Food & Drink

Where to Get the 12 Best Burgers in Charlotte

Published On 06/24/2015 Published On 06/24/2015
Courtesy of The Liberty
Sarah Crosland/Thrillist
Courtesy of Little Spoon
Courtesy of Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
Sarah Crosland/Thrillist
Courtesy of Bad Daddy's Burger Bar
Courtesy of Lebowski's Neighborhood Grill
Courtesy of The Gallery Restaurant
Courtesy of The Crepe Cellar
Sarah Crosland/Thrillist
Courtesy of Bang Bang Burgers
Courtesy of Cowbell Burger & Whiskey Bar
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1. The Liberty 1812 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203 (South End)

Located in the South End of Dilworth, this gastropub resembles a brewery in both its top-notch craft brew list and its decor (industrial accents and columns made from kegs), and serves a wide variety of American dishes, receiving high praise for its burgers, particularly the famed Southern Prime “Crunch” Burger topped with hand-cut chips. If you're stopping in for brunch, opt for a spot on the sunny outdoor patio, and order the Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich, made with two eggs, bacon, country ham, cheddar cheese, tomato, and arugula.

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2. Brooks' Sandwich House 2710 N Brevard St, Charlotte, NC 28205 (Noda)

Brooks' Sandwich House is a rundown red shack on the side of the railroad tracks, but the line of hungry customers trailing into the dirt parking lot should be enough confirmation that you're in the right place for a good burger. The “All the Way” version includes mustard, onions, and a homemade chili so thick it’s as meaty as the patty. The burger is the show-stealer here, but if you come before the lunch rush, you can get your hand on a highly underrated gooey egg sandwich for breakfast.

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3. Little Spoon 2820 Selwyn Ave, Charlotte, NC 28209 (Myers Park)

On the surface, Little Spoon might appear to be any old Southern brunch spot, but it's anything but. This Myers Park eatery's bare, industrial space hosts a constantly changing menu, always full of comfort-food favorites like chicken biscuits, sausage hash topped with fried eggs and house-made donuts and cronuts (all made with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Nursing a hangover, or just plain tired? Don't miss out on their bowl-sized cups of coffee, which is superiorly stronger than your average joe.

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4. The Cowfish 4310 Sharon Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211 (Southpark)

As you may have suspected from the name, The Cowfish is indeed a burger-sushi bar. Part of the menu has got burgers, part has got sushi, and then there's the burgushi, but we won't get into that here. If unsure what to get, or just overwhelmed with the entire concept of the place, try the Texas Longhorn burger, you won't be disappointed.

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5. Zack's Hamburgers 4009 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28209 (South End)

This family owned joint has been serving up hot hamburgers since 1975, and they're as good as ever. Try the Zack's Special, two beef patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mayo, and “special sauce."

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6. Bad Daddy's Burger Bar 1626 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203 (Dilworth)

You'll have to park down the block from this ridiculously popular burger bar, but you'll still be able to smell the burgers and bacon from there. As it is known for it's ridiculously decadent burgers, we recommend getting the Bad Ass Burger, made with a 10-ounce patty topped with lettuce, tomato, horseradish mayo, American cheese, and buttermilk fried bacon.

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7. Lebowski's Neighborhood Grill 1524 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203 (Dilworth)

As the name suggests, Lebowski's is your neighborhood spot for some good eats and a casual atmosphere. Try the killer Jerk Style Burger with an over-sized patty, pepper jack cheese, spicy pineapple salsa and sweet jerkiyaki glaze.

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8. Gallery Restaurant 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28277 (Ballantyne)

The Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge may be known for its PGA golf course and spa, but the Gallery Restaurant holds its own: it serves Southern food with unexpected flavors, such as sorghum kettle corn on a poached Asian pear salad, and coffee rub on a 22-oz cowboy ribeye. If you're coming for lunch, don't feel like you have to order fancy -- the NC Local Burger is arguably the most luxurious item on the menu, and comes topped with a sunny side-up egg and local white cheddar soaked in a Charlotte-brewed ale. There's an extensive selection of bourbon, scotch, and whiskey, too, plus a pomegranate cream cheese Bavarian dessert that, really, is the only way to end a meal here.

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9. Crepe Cellar 3116 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205 (Noda)

Located in NoDa's arts district, this cozy gastropub offers Euro-inspired cuisine that ranges from crepes and steak frites to pesto pasta and pan-seared Scottish salmon. You'll want to go for one of the savory buckwheat crepes (they're in the restaurant's name, after all), which come in varieties like ham & gruyere, spinach & wild mushroom, and turkey apple brie. The Crepe Cellar burger is a favorite, too, served on a soft potato bun, smothered in creamy garlic aioli, and topped with melted gruyere cheese and some onion straws for crunch. When it comes to beverages, you can expect a rotating list of craft beer, seasonal cocktails, French press coffee, and tea.

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10. Pinky's Westside Grill 1600 W Morehead St, Charlotte, NC 28208 (Freemorewest)

Honey-cilantro slaw, crunchy peanut butter and spicy Sriracha piled together on a burger might sound weird, but once you've had a bite of Pinky's Ding Dong Style Burger in Charlotte's Ashley Park, you'll know you've just got to trust them. And that's only one item on its incredibly diverse menu (it's not every day you see ginger tuna salad and korean pork tacos sharing a menu with reuben hot dogs and greek-style pita sandwiches). No matter what corner of the globe your meal is inspired by, it'll go perfectly with a custom margarita or one of their many quirky house cocktails.

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11. Bang Bang Burgers 2001 East 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28204 (Elizabeth)

The meat at Bang Bang Burgers comes from the guys over at NYC's Pat Lafrieda Meat Purveyors (think: Shake Shack and Union Square Café), so you know it's going to be tasty. Try the Guacamole Burger with grilled corn salsa and guacamole piled on top of that giant ground beef patty.

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12. Cowbell Burger & Whiskey Bar 201 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202 (Uptown)

Charlotte is a burger-obsessed town, but Cowbell’s rock n’ roll energy and small batch whiskies make this spot stand out in the beef-eating crowd. Flat-screen TVs play music videos, and neon lights illuminate the bar area where sleek leather stools offer a perfect place to post up post work. For a bracing but sweet start to your evening, sip Roosevelt’s Fireside Scotch: an orange and cinnamon infused Glenlivet 12 Year served over a sphere of ice.