The beloved hamburger can be as polarizing a topic as politics. Everyone’s got a favorite but for those looking to explore the burgerdom that is part of Austin’s rich history, I’ve compiled a diverse list of meaty patties. This is a guide to beef (not veggie) burgers, not a review. If I’ve omitted your favorite, drop a comment so we can check it out. Prices are based on regular menu pricing: $ = 5 dollars or less, $$ = 6-10 dollars, $$$ = 11-15 dollars, $$$$ = 16 dollars or more. Be sure to check the restaurant’s website for updated hours and burger availability as some burgers aren’t available at every service.
The list is organized alphabetically by geographic location.
CENTRAL & NORTH
Black Star Co-op – 7020 Easy Wind Dr, 512-452-2337, $$$
The continuously rotating menu is anchored by the Black Star Burger, a 44 Farms beef patty dressed with the typical fixings, beer mustard and cooked to your liking. Enjoy it with a pint or two of Blackstar’s house beer or guest drafts while socializing with friends.
Drink.Well. – 207 E 53rd St, 512-614-6683, $$$
Tucked away in the North Loop neighborhood, Drink.Well, should consider adding Eat.Well. to their namesake as consistently good food is delivered from the kitchen. Try the burger as is with smokey onion marmalade and salty cheddar cheese, or add bacon, a fried egg or roasted mushrooms for $2 each. Save room for the house-made twinkies.
Hopfield’s – 3110 Guadalupe St, 512-537-0467, $$$
Hopfield’s focuses on craft beer and serves French-inspired food like the Pascal Burger to match. It’s topped with ripe creamy camembert, crispy acidic cornichons and sweet caramelized onions with a smear of whole grain mustard. Dip the exceptional french fries in the accompanying aioli. Oui! Oui!
The Peached Tortilla – 5520 Burnet Rd, 512-330-4439, $$-$$$
The Peached Tortilla started as a food truck but has expanded to include a brick and mortar location. Two burgers with distinct Asian flavors are on the menu. The JapaJam is sweeter with a tomato jam, jalapeño jack cheese, fried egg, Japanese BBQ sauce and tempura fried onion rings. The savory Social Burger, only available from 5-7, includes peached sauce, american cheese, mizo caramelized onions and Japanese pickles atop a 6 ounce patty for a manageable $7.
Top Notch – 7525 Burnett Rd, 512-452-2181, $
Eat in the dining room or pull up and dine curbside. The grilled patties have appealing char-broiled flavor and while they’ll fill you up, the price is light on the wallet. Kids love the classic cardboard cars meals are packaged in.
Other places to check out in Central/North Austin: Billy’s on Burnet $$-$$$, Big Daddy’s $$, Crown & Anchor Pub $$, Dirty Martin’s $-$$, The Frisco $$, Lebowski’s Grill $$, Symon’s Burger Joint $$, Twisted Root Burger Co.$$
24 Diner – 6th St & Lamar, 512-474-5400, $$$
In keeping with ELM Group’s commitment to serving hormone-free, antibiotic free meat, 24 Diner’s burgers are all-natural Never Ever Angus patties. According to Chef Drew Curren, the Bacon Avocado burger “is very satisfying because it hits so many taste components – the avocado is sweet, the bacon is salty, and the smoked poblano is spicy.” Satisfy your burger fix at any time since 24 Diner is open all day.
Casino El Camino – 517 E 6th St, 512-469-9330, $$
The char-broiled burgers weighing in at 3/4 pound are as big as your head…literally. The no-frills bar is a favorite of many Austinites and is a great place to satisfy late night munchies. While the Buffalo Burger with hot sauce and blue cheese is shown above, they’re most known for the Amarillo Burger with roasted serrano chiles, jalapeño jack cheese and cilantro mayonnaise.
Eureka! – 200 E 6th St, 512-735-1144, $$$
This California-based chain opened on 6th street in 2015 and serves American crafted food with a focus on burgers. There are numerous options but the most decadent is the Bone Marrow Burger served with umami-rich bone marrow porcini butter, grilled onions and roasted tomatoes.
Hut’s Hamburger’s – 87 W 6th St, 512-472-0963, $$
This iconic burger joint opened an amazing 82 years ago. There’s a whopping twenty burgers to choose from and patties are cooked to a juicy medium unless otherwise requested. Good luck trying to find a seat on Wednesdays when burgers are 2-for-1 from 6-10 pm.
Jackalope Bar & Grill – 404 E 6th St, 512-472-3663, $$
The Jackalope is another 6th St bar with a national reputation for good burgers. The Chipotle Bacon Cheeseburger smothered with pimiento cheese, crispy bacon and pickles was featured on “Best. Burger. Ever.” airing recently on the Food Network. Pro tip: Wednesdays are 1/2 off burger night.
Parkside – 301 E 6th St, 512-474-9898, $$$
The cheeseburger has been on the menu since the restaurant opened in 2008. Shawn Cirkiel uses high quality ingredients and a custom blend of beef for juiciness and texture. Arrive early and snag the burger off the bar menu for half price during happy hour.
Second Bar & Kitchen – 200 Congress Ave, 512-827-2750, $$$-$$$$
The Congress Burger is a mixture of ground chuck and beef brisket. Shallot confit adds sweetness while horseradish pickles cut the richness of the gruyere cheese. For an up charge add an egg, pork belly, avocado, or an extra patty, but for a luxurious experience, top the burger with seared foie gras for $14. Indulgent!
Swifts Attic – 315 Congress Ave, 512-482-8842, $$
Swifts has the most creative burgers in Austin. Every Monday at 9 pm chef Zach Northcutt serves a new custom creation. The “When The Moon Hits Your Eye” (pictured above) is prime example of the ridiculously delicious and elaborate burgers dreamed up every week. The Big Ass Burger often sells out by 7 pm, so arrive early and enjoy $3 drafts all night.
Jo’s Coffee – 242 W 2nd St, 512-469-9003, $$-$$$
Don’t let the name fool you — Jo’s serves much more than coffee. The sweet roll sets this burger apart from others around town and the patty is 100% Angus beef. Try the standard version or branch out with the chili cheddar burger or mushroom melt with sautéed onions, mushrooms and swiss. Fried avocado is another unique topping Jo’s will add for $2.25. It’s proximity to ACL Live makes it an economical spot to grab grub before a show.
Other places to check out in Downtown Austin: Bacon $$, Burger Bar $-$$, Cafe Josie $$$, Lambert’s $$$, Peche $$$$, Trace $$$$, Waller Creek Pub House $$-$$$, Walton’s Fancy and Staple
Contigo – 2027 Anchor Ln, (512)-614-2260, $$$
Enjoy a high-quality burger in a ranch-style atmosphere at one of the most enjoyable outdoor eating spaces in all of Austin. The burger is simple in execution but exceptional in quality. The juicy beef patty is sandwiched in a challah bun with cheese or bacon available for an up charge.
Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile – 3235 E Cesar Chavez St, 512-366-5808, $$$$
Jacoby’s beef is sourced straight from the family ranch. It’s dry-aged for a minimum of 21 days providing a depth of flavor not available with other Austin burgers. For every specialty burger purchased on Tuesdays, Jacoby’s makes a donation to the Capitol Area Food Bank. While happy hour runs only a few days each week, burgers are discounted to $10.
Salt & Time – 1912 E 7th St, 512-524-1383, $$$-$$$$
The all-in-one butcher shop, salumeria, and restaurant supplies and serves locally sourced, sustainable meat. It should be no surprise that they serve one of Austin’s finest burgers, best enjoyed medium-rare. For a different take, add the house-made n’duja tejano, a spicy spreadable salami. The beef fat french fries served alongside have an extra crunchy outside with a tender interior. The burger is only available at dinner service.
Launderette – 2115 Holly St, 512-382-1599, $$
Escape to Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki’s converted washateria hidden away in East Austin. The Plancha Burger is cooked on a flat top with melted American cheese and topped with special sauce and pickles. The challah bun is pillowy soft and is the perfect vehicle for the simple but flavorful patty that’s fortified with bacon.
Justine’s Brasserie – 4710 E 5th St, 512-385-2900, $$$$
Despite all the recent restaurant openings, Justine’s remains on of Austin’s best restaurants serving consistently good French fare. Order the Royale with Cheese, a hand ground Angus patty that’s topped with gooey melted gruyere, housemade mayo and butter lettuce served on ciabatta roll. Justine’s romantic atmosphere is a great spot for a date.
Other places to check out in East Austin: Dai Due $$$$, El Sapo $$$-$$$$, Haymaker $$, Hill-Bert’s $-$$, School House Pub $$, Silo on 7th $$-$$$, Sputnik $$
Old West Austin
Clark’s Oyster Bar – 1200 W 6th St, 512-287-2525, $$$$
This burger is a personal favorite. It’s a six-ounce Angus patty, pan-roasted and butter basted which ads incredible flavor, juiciness and richness. The outer crust is perfectly browned. Melted gruyere and sauce gribiche add to the burger’s decadence. For $8 during happy hour, this may actually be the best bang for the buck for a burger in all of Austin.
Jeffrey’s – 1204 West Lynn St, 512-477-5584, $$$$
Jeffrey’s serves an upscale burger in an upscale setting. The patty is made from dry-aged prime wagyu beef and served juicy and pink. Creamy cambozola adds a mild blue cheese flavor, caramelized onions sweetness and the caper horseradish mayo cuts through the burger’s assertive flavors. Be prepared though, at $24 this is the most expensive burger in Austin. Luckily it’s 1/2 price during happy hour off the bar menu.
Josephine House – 1601 Waterston St, 512-477-5584, $$$$
Josephine House serves two versions of their burger. Both are dressed with harissa aioli and served on a homemade toasted bun. During lunch and dinner service, melted Grafton cheddar and grilled onions top the patty. However during brunch a perfectly fried egg and bacon are substituted.
Nau’s Enfield Drug, 1115 W Lynn St, 512-476-3663, $
Tucked away in the back of Nau’s Enfield Drug in Clarksville is a luncheonette and soda fountain. Pull up a seat at the counter and order one of their iconic floats, malts or shakes along with a cheeseburger. The burgers are simple but develop a thick crust from the seasoned griddle.
Other places to try in Old West Austin area: Liberty Kitchen
Black Sheep Lodge – 2108 S Lamar Blvd, 512-707-2744, $$
The Black Sheep Burger is simple, and simple is good. There’s no plethora of toppings or sauces, only an 8 oz grilled patty served on a white or wheat bun with greens, onions, tomato and pickle. If you like spice, get the Buffalo burger doused in hot sauce and sprinkled with blue cheese.
Cafe No Se – 1603 South Congress Ave, 512-942-2061, $$$
The newest restaurant addition to South Congress is Cafe No Se. Fellow blogger Linda Nguyen from Girl Eats World told me she’s been dreaming about the double cheeseburger sandwiched between a buttermilk bun since she ate it a few weeks ago. Add crispy bacon or a fried egg for a few dollars more.
Henri’s – 2026 S Lamar Blvd, 512-442-3373, $$$
Henri’s bills itself as a cheese shop but also has a small cafe. The menu features a burger topped with 2-year-old cheddar, and is dressed with traditional toppings, aioli and mustard. The bun is made by Austin’s favorite bakery, East Tiger. It’s discounted on Monday evenings and daily during afternoon snacks from 2-5.
Odd Duck – 1201 S Lamar Blvd, 512-433-6521, $$$$
Fresh, locally sourced ingredients at Odd Duck send this burger over-the-top. Matthew Odom of The Statesman named it his favorite in Austin for 2015. It changes regularly, but the current version is topped with grilled pimento cheese, bacon mustard rillette and pickled jalapeño.
Porter Ale House – 3175 S First St, 512-291-6299, $$$
This Gastropub located on South First serves what I would characterize as contemporary comfort food. There’s a few burgers to choose from at dinner but my favorite is available during brunch. Sweet and fatty bacon jam is spooned onto an all beef patty with melted cheddar cheese. A fried egg with runny yolk tops it all off and a toasted english muffin serves as the bun.
Wholly Cow Burgers – 3010 S Lamar Blvd, 512-394-8156, $$
Order a single or double with or without your choice of cheddar, pepper jack, provolone, american or swiss cheese. Custom additions like candied jalapeños and sweet roasted peppers can be added for a nominal fee. The patties are made from grass fed beef and are wedged between a toasted King’s Hawaiian sweet roll. Messy but satisfying.
Other places to check out in South Austin: District Kitchen $$$, Doc’s Motor Works $$, Luke’s Inside Out $$$, Red’s Porch $$, Sandy’s $$-$$$, Shady Grove $$, South Congress Cafe $$$,
Counter Cafe – $$$
Finding a seat in the small Downtown space was difficult but Counter Cafe recently added a second location on the east side. Both serve their celebrated burger, a grass-fed beef patty topped with cheddar and served on a sweet sourdough bun. Only breakfast and lunch are served.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar – $$-$$$
A discussion about Austin burgers wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of Hopdoddy. While some feel lines are too long, patrons still flock to multiple locations to devour delicious burgers. The Primetime, a Texas Akaushi beef patty topped with brie, arugula, caramelized onions, truffle aioli and steak sauce is one of my favorites. Save room for a shake — you won’t regret it.
Jack Allen’s Kitchen – $$
The food at Jack Allen’s is locally sourced fare best described as Texas comfort food. It doesn’t get more Texas than the Green Chile Cheeseburger with roasted green chiles, jack cheese, pickles and jalapeño mayonnaise. Choose from three locations in the greater Austin area.
Mighty Fine – $-$$
Mighty fine serves the freshest ingredients by keeping the menu simple and focused. The burgers are cooked on the flat top and garnished with red, yellow or white (ketchup, mustard or mayo) and a variety of toppings. The fries and onion rings are often being cut while you eat. Devoted fans can sign up for a Mighty Fine license plate and get $100 burger bucks card. Score!
Roaring Fork – $$$
Arrive during happy hour and get the burger for $10 in the lounge area. It’s a “Big Ass” wood fired patty served with poblano peppers, cheddar, pepper bacon and the works. While not included, the green chili mac & cheese is legit and worth the extra $7.
Also check out: Chi’lantro BBQ $$, Cover 3 $$-$$$, Dan’s Hamburger’s $-$$, Hat Creek Burger Company $-$$, Gordough’s Public House $$-$$$, In-N-Out $-$$, P. Terry’s $, Phil’s Icehouse $$, Opal Divine’s $$-$$$, Shake Shack $$, Short Stop, Whataburger $-$$
This post is part of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance 2016 City Guide.
Eat more burgers!