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Austin American Spaceman top twelve burger list...

tim irvine Aug 31, 2013 05:00 PM

An interesting (and clearly wrong...heh, heh) list. A lot of newbies. Seriously, someone will go to Second for a burger? I admit I had not tried all of them, but the few I had just didn't wow me. I must say everything I have had at Luke's Inside Out was solid. On the subject of burgers, I went to school in LA in the late 60s and loved In N Out. I tried one in Dallas a few weeks ago. A very nicely presented mediocre burger IMHO, nothing like it used to be. It wouldn't make my list now.

  1. tom in austin Sep 3, 2013 07:07 PM

    To begin the process of determining the best burger in Austin, we should start with a decent list of all possible contenders (regardless of whether you prefer fancy burgers, fat burgers, or skinny burgers). An attempt, let me know if I'm missing any legitimate burgers worthy of consideration.

    I'm ordering them deliberately into what I deem their conceptual groupings.

    Counter Cafe
    Swift's Attic
    Foreign & Domestic
    Jack Allen's Kitchen
    Olivia (brunch)
    Scrumptious Chef Pop Up Restaurant #11: East Austin Burger Project
    Drink. Well.
    Bar Congress|Second Bar
    Wink Wine Bar
    Sullivan's (bar)
    Austin Land & Cattle (bar)
    Casino el Camino
    Black Sheep Lodge
    Dog & Duck
    Crown & Anchor
    Roaring Fork
    The Tavern
    Red's Porch
    Cover 3
    B.B. Rover's
    Max's Wine Dive
    Jo's Coffee
    24 Diner
    Turf N Surf Po’ Boy
    Hat Creek Burger Co.
    Phil's Icehouse
    Five Guys
    Carl's Jr
    P. Terry's
    Short Stop
    Mighty Fine
    Z Tejas
    Galaxy Cafe
    Frisco Shop
    Luke’s Inside Out
    Wholly Cow
    Buda Grocery & Grill

    8 Replies
    1. re: tom in austin
      Rice Checks Sep 4, 2013 07:10 AM

      I'm a Top Notch fan, so I'd consider them worthy of consideration.

      1. re: Rice Checks
        matthewodam Sep 4, 2013 10:33 AM

        I like the flame on the top notch burger. only had a couple, but it fills a specific niche well

      2. re: tom in austin
        Alan Sudo Sep 4, 2013 10:05 AM

        Flat Top Grill has some consistency issues with patties juicy on one visit and dry the next, but when they are good, they are very good.

        1. re: Alan Sudo
          ieathereforeiam Sep 5, 2013 01:22 AM

          love flat top. great value, and best onion rings.

          1. re: ieathereforeiam
            slowcoooked Sep 5, 2013 07:32 AM

            agreed, but I can't taste the difference between their grassfed and regular burgers so I don't pay the extra. those onion rings are indeed probably the best in town.

        2. re: tom in austin
          TroyTempest Sep 4, 2013 10:55 AM

          I'd add your mom's burger bar, worthy of consideration even though probably not a top 10, also Hyde Park Bar and grill.

          1. re: tom in austin
            girloftheworld Sep 4, 2013 04:25 PM

            The Cuban Sandwich Shop
            Red Wagon Burgers( may not count because it is actually round rock)
            Mighty Fines - underground menu
            Shady Grove

            1. re: tom in austin
              tim irvine Sep 5, 2013 06:43 PM

              dang! Nice list! My most basic dividing line is burgers with enough good meat that they could be cooked medium rare and you'd be glad they did versus burgers where the meat is essential but not the clear star. I also honor the genres of Texas burgers (griddled bun, yellow mustard, dill chips, tomato slice, iceberg, and sweet onion and West Coast (OLT and sauce or spread). I like your continuum approach.

            2. sweet100s Sep 3, 2013 01:19 AM



              1. WSZsr Sep 2, 2013 04:47 PM

                Don't get the paper. What are the top 12? nevermind. Found it on austin360.com

                1. tim irvine Sep 2, 2013 06:34 AM

                  Interesting how burgers seem to self sort into upscale or classic. My current favorites actually fit more in the middle. I like Phil's and Wholly Cow for cranking out solid, traditionally topped burgers with a decent sized patty they will cook medium or medium rare. While one can debate whether it is technically a burger, Chilantro's bulgogi with fried egg is addictive, plus it is a very good deal.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tim irvine
                    singlemalt Sep 4, 2013 09:25 AM

                    It occurred to me that perhaps a new definition of hamburger needs to be made.

                    On the basis of this article I tried the Crown and Anchor's burger. While not blown away, I found it to be a solid basic HB ( the classic) and also discovered that the C and A might be a pretty neat place to have a beer and cigar.

                    Of course, how can one discuss H B's and not include Top Notch.

                  2. popvulture Sep 1, 2013 09:33 PM

                    I haven't been to all of these places, but aren't they all of the fancier variety? You might need a separate list to cover burgers of the classic/diner-y ilk (Fran's/Dan's, Sandy's, Frisco), but it's a little annoying that there isn't one classic burger joint type place on there.

                    Sticking with the fancy theme, I think Counter Cafe would make my list, and former chain status aside, Bartlett's makes a damn fine burger.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: popvulture
                      girloftheworld Sep 1, 2013 09:43 PM

                      Casino El camino is close to "dive" status I would say.. the others I would put more high end.. Swifts is "fancier" ...
                      But you as far as "classic" joints ... there are no Dan's or Cuban sandwich shops on the list

                      1. re: girloftheworld
                        Rptrane Sep 2, 2013 10:12 AM

                        Ever watch those Casino guys make a burger? It's slightly below dive status

                        1. re: Rptrane
                          popvulture Sep 2, 2013 10:23 AM

                          Yeah I would put Casino somewhere in the middle. They don't cook to order (they're all slow cooked, right?), and the kitchen vibe is indeed grungy.

                          I'd still say it's different from a classic burger joint though. This is an oversimplification, but I usually associate classic with wide/flat burgers and fancy with tall. Casino falls between those parameters as well...

                          1. re: Rptrane
                            girloftheworld Sep 2, 2013 04:42 PM

                            ALas no.. I had to eat my Casino burger out on the street..deliverd to me by my mom who swore she thought the place was haunted "especially in the upstairs" where she "felt" an man and two teen girls. but it was a good burger...I found it better than roaring forks laughing their ass at you burger.

                        2. re: popvulture
                          matthewodam Sep 3, 2013 11:43 AM

                          I would include Sandy's on the classic list out of nostalgia. Crown and Anchor is a very classic burger of the style you mention. I still need to go to Bartlett's (shameful, I know)

                          1. re: matthewodam
                            Rptrane Sep 3, 2013 06:06 PM

                            I was unimpressed with Bartlett's. I really like the burger at Austin Land & Cattle during happy hour. Super good and a very nice mix of meat. They grind their own burgers on site and you definitely taste the difference.

                            1. re: Rptrane
                              matthewodam Sep 4, 2013 10:34 AM

                              the austin land and cattle happy hour is great all the way around, burger included.

                          2. re: popvulture
                            Alan Sudo Sep 3, 2013 11:54 AM

                            No. 8 on the list, Crown and Anchor isn't fancy by any means, and they also serve the thin patty style burger. Unless I missed it, that was the only thin patty burger on this list - reviewer's bias, I guess. There are several fat patty burgers listed that are being served in locations I wouldn't call fancy - Casino, Black Sheep Lodge, Hopfields.
                            Maybe places like Sandy's and The Frisco just need to start serving pitchers of beer to get the Statesman's attention?

                            1. re: Alan Sudo
                              popvulture Sep 3, 2013 06:38 PM

                              In terms of the old school/flat types of burgers, I feel like I have to add that The Frisco is my fave. They grind their meat in house (the chop't steaks are also great), and cook it to order... I never have a problem getting medium rare there. I'm not usually one for the idea of something sweet on a burger, but their signature Frisco with the relish and special sauce... it just works spectacularly. Plus they have probably my favorite onion rings in town.

                              Also, re: unimpressed with Bartlett's above, why didn't you like it? I got a burger with bleu cheese and bacon, and it was fantastic. Plus that artichoke appetizer is SO good, just as a bonus.

                              1. re: popvulture
                                TroyTempest Sep 4, 2013 07:06 AM

                                I really dig the artichoke app. at Bartlett's. and most everything else i've had there,
                                Re: their burger.
                                Too expensive and overrated, chopped lettuce is a minus. IIRC, i didn't much care for the bun, but i can't remember why.
                                It would have been real good for about 7 bucks. At over $10, not so much.

                          3. girloftheworld Aug 31, 2013 05:43 PM

                            while I dont agree with all of his choices...in fact few of them in fact make me wonder if he was drawing numbers out of his little straw fedora... However, I was much relieved to see a list that did not include The Roaring Fork...

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: girloftheworld
                              slowcoooked Sep 1, 2013 08:39 AM

                              The Roaring Fork's "Big Ass Burger" at happy hour makes me happy every time, always cooked to my medium liking. I'm not sure what's not to like, especially the value. It's big enough for two. and they use a very nice bit of thick smokey bacon on that boy. I guess it's "a chacun son gout". Quite enjoyed Mettle's cheeseburger last weekend (another post).

                              1. re: girloftheworld
                                matthewodam Sep 3, 2013 11:42 AM

                                "drawing numbers out of his little straw fedora" is pretty awesome. made me smile.

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