The ideal cheeseburger is a culinary unicorn: legendary, beautiful and totally theoretical. We set out to find it, but quickly realized it would be more fun to build it from scratch, using key ingredients from the Washington area's most popular burgers.

We asked readers to pick the bun, burger patties, cheese, toppings and sauce to build what we're calling the People's Burger -- with fries and a shake on the side for good measure. You can't find this creation on any menu, but the excellent burgers that produced this beast are worth celebrating on their own.

Click each ingredient to see which real burger it comes from:

You voted for the ingredients, and we stacked them all in The People's Burger of Washington, D.C. (Casey Capachi/The Washington Post)

So, how did it taste? Pretty good! At first, we were concerned about the cacophony of fried ingredients drowning out all but the vaguest of meat flavor. But the crunchy tang of the onion ring and fried green tomato pleasantly disrupted the uniformity of the meat patties. The smoky bacon jam was delicious, because, well, bacon. In part, the burgamalgamation succeeded because voters chose the best versions of tried-and-true ingredients, not falling for our suggestions to vote for more out-there (read: bad for you) ingredients such as Ray's Hell Burger's bone marrow, Thunder Burger's foie gras or Ben's Chili Bowl's chili.

Our cardiologists thank you.