Popular culture is rich with food references and representation, multitudinous and messy, symbolic and literal, spanning the vast range of flavors from sweet to sour to bitter to salty to umami. It's all but impossible to identify a single luminary between the prominence of coffee in Twin Peaks and Gilmore Girls, pie in The Waitress and Pushing Daisies, martinis in the James Bond franchise, wine in countless stories including Sideways and Wine Country and the titular chocolate in Chocolat but if we had to choose a single standout it would probably be the iconic burger.

From The Simpsons' go-to burger chain called the Krusty Burger, to Bob Belcher's desperately overreaching Burger of the Day, to Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winnfield digging into a Big Kahuna burger and exclaiming “Hmmm, this is a tasty burger!” this distinctive type of sandwich has undeniably captured the popular imagination. The Delish article “19 Pop Culture Moments That Made Us Seriously Want a Burger” argues that the noble dish deserves its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame because, “While other foods have had largely forgettable moments in movies and TV—spaghetti had its moment in the spotlight in Lady and the Tramp, and lobster saw its fifteen minutes in Annie Hall—one delicacy stands above them all in the pantheon of stars: burgers. They've built up quite the filmography—acting alongside Samuel L. Jackson and being featured in Emmy-nominated TV shows like Mad Men.”

In light of the fact that May 28 is National Burger Day it's the perfect opportunity to celebrate our favorite burgers, fictional burger chains and burger-lovin' characters (we're looking at you, Bob Belcher). In some television series and movies, the burger is so ubiquitous that writers felt compelled to create fictional burger restaurants. Eater documented this phenomenon in “14 Fictional Hamburger Restaurants That Should Be Real” discussing The Simpsons' Krusty Burger; Honker Burger from Doug; Fasto Burger from That '70s Show; Big Kahuna Burger which appears in multiple Quentin Tarantino films including Reservoir Dogs, Four Rooms and Pulp Fiction; Good Burger from the Nickelodeon sketch comedy show All That and The Peach Pit from Beverly Hills, 90210. The latter is described as “the classic teen show hangout: a retro diner where characters can work, hang out, and generally find an excuse to all be in the same scene together.”

Parks and Recreation's Paunch Burger in Pawnee, Indiana boasts Ron Swanson's favorite order of the Number Two, a “double bacon grenade deluxe, hash browns, chili cheese fries, and one poached egg.” But perhaps the most iconic hamburger moment in the political satire/comedy sitcom would take place not at the fictional burger chain but in the courtyard outside the city's Parks and Recreation Department. Season 3 Episode 10's "Soulmates" would see a showdown between Chris' “Patented Traeger Turkey Burger” and Ron's “hamburger made out of meat on a bun with nothing” because, as Ron says, “turkey can never beat cow.” In Season 4, Episode 2 of How I Met Your Mother—“The Best Burger in New York”—Marshall Eriksen leads an epic quest to find the restaurant where he had his very first burger in New York, which he describes as “God speaking through food.”

In Gilmore Girls' “Forgiveness and Stuff” (Season 1, Episode 10) hamburgers represent friendship and redemption as Luke prepares Lorelai a “Santa burger” to cheer her up after a disagreement with her parents. “No one has ever made me something quite this disgusting before,” Lorelai gushes, looking at the burger featuring a meat patty face, a cream cheese beard and ketchup Santa hat. “I thank you.” Dumb and Dumber takes the opposite approach, wielding the burger—more specifically, the contents of that burger—as a weapon. At a restaurant aptly named Dante's Inferno, the two protagonists sneak atomic peppers into their companion's burger, ultimately killing him.

The Daily Beast paid homage to the mighty burger's iconic nonfictional moments in “The Most Important Burger Moments in History.” Among the dates and occasions discussed are the 1921 launch of the first White Castle in Wichita, Kansas; a Vanity Fair post-Academy Awards party that served In-N-Out and a video of Andy Warhol eating a hamburger from Burger King. Are these moments as magical as hamburgers raining down from the sky in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? Certainly not. Do these moments have the rhythm of Ed reciting, “Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger. Can I take your order?” Obviously not. But on this most savory of holidays, any form of celebration—from a visit to White Castle to a Bob's Burgers marathon—is fair game.

Bob Belcher's 20 Best (Or Worst) Burgers of the Day from Bob's Burgers
  • It's My Havarti and I'll Rye If I Want To (“A Few ‘Gurt Men” Season 7, Episode 11)
  • The Glass Fromagerie Burger (“Secret Admiral-irer” Season 6, Episode 18)
  • If At First You Sesame Seed, Thai, Thai, Again Burger (“Pro Tiki/Con Tiki” Season 6, Episode 15)
  • Edamame Dearest Burger (“Wag the Hog” Season 6, Episode 13)
  • Gourdon-Hamsey Burger (“Turkey in a Can” Season 4, Episode 5)
  • Eggers Can't Be Cheesers (“Nude Beach” Season 3, Episode 11)
  • Don't You Four Cheddar ‘Bout Me (“Lindapendent Woman” Season 3, Episode 14)
  • Let's Give ‘Em Something Shiitake ‘Bout Burger (“The Runaway Club” Season 5, Episode 16)
  • Sgt. Poblano Pepper Lonely Artichoke Hearts Club Burger (“The Kids Run Away” Season 4, Episode 19)
  • I Know Why the Cajun Burger Sings ("Topsy" Season 3, Episode 16)
  • Open Sesame Burger (“Tina-rannosaurus Wrecks” Season 3, Episode 7)
  • Parsnips-Vous Francais Burger (“Friends with Burger-fits” Season 5, Episode 3)
  • Parma Parma Parma Chameleon Burger (“Gene It On” Season 4, Episode 20)
  • Texas Chainsaw Massa-curd Burger (“Tina and the Real Ghost” Season 5, Episode 2)
  • We're Here We're Gruyere, Get Used to It Burger (“Bob Fires the Kids” Season 3, Episode 3)
  • Only the Provolonely Burger (“Lindapendent Woman” Season 3, Episode 14)
  • Winter Muensterland Burger (“Easy Com-mercial, Easy Go-mercial”)
  • It's Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Zucchini Burger (“Bob Fires the Kids” Season 3, Episode 3)
  • Curry On My Wayward Bun Burger (“The Hormone-iums” Season 6, Episode 14)
  • The Silentil Night Burger (“God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins” Season 3, Episode 9)