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Looking for good grilled burger in Austin

I'm familiar with most of the traditional Good Burger spots in Austin, but am hoping there are some I have overlooked. What I seek is a cheeseburger, for you old time Austinites, that is like the one made by the legendary (in my mind) GM Steakhouse that used to be on the drag (not the one on Lamar). They made the Perfect Cheeseburger: grilled 1/2 lb patty with a mound of sharp cheddar. The closest I have found is probably Houston's. That's a good cheeseburger. Any other places that fit the bill? Requirements:

*Burger must be grilled (not griddle-cooked, sorry Fuddruckers)
*Cheddar cheese must be available
*Burger must be at least 1/3 lb (no thin patties need apply, sorry Top Notch)
*Burger must be available medium rare (Chili's is out)

I have nothing against griddle burgers (Fuddruckers is good, tho too expensive) or thin burgers (love Top Notch), but I looking for something very specific here.


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  1. I hope I'm not stating the obvious but until you've had a burger at Casino el Camino you have not had a burger....12 ounces and charred up with real fire.Wear Khakis and a pink polo if you're feeling sporty,friend.

    2 Replies
    1. re: scrumptiouschef

      So 12 oz is 3/4 lb, right? Are you sure their burgers are that big? Cause I eat them all the time and never thought it was that big. Sometimes I can even eat two.

      They are griddled, though.

      It may be tough to find grilled burgers. If you find any, please let us know.

      1. re: Kent Wang

        holy smokes, Kent! Damn boy, you can eat! We had a guy that usually when he comes and visits me he cleans me out of house and home and even HE couldn't finish a CeC burger! I'm wholly impressed!

    2. FINALLY had my first CeC burger! Holy cow, that's an amazing burger! Gi-normous! Had the serrano burger and let me tell you, they don't mess around. Huge rare/med rare flavorful patty, LOTS of sliced serranos and a yummy white serrano cheese sauce. love-love-loved it!

      ...but isn't it griddled?

      3 Replies
      1. re: amysuehere

        I have heard of CeC, but haven't been there to try a burger. I do think they are griddled. Also, 12oz is toooo much burger.

        1. re: cstrombe

          Yes, it is too much meat. I overstuffed myself (I couldn't stop, it was sooo good) but still barely finished a third at best.

          1. re: cstrombe

            casino grills their burgers. and check it out, the precooked meat patties are the size of softballs: http://flickr.com/photos/yi/79591162/

        2. A couple of years ago, I ordered the burger at Texas Land and Cattle, medium rare. It resembled the one at Houston's in appearance. I remember thinking it was great. I've not ordered it since, though, so there must have been something off.

          1. Dirty's on Guadalupe just north of campus. Get cheese tots on the side. Also, Players on MLK at Guadalupe.

            1 Reply
            1. Pok e Jo's has a darn good grilled burger. It takes a long time, for reasons that I don't completely understand, but reminds me of an old fashioned char burgers. Don't know if they have cheddar cheese though.

                1. re: RGralla

                  I had the Big Ass Burger at Roaring Fork yesterday. It looked to be about 12 ounces, was grilled medium rare and had cheddar cheese (and bacon). An excellent burger and a real bargain at happy hour in the bar. The only complaint I have is that the fries are from frozen.

                2. I'm reviving this thread - I just had a great grilled burger at Artz Rib House.

                  Thick, but not too thick patty, I'd imagine better than 1/3 lb, but not quite 1/2 lb
                  Nice char from fire grilling
                  Cheddar cheese, pleasingly melted, OK on sharpness but not as sharp as I'd choose
                  Jalapenos and lot's of them
                  Nice green lettuce
                  Extra tomatoes (at no extra charge)
                  Toasted bun
                  Pickle spear on the side
                  and you get a side, I had potato salad, and there was lot's of paprika

                  and all this was $5.49, I think. One of the best burgers that I've had lately. You could tell whoever made it took a lot of care to construct it. I appreciate that. The service was fine - never had any problems there with service like some report.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rudeboy

                    Deciding that I needed a nice juicy burger in my future -
                    I headed down to Artz -
                    Got the bacon cheese burger - mid rare -
                    Delicious -it was cooked perfectly
                    The juices were running down my hand -
                    The cheddar was thick sliced , fresh veg -
                    my only complaint - thin, ultra crisp bacon -
                    I would have preferred a thicker sliced, peppered bacon
                    All in all - excellent

                  2. Remember the GM Steakhouse well...had to wear short sleever shirts because the grease from the burger running down your arm would ruin a french-cuff....but oh so gooid. And remember that insults came with no extra charge...and the cooks threw sliced dill pickles at the window to see if they could make them stick or if they slid down to the sill. What a great memory. And I like the burgers that come out of Nau's Enfield Phamacy lunch counter, as well as Hut's...and a big second on Roaring Fork. Interested in hearing of others....nothin like a good Texas burger.....Hyde Park makes a good one too...but maybe not grilled...not sure about that. Thanks for the great posts.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: austxtinker

                      I imagine the burgs at Nau's Pharmacy are griddled though, no ? Regardless, I'm very interested to try Nau's, as the old-school pharmacy soda-fountain counters are another dying breed.

                      1. re: Nab

                        Nau's is quite the relic, and many things about it are cool, but it is hardly the final fortress of deliciousness in Clarksville. Go there for nostalgia, not amazing burgers.

                        1. re: tom in austin

                          Agreed. Just after moving here, I tried a burger at Nau's because I'd read raves about it in some media rag. It was just a fried, greasy burger. Nothing special. I never stop to eat there, even though I use the pharmacy.

                    2. Love the burger at Roaring Fork, Huts did nothing for me. Can't wait to try Casino el Camino.

                      1. Just want to pass along word aout Bam's Road House Grill. If you are ever out in Lago Vista (Near the lake between Cedar Park and Marble Falls on 1431, Stop by Bam's Road House Grill on Lohman's Ford Road. They make a stuffed burger which is a hickory smoked patty stuffed with cheddar and hatch green chilies or stuffed with bacon, blue cheese and red onions. They are pretty darn tasty and definitely unique.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Homero

                          CeC fans should waddle down to Jackalope and give their's a try also....equally good, and a little faster. lots of options

                          Burger Tex II shouldn't be overlooked either

                          Artz makes one hell of a SouthAustex burger tambien!

                          1. re: chowmick

                            Ya, Artz ... and every evening at 7:30 there is live music! What a combination!

                            1. re: chowmick

                              If you have 15 bucks burning a hole in your pocket and don't mind that kind of outlay for a burger head by the Four Seasons on Saturday[the only day they do it] Chef Elmer keeps all his trimming of the weeks butchery then douses the scraps with rendered duck fat before grinding and cooking.Seeing as how the man houses all the young buck chefs in town already you know you can't go wrong.

                              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                Now THAT sounds like my kind of burger. I’m there the next time I have a meal to spare on a Saturday. By the way, I drove all the way out to Poodie’s tonight and couldn’t convince my timid co-workers to stay long enough to try a burger. I was literally steps away from one. I’m heading out there again this weekend, either solo or with braver/drunker dining companions.

                                On rudeboy’s recommendation, I recently tried the burger at Artz. My hamburger was topped with romaine instead of iceberg lettuce, plus fresh tomato slices, mayo, and mustard. The untoasted sesame-seed bun was decent; the meat was well done. It was pretty good. However, I didn’t think it was eyes-rolling-back-into-the-head, pound-on-the-table, kiss-the-chef good. And that’s what I’m looking for.

                                I should note that I’m a burger purist. My favorite burger is just a plain hamburger—no jalapeños, no refried beans, no chorizo, no barbecue sauce. Usually, I don’t even get cheese. So, to me, a great burger has got to have great meat that can stand on its own, either because it’s a nice, fatty cut, or because good spices/flavorings have been added to the ground-beef mixture. Or both. Sometimes a delicious fresh-baked bun (like a brioche) or housemade fresh mayo can elevate a burger from good to “wow!”

                                At Artz, the patty tasted like unseasoned, good-quality, but fairly lean ground beef. It was a solid burger, and definitely better than anything else I tried there [more on that another day]. If I return to Artz, I’ll probably just order a cheeseburger and pass on everything else.

                                In the meantime, I’ll keep checking out any and all solid tips on amazing burgers.

                                1. re: MPH

                                  Hmm - I wonder why your bun wasn't toasted? And why well done? It sounds like you got robbed on the Artz burger. Granted, I've only had it onece....nibbleybits seems to have had a good medium rare burger recently, and mine wasn't "well done" either - I like medium.

                                  Anyhow, I'm a burger purist as well, I just need it slightly charred, to have jalapenos on it, usually no lettuce, onions, a smear of mayo and good mustard, toasted bun, usually no lettuce, and a slab of nice cheddar. I like the onions and three to five jalapenos placed on top of the patty and then I like the cheese melted on top of them. The mayo goes on the top side of the burger, then the tomatoes are placed on the mayo after shaking ground pepper on it. The mustard goes on the bottom side of the burger, and then the side of the burger without the cheese is placed against the mustard. If there are pickles, they go between the mustard and the meat. Then the whole thing is firmly packed, and for me, cut in half. I like to see a nice cross section. Obviously, i can't actually order this way (I can get away with some of this dining alone at Burger King), because people tend to freak out.

                                  A burger, being made of ground beef, can usually only be so good on its own - it's a cheap cut of meat, ground. To make it better, something has to be done to it. Elevate the meat to Wagyu or some other special cow or change the meat, which makes it another type of sandwich. At home, I'd really spice up the meat, but one could say that that wasn't being purist. Best burger I've ever had was at a friend's backyard cookout, where he placed a layer of very good jack cheese between two ultra thin, spiced patties and grilled the whole thing to perfection. I think that I just went bun and meat and tomatoes and mayo that day.

                                  1. re: rudeboy

                                    We sound like we have somewhat similar burger ideals, but Artz didn't deliver. That is, in my opinion, they delivered a good burger, just not a great one. Everyone in our party ordered burgers, except for the one poor soul who went with the barbecue. No one requested well-done and lean to the point of being dry; that's just how the burgers came. Someone ordered the jalapeño burger that you discuss, which was loaded with a thick layer of sliced jalapeños.

                                    By purist I mean just the basic toppings (lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, mustard), as I explained above, and usually no cheese. A great burger, to me, has something special about the meat itself (the cut or the way it's seasoned: really spicy is one of many options), or there's some rare element that elevates the whole above the sum of its parts. The meat doesn't have to be Wagyu to be better than average. There are many other cuts of beef (chuck, for instance, or a combination of several cuts) that can be ground besides whatever they put in the standard "n% lean" ground beef sold specifically for burgers. I've also had great burgers that have bacon or other drippings mixed in with the meat. That's why I'm intrigued by the burger with duck drippings that scrumptiouschef suggests.

                                    1. re: MPH

                                      Not sure if they still do it but the illustrious Backstage used to do a burger on Sunday only.It was highly seasoned[lots of comino]and would come with their badass onion strings...a good burger but honestly not on par w/Poodies just down the road.Call ahead and see if it's still a special.

                                2. re: scrumptiouschef

                                  Is the Saturday Four Seasons burger only for lunch, dinner or both?