Best burgers in Austin
You wouldn’t think one of the best burgers in town would come from an oyster bar, but Clark’s Black Angus hamburger is not to be missed. Served on a grill-seared bun spread with creamy sauce Gribiche, each sizable and freshly griddled patty is dripping with melted Gruyere and comes with a steak knife and a tangle of crispy shoestring fries. Enjoy it with a glass of French rosé (and oysters for good measure).
There’s a reason even locals line up at Hopdoddy each day—and it’s not the thick, tasty milkshakes the eatery offers (although they certainly sweeten the deal). This locally born chain—now with locations in Dallas, Arizona, California and Colorado—only uses beef from humanely raised cows (never given hormones or antibiotics), grinds the beef in-house and serves the patties on house-made buns from hand-cut Kennebec potatoes. The Primetime is a leather-lined, chrome-rimmed option, made with rich Texas Akashi beef, Brie cheese, arugula, caramelized onions, truffle aioli, steak sauce and a slice of fresh beefsteak tomato.
Launderette is the buzzy New American café helmed by longtime culinary partners in crime, chef Rene Ortiz and pastry chef Laura Sawicki. True to the name, the restaurant was a regular neighborhood washateria not long ago. The feel of the converted space is bright, laid back and undeniably hip. Weekend brunch is the perfect time for people watching East Austin’s young and pretty population. Menu highlights include fried oysters, wood-grilled charred octopus and the heavenly Plancha Burger, a fast-food style burger served with “special sauce,” carmelized onions and American cheese on challah bread. The cocktail list is equally fun—we love the Press Proof (Vida Mezcal, Amaro Montenegro, lemon, orgeat).
Though Congress no longer stands next to Second Bar & Kitchen, we like to think this monument of a burger plays homage to the city’s iconic fine dining restaurant. Brisket and chuck are fresh ground and oozing with Gruyere and a smear of shallot confit. Diners can customize their orders with the usual toppings (lettuce, tomatoes and pickles) or go all out with pork belly or seared foie gras.
Jeffrey’s dry-aged prime Wagyu burger is only available at the bar, where it arrives dressed to the nines with zesty mustard frisée, rich Cambozola, sweet caramelized onion, bold horseradish and caper mayo and steak fries. And, best of all, it’s available for half price ($12) during happy hour.
The burger alone has won Counter Cafe some regulars who slide into one of the swiveling stools to watch the Niman beef patty sizzle on the grill before it’s set on a sweet brioche bun, topped with ruffled Boston lettuce, a slice of sharp cheddar, juicy tomatoes and onion. May all diner burgers always be this perfect.
Once you've had it, the devilishly juicy burger at Justine’s makes it hard to order anything else on the menu. The secret behind the hand-ground Angus beef patty is a blend of short rib and tenderloin, ground in-house, then topped with melty Gruyere cheese, crisp butter lettuce, house-made mayonnaise and a tomato slice on fresh ciabatta. Each one is served with garlicky frites and Dijon aioli by a hip waitstaff while listening to a well-curated vinyl soundtrack.
Contigo’s burger achieved cult status–and for good reason. The star of the show is beef from Stonewall’s Windy Bar Ranch, cooked medium and served on a house-made challah and packed with crunchy romaine, a thick tomato slice and thin-sliced, house-cured dill pickles. Golden-crisp fries come on the side and both Grafton cheddar and house-made bacon can be added to the mix for an additional charge. The burger is so unbelievably delicious that owners Ben Egerton and Andrew Wisehart decided to add it to the menu of their latest eatery, Chicon.
Parkside’s cheeseburger is a bit of a well-kept secret, simply because it can only be found on the bar menu. Inspired by Shawn Cirkiel’s grandmother’s hamburger steak recipe, a blend of brisket and chuck is ground in-house, then seared, finished off in the oven and served medium-rare. A layer of white melted cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion rings and a soft house-made bun seal the deal… and from 5-6:30pm every day, enjoy a half-off happy hour deal.
The culinary masterminds at Odd Duck are known for changing things up as they please, but the burger on their lunch menu is always a winner. The patty itself is made from Richardson Farm brisket and chuck eye roll ground with Wagyu ribeye trim. It’s topped with fried egg pimento, tobacco onions and house-made bacon rillette and presented on a fresh baked bun.
The Pascal burger at this gastropub warrants the trip to Campus–trust us. The medium rare patty, creamy Camembert and caramelized onions are held together by a perfectly firm bun that comes with thin, herb-tossed frites and a tiny jar of aioli.
The burger at Josephine House changes slightly depending on what time of day you stop by for a visit—but it remains delicious nonetheless. Nighttime means Grafton cheddar and grilled red onion, while its brunch attire includes a fried egg, bacon and greens. Both use the same fresh ground beef, a slather of spicy harissa aioli and an airy house-made bun.
The patty of this well-seasoned burger alone would satisfy, but that doesn’t stop the kitchen from loading it with even more umami in the form of peppered bacon, mushroom butter and Tillamook cheddar—then presenting it on a grilled brioche bun.
If anyone knows beef, it’s Jacoby's Restaurant & Mercantile, which sources all of its own from the Jacoby family ranch out in Melvin, Texas. A juicy half pound cheeseburger is on the dinner and brunch menus but—secret’s out—just ask for the chef to slather it with pimento cheese in lieu of cheddar and you’ve got yourself a real Southern treat, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles.
The burger served at the bar of Vince Young Steakhouse, made from fresh-ground Wagyu brisket, is one of the best deals in town. Blazed to medium rare, it’s served on a house-made brioche, draped with melted cheddar and topped with tart pickles. It’s hard to believe it’s only $10 at half price happy hour (Monday through Friday 5-7pm).
This divey punk watering hole on East 6th Street would be the last place you’d expect to find a decent burger (that is, if you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade). The high quality meat is ground fresh daily and served in six different 12-ounce variations, held together by sweet grilled buns. The Amarillo, topped with roasted serrano chiles, cilantro mayonnaise and a melty mass of Jack cheese, is one of our favorites these days.
Our only problem with this iconic Campus-area bakery and bistro is that it only serves its addictive burgers on Sundays. But we assure you that the brioche-bound Wagyu beef patty-— topped with Taleggio, sweet caramelized onions and spicy arugula—is well worth the week-long wait.
Coffee shops aren’t typically known for their amazing food options, but you can expect something different from this one, helmed by West Texas ranch-raised hotelier Liz Lambert. The burgers are made with a natural 100% Angus beef patty plus lettuce, tomato, onion (raw or caramelized!) and pickles on a sweet, pillowy bun. Pro tip: Stop by on a Monday with a friend, when burgers are buy one, get one free.
This leaning tower of burger lives up to its name with two layers of fresh-ground beef, cheddar, bacon, blistered peppers and candied jalapeños. Cool the burn with a creative shake, which comes in flavors like peanut butter pretzels and strawberry shortcake.
Though the Bowling Alley Burger found on Swift’s Attic’s lunch menu is a thing of beauty itself, there’s something to be said of the novelty creations dreamt up each Monday for Big Ass Burger Night, when the sky’s the limit. Past creations have included The Cow of Monte Cristo (sourdough toast, Comte cheese, Taylor ham, beef patty, smoked turkey and cheddar cheese battered in a coca cola tempura) and Slice of Heaven (beef and prosciutto patty, fig paste, gorgonzola dolce, balsamic glaze and arugula between two slices of VIA 313 pizza). Only a dozen of these bad boys are crafted each Monday and hopeful diners must arrive by 8pm (or camp out at the bar beforehand) for a prompt 9pm serving.
Long before we had Shake Shack or In-n-Out Burger, P. Terry’s satisfied Austinites with its all natural beef burger. The homegrown chain is found all over the city these days and still maintains the same level of flavor and quality. Bonus points: enjoy some dog treats when visiting.
It’s no secret that the burgers at this Austin-born chain are super fresh. After all, you can actually watch the meat grow and get worked into patties at most locations while boxes of Idaho potatoes form the dining room decor. Customize the ½ pound Classic with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, crinkle dill pickles, sliced and grilled onions plus your preference of sauce: red (ketchup), yellow (mustard) or white (mayo).
This Austin-based burger joint now boasts locations in Georgetown, Round Rock and Westlake. The Signature burger starts with an all-natural beef patty topped with American cheese, a secret “happy sauce” and spicy sauerkraut (made by Hat Creek Provisions, their collaboration with Strange Land Brewery).
Despite its less-than-appetizing name, this burger joint on the Drag has been keeping foodies coming back since 1926. A meal at Dirty’s (as the regulars like to call it) is a step back in time. Slide onto a swiveling stool at the counter and watch your burger sizzle on the flat top as short order cooks expertly smash and flip the patties. They offer fries and onion rings, but we prefer opting for the razor thin fried pickles instead.
This burger is exactly what you’d expect to find at the lunch counter in the back of a 65 year old Clarksville pharmacy. Each patty is grilled on the flat top and draped with a square of melty American cheese and your choice of basic accoutrements (lettuce, tomato, onion). Pro tip: go hungry and be sure to order an ice cream float or malt to accompany your burger.
What about hot dogs?
Continue your meaty travels through our list of favorite hot dogs.