Food & Drink

The Best Burgers in Atlanta

Published On 11/26/2014 Published On 11/26/2014

A burger is usually just a burger. They’re mostly the same rounded, flattened meat-frisbees thrown on top of a circular mound of baked bread and topped with a tiny salad and your favorite sauce. But there are always those who are willing to strive for excellence in the exquisite art of burger-making, and --fortunately for their financial goals -- they are also willing to charge about $10 more than we expected to pay for a damn burger. However, those burgers are so damn good that we pay up every time, with pleasure. Here, Atlantans, are the best burgers currently being grilled in our great greasy city. You might want to bring a $20.

Yeah! Burger - Virginia-Highland

All-American

YEAH! Burger

Address and Info

Westside/Home Park

The “healthy” option in town is a double stack of grass-fed beef with organic American cheese, hydroponic lettuce, pickles, and caramelized onions. The uber-special YEAH! sauce tops off this burger and, if nothing else, makes sure it doesn't actually taste like health food.

Burger Stack

Fred’s Meat & Bread

Address and Info

Krog St. Market

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

The Vortex

Triple Coronary Bypass

The Vortex

Address and Info

Little Five Points

The most-layered burger award is easily bestowed inside the skull. It includes three beef patties, three fried eggs, 14 slices of American cheese, 10 slices of bacon, and two grilled cheese sandwich buns. A rich basin of french fries and tater tots swims in the house cheese sauce, so make plenty of nomming room.

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, just wait until they add the bacon slices.

Tori Allen PR

Cowboy Style burger

Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Address and Info

Morningside

The house grind of dry-aged chuck and brisket is almost hidden beneath the slabs of other stuff like cheddar cheese, thick-cut bacon, and thick-cut, golden-brown Vidalia onions rings. Oh, and if that's not enough, they put BBQ sauce on there, too.

Erika Botfeld

The Burger*

Muss & Turner’s

Address and Info

Vinings

The way the white cheddar cheese lays between the shiny French bun, atop a single 6oz 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.

The meatstick

One Eared Stag

Address and Info

Inman Park

The name is, well, interesting... but the flavor of this surreptitious lunch-only burger is what really arouses your tastebuds. 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? How about this: the menu doesn’t even tell you what it is. It just says “meatstick, fries 12.” Order it, and get a healthy serving of satisfaction in your mouth.

BOCADO Atlanta

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 3oz patties of brisket, chuck, and short rib are the stars; and a next-level bun and pile of butter pickles, 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-only carnivorous 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,” which you should care about, even though  you don’t, because it’s so damn good that you’d eat it if the cow was raised in a BDSM dungeon.

Bart Sasso

Cheeseburger

H & F Burger

Address and Info

Ponce City Market

It was only a matter of time before Linton Hopkins realized that the bar-only burger served at Holeman & Finch was big enough to be a solo act. 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.

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Mike Jordan ate an H & F Burger almost every day the first week it opened, and not once was it any less delicious. If you are bold enough to dispute this fact, or any of the burgers on his list, challenge his authority via Twitter at @michaelbjordan.

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1. YEAH! Burger 1168 Howell Mill Rd, Atlanta, GA 30318 (West Atlanta)

YEAH!, the fast-casual burger brainchild of local culinary star Shaun Doty and his buddy Lil' Jon Erik Maier, lets you custom-rig natural and organic meats, breads, sauces, and cheeses into a beautiful burger of your own. You can go as simple as you want with a grass-fed beef patty and the usual lettuce and tomato add-ons, or go off the deep-end with a bison patty topped with pimento cheese, hot relish, onion rings and bacon. Point is: the options are endless and the choice is yours.

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2. Fred's Meat & Bread 99 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307 (Inman Park)

With freshly baked bread from nearby The General Muir, Fred's serves up some of the best deli sandwiches and burgers in Atlanta from Inman's Park's Krog Market. Whether you stick to something classic like a hand-pressed bacon cheeseburger or opt for something a little more adventurous (and a little more greasy) like the 'Shroom Shire Cheesesteak made with molten house-blended cheese, tender grilled onions, mushroom Worcestershire, and garlic aioli. Anything on the limited menu goes perfectly with a cup brimming with hot, crispy fries seasoned with ranch or bbq seasoning.

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3. The Vortex 438 Moreland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307 (Little 5 Points)

This sibling-owned bar and restaurant in Little Five Points is a self-proclaimed "Official Idiot-Free Zone," and they're notorious for kicking out rude or high-maintenance customers to create a laid-back and fun crowd (they're usually pretty young, too). It's hard to imagine why anyone here would be picky with their food when they've got such a massive selection of whopping, diverse signature burgers like the Hawaiian-themed Freaky Tiki and the Holy Guacamole (self-explanatory), along with a hefty selection of local draft beers (and beer cocktails), cocktails and shooters.

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4. Wrecking Bar Brewpub 292 Moreland Ave, Atlanta, GA 30307 (Little 5 Points)

Founded by a home-brewing couple and located in the basement of Little Five Points' historic Victor H. Kriegshaber House, Wrecking Bar Brewpub is an award-winning neighborhood staple serving up a diverse range of approachable, comforting beers like the Sow Your Wild Oatmeal Porter, the pine-flavored Spruce Juice Pale Ale, and the bright, fruity Partition Rustic Urban Ale. Beers aside, Wrecking Bar Brewpub's also upheld for its house burgers, made with grass-fed beef and all the fixings.

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5. Grindhouse Killer Burgers 1842 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30324 (Buckhead)

Grindhouse Killer Burgers is kind of like the reading a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' book, but it's better because there's food involved. Orders are customized from scratch from the meat (beef/turkey/veggie) to the size of the patties to the toppings (of which there are a dozen), but if you aren't feeling creative, there are a handful of burger "styles," like the Hillbilly with brisket chili and the bleu cheese-heavy Yankee. A lot of folks drop by and get theirs to go, but they miss out on the kung fu movies that are always playing on the flatscreen tvs.

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6. Muss & Turner's 1675 Cumberland Pkwy, Atlanta, GA 30080 (Smyrna)

Born out of two friends, Muss & Turner's is a sleek yet down-to-earth deli and bistro serving up stacked sandwiches, large plates of grilled meats, and a burger that consistently ranks among Atlanta's best. The Reason to Reuben sandwich features a picture-perfect stack of corned beef brisket, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on marble rye, while the turkey-filled Gobbler is made with decadent Ritz cracker stuffing. There's often a line, but take comfort in the fact that there's no danger of M&T going out of business anytime soon.

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7. One Eared Stag 1029 Edgewood Ave, Atlanta, GA 30308 (Inman Park)

Housed in an open, quirky space in Inman Park with stag taxidermy adorning the walls, One Eared Stag offers a refined, elegant dining experience in a neighborhood space. Helmed by Chef Robert Phalen, the kitchen serves his innovative American fare seven days a week. Expect dishes like milk curd toast with fried capers and smoked roe, chicken schnitzel, and shishito peppers with benne seed. Weekday happy hours boast $1 oysters and $1 beers, and every month the cocktail menu changes in accordance with a new theme. Though the menus change often, there’s something off-menu worth mentioning, and worth the visit alone: The Meatstick. The two-patty burger is smothered with American cheese and topped with pickled onions, but the most important thing to know about the heart-stopping sandwich is that its patties are comprised of both beef… and bacon.

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8. Bocado 887 Howell Mill Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318 (West Atlanta)

Bocado's burger -- two patties of blended short rib, brisket, and ground chuck, topped with American cheese and butter pickles -- is one of the best in Atlanta. You may very well come here for the burger but end up more than satisfied with the rest of the contemporary dishes, like deviled eggs that'll rival your grandmother's, a grilled cheese & bacon sandwich that's near impossible to recreate at home, and a lobster roll special that'll transport you to Cape Cod on first bite.

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9. Miller Union 999 Brady Ave, Atlanta, GA 30318 (West Atlanta)

From its post on the Westside, Miller Union features unpretentious yet sophisticated New American cuisine with a Southern bent. The menu changes seasonally, but staples like the feta snack, butter bean or field pea hummus (availability depends on the season) with house-made lavash, and the celery cream-baked farm egg are indispensable starters (and if you happen upon the shrimp and andouille gumbo, add that to the list). The wine list is approachable, affordable, and organic with a global reach, though most of its attention leans towards the food-friendly wines of the old world. It’s also worth noting that the house-made ice cream sandwich is only available at lunch.

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10. H&F Burger 675 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308

H&F Burger might have a sleek and minimal appearance on the inside, but it's menu looks more like what you'd find at an old-school diner type of restaurant. You've got relatively few options, but you rarely need them -- you know you're getting the Original Burger with a double beef patty, bread and butter pickles, red onion and melted American cheese. If you're feeling playful you'll add some bacon, avocado, or a fried egg. A chocolate shake or root beer float pairs nicely, but not nearly as well as a draft or bottle from their small beer selection.

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