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Austin Burger Smackdown!

Burgers. I've been eating them a lot recently, probing the depths of what is and what can be, and trying not to pay attention to conventional wisdom on the subject. Removing prohibitions on venues for all reasons, who serves the tastiest burger? At the inflection point of good, fast, cheap, who is doing the best job?

Who is in the running? Casino el Camino looms over the field, but with mixed results; they're undeniably erratic, sometimes serving juicy greatness and periodically posting up dry, gray disks of despair.

So, Austin! The year is 2009, and we have more options then ever. No limits, no rules, who offers the Best Burger In Town? And who offers the Golden Paretoburger, the burger that is most delicious for the price-convenience index?

I've recently surveyed the following multiple times and will be releasing rankings, but want to get the ball rolling for the brainstorm must-visit list. I do not want to miss any burger in town that is pretty-good-or-better.

Five Guys
Carl's Jr.
P. Terry's
Short Stop
Mighty Fine
Galaxy Cafe
Z Tejas
Red Robin
Cheesecake Factory
(and several sleepers I'll retain... for now.)

The only rule: must be in Austin city limits (sorry Poodie's et al). Local joints preferred, but we shouldn't miss chains if they are meritorious. Leave no good burger unturned! So what is missing from the list? Fuego's? Trio? Make sure I don't miss a single worthy location as I eat my way to the cardiologist. My current rankings are guaranteed to surprise and shock the Chowarati!

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  1. I had a good jalapeno cheeseburger at Texas Chili Parlor yesterday.

    1. Perry's steak house have a kobi burger for lunch.
      If it dosen't have to be beef,
      chicken burger at Joe's coffee shop
      turkey burger at Austin java company

      1. Austin Land and Cattle. Not only is it the best burger in town, but from 5 til 7pm on Mon-Fri you can get it for $4.50.

        1. I'm a thick, gourmet burger man myself. My favorites are roughly in order with a heavy focus downtown.

          1) Mulberry Wine Bar
          2) Four Seasons Trio (Saturday lunch only)
          3) Parkside
          4) Counter Cafe
          5) Jo's Coffee (2nd St at least)

          For the thin guys I've only liked Mooyah's and Top Notch.

          Others that I've tried lately: Lambert's (lunch), The Tavern, Cafe Java (on Metric), Player's, Casino el Camino (haven't had a good burger there in a while), Five Guy's, Mighty Fine

          Burgers I've been meaning to try: Z'Tejas and Jackalope

          3 Replies
          1. re: Carter B.

            It's hard for me to name an ultimate favorite. Depends on the day...am I hungering for a thick gourmet-style burger from a sit-down joint or do I want a thin, griddle-kissed patty from a fast food place?

            Lately, I've been on a kick to try all the old fast food institutions. The main targets have not all been hit yet, but so far I've tried Top Notch, Dan's, Fran's, Player's, Sandy's, and Hill-berts. Next up will be Burger-Tex and Dirty Martin's. I would try Casino el Camino but I really don't get down to 6th street very often.

            If I had to pick one now, I would vote Top Notch's burger, then Dan's, then Hill-berts, then Fran's, Player's, and finally Sandy's. There's something about the use of charcoal versus a griddle that seems to kick up the flavor of Top Notch's burgers (plus I love their rings), but Dan's seems to put out a well-seasoned griddled patty. I want to like Hill-berts, but most of the time the burger leans towards bland. I've never understood the love for Sandy's burgers; perhaps, it's the super cheap meal deal that makes people like them so much.

            1. re: verily

              Oh yes! Fran's. That's my top so far. Perfect greasy goodness and butter toasted buns.

              1. re: amysuehere

                Fran's is my favorite too. And you're right about the buns. They give Fran's the edge over Dan's because there's a sheen of grease on top of the bun, not just the part that touches the burger - burger heaven enveloped in grease.

          2. Wow! What an awesome undertaking. I can't wait to see the results. I just hope this is not some elaborate April Fool's joke with the winner being Burger King.

            I'd add Blvd Grill on Far West and Gabby's at Burnet and Mopac. I wouldn't say they are the best, but should both be on the list.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ssouth

              If it doesn't have to be beef, my all time favorite is the Hawaiian chicken at Blvd. Grill...with the fried jalapeno and onion strips on the side instead of fries.

              Top Notch mesquite burger fills a certain craving from time to time.

              Been meaning to try Kona and Trio for lunch.
              I really don't understand the attraction to P. Terry's - worst, dried up little bitty burger (half the size of the bun - seriously) I've had

            2. Jackalope Cesar Burger. There is no finer burger in Austin. It's thick, well seasoned, cooked perfectly to order (medium rare for me), and a light Cesar dressing on the lettuce on top of this brilliant work of art is just icing. Served on a fresh bun that has plenty of spring, but isn't too soft or sweet, and this, to me, is my favorite burger in Austin, hands down.

              3 Replies
              1. re: foodiegal71

                I've tried twice to get a burger at Jacalope and have been completely ignored by the waitstaff/bartender and have ended up walking out both times. Am I too old to be in there?

                1. re: amysuehere

                  God knows I feel that way every time I walk in that place. That and like I'm lacking tattoos. I think a good, "HEY JACK! YO! OVER HERE!" would actually be OK in that establishment.

                  And I agree with you 100% on P. Terry's. If I am with friends who want to eat there (and many do), I go for the chicken burger. It's a better alternative for sure.

                  1. re: amysuehere

                    You have to order in the back, where the kitchen is - not at the bar. It's worth the effort.

                2. I would say that you should try one of the burgers at Zax Pints & Plates. ANd Central Market Cafe on the Run makes a decent thicker burger.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: barleybob9

                    I insist that Hill's takes it rightful place on the list.

                    My more controversial pick is Phil's
                    Yes I know there are tons of kids, but I like the burgers and sweet potato fries

                    I need to know more about Jackalope, I have never heard of their burger(s)
                    Same thing about Gabby's, I used to live not too far from there and never noticed it

                    Amysue I agree with you assessment of P. Terry's (I appreciate what he is trying to do, but I think it fails)

                    1. re: Chefdavis

                      Agreed with Hills Cafe - Should be on the list of ones to try. My favorite burger i've had in town here and the one i've been chasing for years. Top Notch and the Phil-a-Buster at Phills Ice House are notable seconds for me (they are also close to me which is good). I also look forward to the list and trying them all out... :)

                      I also like the new joint, Flat Top on Manor, but will have to go again to be sure...

                    2. re: barleybob9

                      Can't knock the grocery store cafe; one of the best burgers I've ever had in my life so far came from a Kroger deli; the young fry cook there worked some serious magic.

                      I like Central Market's burgers, but it's the fries that I go to their cafe for. Their fries are always nicely seasoned and so crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.

                      1. my vote is going to be for parkside. the beef is ground in house, the buns made fresh daily, and the aioli is great! also, have a fried egg option, can't beat that! also had a really good burger at the woodland recently, the brioche buns are also made in house daily and are quite tasty! i also tried the homemade veggie burger at the woodland and thought it was great as well. thank you for reminding me of ALC burgers, i have not had one of those in a while, and they are fantastic!

                        i am surprised that a couple of other old school austin burgers joints were not mentioned; hut's, dart bowl?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Philip Speer

                          has anyone been to Nau's Pharmacy lately? I remember them as being quite good, but honestly I haven't been in sooooo many years...

                          1. re: amysuehere

                            I lived the 12th & West Lynn area for 14 yrs and used to eat at Nau's almost once a week. I knew almost everyone who worked in the store. I've not been there in 8yrs, I hope it's still there and still as good as I remember it.

                          2. re: Philip Speer

                            I forgot to mention Woodland. Thanks for reminding me of it. It also fits the other thread as a place with decent food that serves Live Oak on tap.

                          3. Team!

                            First, we should begin the platonic burger breakdown. Which burger is the perfect burger floating on heavenly crests in some mythical limbo? Apart from the opinions of flavor, these are standalone scalar descriptors. Dimensions to divine include thickness, fat %, non-meat mixins to the grind, cooking medium, default temperature, toppings, and bun.

                            As we parlay about the burger venues, we should at the very least include these data points.


                            Location: Five Guys
                            Thickness: Not that thick. Single-patty burgers are called "little". Double (normal) burger recommended if you're hungry.
                            Fat %: Decent. I'd guess this stands south of 85%. Juiciness was high despite the heavy grill hand (required by company policy).
                            NMM: None as far as I could tell. This seems to be straight-ahead ground beef.
                            Cooking medium: Grilled.
                            Default temperature: Well-done, and defiantly so. Burger remained somewhat juicy despite this unfortunate policy.
                            Toppings: Fifteen are offered, and they seem decently fresh, but I've only tried the plain-w/-cheese and a standard (lettuce-tomato-onion-cheese-mustard) variant.
                            Bun: soaked through with grease in mild travel on both visits. While that didn't turn me off to the

                            Full review: (etc.)

                            Pick up what I'm laying down? These pieces of header information will make it easier on folks who are seeking a different burger. Some folks want a thick, hearty patty loaded with mixed-in ground sweetbreads, quail egg yolks, and shredded 23-year parm; cooked medium-nearly-medium-rare. Others want the most utilitarian, skinny greasebomb blasted on a griddle and blackened hockey puck-style by default, with two-week-old lettuce wilting atop, and so on.

                            These core parameters will help guide us to the burger we're individually seeking. If you're a skinny-burger fiend and have a craving, a 1.5" patty is only gonna make you mad, and vice versa. Burgers have enough variety that we should apply some rigor in their taxonomy!

                            More to come...

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: tom in austin

                              I know that you were just using five guys as an example, but I couldn't remember

                              Are their burgers grilled or griddled?


                              1. re: Chefdavis

                                I could swear they were griddled when I ate there. I was wondering the same thing when I read this.

                            2. P. Terry's burgers are wonderful, through and through, Fran's are wonderful, Dan's Hamburger's are great, I still haven't made it to Mighty Fine. I've heard so many great things about it. The restaurant at Central Market has pretty good burgers.

                              1. ive had fuegos burger, it was good. casino el camino has usually been pretty good with their burgers whenever i get one. ive had the burger from jos on second that and that was good as well. i usually hit up the triumverate of burgers on the northeast side - frans (pretty much the exact same as dans, i think. used to frequent dans on manchaca and cant say too much seems different); hillberts (what can i say, theyre open on sundays. their bacon cheeseburger on wheat buns is good, plus they deliver; and burgertex (really on the west side but its like five min away from my place) - they have godly buns and fries.

                                  1. re: spacealien123

                                    Hut's makes a pretty good burger, it's a classic Austin place, its been there for years, longer than I've been alive. You should definitely go

                                    1. re: spacealien123

                                      Hut's is pretty good, only been there once though..

                                      I vote for Fran's as best grease burger. Top Notch is a good burger, I'm also very fond of Burger Tex at 183 & 35... very close to work and a very nice burger.

                                    2. Riata Bar & Grill, in NW Austin in the Riata neighborhood (the name probably gives light to that) has a great burger called the "Some like it hot" with jalapenos and a jalapeno cheddar bun. IF you prefer a bit less heat their tamer All american cheeseburger is just as amazing. I was surprised that such a hole in the wall place has very exceptional bar food.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: HelloTiffy

                                        Riata Bar & Grill is one of my favorite nearby places. I'm starting to develop loyalties to simple straightforward places that serve better than average food at a decent price, decently priced beer/drinks, well-placed TV's for sportswatching, and isn't claustrophobic. I'll throw Wings-N-More at Howard and I-35 into that category, too.

                                        But back to Riata, I've had the burgers and I wouldn't say they're smackdown-worthy, as I recall, but better than some of the more mediocre bar burgers around town. I usually get their wings though, so I may need to do some research and report back. I do know that a burger + curly fries will run you about 6 or 7 bucks. And they have a $2 draft pint special all day every day. It's usually Miller Lite.

                                        1. re: HelloTiffy

                                          i work around the corner and this is a much-beloved place for our 2000-person campus.
                                          in fact, when my boss comes in from CA a few times a year, she often asks if anyone wants to accompany her to "that burger place".

                                          it's been a few months, but here is what i recall, based on multiple visits over the years:

                                          cheap ($6-7 range with fries, depending on your set up)

                                          various options (the mushroom swiss is pretty tasty)

                                          a nice ground to the meat, and seasoned (possibly with crack, as some of us have wondered aloud, with food-stuffed faces)

                                          a decent heft (this is no anemic hockey puck)

                                          a hefty, meant-to-be-handled bun (unless you get the messier sauteed mushroom options but hey, i don't mind messy)

                                          i'm fairly certain this is griddled, as i've never seen char marks nor tasted them, but you can order it to your liking.
                                          i like mine rare.

                                          the french fries are those seasoned spiral cut jobbies that come frozen, and the purists would blanch, but they taste oh-so-good despite their lowly pedigree.

                                          1. re: dinaofdoom

                                            Sounds like we work at the same company...and I was just there with some coworkers on Thurs. Riata does serve up a pretty decent burger and I prefer it to a lot of the other options in the area (Mighty Fine, Terraburger, Moonie's, Five Guys).

                                            I appreciate that they serve all the veggies to the side, including the jalapenos on the Some Like It Hot burger, so that you can dress it as you like. They use those Sheila Partin buns that can be found at a few other places in town (whole Chow thread devoted to this). I'm not a fan of the fries and usually get the onion rings, which I think are pre-frozen, too.


                                            I hit up Burger-Tex today and got the bulgoki burger that Texas Monthly put on their list. Honestly, I think Texas Monthly wasn't being fair by stacking this against traditional burgers, since it's sliced meat and not ground. It had too much soy sauce in the marinade in my opinion, but either my tastebuds got used to it after a bite or two or the mayo, lettuce, and tomato I topped it with mellowed it out. Loved the bun, which was freshly made, and the fixins bar. I'll need to make a return trip in a week or so to give the cheeseburger a try. Side note: the counter guy sure had a nice falsetto; he was singing the entire time I was there.

                                          2. re: HelloTiffy

                                            I ate there yesterday after having read about it on this board. It wasn't exactly "gourmet" but the burger itself was certainly as good as or better than a lot of the options in the area (Terraburger, Elevation Burger, Five Guys) but not as good as some others (Mighty Fine). However I did not care for the fries or the sweetish bun (Sheila Partin somebody said?). I will be moving to the neighborhood in September so I may be eating here more and will try other things on the menu.

                                          3. My vote goes to:
                                            Shady Grove
                                            Not known as a burger joint so we never got it, but a couple of weeks ago my wife ordered the cheeseburger and - wow, i was very impressed.
                                            The burger was evenly cooked and had just enough crispiness to the outside of it. It was juicy but not drippingly so. I hate those huge drippy burgers that leave you a bottom bun half so soaked it mushes up into the burger and turns to bread mud.
                                            There was just enough stuff on top (lettuce, tomato, etc.) so that everything does not fall off when you lift it to your face.
                                            And to top it all off the bun was great too. It wasn't all spongey or too dry - it was grilled and had a crispy ring at the inside edges.
                                            We get it almost every time we go now, and every single time it's been the same - delicious!!

                                            1. Phil's Ice House and The Tavern should be in your top five!

                                              1. Best non-traditional burger is the Horseshoe Platter at Hyde Park Bar & Grill. They will do medium rare, and they get that right. The beef is good quality, a little lower in fat than most, no filler, and chargrilled perfectly. The only way to make that better is to smother it with cheddar sauce and pile Hyde Park's famous battered fries on top. I recommend adding bacon to make it even more decadent.

                                                I've had the traditional burger at Hyde Park and it was good, but I just wished it was a Horseshoe.

                                                1. I'm partial to the Amarillo Burger at Casino El Camino. That and a cold longneck is one hell of a lunch.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: pat_ramsey

                                                    I thought Casino el Camino was only open at night?

                                                  2. I recently had an awesome burger with smoked gouda and chicken fried bacon (The Rambler) at Shuggie's along with green chili cheese fries and a root beer float. Super big & super juicy. Perfect place to get a heart attack.

                                                    I really enjoy Maiko's kobe sliders with yam fries.

                                                    Sandy's is a local favorite, but I have always felt that their burgers lack something.

                                                    I love Five Guys.

                                                    1. I'm very interested to hear what you all think is the best "fancy burger" in town. Anyone? Also, I must comment on the PTerry's phenomenon, because I recently got in heated discussion w/friends over this: Why, WHY do they put thousand island dressing as the default "sauce" on all their burgers? I suppose this is the attraction for some, but I find the combo of mayo/ketchup/sweet pickle relish that makes up this sauce to be utterly vile, and, every time I go there (*ahem, "coerced into going there...") I seem to forget that I have to say NO SAUCE. Inevitably, I bite into a burger drenched in peach colored slop, and must then return to the line to ask for a burger with mayo, mustard, and jalapenos, as god intended.

                                                      12 Replies
                                                      1. re: femmenikita

                                                        As god intended......I agree.

                                                        One of the best I've had lately, and it wasn't repeated on a subsequent visit, was a cheddar jalapeno mustard plus mayo burger at Top Notch. I could taste the char-grilled goodness in every ethereal bite.

                                                        1. re: femmenikita

                                                          Thousand Island dressing is a fairly common sauce for burgers considering that McDonalds does it. Not that I'm suggesting that McDonalds burgers are amazing, quite the contrary. But it's no stranger to put thousand island as the sauce than any other. Personally, I love it and find the combination of mustard and mayonnaise strange. Love P. Terry's with everything - onions, pickles, jalapenos and all.

                                                          1. re: anna_banana

                                                            I hit the new P. Terry's on N. Lamar today. It's the second time I've done their drive-thru at that location and it was terrible. Over 15 minutes in line without an apology or explanation. The burger itself was overcooked. The cheese slices are too big for the burger, and half of the cheese stuck to the paper wrapper. I like thousand island, but there was so much glopped on the bun that it was a soggy, slimy mess that literally dissolved in my hands. I recall previous trips to the original location as being pretty good, but there's no way I'm going back now.

                                                          2. re: femmenikita

                                                            I think that Houston's has a great "fancy burger". At $14, it's pretty pricey for me but oooh so good. The patty is fresh ground that morning and cooked to medium rare perfection (at least for me). The bun is fresh and soft enough but doesn't fall apart. The fries are hand cut too. I have only been eating meat for about 9 mos after a 15 (!) year hiatus and that burger sealed the deal for my dietary change.

                                                            1. re: tokyomonamour

                                                              I'll definitely second the Houston's burger for the fancy burger category.

                                                              1. re: jwynne2000

                                                                3rd. It's my favorite in Austin. They will do it medium rare - really!

                                                                1. re: Rene

                                                                  4th. Love Houston's burger (and pretty much everything I have tried there). They cook over hardwood. Fresh fries. Yum!

                                                                  1. re: cstrombe

                                                                    You guys! I have been stuck here at work without a lunch break and you are making my mouth water. I always drive by Houston's on my way to Alamo and have considered popping in, but I've never actually eaten there, EVER. Must show this thread to friends/bf and convince someone to come with me despite the price tag. Thanks!

                                                                    1. re: femmenikita

                                                                      I'll meet you there! No, but really, if this is the style of burger you prefer, it's definitely worth the price. I only go about four times a year for the burger but once I know I'm going, I anticipate the experience and have never, in 25 years or so, been disappointed with the dining experience. I had a small glitch with the service once. I let the management know - only because he came by the table and asked and I had received such excellent service over the many years. I told them that I didn't want anything except for the server to know of the issue. They insisted on giving me a gift card even when I protested.

                                                                      This burger is like the splurge of a great, over priced steakhouse... when you just want to do it right and not compromise.

                                                                      If there is one chain restaurant in America that is consistently delicious, I think this is it.

                                                                      They also have very good salads, steaks, fish, soup, sides, etc.

                                                                      1. re: Rene

                                                                        I lucked out last night and my friends suggested meeting at Houston's. I was excited because I had been reading about their burger all day. And I will say it lived up to the hype. It was cooked exactly like I ordered it (medium) and was juicy. The bun was soft and delicious. I am definitely going back to try the Texas Burger (chili cheese burger) that they only serve on Saturday.

                                                                        The only thing I wish I could change is their fries. I do not care for skinny fries and these are the skinniest fries ever. Next time I will go for the sliced tomatoes. Yum.

                                                              2. re: tokyomonamour

                                                                I've never had their burger but their veggie burger is the best I've every had. And its massive. Its been awhile but I am pretty sure it is made out of grains, like brown rice, and it has a sort of asian style to it. Its unbelievably good, and yes its expensive but hey i can make it last for two meals because its that monsterish. Also a side note, Houston's has this appetizers with smoked salmon and capers and it is also absolutely delicious

                                                              3. re: femmenikita

                                                                In 'N out puts 1000 island on their burgers too...so does McDonalds (Big Mac). Not terribly uncommon. I can understand not liking it, though and if you ask to "hold the sauce", they should be able to comply!

                                                              4. I know we are supposed to be speaking Austin here, but let's just say for arguments sake we include San Marcos. By far, best burger in all the land for too many reasons to even list- THE TAP ROOM. If you can find it, you will never forget your way back!

                                                                1. The Waygu burger at Ennoteca. It's a special they run pretty often. It is absolutlely delicious.

                                                                  1. 1. Houstons
                                                                    2. Casino
                                                                    3. P Terrys
                                                                    4. Hut's
                                                                    5. Mike's
                                                                    6. Sullivans's

                                                                    Haven't tried the burgers at the nicer establishments but I'm sure the Four Seasons does a decent burger. I can't imagine any of the Mexican places are really known for fabulous burgers- but I could be wrong. No reason to go to any fast-food joint in Austin when you can go to P Terrys or Five Guys.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: lloyddaniels

                                                                      In the past I have enjoyed Sullivan's burgers and would mention them in a discussion of the best burger in town. However, last night my wife and I went and the burger was decidedly mediocre. The meat didn't taste or have the texture of high quality ground beef. I asked for medium rare and the patty was between medium and medium well. The buns tasted like they had enough additives to stay good until 2015. It wasn't bad but was mired in mediocrity (think Chili's). Food-wise, the sole redeemer of the meal was the french fries. Sadly I'm not gonna go back for a while even on the $5 burger nights.

                                                                    2. I know this discussion is limited to Austin, BUT since the burger lovers have gathered I MUST tell you all about THE best burger I've ever had in dear ole Bastrop, at a little place called "Roadhouse" they are FANTABULOUS! The joint is right by the lake so if you wake up on the weekend and want a tiny road trip to hamburger heaven, check it out! http://www.kendrasroadhouse.com/rhmen...

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: hipy

                                                                        I will second that. The buns that they serve are Sheila Partin buns, made in Houston.
                                                                        I love the jalepeno cheese buns. The buns are all sourdough buns. Makes the hamburger.

                                                                        1. re: hipy

                                                                          Does anyone know if Chris Madrid's is still open in S.A.?

                                                                          1. re: stansell

                                                                            We were there a couple of months ago and they were packed. I can't imagine that they have closed. Give them a call.

                                                                        2. I have to mention (again) Artz Rib House. They have a very good, thick but not too thick, *grilled* burger. I love burgers with real cheddar and jalapenos, and they got all that......no fries, though. You have to pick one of their sides.

                                                                          1. Two more good ones that haven't yet been mentioned in this thread...

                                                                            Kahuna's Tiki Bar - they didn't offer, but when I asked if they could do medium rare, they were happy to oblige and they got it right. It needed a little salt, but the meat was good quality, hand formed patty, probably at least a third pound, medium thickness, griddled, good fat content, and juicy... served on a sweet bun that reminds me of King's Hawaiian rolls, lightly toasted but still soft.

                                                                            Opal Divine's - chargrilled, 1/2 pound, very good quality beef, cooked perfectly medium rare (they ask), great flavor, served on a too small bun (I requested wheat), the burger "overhang" was significant. Loved the burger... wished the bun were bigger.

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: stephanieh

                                                                              the reason we keep you around is your ability to parse french fries.Two burger joint reviews without a mention of the potatoes you ate with them?

                                                                              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                                                                Can't believe no one has mentioned the Scooter Burger at Ski Shores. Forget the fries, but the burger is in my view the best in town. A picture (attached) is the only way to do it justice.

                                                                                Also, I had an exceptional Kobe beef burger at Enoteca one time, but it was a special and I haven't seen it again.

                                                                                1. re: Sidd Finch

                                                                                  ski shores! yes!! haven't been in years..is it still as good?

                                                                                  1. re: sweetlimejones

                                                                                    Big "political" story. I have mixed feelings - don't approve of the takeover and the food isn't as good as it was before the family lost it, but the ambiance can't be beat - especially in the land of the bland, so...

                                                                                2. re: scrumptiouschef

                                                                                  scrumptious, you keep me around for my french fry savvy? I thought it was for my witty repartee. But, yeah, even as I was typing about the burgers, it just felt wrong not to discuss the fries. So, here's the "skinny"...

                                                                                  Kahuna's - thin, not quite shoestring thin, and hand cut on the premises. Nicely seasoned, skin on, freshly fried (hot and glistening) and I enjoyed them quite a bit.

                                                                                  Opal Divine's - these aren't the hand cut style I prefer, but they are pretty good. They have a sort of "coating", not necessarily battered (like Hyde Park's), and there's cracked black pepper in the coating, which I wish I could say I tasted. They need salt, but I enjoy them, much in the same way as Hyde Park's, but they don't replace a good hand cut fry.

                                                                              2. I've mentioned this before, but the best burger I've found, by far, in Austin is the Big Kahuna burger at Kona Grill at the Domain. 12 oz, I order it medium rare and it's pink and juicy inside and charred on the outside. To die for.

                                                                                Of the basic burger places, P. Terry's is no better than McDonalds, 5 Guys is fair, Mooyah is good, Mighty Fine overcooks it more than half the time, no matter how much I plead. Opening tomorrow by the north Costo is Terra burger. Will try them soon.

                                                                                1. When the rest of the menu reads like naughty, naughty food porn, it's so easy to overlook the modest Cheeseburger at Eastside Cafe. But like the mythical librarian who only removes her glasses and shakes out her hair when behind closed doors, Eastside's Cheeseburger is an unexpected delight.

                                                                                  It's a thick patty of a quality grind, probably a half inch thick. Sporting a nice set of char marks, it's topped in it's final moments on the grill with a grated sharp cheddar. The whole wheat bun is recommended - it adds a dimension to the burger that seems missing from the white bread choice. Being a garden cafe, Eastside assures that the simple lettuce, tomato, purple onion and pickle are fresh, flavorful, and crisp - quality additions to the whole.

                                                                                  As described so far, this burger would more than hold it own against the others mentioned here. It rises to the top tier of the pack with the addition of their bold garlic mayo. Delicious!

                                                                                  For variety, you can accompany this burger with any of Eastside's side dishes - a cup of homemade soup, produce fresh from the onsite organic garden - whatever strikes your fancy. But as long as I'm getting a burger, I usually go for the nice thick homefries.
                                                                                  Instead of ketchup, ask for a ramikin of feta cheese dressing and dunk those babies. Eastside Cafe is my burger smackdown choice.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Alan Sudo

                                                                                    Nice to have you back after a few months. Where have you been getting your tacos lately?

                                                                                    1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                                                                      Hi Scrumptious,
                                                                                      You know for a while there, I just settled into a taco routine - Alanya's on Manor. Now that the owners have sold it to Taco-Mex, it looks like I'll be on the hunt again.
                                                                                      I'll try to keep y'all informed if I find anything worth reporting.

                                                                                  2. Anyone had Hill's Cafe's burgers? The best Jerry!!! Also, Crown & Anchor gets an honorable mention if not for the burger, which is great, but the fries are out of this world!

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: rkaylor

                                                                                      Hill's Cafe burgers are quite good; especially the bun, which everybody seems to like. Or go to the Tavern and get the same burger. Same owners, or at least used to be.

                                                                                    2. I posted this in a previous message but think this is a more appropriate location...

                                                                                      Seeking the "holy grail" of burgers in Austin is a most noble quest indeed but It seems to me the perfect burger is very subjective. I don't often suggest a burger joint to anyone as invariably it will not live up to that person's expectation in one way or another. Unless of course you are talking about In & Out which is truly at the top of every burger lovers bucket list. Unfortunately not everyone has the chance to partake in such a dining experience but most recently I have been frequenting a local joint that does come very close. No it's not P Terry, Fran's, Dan's, Top Notch, Mighty Fine, or any of the usual suspects. It’s the "Little Red Wagon" in Round Rock. Discovered or should I say rediscovered a few weeks ago. I have made it a habit of grabbing one of their "Specials" once a week which is a double cheese with fries and drink for $5.63. Get 2 of them and you already have Mighty Fine kicked in the pants and change to spare. And the "dive" factor is awesome! Like I said earlier I don’t like to make any suggestions so I certainly hope no one makes the trip out Hwy 79 to try this gem out as I wouldn’t want to disappoint the other “cardiologist’s dreams” out there.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: TXCarnivore

                                                                                        My vote for best burger is the Tavern, love the buns!

                                                                                      2. Had an Amarillo burger and chili cheese fries at Casino El Camino recently. Damn good. Damn, damn good. Thick, juicy well seasoned patty and liberal toppings. Hella long wait, though. Good thing they have cold beer!

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Kaya_n_Austin

                                                                                          I'll second that. I've only had 2 of these, but nboth times were great. It was agood thing it was along walk back to the car. Talk about a gut bomb.

                                                                                        2. Hillberts and Frans, Mighty Fine are the best.

                                                                                          1. Well, I guess it's settled. According to Texas Monthly magazine the best burger in Austin is at Counter Cafe. And it's also #2 in all of Texas.

                                                                                            13 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: thebodytx

                                                                                              Has anybody actually had the burger at Counter Cafe? How is it. I see that it is 4th on CarterBs list (above), but otherwise, I've never heard any mention of it.

                                                                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                I had it two month ago, can't give much details as all I remember is that both I and the bf were disappointed, plain boring.

                                                                                                1. re: moosy

                                                                                                  I had the Counter Cafe burger last week, and like others have said here... it's boring. I had to open it up and crack some sea salt on it while the cooks weren't looking. A nice patty of beef - half pound or so - but just amazingly flavorless. Really makes me wonder about the integrity of that Texas Monthly list.

                                                                                                  1. re: jwynne2000

                                                                                                    I had a burger from Burger Fresh in Conroe and was equally underwhelmed. I didn't order the burger they reviewed though because Burger Fresh jacked up the price to $11 something due to the Texas Monthly list when the rest of their burgers hover around $5. They do get a thumbs up for offering fry sauce as a standard condiment though.

                                                                                                    My big problem with the Texas Monthly article is that they are not comparing apples to apples. A Bulgogi burger against a cheeseburger against a California burger against a bean burger? That's not an equal comparison at all. The extra ingredients on a burger can mask a bland meat patty, a dry patty, tasteless veggies, or a fairly boring bun.

                                                                                                    1. re: verily

                                                                                                      From what I understand Burger Fresh underwent a change in management or ownership sometime in the last few years. I was a frequent visitor during high school (early 2000s) and it was absolutely my favorite burger. But I went most recently in maybe 2008 and it was nothing special. My parents still live in the area and I think I remember my father telling me things were different somehow. It's a shame.

                                                                                                2. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                  i went a couple weeks ago. toppings were fresh. meat was plain. and it's $9. i wouldn't put it at the top of a burger list. but my gf was very pleased with her veggie sandwich

                                                                                                  1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                    I've had it a couple of times now and it just doesn't do anything for me. Like Moosy says, it's just boring.

                                                                                                    I tried Gabbi's on Burnett this weekend, and I have to say it's now my second favorite burger in Austin. It's juicy, flavorful, and absolutely ginormous at 1/2 lb. The bun is a sweet potato-type bun as well, one of my favorites!

                                                                                                    1. re: foodiegal71

                                                                                                      I'll have to give it another try. The one and only time I tried Gabbi's the burger was bland, dripping with grease, and just generally not very good. The comments from others that day (they were all asked how the meal was as they left) only served to reenforce that view.

                                                                                                      1. re: danny_w

                                                                                                        Interesting. My understanding is that they changed the burger, but I'm not sure when. From the reviews on another site, it seems it might have been in the past couple of months? It might be worth another try if it's been a while for you. But if it was recently, then maybe not :)

                                                                                                        1. re: foodiegal71

                                                                                                          Yes, it was quite some time ago that I tried it, so I'll give it another shot. I don't remember it being 1/2 pounder then either. What I do remember is asking the guy at the checkout if the onion rings were good and he said something like "they're ok, but I recommend the fries"; I ordered the fries but to me they were inedible. I hope they have changed more than just the burger.

                                                                                                          1. re: danny_w

                                                                                                            I went with a friend today for lunch. Yes they have upped all of the hamburgers to 1/2lb, and the burger itself was pretty good (I had the bacon cheeseburger, he had the regular cheeseburger) although the bacon on mine was undercooked, but the extras (fries and rings) were as bad as I remembered. I doubt I will go back again.

                                                                                                  2. re: thebodytx

                                                                                                    The best burger in my opinion is the 78704 burger served at Phil's Icehouse on Burnet. Unbelieveable. Yes the bun is great but I've had that bun at other places. The burger as a whole composition is perfect.

                                                                                                    1. re: thebodytx

                                                                                                      Texas Monthly also recommended some mediocre BBQ joints as among the best in the state, which, to me, is pretty bad. Snows, which they had as #1 was pretty awesome, but Ruby's on the drag beats the pants off the rest of their choices. You know, FYI...

                                                                                                    2. If you've recently had one too many drippy, greasy burgers, Kerby serves up a nice, neat, bistro burger with tasty options for dressing and sides.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: stansell

                                                                                                        I think I read through all of the post's... Doesn't ANYONE go to Sandy's?
                                                                                                        I think the Double Meat and Cheese is the PERFECT greasy cheeseburger!

                                                                                                        1. re: FoodEquipmentGuy

                                                                                                          A couple of weeks ago, I went for the first time in over ten years. I thought that it was great - the only problem is that they put american on the thing instead of cheddar. Not even sure that they have cheddar, although they said they did when I asked.

                                                                                                          The fries were most excellent...the whole trip was a perfect compliment to swimming at Deep Eddy.

                                                                                                      2. I just had the Sirloin Burger at Dog Almighty on south Lamar and it was great. It's called the Angus burger on their online menu and is "1/3 lb. flame broiled with mustard, mayo, & all the veggies" on a griddled bun. With an iced tea and an order of fries it was $8.38 but I'll take it over P. Terry's or Five Guys. The lettuce & tomato seemed fresh, the burger was done to a medium and I had a slice of American cheese on top of it. Their fries are really good but ask for them well-done.

                                                                                                        1. Ya'll might laugh, but one of my favorite burgers in Austin is the Short Stop at William Cannon and Manchaca. It is the last Short Shop in south Austin. I can't speak for the Short Stops in North Austin. Different owners.

                                                                                                          Short Stop was the original idea of one of the great fast food restaurant owners in Austin, Mr. Ralph Moreland. He recently passed. He owned the Holiday Houses, 2J's, and had the first KFC franchise in Austin.

                                                                                                          If you remember The Holiday House or 2J's, the man knew how to make a burger. Well the burger at the Short Stop at William Cannon and Manchaca is just a 1/4 pounder. It just has a great taste and the fries are great. Plus the prices are reasonable.

                                                                                                          Give it a try before you smack it down.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: tuckspop

                                                                                                            I haven't been to that Short Stop, but the one on 183 and Duval (the North Duval, not the Duval in Central Austin, because in Austin we just can't figure out how to name streets, some have many names, other times we like a street name so much we use it over again) is my favorite drive-thru burger. The fries are always right out of the oil it seems, too.

                                                                                                            1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                                                              That one is right near my office. If I am looking for a good, cheap lunch Short Stop often gets my business.

                                                                                                              1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                                                                I like the onion chili cheeseburger at the short stop. It is reminiscent of the chili burger of my youth from the A & W rootbeer stand in Biloxi.

                                                                                                            2. EZ's on North Lamar has awesome hamburgers and great made to order shakes

                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: AustinJacey

                                                                                                                EZ's is the former location of my favorite hamburger joint, 2J's.
                                                                                                                Just can't eat there because of the memories.

                                                                                                                1. re: AustinJacey

                                                                                                                  There is something about EZ's burgers that just turns me off. Every time I have been, there has been too much char on the patty, which gives it an off taste to me. This makes me sad, because I love bean burgers, and EZ's is one of the few places in town that makes one, although I prefer refried pinto beans over black..

                                                                                                                  1. re: Homero

                                                                                                                    Burger's are my passion and yes I have to agree with all of the above. Fran's, Dan's, Sandy's, original Burger Tex, Dirty's and Mighty fine. These are all very good. BUT..I have to break the rules and talk of 2 new burgers places I have found out of Austin.

                                                                                                                    Homero you speak of the bean burger, lol. I used to live in SA and yes they are hard to find in Austin. In Georgetown along 35 right next to a place called Hog Alley there is a new bar/restaurant called Hardtails. They have only been open 3 weeks and the burgers are so good. .My favorite is the tejas burger. it comes with fritos, refried beans, cheddar cheese and jalepenons. All of this plus a huge burger and its serverd on the sweet buns similiar to hawaiin buns. The burger is huge, I have never been able to eat more then half. I would put this in my top 2, they are that good! The meat itself taste like it could have come out of my moms cast iron skillet. People from all over are going just for the burgers. check it out.

                                                                                                                    For Number 2 I have to tell you about this one because its still so fresh on my mind. There is a place in Manor called Ghost Town. its only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I went there saturday night and hands down had the best burger I have ever had in my life. Yes it was griddled and it was at least half a pound. The burger was cooked to a perfect medium rare and had to of been a half pound. The bun was greasy and the toppings were sooo fresh. It had leafy lettuce, which i normally don't prefer but was great. The tomatoes were thick and had amazing flavor. The burger was a perfect mixture of well seasoned meat, fresh veggies and greasyness. The french fries were a perfect crispy on the outside and super soft on the inside. I live in Georgetown and I would drive to manor weekly just to eat this again. It's so good.

                                                                                                                    1. re: justagirl34

                                                                                                                      Thanks for the info. I am definitely going to go check out that Tejas Burger. Sounds exactly like what I remember. I am also close to Manor, so I will check out Ghost Town.

                                                                                                                      Website definitely intrigues me. http://www.ghosttownaustin.com/

                                                                                                                      Do they only do burgers, or do they have other stuff on their menu?

                                                                                                                2. Certainly not in the fancy burger category, but a contender in the Hillberts/Fran's zone is a joint I just visited last week for the first time: Burger House, 4211 Spicewood Springs. Also right near there, is Wally's, which is decent.

                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Rice Checks

                                                                                                                    Don't miss the special greek spices on the french fries at Burger House. I've been eating at the ones on Hillcrest and Mockingbird in Dallas for years and am so glad we have one in Austin now.

                                                                                                                    Burger House
                                                                                                                    4211 Spicewood Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78759

                                                                                                                    1. re: monicacrowley

                                                                                                                      I think those "special greek spices" = Lawry's Seasoning Salt.

                                                                                                                      1. re: cstrombe

                                                                                                                        It tastes very drifferent from Lawry's Seasoning Salt

                                                                                                                    2. re: Rice Checks

                                                                                                                      Burger House is closed here in Austin now. Owner said they aren't even doing their catering side.

                                                                                                                      Burger House
                                                                                                                      4211 Spicewood Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78759

                                                                                                                    3. B.B. Rover's
                                                                                                                      This place makes a pretty good burger that shouldn't be overlooked, especially if you are in that part of town, and want to pair it with a good beer. Today, I had Live Oak Oaktoberfest, which was pretty tasty.
                                                                                                                      Anyway, I went in today, I wanted to go somewhere where i could sit outside and enjoy the fall weather. Fish and chips was today's special, (i haven't had it there before) but was told that it would be 1/2 an hour before it was ready. So i went for the burger. The cheeseburger is 6.29 and has a choice of about 4 cheeses, one being blue cheese. I'd eat pretty much anything with blue cheese on it, so it was a no-brainer.
                                                                                                                      Anyway the bun is pretty big, but not too big,fresh, and full of sesame seeds, top and bottom. I mean a lot of sesame seeds. You could actually taste them. The patty was well seasoned. It was hard to tell with all the blue cheese, so i took a piece off to taste it. The blue cheese kind of dominated, but i didn't mind. The patty is medium thickness, about half as thick as Casino El Camino, but thicker than Dan's or Fran's. It looked to be about medium well. It had what looked to be green leaf lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle. Anything other than iceberg is a plus for me. It comes with chips. Fries or rings are extra. I decided not to get the fries because i didn't want to eat too much. Chips tasted like generic Ruffles.
                                                                                                                      Every time I've been the service has been very good, and today was no exception.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                                                                        Try the Sausage Burger at B. B. Rover's sometime; half hamburger, half sausage, and totally good.

                                                                                                                      2. There are lots of great burger places closer to us, but Top Notch is really the best. I love that charcoal grilled flavor and the fact that you can actually watch them make the burger. I wasn't so impressed with the fried chicken, but my hubby liked it. I also love Hill-Bert's and Waterloo Icehouse for thin burgers. Galaxy Cafe is awesome, and Burger-Tex on Airport has a great burger with an incredible homemade bun.

                                                                                                                        1. I have to throw in a post for Hat Creek Burger Co. I've been often enough now to state that this is a solid burger, well peppered/seasoned and tasty. The food is all made to order, no pre-cooking burger patties & warming them up again, so expect a wait. It'll be just long enough for you to get extra hungry from the delicious cooking odors. The fries are hand cut to order, never frozen. You can taste the difference--they're a lot like the ones my mother made when I was growing up. You know, when you've done all your chores, brought home a terrific report card, washed the car and offered to wash the dog? Because she sure didn't make homemade fries often. But I digress. I've eaten only one subpar burger at Hat Creek in the last year. It's only sin was the cook forgot to season it. Otherwise it was still a decently sized patty, juicy made of all natural angus beef and just enough fresh toppings. In addition to lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle you can get grilled onions & jalapenos for free. Bacon and mushrooms are a small extra charge. Your choice of white or wheat bun. I've attached photos of the burger & fries for your food porn pleasure.

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Kaya_n_Austin

                                                                                                                            I have been waiting and waiting for Hat Creek to open on Burnet so I could finally try these guys. Anyone know the scoobie on when they'll open?

                                                                                                                            1. re: amysuehere

                                                                                                                              The last I heard they were anyday. I would espect them open by November 1st at the latest.

                                                                                                                          2. I think that the Roaring Fork Big Ass burger is one of the best I have ever had. At happy hour you get it for about 8 bucks.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: ezrailson

                                                                                                                              I had the big ass burger recently and I have to say that it was quite good and one of my top burgers that I have had in Austin. I ordered it med-rare, and it was fantastic. Great flavor. Nice char on the outtside and perfectly pink and tender on the inside. Bacon was good, and the chipotle mayo went nicely with the fresh veggies and soft bun. I would recommend getting it at happy hour since regular price is $13, but even at that price I would consider ordering it if I had a major burger itch and was in the area.

                                                                                                                              I also recently found out that they opened another Roaring Fork on Braker near 183.

                                                                                                                            2. To my great surprise, my favorite Austin burger is at Romeo's on Barton Springs. They only serve it at lunch, but it's reasonable priced and stands up to the great lunchtime burger at Trio and the fabulous Winkbar burger.

                                                                                                                              Romeo's also has better than expected veggie and fish burgers too.

                                                                                                                              1. Against my better judgement, I stopped at Mighty Fine last night since I had been running errands in that shopping center. I ordered my standard burger (bacon cheeseburger with ketchup only), fries, and an iced tea. $11.34 for what's maybe $7-$8 at Whataburger.

                                                                                                                                The fries are excellent, as long as you eat them hot. In fact, they were so good as to not need ketchup. Once they cool off (which is quickly), they lose most of their luster and are surprisingly reminiscient of the Durkee shoestring potatoes out of the can.

                                                                                                                                The burger was incredibly, remarkably pedestrian. The bun was standard. The meat itself was barely seasoned and had a different, almost shredded texture. Cheese had the flavor of a Kraft Single. And the bacon was disappointing. Neither crip nor flavorful.

                                                                                                                                If it had been from a fast food joint, I wouldn't mind going back. But for over $10 for a burger, fries, and drink, it had best be remarkable. Sadly, this was average at best.

                                                                                                                                Mighty Fine is mighty average. Great marketing, though....

                                                                                                                                What's with the current trend of new burger places anyways....? Mighty Fine, P. Terry's, Hat Creek, etc.... All are somewhat interchangable and none approach the gold standard that is, and will likely remain, Mike's Pub.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: exlnghrn

                                                                                                                                  Right on about Mike's Pub! I also like the hit-or-miss, Casino El Camino. I'm somewhat scared of it though, as I know one day I'm gonna catch some sort of disease from the multiple-pierced, not-the-cleanest-looking, often-times-bad-attitude cook.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Buddylove

                                                                                                                                    It takes a while for the staff to warm up to you at Casino but once they do, they treat you real nice. Just remember to try to pay in cash and tip the cooks and it helps if you go during offtime where you can ensure your burger is done to your specified doneness.

                                                                                                                                    I'm a sucker for the freshly roasted serranos on the Amarillo burger.

                                                                                                                                2. I am doing the same thing as OP in Charleston, SC...I have had 21 hamburgers so far from different places, and they haven't overall been very good, IMO. My biggest complaint is the size has gotten pathetic...I think a good burger should be around a half-pound, but I have been getting these 10 dollar burgers that have been very small! The thread is "Charleston, SC, Burger Assessments", if you want to have a gander at my examinations (21 run through the thread, with ratings)

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: observor

                                                                                                                                    Austin is in love with the thin patty.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: cstrombe

                                                                                                                                      I suppose thin is OK so long as the price is also thin,,,thin and wide is fine also, but I think a good hamburger should really be somewhere around a half pound of beef. Little 1/3 pound burgers dont' really justify 10 dollars or more, IMO. But if you have a thin patty you really need to have a small amount of bun.

                                                                                                                                  2. I'll throw a new place into the Smackdown ring -- J&J's BBQ and Burgers, on Parmer near Amherst (former Bear Rock Cafe location). I can't speak for the BBQ, as I haven't had it yet, and it is not relevant to this thread. The burger there though, is at least in the top 5 I've had in Austin. I had the 1/3 pounder, which was easily closer to 1/2 lb. Hand-formed meat, very nicely seasoned. And the boys in the kitchen aren't pressing the hell out of them with a spatula, so it retained its juiciness. The bun is standard white, nicely griddled right before serving, for a little toastiness. The fries that come with it are pre-fab, but fried well, with a floury, mealy coating.

                                                                                                                                    Their menu offers larger burgers, such as a 1/2 lb and a 3/4 lb, as well as some specialty burgers. And you gotta love the complimentary homemade peach cobbler they offer. Nice touch. :)

                                                                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: jwynne2000

                                                                                                                                      Based on your review, we tried J&J's for lunch today. We must have had the backup chef because our burgers were flat and dry and pretty ordinary. In the area Specs and Gabbi's beat the burgers. We'll give them one more shot because your review was so enthusiastic. Also, the cobbler is $2 and not complimentary now. Another in the group had the chopped beef sandwich which looked much better than the burgers and we shared some sausage which was pretty good. Thus, for us at least, this was more a barbecue place than a burger place.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Carter B.

                                                                                                                                        Sorry to hear about your experience. The lack of consistency isn't too surprising, considering the sheer number of things on their menu. Always a red flag for me.

                                                                                                                                        FWIW, the burger I had (and the comp cobbler) was on a Sunday afternoon. I'll give it another try during the week to see how it compares.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jwynne2000

                                                                                                                                          No excuses...a good place makes sure it turns out consistent food, IMO.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: jwynne2000

                                                                                                                                        Was not a fan of J&J's when I went a couple of weeks ago. Burger was ok, but nothing worth going back for. Fries were terrible. I was intrigued by the "cheddar pour", but too scared to try it.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: cstrombe

                                                                                                                                          mmmm.....cheddar pour. So many possibilities!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                            Oh - that reminded me of a really good burger I had at the Pour House (old Brentwood Tavern) on Burnet Road. I'd like to find out if others agree.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                              I've tried to go a few times. Apparently, they're closed at lunch.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: cstrombe

                                                                                                                                            The cheddar pour from J&J is currently my wife's favorite burger. Definitely not for the lactose intolerant. It has to be close to a cup of grated cheddar cheese that is poured on top of the burger as it finishes cooking.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ssouth

                                                                                                                                              I went today - gor a burger with regular cheddar and jalapenos. Three of four got burgers with cheddar, and we all liked them for what they are. The burgers are grilled with the cheddar on them - it runs off and carmelizes on the sides and you get these flaky bits of cheese on the outer edge.

                                                                                                                                              Bun could use some improvement. It was big, but standard white bread. The 1/4 patty seemed more like a 1/3 pound. Not incredibly thick, but big a round (I like thin burgers). Overall good flavor for $5 in that area. I wanted to get the cheddar pour, but it was an extra $. Now that I'm writing, I wish I had.

                                                                                                                                              Varied menu - BBQ, breakfast all day, and some mex dishes.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                Hey rudeboy, any comment on the juiceness of your burger at J&J? The two our group had were pretty dry (and they were ordered 15 minutes apart).

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Carter B.

                                                                                                                                                  Ours wasn't dry at all, Carter B. I didn't detect any seasoning in the patty, but the moisture level was adequate......

                                                                                                                                                  Did you have the 1/4 pound as well? The 1/3 pound is only $1 more.

                                                                                                                                        2. I'm new to Austin but I have tried a few in my short time here. I gotta say after all the hype about Hut's, I was not impressed at all. I actually had to add salt to the burger. I put it on par with Whataburger with a slighty bigger patty. For the price, I will pass. Counter Cafe may be my favorite so far. I'm suprised no one has mentioned BurgerTex. Pretty good burger, they make thier own buns!!! Also cheap! Hoovers has a darn good burger too! For fast food hamburgers, P. Terry's was excellent. Fries good too. Hut's...bad fries..BurgerTex..good fries and other sides too!

                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: anchovy13

                                                                                                                                            Ate at Stallion Grill today, it goes at the top off my hamburger list, they too make thier own bun. Same as thier yeast rolls, they just make them bigger. That place doesn't look like much from the outside but it's awesome..chicken fried steak and collard greens all from scratch! Someone really knows how to cook there!!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: anchovy13

                                                                                                                                              Counter Cafe hamburger was ranked #2 in Texas a few months ago, in a Texas Monthly survey of the state's hamburger offerings. As a reult, it is disdained by most chowhounds.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: thebodytx

                                                                                                                                                Whatever, a good burger is a good burger. Counter Cafe maybe holds 12 people at most at one sitting, it's not like they are gonna run these big chains outta buisness or anything.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: anchovy13

                                                                                                                                                  That same constraint guarantees that most touting their excellence haven't been.

                                                                                                                                                  I first learned this principle during the 86 Astros run at the pennant. The games were poorly attended, but mysteriously every strosfan I knew started claiming game attendance just a few years afterwards.

                                                                                                                                                  Counter Cafe is no different. Their esteem boosted by TX Monthly, many tout their burgers. I've had enough of them to tell you that they're good, but not nearly as good as proclaimed. Given my degenerate lunching habits, I doubt many could assert similar statements. The numbers are against them; as you say, Counter barely seats a score of burger-crazed folk. They're the 86 Astros home games -- everyone seems to have been, regardless of whether they've been.

                                                                                                                                                  Counter Cafe has a really good burger. I prefer many others in town. In Texas at large, August E's in Fredericksburg absolutely destroys Counter Cafe and has maybe the best burger I've ever consumed. (Note that TX Monthly didn't include August E's in their list.)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tom in austin

                                                                                                                                                    Counter Cafe seems to have changed their burger in the last year as well. The bun tastes different and they don't seem to melt the cheese in the same and to me its not as good as was. It's gone from an A to an A- for me.

                                                                                                                                                    The burger that I still dream about is Mulberry's burger. I've have it maybe 4 times total, but it's true love. Mind you one of the 4 was pretty disappointing but Chef took some heat from the Statesman guy on his seasoning and he's got it down right now. Tons of flavor and if you are burger purist you might ask for the egg on the side. They also offer a new burger called strangely FoieBerry which is 70% beef, 30% foie gras with a berry compote. It's a small $8 appetizer (half off at happy hour) but it's pretty tasty if not for being a little sweet.

                                                                                                                                                    My current burger ratings from recent experiences:

                                                                                                                                                    Mulberry main burger (called it Cibo burger in my original post--Freudian slip)

                                                                                                                                                    Four Seasons (Trio Saturday, lobby lounge every day) Prime Burger or their Sliders (lobby lounge only)

                                                                                                                                                    Parkside -- smaller burger but with good fries

                                                                                                                                                    Casino el Camino -- must specifically ask to be cooked medium rare or it will come out over cooked.

                                                                                                                                                    Counter Cafe

                                                                                                                                                    24 Diner

                                                                                                                                                    I've still Mike's Pub on my todo list--the hours/location are just not very convenient for me.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Carter B.

                                                                                                                                                      I think the burgers at 24 Diner are very good as well. I don't normally care for well done burgers. Because they make their burgers with ground brisket they cook them well done, but they are still very juicy and flavorful. My favorite there is the Patty melt with a fried egg. It tastes like French Onion Soup in solid form, and it is fantastic.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: anchovy13

                                                                                                                                                @ Anchovy13: I'm a Burger Tex fan, but I always get the Bulgoki' "Burger". I'm not sure I can even remember what their regular hamburger is like.

                                                                                                                                                Ditto on Stallion Grill. Used to be dry-licious, and everything tasted like it came out of a can. No more. Very tasty food there now.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Winehole23

                                                                                                                                                  Yes, the Bulgoki burger is out of control!!

                                                                                                                                              3. OK. I didn't know that Specs Liquor & Gourmet Superstore on Brodie @ 290 even had hot food, but a buddy of mine kept bugging me about their burger, so we went -- HOLY $*@$!!!!!!
                                                                                                                                                You simply must try the bacon cheddar burger. I bet the patty is between a third and a half pound, and there were 6 slices of bacon!!! It's absolutely one of the best in town. My standards are still: Mike's Pub for the classic griddle-grease burger, and Culver's for a damn good fast-food burger; however, Specs is definitely going to be in my rotation from now on.

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chasmania

                                                                                                                                                  its not my favorite, which i would rank as

                                                                                                                                                  1. casino el camino
                                                                                                                                                  2. top notch
                                                                                                                                                  3. frans

                                                                                                                                                  but billy's on burnet has very solid burgers and deserve a mention for sure

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sbhlaw

                                                                                                                                                    Ate a burger at Fran's on South Congress today. Ate the burger with the jalepeno cheese bun, best damn hamburger I ever ate in Austin and I am a native.
                                                                                                                                                    Shared a side of fries and onion rings with a friend. I swear, you don't have to look any further for the best burger in Austin. By the way, they come in medium or large, nice touch.

                                                                                                                                                2. Finally tried Five Guys. Ok but NOT appreciably moist and delicious patty. Nice toppings. Big, cold, fluffy bun. Ok fries but the ones on top were way better than the later ones as the cup they serve 'em in works like a steamer. Inordinate amounts of packaging...cup for fries, foil for burger, bag for the whole thing (even if you are eating it there, with the too loud sre appeal to the masses music. All this for about 18 dollars for two of us. Yikes! At these prices it ought to compete with Roaring Fork. It doesn't. Plus the setting is beyond sterile (went to the one at the Arboretum). For a not top dollar burger experiemnce I will stick w. Frans, Mikes, and even Whataburger before returing to Five Guys

                                                                                                                                                  1. I noticed this weekend that only the drive thru is open at Hat Creek on Burnet, dining room is closed. Anyone have any idea why?

                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Madcap

                                                                                                                                                      I ate inside at Hat Creek on Burnet around 5:00pm on Saturday.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: debegone

                                                                                                                                                        huh, weird. I drove thru around 6:45 and there was a sign saying the dining room was closed. maintenance maybe.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Madcap

                                                                                                                                                          Hopefully, they are dimming the lights. It's a bit too spartan in there.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Casino El Camino's Pitts Burger DESTROYS them all, and I love a lot of place here in town but sorry, buh-bye!!!!

                                                                                                                                                      1. I typically do not eat hamburgers, but every so often need to. Since it's an event, it must be worth eating and I declare the "half-ass" at Roaring Fork wonderful.
                                                                                                                                                        Cooked to order on a fine bun, it was so juicy it almost squirted when I managed to wedge it into my mouth. Taste was supreme - wonderful beef broiled to perfection.
                                                                                                                                                        Highly recommended.

                                                                                                                                                        Roaring Fork - Stone Lake
                                                                                                                                                        10850 Stonelake Blvd, Austin, TX 75759

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pikeman

                                                                                                                                                          Lest we forget the damn good burger offering from Hole in the Wall on Guadalupe.
                                                                                                                                                          Outstanding queso as well.... Just sayin.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I really enjoy eating burgers at Cains and Abels...the service can be slow at times but the Ranch buger is great

                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: palermo214

                                                                                                                                                            Is the burger at Mike's Pub a thin, diner-style patty, or a thick, pub- or tavern-style two hander?

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks, C.

                                                                                                                                                            Mike's Pub
                                                                                                                                                            108 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701

                                                                                                                                                          2. As far as high-end burgers go, my latest fave is at Peche, served with fresh mozzarella. Really, really tasty burger. And I believe they source their meat from local farms (which is important to me). Comes with onion rings, but I order the fries instead, which are also really good (subtly salted, not greasy, like the fries you get with a good moules frites, which Peche also does well).

                                                                                                                                                            208 W 4th Street, Austin, TX 07739

                                                                                                                                                            1. New kid in town, Your Mom's Burger Bar, is right up there. Had the Frida (1/2 angus beef stuffed with chorizo plus a fried egg on top). It was great. Definitely not a weekly burger since it was probably 1500 calories but it was great.

                                                                                                                                                              Your Mom's Burger Bar
                                                                                                                                                              1701 East Cesar Chavez Unit B, Austin, TX 78702

                                                                                                                                                              1. may not qualify due not being Austin proper but...
                                                                                                                                                                Red Wagon burger in Round Rock
                                                                                                                                                                If that gets thrown out I say Dan's
                                                                                                                                                                if you are a thin old fashioned diner fried burger fan yyummmmy
                                                                                                                                                                For the big fat new gormet type burgers then I have to say Three Forks (but in all fairness I only am judging this one from a take home box)

                                                                                                                                                                1. I miss GM Steakhouse, on the drag, burgers and wedge fries.

                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chispa_c

                                                                                                                                                                    Oh man, so do I. They were the gold standard for quick great cheeseburgers. Nothing like it around here since.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cstrombe

                                                                                                                                                                      Someone just told me about "Your Mom's Burger Bar" last night. They said it was "hands down" the best burger they had ever had AND that it reminded them of GM Steakhouse!


                                                                                                                                                                      The only complaint he had was that it took a long time and he decided to get it to go because of a few observations. I'll try to check it out soon and report back. I'd love to know if anyone else has tried it.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chispa_c

                                                                                                                                                                        It's a decent burger, but not enough to make the trip from NW Austin for. It's basically a counter, with some limited seating. The problems:

                                                                                                                                                                        * Only some street parking
                                                                                                                                                                        * Seating consists of a few stools at the counter and a few picnic tables under cover.
                                                                                                                                                                        * Appearance is "Austin chic"; that is, somewhat shabby and causing a guilty thought of "when was the last Health Inspector visit" to cross your mind.
                                                                                                                                                                        * Somewhat difficult to find. The address may be the mailing address, but the shop and sign actually is on the cross street.

                                                                                                                                                                        Worth trying. I would go back when I'm on my way out of downtown; especially if Counter Cafe is jammed.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thebodytx

                                                                                                                                                                          I've found "Your Mom's" to be inconsistent especially during peak hours and with to go orders. Problems have included ordering veggie and getting meat, grilled cheese burnt near the point of charcoal and burgers cooked to well on one side and still near rare on the other.
                                                                                                                                                                          On the other hand I've also had some really good burgers when they get it right. If you eat with a non-red meat eater, as I do, you should definitely call ahead to check if they have their vegetarian patties available as they often do not.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: chispa_c

                                                                                                                                                                      GM Steakhouse was indeed unique. I have never seen anything like them before or since. It was my favorite place to eat when I was in college back in the early 70's, along with Holiday House across the street. You had to really pay attention and be fast though or they might put something on your burger that you did not intend (once they asked if I wanted "Lettuce? Tomato? Fuel pump from a 1958 DeSoto?" - and they actually picked one up from under the counter!).

                                                                                                                                                                    3. Hyde Park Grill (the one that's actually in Hyde Park)

                                                                                                                                                                      Delicious beer-battered fries, too.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. The Common Interest has the most under rated burger in town! Phenomenal!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mgmckinley

                                                                                                                                                                          For all I know you're right, but you wouldn't happen be Mack McKinley, the owner of The Common Interest, would you?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Have to add a new contender now that I've been...

                                                                                                                                                                            I would love to recommend In The Buns in NW Austin off Lake Creek Pkwy/183 in the HEB lot across from 24 Hour fitness. I didn't have a beef burger (easily swayed by suggestions) but tried the bleu cheese bacon burger. All fresh veggies on a generous sized bun. The patty itself was probably around 1/3 pound, but was hand shaped so it was hard to judge. (They also cook the cheeses within the burger so that can deceive the size too). The patty was juicy and flavorful. The bacon was thick cut, fried to order and perfectly done. The veggies were fresh (tomato, onion, pickle slice, butter lettuce) and served on the side. The cook actually botched my burger, which the server noticed and 'fixed' it with extra bleu cheese at chipotle ranch sauce. Quite tasty!

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: careyana

                                                                                                                                                                              Per Eater, Austin hero Tyson Cole says the best burgers in town are at the snack bars at Lions and Jimmy Clay. http://austin.eater.com/archives/2011...

                                                                                                                                                                              I'm not a golfer, but can anyone second?

                                                                                                                                                                            2. I can't believe nobody has mentioned Hop Doddy! I know it's kind of new, but it is so good. Generally, I hate burgers, but the turkey burger and the magic shroom burger are so good!! Plus, the fries and shakes are really good. Definitely not your place if you are in the mood for a greasy, thing, no frills burger, but for something more different, this is your place.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Crown & Anchor jalapeño cheeseburger with bacon added. Mmmmm.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. If you are ever in Lampasas or Burnet, Storm's Drive-In has pretty amazing burgers. They grind their own meat. I think there is a 3rd location, not sure where.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Storm's Drive-In Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                  700 N Water St, Burnet, TX 78611

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I went to Texas for the first time last weekend and as I do in all my travels, I searched for the perfect burger. I've lived in seven states and been to about forty so I do have a track record of comparison. I had very high hopes based on reviews of Casino El Camino but sadly the three star rating comes mainly from the atmosphere as the burger itself was a colossal dissapointment. Let me start off with the only strength of this offering the burger itself. Having a good burger is about 60A% patty, 20% toppings and 20% bun, however if the toppings and bun stink, then all you get is a 60 out of a 100 which is a D. The meat was tasty but not spectacular, was cooked to the medium rare I ordered and was a nice size. I ordered the Chicago Burger which came with romaine lettuce, tomato and bacon. The toppings missed on all cylanders. Firstly, any serious burger has to include pickle chips, I never figured out the pickle spear on the side; what do you do with it? You can't put it on your burger so therefore it has no purpose. If a tomato is not ripe it actually takes away from the taste of the burger. This was a very thick not ripe slice that I had to instantly remove. Read my words, absorb it, live it: Romaine lettuce has no place on a hamburger. The only lettuce that goes or belongs on a burger is iceburg. If you are going to do bacon it must not be one of two things: 1) undercooked or 2) overly fatty or greasy. The bacon here was all of the above. And now, the grand finale, the bun. What was that? A bus seat cushion. Seriously, this may have been the worst bun I've had on a burger and it was about three days past it's due date. The atmosphere was great and I really enjoyed the Gargoyle and the rest of the decore but there isn't a single reason on earth why I would ever seek this place out over Fuddrucker's.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Casino El Camino
                                                                                                                                                                                    517 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

                                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kinglouix

                                                                                                                                                                                      Two comments:
                                                                                                                                                                                      1) No one goes to Casino for a burger anymore - those days are long gone.
                                                                                                                                                                                      2) I abhor iceberg on a burger and love romaine

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                        1) I've never been to Casino so no comment.
                                                                                                                                                                                        2) I agree with kinglouix, the only lettuce that goes or belongs on a burger is iceberg (but to each his own...).

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: danny_w

                                                                                                                                                                                          So, fo rthe iceberg rule, does this mean shredded iceberg, or whole leaves/sheets of iceberg?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                            I very much prefer whole leaves, but either is acceptable if fresh.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: danny_w

                                                                                                                                                                                              Personally, I can't stand iceberg on just about anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: danny_w

                                                                                                                                                                                            I prefer butter/bibb lettuce on burgers, personally.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hlk

                                                                                                                                                                                              The ONLY way to have a buger is with arugula leaves, whole, organic. If arugula is good enough for Obama, it's good enough for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Just kidding, I love these "absolutisms" about burgers, hot dogs, etc. Butter/bibb is also excellent on a burger.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Most often, I order no lettuce and extra tomatoes and onion when iceberg is involved. The onicons give the textural crunch that I think people like getting from iceberg, but there's actually flavor behind it.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hlk

                                                                                                                                                                                                Have to say, the thing I notice least on a burger is the type of lettuce.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I personally favor Dans or Frans for my diner style burgers, I can never get enough of those dern things. For the thicker patty I love parkside. I also enjoy the verde burger at The Screaming Goat, as I am a sucker for any burger with jalapenos. My all time favorite burger currently is in San Marcos, thus it doesn't technically qualify, but The Taproom has been slangin' quality burgers for awhile with no stray a ways. Good prices, and on Thursday it is buy a burger get a free pint! I've heard mixed reviews on Hopdoddy's, someone tell me what's good there please.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Screaming Goat
                                                                                                                                                                                          900 W 10th St, Austin, TX 78703

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Normally, we go for Hill-Bert's because it is in our hood and delivers, but Hill-Bert's can be a little heavy and greasy. So, last night we tried Hat Creek and were very pleased. The burger is thicker and juicier than the standard drive-thru burger and the fresh cut fries were hot, crisp, salty, and delicious. Grilled onions and jalapenos are free add-ons, but be aware that they come together (I ordered the onions and was surprised by the peppers--but it turned out to be a good surprise). I agree with some posts about the bun being a bit gummy and the lettuce wimpy, but these were minor issues overall. Next time I will try the whole wheat bun. The Blue Bell shakes were excellent too. Hat Creek was worth the trip, and we will definitely be back. It's a great place if you are looking for a satisfying fast-food burger that you won't regret later.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Any of these places serve free-range organic beef? Specially the thin patty ones?

                                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: WSZsr

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Dan's and Fran's are definitely not free-range organic. Elevation Burger is, and Terra Burger is organic (don't know about free-range). Both are thin patties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Terra Burger
                                                                                                                                                                                                  2522 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NJtoTX

                                                                                                                                                                                                    LOL. I saw the thin and missed the free range organic. Have to say that Elevation Burger is the worst burger I have tasted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: WSZsr

                                                                                                                                                                                                      You've never had a backyard hockey-puck burger worse than that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rudeboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'd prefer a Quarter-Pounder with cheese over the heavily garlic-powdered, kneaded -like-a-loaf-of-bread, well-done hockey-puck that my MIL served over the 4th of July weekend. I took one bite, chewed and chewed and chewed, and could still barely swallow. Then I had to live with the repercussions for the rest of the next several days. H was not so happy either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree with WSZsr that the best cheap burgers in town come from Fran's or Dan's. (I still give the edge to Fran's because of the greasy sheen on the top of the bun).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: agoodbite

                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's hilarious! I went to a backyard deal a while back and the person was cooking "well done" and "regular" burgers. Even the regular ones were like hockey pucks. I forced it down, but I wish that there had been a dog around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'll have to try Fran's again. Haven't been there in a while. I was big on Moonie's for a while, but the last couple of times they've been very unseasoned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Haven't ever tried Elevation or Terra, danny, but I've been down on McD's since they got rid of the Big and Tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: NJtoTX

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Elevation Burger and Terra Burger may be organic but there is certainly nothing else to recommend either of these places in my book. McDonald's has better burgers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Terra Burger
                                                                                                                                                                                                      2522 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Hat Creek's new Westlake location (where the pink flamigos nursery was at the corner of Bee Caves and 360) is a great place for burgers with the kids. They love the outdoor deck, playground and milkshakes. They can make choices of cheeses (pepper jack is a favorite) and can customize -- or in the case of the picky ones, just have bun, meat and cheese. Grilled cheese for the really little ones. I like the turkey burger and a vegetarian friend loves the all veggie burger freshly made by a lady in Austin who makes them special for Hat Creek. The burgers are fresh ground organic beef, the buns baked fresh. This is just good food a step above fast food. Three large flat screen TVs out on the deck for football, baseball or other games. Not too pricey and really nice employees.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Well, I guess it's time to put in my 2¢ worth on Austin's best burgers, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    First off, let me preface this by saying I love burgers. Not a burger snob (Never met a Whataburger I didn't like) but I'm always looking for a place to raise the bar on hamburgers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Last year ESPN 1530AM ran a "Burger Bracket" for the best burger in Austin and the eventual winner was the burger at Mike's Pub on 7th. I had never been there so eventually I went and tried it several moths ago. I will say, it was a good burger. However, best burger in ATX? No, maybe top 10 or 20 and I'd put it on par with Dirty Martin's or Hut's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would have to say, up until this year, that the best burger I have ever had in the city was the Kobe Burger at the original Hyde Park Bar & Grill location. Great meat, love the Faccacia bun, shaved red onions and when you request bacon on it, they add 5-6 strips on to the burger. Plus you tack on the famous fries and aioli dip and you have a winner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    However, the title changed hands just a couple of months ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hopdoddy was running a special a couple of months ago called the Primetime. I submit that the Primetime burger now owns the title of the best burger I have had in Austin. It costs $12 for the burger by itsself, and I would gladly part with $12 more dollars for another one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sadly though, it was only a special and not a full time menu item.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Lucky_Skunk

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I read somewhere that Mike's Pub is closing soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      As far as burgers go, it was a small greasy puck of deliciousness, but far from the "best." Hopdoddy is where it's at right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mike's Pub
                                                                                                                                                                                                      108 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Lucky_Skunk

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mike's lost their lease. Think they're looking to reopen. Frankly, it was a good burger, but it only won the contest because all the Austin-area Aggies mobilized to support them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: brentwood

                                                                                                                                                                                                          LOL, I heard the same thing yesterday from someone else. Aggies are so petty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Lucky_Skunk

                                                                                                                                                                                                            There was a permanent link on a popular aggie messageboard to the website voting. They thought it would be so super kewl to have an aggie owned establishment win the contest for best burger in _Austin_. That's how Mike's Pub won the contest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TheBadWolf

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I hate the whole Aggie-Longhorn thing. It's like not letting go of high school when you go off to college.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now for the real reason I'm here - accidentally clicked unsubscribe in email, but don't see a way to re-subscribe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Stack Burger Bar had a very nice burger for us this weekend. Medium Rare, good bun, lots of taste. We decided it was the Frank of burgers. I'd put it a bit above Hopdoddy though I haven't been there in a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Best burger I've had recently is at the Cuban Sandwich Cafe off Berkman. Huge and delicious - home made buns and hand made patty. I have them put the extra pork and ham on the side for a friend. And it costs about $8 all in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. UPDATE: The Primetime is now a fulltime menu item at Hopdoddy> I went last night with the wife and friends and, after several months since the last time I had it, I maintain this morning that it is the best hambuger I have ever eaten.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            PRIMETIME - Amreican Kobe Beef, Brie Cheese, Truffle Aioli, Arugula, Caramelized Onions, Steak Sauce

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Normal, I always add bacon to a burger. However, in this rare situation, I think the bacon would actually over power the other flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lucky_Skunk

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tried a bite of the Primetime a couple of days ago. I couldn't taste the truffle oil, which maybe is a good thing (or better than too much of it, anyway).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. The more things change, the more they stay the same. I'm referring, of course, to my own inability to create an ordinal list of the best burger joints in Austin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              In 2009, I set out to wrap my head around the Austin burger scene. I did that, much to the chagrin of my cardiologist, and felt content for all of seven seconds. Entropy! Shenanigans! Up-and-comers! Variability! Shifts of my own preference! Can there be a burger dogma? No, the world is not static, and the burger landscape is constantly evolving. My list from 2009 became obvious nonsense almost the moment I finalized it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I reiterate my initial question: what is your list of the best burger places in Austin? As of today, in order of preference, and give a descriptive sentence (or more) why for each. Bonus points if you include the approximate date of your last visit; recency is a key data point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for your efforts, fellow 'hounds!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tom in austin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, I can tell you Cat Mountian has fallen far and fast. Last night

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That being said, my favorite low scale is Frans - consisant, old school, greasy goodness. Two weekends ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Upscale is the hickory buger at Cover 3 - actually comes out medium rare, flavor bomb and the grilled leeks and homemade pickles just send it over the top...plus the fries with sanmarillo (can anyone give me the recipe for this!?!?) makes it worth every penny. Last weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: amysuehere

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hey, there's a dance in the old dame yet. We went to Cat Mountain two weeks ago and were moaning with each bite we took, the burgers were that good. I will say it: I have not had a better burger in Austin. Now, if you don't like the sweet type of buns, you may not like the Cat Mountain 'burgs, but me, I happen to love them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Best recent...Phil's south location. I asked them to cook it pink and they did. I liked the bun, too. ho hum fries.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                I like Wholly Cow on SoLa, but the one downtown not so much. Dry, artless.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Favorite thin, non-designer burger is Hat Creek.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. The wife and I hit up Hopdoddy on Anderson on their first day open today. Had not been to the South location, so this was a first for both of us. We were very pleased with the experience and the food both. There was no evidence of first day hiccups, and even the bigger than usual crowd was handled quickly. Food was hot and fast, and service was good. I can't compare the burgers to the other location, but the meat was flavorful, the specialty burgers thoughtfully composed, and the fries crispy, hot, and properly seasoned. My classic cheeseburger was a touch on the done side (I had ordered it 'pink') but the wife's mushroom sandwich was spot-on pink. Wife had her sandwich on a gluten-free bun, which she declared about as good as she has had. We'll definitely be going back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gilintx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We drove past Hopdoddy on Anderson just this past Sunday and it looked closed. If they're open, I'm going! I really like their burgers. I just hope the line isn't out the door like it is on S. Congress.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tom in austin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for posting that Tom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Completely agree with Bryce's Hopdoddy's recommendation:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      >> . The Magic Shroom Burger is topped with creamy Texas goat cheese, a classic with a Texas twist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've shared that Magic Shroom Burger + the lamb feta twice now with family, and those are definitely my 2 faves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Went there solo and decided to try something different - the pepper jack with hatch chilis that day. It was good, but not nearly as delicious or special as the Magic Shroom or the lamb feta burger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I am fascinated by Hopdoddy's from an execution standpoint. Several aspects of it are genius.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - how they designed the restaurant so that the wait line goes by the bar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - how you don't order till you get a table number, which prevents people standing around with trays of burgers looking for a table, and allows more table turns. If they didn't do that, we'd have to try to save tables when we got there while in line, which would unnecessarily waste table space.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - the kitchen staff seem to be very time-motion efficient. That doesn't happen by accident.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So someone very smart is behind the wheel at Hopdoddy's. Hats-off to whoever that is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I dig that big freakin' dough machine on the left of the line when approaching the ordering register. Wow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dear Hopdoddy's,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Please publish a dough-machine schedule in your topic here on Chowhound so that I can time my visits when your dough-machine is likely to be running. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sweet100s

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree; the place has a very Tim Cook (Apple) feel to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm sure it's mentioned in here but had the Kobe Burger from drink.well last night and it was excellent. Although I'd rather have fries than chips, the burger was very, very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chispa_c

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've had a bunch mentioned here now. But last night.....OMG! Walked over from the Hilton to Max's Wine Dive. Their Kobe burger has always been good, and it was gone! Replaced by a blended burger similar to what I do at home. Ground boneless beef short ribs, ground brisket, and ground beef belly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Easily the best "high end" burger I have ever had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You have got to try this new burger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Freaking amazing! And with a side of their chili, my perfect carnivore meal. Great heat on the chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chicago Wine Geek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Geez, that meat blend sounds phenomenal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chicago Wine Geek

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Just another good reason to go to Max's Wine Dive... Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. so, i haven't been eating a lot of burgers, mostly because they aren't that healthy, and now i can't have gluten. not being able to have fries with a burger is a depressing thought to me. plus, most gluten free baked goods, including buns, are pretty nasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            p terry's recently opened over at parmer/mopac, and their fry oil isn't "glutened" with chicken nugget or onion ring batter. their website indicated they do lettuce wraps so i was excited to try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            verdict? really good "fast food" style burger with quality ingredients for a decent price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            in fact, i wish it wasn't so good, because now it will be hard to stay away!