is the Verde Valley Burger, which gets its Southwestern kick from pepper jack and fire-roasted green chiles. But what about the chef’s favorite? For Guff, it’s about what happens after the burger is made: an extra step that provides a tasty reminder of his roots.
“Growing up in the burger bar, sometimes we’d have one or two left over after the lunch rush, so that’s what I’d have,” he says. “It might have sat under the heat lamp for four or five minutes, wrapped up in paper. That made it better. If I make myself a burger now, I do the same thing.”
1220 S. Eastern Drive