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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.

Sullivan's
Wink
Five Guys
Casino
Artz
Fuddrucker's
Carl's Jr.
Culver's
P. Terry's
Short Stop
Mighty Fine
Jackalope
Whataburger
Galaxy Cafe
Z Tejas
Red Robin
Cheesecake Factory
Houston's
(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