Muss & Turner's | Erika Botfeld
Food & Drink

The Absolute Best Burgers in Atlanta

Updated On 08/17/2017 at 04:33PM EST
Kevin Alexander/Thrillist

Burger stack

Fred's Meat & Bread

Address and Info

Krog Street Market

Chef Todd Ginsberg created the burger stack at Bocado. He left in 2012 and opened The General Muir, where he created an updated version. Now at Fred’s, one of Ginsberg’s Krog Street Market stands, you can get a faster (but still delicious) double-pattied burger of crispy seared ground beef on bread from his TGM Bread company -- in four to seven minutes -- simply accented with American cheese, mayo, and bread & butter pickles.

Wrecking Bar burger

Wrecking Bar Brewpub

Address and Info

Inman Park

The fact that you’re eating a burger in a place that brews its own beer is alluring enough, but let’s talk about the signature burger. It’s made using grass-fed beef from Southeast Family Farms (a network of generational GA farmers organized by beef purveyor Halperns’), whose juiciness and flavor mix perfectly with shreds of iceberg lettuce, vine-ripe tomatoes, fontal cheese, mustard, and dill pickle. If this sounds perfect as is, wait until they add the bacon slices.

Tori Allen PR

Apache Style Burger

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Address and Info

Morningside

We love the Cowboy Style, but the truth is that the Apache Style is Grindhouse's current champ, in the sense of getting a low cost burger that makes your buck bang. The Apache comes with pepper jack cheese, grilled onions, New Mexico green chiles and lettuce, and you can get it double-pattied for $8.99… or keep it at a junior (which is enough) for a mere $6.99.

Mike Jordan/Thrillist

The Burger

Muss & Turner's

Address and Info

Vinings

The way the white Cheddar cheese lays between the shiny French bun and a single 6-ounce patty of Aberdeen Angus beef that’s grilled on a Big Green Egg reminds you of the security blanket you grew up clinging to for happiness in your youth. Then you feel the burn of the poblano pepper underneath the beef, which is coolly balanced by a layer of cilantro aioli. And you realize you’re a grown-up, and even happier with life than you were as a kid. This is the burger of adulthood.

Kevin Alexander/Thrillist

The Meatstick

One Eared Stag

Address and Info

Inman Park

The flavor of this surreptitious lunch-only burger will surely arouse your taste buds. The bun is from Alon’s, the two patties are made of 80% pastured Oregon beef and 20% Iowa farmed bacon, and… well, do you really need more detail? Ok, how about this: the menu doesn’t even tell you what it is. because it's not even on the menu. You have to order it by name and it'll set you back $17. Worth it. 

Mike Jordan/Thrillist

Bocado burger stack

Bocado

Address and Info

Westside

The Westside’s best burger is something you need to experience. House-made mayo and American cheese set the stage; two 3-ounce patties of brisket, chuck, and short rib are the stars; and a soft buttery bun with a pile of pickles are the encore.

Grass-fed beef burger

Miller Union

Address and Info

West Midtown

Between the sesame seed speckled buns of Chef Steven Satterfield’s lunchtime creation is melted sharp Cheddar, smoked ketchup, lettuce, tomato, aioli, and the sustainably raised, local (White Oak Pastures) ground chuck that gave it the nickname “The Daily Grind.”

Kimberly Murray/Thrillist

Cheeseburger

H&F Burger

Address and Info

Ponce City Market

It was only a matter of time before Linton Hopkins realized the burger served at Holeman & Finch was big enough to be a solo act. (It was previously only served at the bar.) Now, with its own PCM burger stand, ATL’s most famous griddled double cheeseburger -- which in some ways inspired almost everything that came after it, like Nas’ first album -- is much easier to stuff your face with. They get it out to you in under 10 minutes, and it’s still high quality, with the perfectly sized, butter toasted H&F Bread Co. buns, house-made ketchup, mustard, and pickles. It’s definitely still the champ.

Mia Yakel

BLT burger

Atlas

Address and Info

Buckhead

If you were going to eat a $29 burger, this is it. Atlas's BLT, with freshly ground wagyu beef on brioche with bacon, house ketchup and mayo, a house-made dill pickle, heirloom tomato, pimento cheese, and incredibly crispy fries as a side is a meal worthy of lightening your wallet. Seriously, the fries alone taste like $20. But not literally, of course.

Jeff Moore

IPA double cheeseburger

Chicken + Beer

Address and Info

Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Domestic Terminal; Concourse D)

If you haven't made it to Ludacris' ATL airport restaurant and gotten acquainted with the menu Chef Todd Richards helped craft, their beer-cheese burger is a good place to start. Made with a mix of ground beef chuck and short ribs, it's topped with caramelized onions, crisp smoked bacon, bread and butter pickles, and a house-specialty cheese sauce, hopped up with Sweetwater Hash Session IPA. You'll go back for the first time.

Tyler Smith

A Bacon Cheeseburger

Cast Iron

Address and Info

Old Fourth Ward

The 7-ounce salt-and-pepper-seasoned patty is cooked on a hot cast-iron skillet, then finished in the oven before it’s transferred to a grilled chili cornmeal bun laid with bacon and Tillamook Cheddar. Oh, they have really great drinks too, which are also probably somehow made with cast iron. Don’t quote me on that.

courtesy of Green Olive Media

Duck n' beef burger

Canoe

Address and Info

Vinings

A burger consumed in one of ATL's most elegant outdoor eating areas, right on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, can't be complete without something special. In Canoe's case, it brings the water and land together by giving you a beef-duck burger blend that's topped with a sunny-side egg, spinach, and pickled onions. They also serve it alongside truffle pommes frites.

Farm Burger

No. 1

Farm Burger

Address and Info

Decatur

A lot of what I’ll call “burger farms” started popping up in ATL a few years ago, but few have survived and thrived like Farm Burger. They’ve got a few delicious variations, but the No. 1 is a strong standard, with its aged Vermont white Cheddar, caramelized onions, and house sauce, which are all great as a group but are greater when you add local bacon for 2 bucks. If you need a second option, try the No. 3 made with pasture-raised pork.

Barleygarden Kitchen & Craft Bar

Big Braut burger

Barleygarden Kitchen & Craft Bar

Address and Info

Alpharetta

You can't simply forget that Barleygarden, being a beer garden and all, also enlists Chef Kevin Outz of The Spotted Trotter charcuterie and butcher shop. His burger contribution is an 8-ounce mashup of flavor that seems specifically designed to bridge cultural taste gaps, with grilled pork bratwurst, Russian dressing, caramelized onions, and Swiss cheese on a sesame bun. Also remember they have 61 taps flowing, and being that it's the Hop City gang choosing the brews, you should have a global awakening before your food coma.

The Braai burger

Cape Dutch

Address and Info

Buckhead

South Africa does things a bit differently when it comes to, well, life. One thing specifically they do better is grilling, which they call "braai" and is more about true open-flame cooking. Cape Dutch's burger follows this tradition with a braai-prepared 8-ounce Angus patty, topped with house-made peri-peri sauce, pickled green tomato, applewood bacon, caramelized onions, and mild Cheddar cheese on a toasted brioche bun.

Michael Mussman

The McDowell

Local Three

Address and Info

Buckhead

The Local Three/Muss & Turner's gang is known for pulling off highbrow and lowbrow dining experiences at the same time. The McDowell is a nod to the famous Mickey D's knockoff from Coming to America, and in this burger, L3 makes their rendition of a Big Mac. There's no ridiculous three-floors of bread, but they do have two quarter-pound beef patties with a special sauce, American cheese, pickles, onions, and even iceberg lettuce. Of course, this version is approximately 10,000 times better since their ingredients are super fresh and the beef is Angus, but you'll still want to crack a burger-in-cheek joke about "the golden arcs" after your first and final bites.

Hampton + Hudson

Smoked shiitake chicken burger

Hampton + Hudson

Address and Info

Inman Park

Take a break from beef like your doctor's been begging you to and go white meat with H+H's blended chicken burger -- of which one-quarter of the patty is ground shiitake mushrooms. The fried kale, Swiss cheese, and rosemary/caramelized shallot aioli all come together to create a healthier Voltron of poultry burger perfection.

Heidi Geldhauser

The Oak burger

Oak Steakhouse

Address and Info

Alpharetta

Elevating burgers to fit their steakhouse style, Oak hits you with a blended patty of Certified Angus NY strip, filet mignon, and short rib. They then layer it with grilled Vidalia onions, tomato, bibb lettuce, sharp cheddar, and pickles. It's served on brioche with truffle fries, and you can pay $3 extra to add bacon.

Mia Yakel

Lamb sliders

Botiwalla

Address and Info

Ponce City Market

PCM's Indian food pit stop offers two incredibly flavorful ground lamb sliders seasoned with cumin, ginger, chilies, mint, and cilantro, served on toasted, ghee-brushed buns with desi slaw, green chutney, and Maggi ketchup. You almost don't even have to eat the thing to realize you've probably been doing burgers in a, well, not so slightly less creative way.

Justin Fox

"Burger"

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

Address and Info

Candler Park

It’s technically what the name suggests, although it’s also so much more. See, Fox Bros. already had a brisket sandwich, but they figured they’d flip the format by offering a “burger” that’s actually made of chopped brisket (thus the quotation marks). Then they added bacon, tomato, red onion, pickles, melted pimento cheese and jalapeño mayo. You’ll probably start putting everything you say in air quotes after you eat it, in hopes that such grammar tricks will magically reveal that everything is possibly made of brisket.  

Up Next
C. Ellet
Food & Drink

Atlanta's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
W e saw a lot of new restaurants get launched this year in ATL -- almost too damn many, to be honest. If you simply add up the dining options at SunTrust Park and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, you’d have more spots than a lot of cities could handle in a year. With all that edible optimism, you have to be meticulous in making sure you get to the goods before you’ve stuffed yourself silly on second-tier suppers. Which is why you’re reading this list.
Some restaurants that were actually good were left off this year’s roundup. Others are missing simply because they’ve got a good buzz, but they opened so recently that it’s hard to give them a yay or nah so early on (shout out to Rose + Rye). Until then, here are the best of ATL’s new restaurants that arrived in 2017.
Courtesy of Holler & Dash

Holler & Dash

West Midtown

Perhaps the best new fried chicken biscuit in town
Look, Cracker Barrel is good, no matter how bad you millennials might feel saying its name and eating its glorious breakfast. But they’re thinking about your tender feelings, so they started this new biscuit chain and brought its sixth location to ATL, so you can continue to live on a fluffy cloud of flour. The fried chicken biscuit is the place to start, but don’t let that keep you from the Hamabama biscuit, topped with country ham and red-eye gravy. They’ve also got beignets, grits bowls, and cold-brew coffee. But seriously, get the biscuits.

Chicken + Beer

College Park (Airport)

Luda came, saw, and opened the best restaurant in our airport
The closure of Straits brought closure to the days when Ludacris was new to the restaurant biz. With C+B, he partnered with Jackmont Hospitality, Todd Richards, and others to create an easy-to-love representation of Atlanta dining, simply by giving us what he knew we really wanted at the airport.

Bon Ton

Midtown

Amazing NOLA-inspired fusion restaurant doling out catfish banh mi
This funky, ‘70s-inspired Cajun/Vietnamese seafood boil spot has had a roller-coaster year. The general consensus is that Bon Ton, located in the former space of Top Flr, does a good, consistent job on its mash-up food (catfish banh mi, smoked snow crab, Nashville hot oyster rolls, etc.), and in keeping up a great bar vibe. On the less happy side, Bon Ton lost its head bartender a few months ago due to an automobile accident. Still, the good times roll in his honor, as well as the founder of the original New Orleans Bon Ton location, via on-tap Sazeracs and other cocktails like the smoked bourbon mai tai, and an absinthe-rinsed Jamaican rum hurricane.

DAS BBQ

Westside

Inventive BBQ (pork quesadillas) in a sprawling space out west
Over on the smoked meats side of things, BBQ newcomer DAS has brought much-needed comfort food to the westside’s Defoors Ferry and Collier Road crossing. The patio’s string-lit ceiling and bourbon barrel-legged dining tables create a just upscale enough vibe that also encourages your tipsiness. The hickory and pecan wood puts the flavor into the meats that go into combo plates and sandwiches, from brisket to sliced turkey, sausage links, wings and pulled pork (try the pork quesadillas if you care about yourself). It’s always nice to have new barbecue; it’s even nicer when it’s good.

scout

Scout

Oakhurst

Pro ATL chef Michael Semancik is mastering traditional southern food in historic digs
It’s located inside a former Old Scottish Rite Hospital, and charges itself with a sense of duty akin to the meaning of its name... but in terms of food and not all that tying knots, reading compasses, and opening things with Swiss Army knives. Executive chef Michael Semancik, who worked with chefs Kevin Rathbun and Jay Swift before either had their own restaurants, leads the mission from the airy, naturally lit historic space. The kitchen puts out shareable snacks like split smoked chicken wings, Western-style beef jerky (basically teriyaki), and PBR-battered cauliflower, as well as regional entrees such as bowls of Georgia red shrimp Creole, and cast-iron tasso ham-crusted red fish. The drinks, courtesy of ATL barman Nate Shuman from the P’cheen days, are also expertly made. 

Festivals Jerk Chicken Grill

Glenwood Park

The Jamaican food Glenwood Park's been missing is finally here
ATL could always use more Jamaican food -- especially jerk chicken. Festivals Jerk, which is amazingly located in Glenwood Park (across from Gunshow and down the street from The Shed), brings the jerk to the people in whole, half, or quarter bird portions, with deliciously tender, evenly spiced, char-grilled flavor that doesn’t overheat you and isn’t overdone. And if you’ve never had actual “festivals,” the hush puppy-esque Jamaican bread snack you get with entrees or can order as an extra side, you’ve not fully celebrated life.

Jai Ho Indian Kitchen

Ansley Park

The family behind Savi Market opens an Indian spot that stands out amongst the crowd
There will never be enough Indian food in Atlanta. Maybe Decatur, but that’s another city. As for ATL city limits, Jai Ho had a running start, since it’s from the family behind Savi Market which began selling grab-and-go Indian meals before branching out into a standalone restaurant brand. Now you can get a plethora of Pondicherry (think French-Indian) food, including the super-tender sous vide tandoor rack of lamb, as well as bowls of tandoori chicken, tikka masala, and all the usual suspects.

Turner Blackburn

Double Dragon

Oakhurst

The best "authentic and inauthentic Chinese food" you'll find around Oakhurst
Why did it take so long for an Atlanta Chinese restaurant to be named after one of the greatest low-bit arcade games ever? Did you forget that the two main characters in the beat-’em-up game were named Billy and Jimmy Lee, as if that doesn’t sound country as hell? Never mind the failings of the past; get to DD and enjoy local, seasonal, and sustainable meats and produce in the form of some of your standard favorites, as well as a few things you might find unfamiliar. Start with Chinese boiled peanuts (which being in Georgia, you should dig), and don’t leave out the pan-fried pork or chicken dumplings before you get into General Tso’s, shredded moo shu pork, honey-walnut Georgia shrimp and broccoli, or specials like spicy Sichuan white fish.

Greens & Gravy

Westview

Your new soul food staple from chef Darius Williams
Chef Darius Williams is a force on social media and in the celebrity chef world. He also had the foresight to place a restaurant with a can’t-fail name in a historically African-American neighborhood currently being revitalized by the Southwest BeltLine and other new construction. It’s certainly up-kicked, creatively imagined soul food, which you’ll know when you bite into the lemon pepper honey fried chicken, or the banana pudding (or peach cobbler) waffle, or the sweet potato grits, or the watermelon chow chow. Oh, there’s no alcohol, so keep that in mind. You’ll probably be so full after dinner or brunch that you won’t mind. OK, that’s a lie, but it’s still amazingly good.

c. ellet

C. Ellet's

SunTrust Park

In a sea of restaurants, C. Ellet's and their steaks stand out as the best in SunTrust Park
Not to be outdone by Arthur Blank (with the tiny exception of personal net worth), Linton Hopkins opened a steakhouse in the new home of the Braves, and named it after his great-grandfather, a US Army Corps engineer who died from a gunshot wound after fighting alongside the Union Army in the Battle of Memphis. Hopkins went all out on beef, sourcing his from farms in Nebraska, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Alabama, and wherever else he can source the very best bovine meats. The fresh seafood and daily rotating oyster selection are also major league draws, and the burger will be more of a steakhouse format than the all-American diner version you get at Holeman and Finch. It’s easily the best restaurant in the ballpark, but it also gives every other steakhouse in town a run for the plate.

Petit Chou

Cabbagetown

French food and Southern food combine to give you sandwiches so good you'll want two
French food and Southern foods have a lot in common. They’re both really good when done right, and you want to eat them constantly. Combining both in Cabbagetown, this little bistro that decided to fill you up with sandwiches -- there’s even a note on the menu that says “I take sandwiches very seriously.” The declaration is proven through the Sarah-Witch, which is shaved ham, Brie, arugula, and house preserves on a Southern baguette, along with the house biscuit with Boursin and chicken sausage, and the croque monsieur (“the French version of ham and cheese”).

Co

Co

Poncey-Highland

Many hopped on the pho craze... but Co mastered it
Pho is good any time of day, but it’s not always good depending on how close you live to some of the city’s best pho houses. Co brought fantastic bowls of the brothy noodle soup from its original Charleston location to Ponce, along with lots more Southeast Asian fare that ranges from sushi to banh mi, Thai noodles, ramen, Malaysian coconut curry soup, tuna tacos, and kimchi beef dumplings. It’s all part of a cooking philosophy that emphasizes four words -- "open-mindedness, desire, eagerness, and art,” -- none of which you can eat, but still things you can appreciate when you’re slurping down delicious bowls of steaming noodle soup without having to drive up to Doraville.

Food Terminal

Chamblee

Amazing Malaysian food in what's easily the best new restaurant in ATL
Malaysian street food is probably unbelievably good in Malaysia, and sure, ATL has flights, but the drive to Chamblee is much more convenient and highly convincing that you’re eating an authentic facsimile thereof, so skip the air travel and hit Buford Highway instead. The look of the interior is almost rewarding enough, with its glowing street-light-inspired design against dark wood. But you’re here to eat, not stare, so have a curry noodle soup or the Cheese N’ Cheese tomato-braised fried rice, which is cooked in cast-iron and mixed with Cheddar, mozzarella, smoked bacon, and yes, grilled Spam. If that doesn’t sound good, clean your ears, then opt for wonton BBQ pork noodles, or poached Hainanese chicken, which is one of the most popular dishes in Singapore. Read why Thrillist chose Food Terminal as one of our Prime 13 best new restaurants of 2017.

Taverna

Taverna

Buckhead

Have you ever had an Italian brunch? Come by Buckhead and treat yourself. 
Any new restaurant in Buckhead will automatically be expected to show and prove, and that’s especially true when it comes to Italian food. Doing the northern Italy thing, Taverna goes big on risottos (the burrata/heirloom cherry tomatoes/prosciutto version is killer), and their pastas are also amazing, particularly the rustic spinach and ham lasagna. Definitely come back on weekends before 3pm for Italian brunch, which includes a serious brisket hash and vanilla French toast with mascarpone -- maybe not the most Italian menu items, but Italians know how to cook everything, so just be there and eat whatever you can.

Donetto

West Midtown

Italy comes to ATL via small plates, amaro, and Italian sodas
The Indigo Road is a well-respected restaurant group in Charleston, but we know by now that a Charleston success does not necessarily make an ATL hit (just ask your favorite Charleston-based rap artist). Donetto earns props for meaty Tuscan dishes from small plates to big pastas; the duck sausage fusilli is a standout, as well as the ripiena, or stuffed pasta with quail and smoked mushrooms. They’ve also got an outstanding beverage program, with tapped Negronis, an extensive amaro program, and a host of Italian sodas.

Bar Mercado

Krog Street Market

The Spanish tapas spot needed to make Krog Market complete
If you were thinking, “Damn, why aren’t there any Spanish tapas at Krog?” you are surely ecstatic to know that the group that brought us Cooks & Soldiers, Double Zero, and other noted restaurants around ATL were reading your brainwaves and fixed your life. The Madrid-inspired market bar has certainly fancied up KSM a bit, with little plates of full garlic/sherry shrimp, braised octopus, seared trout and other seafood, but there’s enough plant-based items to invite your vegan friends for a round or two. Think Catalan spinach, padrón peppers, oyster mushrooms, or thrice-fried saffron potatoes. You can also nab wagyu beef tartare, pork cheek empanadas, béchamel, chicken and mushroom croquetas, and cured meats and quesos. They also serve booze. And speaking of, you should totally try the rum, Creme de Framboise, orgeat, pineapple and mint Cadiz Punch 2.0, or one of 18 wines by the glass. Spoiler alert: they’re Spanish.

Jeff Gaines

Barleygarden Kitchen + Craft Bar

Alpharetta

A rooftop beer garden that'll make you actually go to Alpharetta
Not many people would have guessed Hop City’s Kraig Torres would eventually open a restaurant in Alpharetta when his craft beer shop first arrived on the Westside of Atlanta. Yet here we are, braving terrible traffic (lest you actually live in Alpharetta) and pretending to be able to afford upscale shopping, at Barleygarden. The partnership between Torres and Kevin Outz of The Spotted Trotter is a meaty and sudsy match made in heaven, or literally Avalon, because the rooftop beer garden atmosphere stays extremely casual -- which is important when you’re wolfing down a perfect pastrami grilled cheese sandwich. They also serve Spotted’s amazing pepper umami beef jerky (worth any drive), pork brat burgers and hot dogs, including a chicken Cheddarwurst that might be the Cheddar-best in the ATL metro area.

Mary Hoopa's Fried Chicken and Oysters | Mia Yakel
Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants in Atlanta Right Now

Updated On 03/16/2018 at 04:31PM EST