Food & Drink

The Austin Burger Bucket List: 25 Burgers to Eat Before You Die

Published On 04/21/2016 Published On 04/21/2016
odd duck burger austin best burgers
The Odd Duck Burger | Richard Casteel/Courtesy of Odd Duck
Courtesy of Hopdoddy

Hopdoddy Burger Bar's Primetime burger

Hopdoddy Burger Bar (address and info)

Congress Ave & other locations
The Franklin Barbecue of burger joints offers choices with every imaginable flavor combination... but the Primetime burger -- Texas Akaushi beef, brie cheese, arugula, caramelized onions, truffle aioli, steak sauce, and tomato -- particularly incites a mouthwatering reaction.

Hopfield's

Hopfields' Pascal Burger

Hopfields (address and info)

Hyde Park
Hopfields' famous Pascal Burger is very delicious and very French. It’s served with melted Camembert cheese, whole grain mustard, caramelized onions, cornichons -- those fun sized pickles -- and golden frites.

Jody Horton/Courtesy of Second Bar + Kitchen

Second Bar + Kitchen's Congress Burger

Second Bar + Kitchen (address and info)

Congress Ave
The Congress Burger is the Rolls Royce of Austin burgers; ground brisket & chuck, gruyére cheese, shallot confit, and horseradish pickles, with the option to double the meat and cheese, add pork belly, avocado, fried egg, and seared foie gras. The baller move is to add it all.

Courtesy of Launderette

Launderette's Plancha Burger

Launderette (address and info)

East Cesar Chavez
Order the Plancha burger, which mixes beef with a bit of bacon, and is served on a soft challah bun with a mayo-based “secret sauce” and a side of house pickles.

Ruben Morales/Courtesy of The Townsend

The Townsend's "Hamburger"

The Townsend (address and info)

Congress Ave
This cocktail haven may be an unexpected spot to find a perfect  burger... but it’s there, we promise. Simply dubbed “Hamburger” on the menu, it combines high quality meat seared to perfection, white American cheese, and caramelized onions, all held together with soft bread that is baked in-house.
 

Lebowski's Grill's The Dude

Lebowski’s Grill (address and info)

North Burnet Rd
The kitschy grill inside Highland Lanes serves up delectably greasy burgers, the kind that are somehow more delicious because you’re in a bowling alley. We like to keep it simple with The Dude, a half-pound Angus patty with pickles, tomatoes, onions, mayo, and mustard.

Courtesy of Contigo

Contigo's "Burger & Fries"

Contigo (address and info)

Mueller
A thick juicy patty, aioli, pickles, lettuce, tomato, melty Grafton white cheddar, and house-cured bacon make Contigo’s burger the stuff of fantasies.

Matt Lankes/Courtesy of VOX Table

VOX Table's VOX Burger

Vox Table (address and info)

South Lamar
During brunch (Sat-Sun, 11am-2pm), VOX Table offers their VOX Burger with Akaushi beef, lettuce, tomato, VOX Sauce, pickle, and steak fries. And because it’s VOX, you have the option to add aged cheddar, Delice de Bourgogne (triple-cream cheese from France), house-cured bacon, and a farm egg.

Richard Casteel/Courtesy of Odd Duck

Odd Duck's pimento cheeseburger

Odd Duck (address and info)

South Lamar
During lunch hours (Mon-Fri, 11:30am - 2:30pm), grab Odd Duck’s heavenly house burger with gooey grilled cheese pimiento, bacon mustard rillette sauce, and pickled jalapeño on a sesame seed bun.

Courtney Pierce/Courtesy of Vince Young Steakhouse

Vince Young Steakhouse's Wagyu Brisket Burger

Vince Young Steakhouse (address and info)

Downtown
Along with its melt-in-your-mouth perfect steaks, Vince Young Steakhouse has a killer wagyu brisket burger with cheddar, house-made pickles, and hand-cut fries. Pro tip: the normally $23 burger is only $10 during happy hour (Mon-Sat, 5-7pm) in the restaurant’s bar/lounge.

Top Notch Hamburgers

Top Notch's charcoal cheeseburger

Top Notch (address and info)

Crestview
Old-school drive-in Top Notch is known for its distinctly smoky burgers, achieved via charcoal broiling. The burger choices here are fairly simple, but we think you can’t go wrong with the classic cheeseburger.
 

Courtesy of Clark's Oyster Bar

Clark's Oyster Bar's Pan Roasted Black Angus Hamburger

Clark's Oyster Bar (address and info)

Clarksville
The well-loved, tall burger at Clark’s is made up of Black Angus beef (best when medium-rare), melted gruyére cheese, and gribiche sauce (mayo-style sauce with tangy capers and Worcestershire), and served on a crisp brioche bun. It comes with a pile of shoestring fries perfect for eating by the handful.

Robert Nabbe/Arlo's

Arlo's Bac'n Cheeze Burger

Arlo's (address and info)

East Cesar Chavez & other locations
The vegan food truck has burgers that are so ridiculously packed with flavor that you forget you’re not eating meat. Get the munchie-worthy Bac'n Cheeze Burger, which has a house-made soy & gluten-free patty, house-made seitan “bac'n," melted “cheeze," vegan mayo, ketchup, and veggies.
 

Luke's Inside Out's sirloin bacon cheeseburger

Luke’s Inside Out (address and info)

South Lamar
According to many, Luke’s Inside Out makes the best burger in Austin; the intense flavor it manages to pack into its burger is undeniable. Juicy beef, house-made pimento cheese, Roma tomatoes, baby spinach, bacon, and “love sauce” (mayo, mustard, barbecue sauce, ketchup) between two not-too-thick buns that allow you to get a taste of every component with each bite.

Natalie Paramore/Swift's Attic

Swift's Attic's Bowling Alley Burger

Swift’s Attic's (address and info)

Congress Ave
Monday at Swift’s Attic is Big Ass Burger night -- and it’s in a league of its own. Arrive around 5pm on Monday, place your order, and wait; we’ve seen entire burgers tempura-fried; chocolate donut, black squid ink, and hash brown buns; burgers stuffed with crab cakes, mashed potatoes, chicken fried steak... and everything else under the sun.
 

P. Terry's double with cheese

P. Terry’s (address and info)

Downtown & other locations
Local chain P. Terry's serves delicious burgers, perfectly sized, made with 100% Black Angus beef, and somehow costing less than crappy fast food. Pro tip: the drive-thru at the Barton Springs’ location is open until 3am.

Billy's on Burnet

Billy's on Burnet's Cobra Burger

Billy’s on Burnet's (address and info)

Burnet Rd
The no-frills neighborhood bar and grill has its burger game on point. Each one is juicy -- with the right amount of greasiness. Try the legendary Cobra Burger, with bacon, grilled jalapeños, cheddar, chipotle mayo, crisp veggies, and a side of fries.

El Sapo

El Sapo's El San Antonio

El Sapo (address and info)

Cherrywood
The El San Antonio burger at El Sapo is like a Tex-Mex chalupa stuffed into a burger. It has an-all beef patty, crema Mexicana, jack cheese, pico, refried black beans, fire-roasted jalapenõs, lettuce, guac, AND a tostada for that perfect crunchy texture.
 

The Jackalope's Bacon and Brie Burger

The Jackalope (address and info)

Sixth Street
Rock 'n' roll haunt The Jackalope is home to a consistently awesome burger. It’s hard to choose a favorite between the Black and Blue Cheeseburger (blackened beef, blue cheese crumbles & dressing, pickles) or the Bacon and Brie burger (brie, bacon, caramelized onions, pickles, Caesar dressing). The edge goes to bacon, though.

Carrie Ryan/Courtesy of Parkside

Parkside's salted white cheeseburger

Parkside (address and info)

Sixth Street
Parkside’s cheeseburger -- high-grade beef, bakery roll, fancy white cheese, fresh veggies -- is regularly $14, but is 50% off during the very generous happy hour (Mon-Fri, 5-6:30pm), along with cocktails, oysters, and more!

Anastacia Uriegas

Shake Shack's Lockhart Link Burger

Shake Shack (address and info)

South Lamar & other locations
Hip burger chain Shake Shack pays homage to Texas with its Lockhart Link Burger, a 100% Angus cheeseburger topped with juicy/crispy jalapeño cheese sausage from Lockhart’s Kreuz Market, along with mayo-based Shake Sauce & pickles.
 

Casino El Camino's Amarillo Burger

Casino El Camino (address and info)

Sixth Street
The bar known for its punk rock attitude is also known for its Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives-approved burger. Try the famous Amarillo Burger, three-quarters of a pound of Angus Beef, with Serrano chiles, jalapeño jack cheese, and cilantro mayo.

Salt & Time Butcher Shop and Salumeria

Salt & Time’s Butcher Burger

Salt & Time Butcher Shop and Salumeria (address and info)

East Seventh
The Butcher Burger is exactly what it sounds like: a hulking slab of local beef ground in-house, cooked to medium-rare juiciness, and paired with pickles & mayo on a brioche roll. The equally rustic fries are crisped in savory beef fat.
 

Lee's Meat Market's burger on sourdough

Lee’s Meat Market (address and info)

Hyde Park
This old-school butcher shop has one of the best burgers in town; the seasoned beef has a nice crispy sear, and comes with classic veggies and your choice of cheese. The sweet sourdough bun puts it over the edge.
 

Courtesy of Justine's Brasserie

Justine's Brasserie's Royale with Cheese

Justine’s Brasserie (address and info)

East Austin
The sexy French restaurant located just off the beaten path has an equally sexy Royale with Cheese. The toasted ciabatta roll holds Angus Beef, seared quickly on a very hot grill, with gruyère cheese, butter lettuce, mayo, and tomato, and served with the ohmygod-I-can’t-stop-eating frites.

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Anastacia Uriegas is a food and drink writer at Thrillist as well as lead scientist at “Anastacia’s Burger Institute & More." Follow her to learn what “More” is at: @anaurie.

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1. Hopdoddy Burger Bar 1400 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704 (Austin)

This Austin-based burger chain serves up hormone- and antibiotic-free beef ground in-house daily, hand-cut fries, and scratch-made buns. The varied burger options range from a classic lettuce, onion, tomato version to amped up ones, like the habanero-topped El Diablo. As for beverages, there are plenty of craft beers, unique cocktails, and solid milkshakes.

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2. Hopfields 3110 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705 (Hyde Park)

A cathedral-inspired gastropub, Hopfields creates an upscale atmosphere where locals can enjoy craft beer, French wine, and a menu filled with French cuisine (or, at least, French-inspired takes on American classics). You can opt of a low key night of cheese plates and Pinot Grigio, or chow down on the colossal Pascal Burger and a nice craft beer.

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3. Second Bar + Kitchen 200 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701 (Downtown)

Second Bar + Kitchen prides themselves on creating a true farm-to-table experience, offering small plates, pizzas, and various entrees. Our personal favorite is the Congress Burger, which is essentially the Rolls Royce of Austin burgers; ground brisket & chuck, gruyére cheese, shallot confit, and horseradish pickles, with the option to double the meat and cheese, add pork belly, avocado, fried egg, and seared foie gras. There are also a wide variety of wines, beers, and craft cocktails. Stop by Second for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.

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4. Launderette 2115 Holly St, Austin, TX 78702

Executive Chef Rene Ortiz and pastry chef Laura Sawicki are fearless in the kitchen. The flavor combinations on the menu at Launderette are both complex and approachable, featuring favorites like the charred octopus, plancha burger (quite possibly the best burger in Austin), roasted parsnips, birthday cake ice cream sandwich... scratch that. Everything. Try everything on this menu. Stop by for dinner, weekday lunch, weekend brunch, or for their weekly happy hour specials.

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5. The Townsend 718 Congress Ave Ste 100, Austin, TX 78701 (Congress District)

Located in the middle of Congress Ave, The Townsend serves as a natural go-to happy hour spot for Downtown nine-to-fivers. There's a bustling, upscale vibe to the place, and occasional live music nights really bring in crowds. Open from 4pm - 2am every day, The Townsend is a great place to order a small plate and a signature cocktail after a long day at work.

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6. Lebowskis Grill 8909 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757

The kitschy food counter/grill inside Highland Lanes serves up delectably greasy burgers, the kind that are somehow more delicious because you’re in a bowling alley. The menu is surprisingly extensive, spanning everything from meaty burgers to fries with housemade sauce. And fortunately, the eating quarters are spick and span, despite the bowling crowd, so don't be scared to lick your paper plates and trays clean.

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7. Contigo Austin 2027 Anchor Ln, Austin, TX 78723 (Mueller)

Contigo Austin strives to bring the ranch to the people, having patrons sit down at large wooden tables on an equally expansive patio to chow down on flawless BBQ, other seasonally diverse menu items, and a long list of craft beer. Open for dinner and brunch, you can enjoy outdoor or indoor seating, as well as some great happy hour specials. Contigo is the perfect place to catch up with friends or bring a more casual date.

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8. VOX Table 1100 South Lamar Blvd, 2140, Austin , TX 78704

Vox Table is known around Austin for their killer New-American style small plates and lively craft cocktail bar, but this South Lamar restaurant serves up a serious brunch on the weekends. The must try of the menu is Olive Oil Pancakes with fig/walnut butter and maple syrup. If brunch isn't your thing, stop by and try dinner menu, featuring a wide variety of meat and fish entrees, or happy hour specials.

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9. Odd Duck 1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

Communal seating, an expansive patio, and an open kitchen (the view is best from the bar) abet in the casual atmosphere at Odd Duck -- a second concept from the team behind Barley Swine -- on South Lamar Boulevard. Antithetical to its atmosphere, Odd Duck's menu features upscale, intricate dishes inspired by the daily pick at the local farmer's market, and thus the menu shifts with the Texan seasons. Odd Duck features craft cocktails, craft beer, and wine to pair with its flavor- and ingredient-forward dishes. If you happen upon the pimento cheeseburger, get it.

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10. Vince Young Steakhouse 301 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701 (Downtown)

Vince Young Steakhouse is a subtly track-lit meat-feasting destination segmented by room-dividing wine racks, brass chain curtains, and snaking brown & dark burnt-orange booths. Along with its melt-in-your-mouth perfect steaks, Vince Young Steakhouse has a killer wagyu brisket burger with cheddar, house-made pickles, and hand-cut fries. With the perfect atmosphere for a romantic evening, this place is only open for dinner and closed on Sundays. We recommend stopping by for their happy hour, where you can get some of their delicious yet pricey entrees for a discount.

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11. Top Notch 7525 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757 (Allandale)

Home to a classic Dazed and Confused scene, Top Notch delivers in real life as well. Whether you're in it for burgers or fried chicken, you can pull on up outside, roll down the window, and relax while you wait for your order to arrive. The old-school drive-in is known for its distinctly smoky burgers, achieved via charcoal broiling.

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12. Clark's Oyster Bar 1200 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78703

A small neighborhood seafood joint, Clark's Oyster Bar, prides itself on simple, sustainable seafood with a cozy ambiance. The maritime cache is fully stocked with house-made breads, burgers, and an extensive brunch menu, but the oysters, which come in a breadth of both East and West Coast options that rotate out with availability and season, are an essential order.

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13. Arlo's 900 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701 (Downtown)

Head to the back patio at Cheer Up Charlie's and guaranteed, you'll have died and gone to food heaven via Arlo's, the dopest vegan food truck in the ATX. When it comes to bar-based food trailers, Michelin-star status isn’t really a requisite (the inebriated aren’t quite cuisine connoisseurs), but this truck -- which occupies patio space at Cheer Up Charlies and Drinks Lounge -- boasts vegan fare that’s satisfying whether you’re gobbling it up post-drinks at 2am or scarfing it down sober on a Tuesday afternoon.

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14. Luke's Inside Out 1109 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 (Austin)

Though this purveyor of giant sandwiches is in fact a trailer, don't underestimate the life-size flavor of its sandwiches. Serving up sammies like "The Cow" prepared with Brisket Banh Mi smoked brisket, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, jalapeños & siracha aioli, Luke's individual portions pack enough flavor and caloric heft for your entire day's meals.

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15. Swift's Attic 315 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701 (Downtown)

Located the second floor of the historic (and now defunct grocery store) Swift's Premium Food Co. building on Congress Avenue, the appropriately named Swift's Attic serves up eclectic small plates and creative cocktails for hipstered out Austinites. Among a brunch Bloody Mar bar and generous daily happy hour deals, Swift's offers sophisticated meats, seafood, snacks, and cocktails. Must trys are Korean BBQ flank steak, squid "fries," and the Pop Rocks charred edamame.

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16. P. Terry's 3303 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78705

"100% pure beef" means a lot at this local Austin burger chain. Not only is the meat hormone-free and grass-fed, but it's also sans additives, preservatives, and fillers. Other comestibles on order include all-natural Idaho potatoes, antibiotic-free chicken, and an incredible caramel and root beer milkshake to wash it all down.

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17. Billy's on Burnet 2105 Hancock Dr, Austin, TX 78756 (Rosedale)

Billy's is an ATX institution -- this Brentwood dive bar and burger joint is a great example of local bar scene, with its extensive craft beer menu, generous well pours, and friendly neighborhood clientele. You'll find sweet happy hour deals, games like darts and pool, plus bar quality eats like wings, burgers, and nachos.

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18. El Sapo 1900 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722 (Cherrywood)

This roadside haunt in Cherrywood serves Tex-Mex inspired diner bites (there's a lot of queso involved). Between a sunny patio, delicious and creative burgers, and whole bunch of cocktails, there's almost too much to like about El Sapo. The generous 3-7pm daily happy hour deal on margaritas and brews is just the cherry on top.

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19. The Jackalope 404 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701 (Dirty 6th)

Many dive bars have burgers, but few have burgers this epic: flame grilled and piled high on a toasted bun with premium toppings like smoked bacon, brie cheese, and carmelized onions, they're plenty sizable and a good bang for your buck ($10). Cheap signature shots, tunes from the house DJ, and a giant jackalope that you can mount merely sweeten the deal.

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20. Parkside 301 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

Right on Sixth Street, Parkside is a relatively upscale gastropub known for its raw bar and wine selection. Though the oysters are sourced from all over the country and the wine menu is more than two pages long, don't think it's just a wine and oyster bar. The menu features protein entrees, a knockout cheeseburger, and Texan craft beers.

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21. Shake Shack 1100 S Lamar Blvd, Suite 2100, Austin, TX 78704

From humble beginnings as a hot dog cart in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park in 2001 to more than 60 locations in the US and abroad, Shake Shack has become a cult favorite. This South Lamar location (Austin's first) even has Austin-inspired menu items, like the Lockhart Link Burger with topped with a Kreuz jalapeno cheese sausage link.

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22. Casino El Camino 517 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701-3741 (Dirty 6th)

The bar known for its punk rock attitude is also known for its Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives-approved burger. Try the famous Amarillo Burger, three-quarters of a pound of Angus Beef, with Serrano chiles, jalapeño jack cheese, and cilantro mayo. Also stop by for one of its monster Bloody Marys. Choose a spice level (1-10) and watch as they pile on the taquitos, meatballs, sausages, bacon, celery, olives, cucumber, lemon, various pickled items, and cilantro garnishes.

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23. Salt & Time Butcher Shop and Salumeria 1912 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702 (Central East)

A butcher shop and bakery, Salt & Time slices up local, sustainable meats from farms around Austin and Central Texas. Tex-Mex (Migas, empanadas) and Southern (biscuits and gravy, pork hash) plates dominate brunch on the weekends, and every day it offers a Butcher’s Cut menu with eight to 10 high-quality offerings -- including Angus and wagyu -- cooked to medium-rare heaven. If you’re ready to up your steak game at home, Salt & Time’s butcher shop has fresh and aged steaks ready to be wrapped and weighed.

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24. Lee's Meat Market Jefferson and 38th, Austin, TX 78731

Lee's Meat Market is more than just a meat market. They are open for lunch and serving up all sort of deliciousness, like salads, appetizers, and a variety of sandwiches and tacos. This old-school butcher shop has one of the best burgers in town; the seasoned beef has a nice crispy sear, and comes with classic veggies and your choice of cheese. The sweet sourdough bun puts it over the edge.

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25. Justine's Brasserie 4710 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78702 (East Austin)

Situated in East Austin, Justine's Brasserie is a sexy French eatery and social club specializing in "very late night dining." Classic bistro fare (steak frites, ratatouille) and daily blackboard specials make up the bulk of the menu. Super boozy cocktails, lots of red wine, and the company of friends may make it hard to leave this lounge-y, chic bistro.

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