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Best burger in Raleigh?

  • d

ok, so as mentioned in a previous post, i'm traveling to raleigh for the first time. one of the things i try to seek out on a trip is the best burger. i will be staying downtown raleigh, but could travel to neighboring areas too. No Fuddruckers or anything....i saw this posted for something else and had to laugh. nothing i can get elsewhere in the country. Thank you all!

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  1. In NC, the only way to get a rare burger is in a place where they grind their own beef in-house. Downtown's best burger would have to be The Raleigh Times. They also have BBQ Pork nachos, and the pork comes from the Pit (mentioned on another thread). The Raleigh Times has a great bar menu, lots of good beers, and a nice pub atmosphere.

    1. Here is a picture of the nachos at the Raleigh Times. They don't have as much pork as they used to, but it's still soooo good.

      (You can get these - and some Chicken Fried Pickles - as a starter to your burger.)

      1. There's a place called Abbey Road Grill in Cary, NC that was voted 'Best Burger in Cary'. Cary is basically right next to Raleigh. Here's their website:


        2 Replies
        1. re: WorkHardEatHard

          +1 on Abbey Road! The burgers are awesome.

          1. re: WorkHardEatHard

            If it's not too late to be useful, I'll throw in another thumbs-up to Abbey Road. Great burgers, friendly people, late 60s-early 70s vibe.

          2. Does anyone know if the new Diner restaurant grinds their own meat? They have a few burger selections, but being so new I couldn't begin to tell you I've heard anything about their burgers.

            Just some other options (people can weigh in on them)
            Fat Daddy's on Glenwood (north of Crabtree Mall)
            Mojoe's Burger Joint in Glenwood South Area
            Player's Retreat (bar/hangout)
            Cloo's sliders
            Porter's Tavern

            7 Replies
            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

              I haven't heard if the Diner grinds their own meat. But I do think they specialise in interesting combinations on burgers (if that's what you're into). Greg Cox mentioned a Vegas Burger "which stars American Kobe beef with truffle foie gras mayo and sautéed spinach."

              Our two favorite burgers in Raleigh are Raleigh Times and the PR (Players Retreat).

              1. re: cackalackie

                Yeah I saw that on the menu it's also pretty high in the dollar amount for a burger for obvious reasons. I don't konw if you cover with a lot of things can you really tell the difference between kobe and a good sirloin mix? Just was adding the thought about checking that Diner out as another possibility to the OP.

                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                  I think the Hibernian makes a great burger. Best downtown.

                  I know you said you didn't want to go there, but sadly, Fuddrucker's does have THE best burger in the Raleigh.

                  Of course, this is MY opinion, so no haters, please.

                  1. re: Fu Dee

                    I haven't sampled all the burgers in Raleigh to know who makes the best. If I had to make a list, here are my nominees.

                    I don't recall if I've had a burger at Raleigh Times, but I don't doubt theirs is good. They make a lot of condiments and stuff in house and I think that attention to detail carries over positively to the food.

                    The Player's Retreat. They make a damn fine burger, good fries and have a nice selection of craft beer. That's the triple crown of burger excellence for me.

                    If you're north of downtown, the Sawmill Tap makes a great burger. Again, nice beer selection, but I don't remember about the fries.

                    Poole's Diner makes a Royale w/ Cheese that's high-end but quite tasty.

                    1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                      I have to give Porter's a burger a slight edge over the Raleigh Times although both are excellent

                      1. re: Guilty Gourmand

                        I agree - Porters burger is just a bit better imo.

                        I often prefer the atmosphere of Porters over Raleigh Times when I'm not up for a high noise level. Porters has more comfortable seating and it is easier to have a conversation. Both have good food and I'll happily eat at either place.

                  2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                    Went to the Diner last night and the Vegas burger (kobe beef) is now gone from the menu. Our server suggested that the high price might have put people off. But thought it strange - as they've just opened.

              2. Since you can travel a little bit and you want something you can't get anywhere else, I suggest you try The Angus Barn, which is a long-standing expensive steak place just north of the airport. Ignore the main dining room with people waiting for tables and trot upstairs to the "Wild Turkey Lounge."


                It's no reservations, grab-a-table bar and upscale pub grub. If you order their hamburger, be prepared for gasps and looks of terror as the server brings it out to your table. It's an obscene amount of meat packed into a giant brown pillow that overflows the bun. I'm talking well over a pound. It's $16 and an extravagant spend so you can have a story to tell. Very nice taste, but it's the setting (the bar is crazy looking) and the unique size that set this one apart.

                3 Replies
                1. re: klmonline

                  I have heard that they also have a "junior" burger that is still a hefty half pound burger. It's not on the regular menu but you can ask for it. Can anyone confirm this?

                  Found the answer to my own question. It's called the "kid's" burger:


                  1. re: klmonline

                    Or order the "kid's" burger which is a half pound burger.

                    1. re: klmonline

                      My wife and I split one, along with a warm spinach salad.

                    2. Thanks everyone. I'll report back after I make my pick.

                      1. I agree with Mojoes as having a damn fine burger
                        also like Abbey Road in Cary
                        Cameron's Grill
                        Cargrill is usually enjoyable as well.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: countgrog

                          countgrog, I'm guessing you mean Char Grill? :-) I'd second that recommendation.

                          1. re: Suzy Q

                            my spellingg got me again yes Char Grill

                            had a steak Jr this weekend

                            1. re: countgrog

                              Ha! I haven't had a burger at PRs (Player's Retreat) since 1966, but they were good then...thanks for reminding me of a really fun place. I almost remember being there...!

                        2. Best burger we've had in Raleigh: http://thestraightbeef.com/?p=163

                          Mojoe's Burger Joint
                          620 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27603

                          1. Globe on Glenwood has by far the best burger in Raleigh. Miles ahead of Mo Joes for sure. Not only is it house ground so you can get it med-rare but the buns are made in house and none of those god awful frozen fries.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: willhm

                              Thanks for the tip, Willhm. We had some nice pink juicy burgers there tonight. Followed by the Globe's spectacular classic vanilla creme brulee. Best in the Triangle.

                            2. Not Raleigh, but this place may make a good burger. If anyone goes and tries one, let us know.


                              1 Reply
                              1. Having been down a couple times since my original post, I've now tried the burger at Raleigh Times and Porters Tavern. I'd give the slight edge to Porters, but I like the energy at Raleigh Times itslef much better. Maybe next stop is Mojoe's from all the thumbs up there.

                                1. Burgers in Raleigh? One word, well two words, really. Char Grill, the original location on Hillsborough Street. Its a 50's hold over drive-in. Come in your 57 Chevy if you can. Get the Steak Sandwich, comes with fries, a medium drink, and your choice of a host of toppings. As they say, Simpler Times, Simpler Choices.

                                  Char Grill
                                  618 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27603

                                  1. Not in Raleigh, but I just discovered a new "instant favorite" in Cary. It's The Corner Tavern & Grill at 1301 N.W. Maynard. Tucked into the inside corner of a little shopping strip mall with a Kroger at High House. If you know where Briggs is, that's the mall.

                                    We bought a discount coupon off Twongo after Greg Cox wrote it up in the Nays and Disturber. Had lunch there today and we both loved the burgers. She got the avocado burger that Cox wrote about. I got a bacon burger. They must grind their own Angus beef, because they cheerfully ask if you would like it rare or medium rare and it really does come out pink and juicy. At 10 oz, it was a serious meal and very tasty indeed. The standard bun is a "pretzel roll", but I asked for mine on Texas Toast, which they happily provided. Fries were quite acceptable, if not the best of the best. At least they were fresh and hot even though we were at the end of the lunch hour on a Saturday and not many people were dining. There are several alternative sides if you don't want fries.

                                    A bar is attached to the small dining section, so you can order a full complement of beers or other alcoholic drinks.

                                    Absolutely worth a burger pilgrimage. I live close to Abbey Road, but I will make the extra drive over to this place as my preferred burger.

                                    The Corner Tavern & Grill
                                    1301 NW Maynard Rd, Cary, NC 27513

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: klmonline

                                      We tried The Corner Tavern & Grill tonight (Fri.). There was a short wait. They don't take reservations, but you can call ahead and get on the list. Several specials were listed on a chalk board by the front door, all seemed reasonably priced and used seasonal ingredients.

                                      I was intrigued by their Tavern Tot appetizer. Described as bacon, cheddar & green onions rolled up into a tater tot - who could pass it up? A little moister than I would have expected, but tasty. There were 8 good sized tots with a jazzed up ketchup. I was thinking loaded baked potato and requested sour cream. We ended up liking them best with the two condiments mixed together. All in all pretty good, even better with a beer.

                                      We went with the burgers - avocado for me, mushroom/Swiss for my SO. Both cooked perfectly. The avocado is a bit messy. The pretzel bread had a slight egg flavor, nicely browned with a pretzel knot visible on the surface. Denser than most buns, worked well for the burger.

                                      Service was youthful, energetic, well trained. A few forgotten condiments, the specials weren't mentioned, flatware removed without being replaced - but everyone was friendly and quick to remedy the situations.

                                      This meal did make me realize that the the sides are a big part of my burger experience. We had the steak fries and sweet potato fries. Neither was great, but certainly acceptable.
                                      Driving home we both felt that we would probably go to Abbey Road more frequently because of the onion rings being so great and the fries being better than at the Corner Tavern.

                                      Burgerwise I think CT&G has better meat and has the timing down perfectly for medium rare and medium. Our last Abbey Road visit had some serious problems with the cooking of the meat.

                                      The Corner Tavern & Grill
                                      1301 NW Maynard Rd, Cary, NC 27513

                                      1. re: meatn3

                                        Went to Corner T&G this past weekend with my daughter because this post peaked my interest since I absolultely love Abbey Road and wanted to see if this place had good burgers as well.

                                        Burgers were good but I wasn't blown away. I didn't care for the fries, probably shoulda tried their sweet potatoe fries. The steak fries reminded me of the frozen Ore-Ida seasoned fries. They didn't seem fresh at all and the seasoning looked to be caked on them which is why I was reminded of the frozen fry variety from a grocery store.

                                        Their wings were very good. Not too hard to get those right though. Overall, I would probabaly go back, but I think given a choice between there and Abbey Road, I would choose Abbey Road.

                                      2. re: klmonline

                                        Grade rating 89.5 in August, and now 90. Not the sanitation grade where I want to take my friends and family to get a burger.

                                      3. Just had a GREAT burger at the Busy Bee Cafe, on Wilmington St in downtown Raleigh. I never expected to find such a terrific burger there, but it was! Check out the place. Nice atmosphere too.

                                        1. I've enjoyed Mojoe's in Raleigh the few times I've been there.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                            I also love MoJoe's! And I like that the veggie burgers taste great, too. The Inferno (or whatever they call the one with the grilled jalapenos) is my favorite.

                                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                              I've only been to Mojoe's a handful of times and enjoyed it more on more recent visits than the first time I went. Wanted to post about another very good burger experience from a couple of days ago at Brewmasters (rebranded Cherry Bomb in old Joe's Place). Very good burger and fries plus tons of NC craft brews.

                                              Joe's Place
                                              301 W Martin St, Raleigh, NC 27601