In a taco and barbecue town, we sometimes forget that bastion of Americana—the classic burger. But when you’ve got a hankering for a beef patty smothered in tasty toppings, you’re spoiled for choice.
From down-home to high-end, these are some of the best burgers in Austin.
Dirty Martin’s has been slinging patties since the Roaring 20s. This old-school burger joint on UT’s campus is nothing fancy, which is part of its charm. Get the Kumbak Burger, which keeps it simple with mustard, onion, pickle, and tomato. And get some of their fresh fries or onion rings, too.
Classic burger joint Top Notch is an iconic 1970s Austin institution. The exterior may have become famous as a backdrop in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, but the locals already knew all about it due to their delicious charcoal-grilled burgers. They still offer carhop service, so you can wade in the nostalgia while you enjoy your cheeseburger with American cheese, mayo, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, and onions.
From food truck beginnings, JewBoy Burgers now has their own brick and mortar restaurant on Airport Blvd. Their unique cuisine blends traditional Jewish fare with Tex-Mex-inspired burgers for something totally new. Add a latke to your burger for a little crunch, or enjoy a burger/deli mashup with the Goyim—a 1/3 lb patty topped with grilled pastrami, bacon, and melted swiss cheese.
Where: 5111 Airport Blvd.
Phone: (512) 291-3558
Web: JewBoy Burgers
Hopdoddy Burger Bar
You can’t talk Austin burgers without mentioning Hopdoddy.
Their original location on South Congress often has a line wrapping around the building, but they have seven other Austin area locations to share the love. There are burger options here for carnivores and plantivores alike, with tons of flavorful toppings like grilled poblanos, tomato bacon jam, and truffle aioli. Share one of their seven different French fry options with your pals.
Where: 1400 S. Congress Ave., Suite A190 (original location)
Phone: (512) 243-7505 (South Congress location)
Although it’s not a burger joint, the gourmet burger at Jacoby’s Mercantile should not be missed. Made with dry-aged beef from the family ranch, this drippy burger is rich and decadent. Add an avocado, mushrooms, bacon, or a fried egg to indulge even more.
If the $18 price tag seems too steep, go for happy hour when it’s just $10.
Where: 3235 E. Cesar Chavez Street
Phone: (512) 366-5808
Vegans and vegetarians will find plenty to love at popular food truck Arlo’s. Their burgers are plant based, and both soy- and gluten-free. The Bac’n Cheezeburger is one of the most popular options, topped with seitan “bacon” and vegan cheeze. You can also add mac ‘n cheeze to your burger for even more gooey goodness.
Arlo’s has two locations—outside Cheer Up Charlies on Red River, and at Spider House near the University of Texas.
Where: 900 Red River Street (Cheer Up Charlies location)
Phone: (512) 840-1600 (Cheer Up Charlies location)
The local, organically raised, grass fed burgers from Wholly Cow Burgers are both sustainable and totally unpretentious. Tucked away in an unassuming convenience store on South Lamar, it’s clear that they spend their money on ingredients, not decor. Try the classic Pure Single, loaded with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, mustard, mayo, and ketchup, served on a King’s Hawaiian Sweet Roll.
Sidenote: their tagline is delightful throwback to a more laid-back Austin: “Our cows eat more grass than you smoke.”
Where: 3010 S. Lamar Blvd.
Phone: (512) 394-8156
Web: Wholly Cow Burgers
Salt & Time
The burger at local butcher shop and restaurant Salt & Time has a devoted following. The Butcher’s Burger boasts a full half-pound of beef, plus house pickles and Duke’s mayo. It’s a simple burger, but it’s so beloved that it’s getting it’s own spin-off restaurant, also called The Butcher’s Burger. It will feature beef, lamb, and chicken burgers among the options.
Where: 1912 E. 7th Street
Phone: (512) 524-1383
Web: Salt & Time
LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue
Barbecue truck LeRoy and Lewis may be famous for their “New School” brisket, sausage, and alternative cuts like beef cheeks. But their burger is a can’t-miss. Made from smoked akaushi brisket and topped with American cheese, grilled onions, and house-made pickles, it’s one of the best burgers in Austin—or anywhere.
Where: 121 Pickle Road (at Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden)
Phone: (512) 945-9882
Web: LeRoy and Lewis
Casino El Camino
Rocker dive Casino El Camino may have the distinction of the biggest burger in town. At 3/4 lb of charbroiled Angus beef, there is enough meat here to feed the entire band. But if that’s not enough, you can also add beer-braised pork belly or bacon. They also have some specialty options, like the L.A. Burger with spinach, avocado, and smoked shallot aioli; or the Pitts Burger smothered in sauteed mushrooms and onions and topped with A-1 sauce.
Where: 517 E. 6th Street
Phone: (512) 469-9330
Web: Casino El Camino