Food & Drink

The 19 Best Burgers in Texas

Published On 02/04/2015 Published On 02/04/2015
Dan Gentile
Rodeo Goat
The Grape Restaurant
Kincaid's Hamburgers
Brooke Viggiano/Thrillist
Andy Kirkdorfer
Hubcap Grill
Classic's Burgers
Jonathan Alonzo
Dan Gentile/Thrillist
Jason Moore/Thrillist
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1. Chris Madrid's 1900 Blanco Rd, San Antonio, TX 78212

Although San Antonio's patron burger saint passed away in 2012 at the tender age of 61, Chris Madrid's legacy lives on through the long lines at his eponymous burger joint. On a Saturday at lunchtime you can expect at least a 20-minute wait, which seems a bit silly until you receive your monstrous Tostada Bean Burger, which looks and tastes like the lovechild of a burger and nachos. The friendly service and inviting atmosphere at this family-owned, Tex-Mex-themed spot will make you feel right at home.

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2. Rodeo Goat 2836 Bledsoe St, Fort Worth, TX 76107

This full-service restaurant and bar offers a wide selection of hand-ground burgers, as well as an expansive selection of beers in bottle, can and draft form. There's also a fine selection of cocktails and wines available, as well as an assortment of whiskey, bourbon and scotch.

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3. 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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4. The Grape 2808 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206

Helmed by Chef/Owner Brian Luscher (of Luscher's Red Hots fame), The Grape was originally opened in 1972 and has served approachable, European influenced fare at affordable prices ever since. The menu changes monthly, though, so the Grape never feels stodgy or old-guard. The charming, bistro-like interior and homestyle fare (blueberry pancakes, shrimp and grits) make The Grape a great brunch option

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5. Tookie’s Hamburgers & More 1202 Bayport Blvd, Seabrook, TX 77586

This green-and-gold institution had to shutter in 2008 after serious flood damage from Hurricane Ike, but it reemerged stronger than ever with more elbow room and a renovated kitchen to keep up with the burger-craving hordes in 2011. The vintage decor harks back to the restaurant's 1970s inception and fits with the menu of classic American food. The move here is to order the double cheeseburger, a side of Mama Ethel's oversize onion rings, and a Heath Bar milkshake.

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6. Swift's Attic 315 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701

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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7. Kincaid's 4901 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76107

Started back in the ‘40s as a grocer in meat market that eventually made the (brilliant, it turns out) decision to start making burgers with the meat it was grinding up, Kincaid’s has grown into an institution on the strength of its classic, no-frills, impossibly beefy burgers.

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8. Lankford Grocery & Market 88 Dennis St, Houston, TX 77006

This Houston institution on Dennis St has been in business since 1939, selling groceries to locals alongside old-fashioned tuna melts and huge burgers. Everything is made to order, so the service takes time, and you simply pay at the counter when you're finished eating. The space itself is kitschy and quaint with shaded picnic tables outside for some greasy al fresco dining.

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9. Maple & Motor Burgers & Beer 4810 Maple Ave, Dallas, TX 75219

Known for celebrating “low class cool,” Maple and Motor distills American comfort cuisine into a ten-item food menu comprised of burgers and sandwiches built upon foundations of bologna, brisket, and bacon. The burger is the menu’s gem; it’s a half-pound of ground beef flat grilled in its own juices, dressed in traditional Texas fashion with mustard, lettuce, red onion, and a dill pickle. Add a side of beer-battered onion rings and a brew, and you’re set. The space is bare bones-cool, with a few black leather booths and photographs in simple black frames lining the walls. The Maple and Motor team doesn’t pretend to be anything other than red meat-loving Americans and we dig it.

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10. Alamo Springs Cafe 107 Alamo Rd, Fredericksburg, TX 78624

Alamo Springs Cafe, an out-of-the-way roadhouse, is well known for its juicy burgers. Just about any configuration of the hand-formed patties is likely to bring you to your burger happy place, but you will find yourself in the happiest place if you go for a beyond-generous helping of green chiles and upgrade your bun to a jalapeno cheese bun.

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11. Hubcap Grill 1133 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008

Hubcap Grill, which has a couple of locations across Texas, is known for its burgers and sandwiches. When faced with one of its incredibly juicy, crispy seared patties, the logical next step is to get another. The counter-serve also pours craft beer, which you order at the window before taking your food out to the massive, colorful patio. The space features games like ping pong and horseshoes so you can burn off all that grease to the tune of the outdoor jukebox.

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12. Counter Cafe 626 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

An old-school breakfast-,brunch-, and burger-slinging diner, Counter Cafe's got local comfort food that is way better than the spot's humble exterior would seem to indicate. Big plates of roasted quail, steak, crab cakes, and fried oysters draw eyes as the wait staff pass, but the house's specialty Counter Burger with gooey cheddar cheese and a thick, square patty on soft sourdough is the true must-try dish when you're spending an afternoon Downtown.

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13. Mel's Country Cafe 24814 Stanolind Rd, Tomball, TX 77375

Started in the ‘70s as a fried chicken joint, this place was transitioned by the Weirich family to a burger-centric operation in the mid-’80s. The decision proved apt: their meat masterpieces, with a penchant for excess, remain objects of obsession today (take, for instance, the Mega Mel burger with one and a half pounds of ground beef, a full pound of bacon and a quarter pound of cheese). Even if you aren't coming for the challenge, come hungry because your other options include big portions of country fried chicken, grilled catfish and shrimp with hush puppies.

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14. Cured 306 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78215

Cured is new school San Antonio at its best. You can't go wrong with their burger - the same care that goes into their house charcuterie is applied to the burger, which blends local chuck, short rib, and bacon into a tight little patty. And you'd be wise to pair it with a beer from their great selection.

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15. The Hay Merchant / Underbelly 1100 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

A joint venture, The Hay Merchant and Underbelly operate separately but are attached via a butchering room that’s fit to hold a whole hog, a cow, and other large, meat-bearing animals. Hay Merchant, a craft beer bar, boasts 75 draft beers that range in style from cask-conditioned American porters to sour and funky wild ales. Underbelly, the more upscale of the two, is a restaurant and wine bar serving up juicy burgers and meats, like roasted pig’s head and smoked brisket. No matter how adventurous your palate, consider pairing your dish with one of the aged barleywines on tap.

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16. Justine's Brasserie 4710 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78702

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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17. Zenzero Bakery & Cafe 171 N Denton Tap Rd, Ste 600, Coppell, TX 75019

Here you can find a wide array of fresh-baked goods made from scratch, from biscuits to scones to cakes and tarts. And to wash it all down, try their coffee, which is sourced from the local Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters.