The 17 Best Burger Joints in Houston

The Hay Merchant may be closed, but we’ve still got plenty of great beef patties around town.

Cred: Taylor Hall | Underbelly Burger
Julie Soefer| Underbelly Burger
Julie Soefer| Underbelly Burger

To say we love burgers here at Thrillist is an understatement, and we can confidently say the same for the city of Houston. Burger loving locals can get their thrills nearly anywhere in this beef town, so we took it upon ourselves to scour the streets for the most flawless renditions around—from old-school burger joints rocking sloppily beautiful classics to modern burger shacks with over-the-top burger creations, plus a few pop-ups getting in on the latest smashburger craze. Here’s exactly where you’ll want to get your burger game on in Houston.

This newcomer from executive chef and owner Eric Nelson (formerly of Galveston’s Prime 13) took over the old King’s Biergarten space in 2021, starting as a burger joint and transitioning to a full-on coastal kitchen. Though it’s switched up the concept a bit, the good vibes and even better burgers remain. You’ll have the tough task of choosing between burgers like the half-pound Good Vibes Signature with wagyu, pepper bacon, Gouda cheese, vibin’ sauce, and a cheesy garlic bun; or the cult favorite Kraken, which turns the tides with a cracked pepper crusted patty, gooey onions, Muenster, and, shrooms, and a silky peppercorn Cognac sauce.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Available for Reservations

Catching a flight out of Hobby? Schedule in some extra time to take in this burger and beer hub, which opened its hangar doors right by the airport in the backend of 2020. It offers a sturdy roster of big, juicy beef bombs accompanied by housemade sauces like Bulldog sauce, a mashup of ketchup, mustard, mayo, and barbecue that dresses patties of all sorts like the no-nonsense house-ground chuck Straight Up burger as well as the more adventurous Notorious P.I.G., which cradles beef and bacon patties beneath a dollop of “super melty” beer cheese. Billionaire Tots act as the perfect companion, laced with goat cheese, smoked cheddar, truffle butter, even more bacon, and a sunny egg. 
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery via Toast.

FM Kitchen and Bar
FM Kitchen & Bar | Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

FM Kitchen and Bar

Multiple locations

Secret “shhh” sauce, a toasty potato bun, LTO, and a gorgeously griddled patty are all that’s needed to make this shack-style burger shine—that and a slab of good old-fashioned American cheese. The burger bar’s second location over in Montrose brought with it house favorites like loaded tots, fried pickles, and shakes, plus features like late-night only food and drink specials (which that signature FM Burger is a part of, thankfully).

Hubcap Grill & Beer Yard

Multiple locations

Burger purists can definitely get behind Hubcap’s hand-formed, crisply seared patties, sitting pretty between buns made specifically to withstand the inevitable drips of grease. To double the pleasure, we suggest going with the twice-the-beef, twice-the-cheese monstrosity Hubcap Decker. It comes stacked club sandwich-style with a slice of crisp bread, special mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles. Add a side double-fried fresh-cut fries or go HAM by ladeling on the chili and cheese.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or call your nearest location for take-out.

For a damn fine burger with a little side of nostalgia, hit this neighborhood champion of all things beef. The family-run grocer has obviously been doing something right, because it's been keeping Houstonians fed and happy since the '60s. While you can go full throttle by loading your loosely packed, properly crusted patties with stacks of candied bacon and hash browns, you should really start with the burger that started it all: the Original Bacon Cheeseburger.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating, call 713-227-4893 for take-out, or order delivery via UberEats.

Available for Delivery/Takeout



A few years back, our resident burger expert ran around Houston eating a slew of classic cheeseburgers in order to find the best of the best. Well, he didn’t actually run, because the thought of doing that while wolfing down nine meat sandwiches makes us physically ill, but you get the point. In the end, he crowned this long-running bayside institution’s perfectly peppery, pristinely crusted, and beautifully smashed patty the winner. Enjoy yours crammed into a picnic table with bikers and old dudes in Tommy Bahama shirts (and if that’s not your bag, you can always order yours to go).
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or call 281-942-9334 for take-out.

Lankford's Grocery & Market
Lankford Grocery & Market | Flickr/Jimmy Emerson, DVM

Looking to sabotage that summer bod you’ve been working on? Simply snag one of the insanely bad-for-you but oh-so-worth-it beef joints from this wonderfully greasy lunch-only spot. Lankford opened as a grocery in 1939, and it’s been building a dedicated army of burger enthusiasts since the ‘70s. Fans of fiery infernos should opt for the scorching Firehouse Burger, which gets its mouth-numbing heat thanks to cayenne butter, jalapeños, and habanero sauce. Other varieties include a pimento cheese burger, an old-fashioned Patty Melt, and the over-the-top Grim Burger, oozing with mac and cheese and a sunny egg.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or call 713-522-9555 for take-out.


Greenway - Upper Kirby Area

This cult sensation has moved on to bigger digs after closing its Greenway Plaza food court stand. Now in the Galleria area, you’ll find vigorously griddled, umami-packed burgers to build as you please, single, double, or triple stacked and festooned with trimmings from pickled habanero and fried egg to house sambal aioli. Or go for the newer, bigger patty. Whatever you pick, don’t make the mistake of forgetting the tots.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

It might hail from Austin, but this all-star’s all-natural lineup has won the hearts of Houstonians the city over. Go traditionalist with The Classic, dressed simply with the usual suspects (AKA LTO) and sassy sauce, a mind-blowingly good combo of mayo, mustard, and horseradish that kicks that beef into gear. Or try house favorites like the Goodnight/Good Cause, which comes with jalapeños, caffeinated BBQ sauce, and a side of good vibes via a donation to a local charity, or the Impossible, a burger so good you’ll forget it’s meat-free.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or get delivery via UberEats.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
The Burger Joint
The Burger Joint | Photo by Becca Wright

The Burger Joint

Multiple locations

Now with two locations, this local patty-flipper sports hand-crafted 44 Farms burgers that perch plump and pretty atop soft, squishy buns. You can get ‘em any which way, satisfying your cravings with a bacon- and onion ring-topped BBQ burger; the jalapeno-, avocado-, and queso fresco-adorned Mexi; the Kimchi burger layered with fried egg and cheddar; or the pulled pork-, slaw-, and mac and cheese-smothered Smoke Stack. The Classic is plenty good, too.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating, order take-out via Toast for pickup, or get delivery via UberEats.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

From the smoke savants behind Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue comes a new venture where burgers are the star. Whether you live up North or not, you’ll want to get your hands on Tejas’ signature smoked burgers, which get an aggressive salt-and-pepper treatment before taking a turn in the wood smoker then landing on a buttery potato bun. Order the half-pound Smokehouse Burger, where flavor-forward Angus beef gets an extra shot of love courtesy of smoked cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions, and green onion aioli.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery online.

We Houstonians don’t like many things that have to do with Dallas very much (just kidding… kinda), but we definitely do like this Big D-by-way-of-Fort Worth import. The burger hotshot’s house-ground patties come in the form of beef, chicken, turkey, and Impossible, with selections ranging from the no-joke fiery Hot Bastard and the sugary-sweet candied bacon- and grilled peach-topped Sugar Burger to the (281) 330-8004, a tribute to Houston rapper Mike Jones made with gooey gruyere, garlic-roasted creminis, and a soy caramel glaze.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating, order take-out online, or get delivery via UberEats.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

Flip N’ Patties

Multiple locations

Now with dual locations, this local gem hawks Filipino fare alongside Akaushi burgers that shine atop squishy siopao buns. Go nuts with the Puet, which adds Pecan-smoked pork butt, provolone, and house tang sauce to the mix, or up the protein with the Jeepney, hit with longganisa (Filipino sausage), fried egg, and banana ketchup aioli. The gravy fries are a sure-fire hit, as well.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order online for take-out (Downtown, Eldridge).

Turns out this smash burger pop-up, from food ‘grammer Abbas Dhanani of @houstoneatz, is a smash, literally. The concept is going full brick-and-mortar in a space off Washington this summer, but until then, you can check out its schedule to get your hands (and face) messy with the wonderfully greasy, aggressively griddled and charred burgers and cult favorite chopped cheese sandwiches.
How to book: Follow IG for updates on pop-ups and opening announcements.

Underbelly Burger
Taylor Hall | Underbelly Burger

Fans of the late Hay Merchant’s Cease & Desist burgers can find solace in the fact that powerhouse restaurant group Underbelly Hospitality has opened a full-time burger joint at the renovated Houston Farmers Market. This time, the locally sourced beef comes from both HFM neighbor RC Ranch and longtime UH beef supplier 44 Farms. The standard burger is an updated riff on that Cease and Desist—with double the meat, double the cheese, and LPT on a potato bun. Pair it with sidewinder fries and pastry director Victoria Dearmond’s unholy milkshakes.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out via Toast.

Trill Burgers
Becca Wright | Trill Burgers

We know there’s a joke about buns somewhere in here, but we’ll say this instead. Bun B’s smashburger pop-up, Trill Burger, is an absolute sensation. The local legend is on the lookout for a brick-and-mortar in H-town, in the meantime keeping busy with pop-ups at the Houston Rodeo and Coachella as well as a new project Bored & Hungry, the world’s first restaurant based on a Bored Ape NFT opening out in Long Beach, California. Aside from the crispy-edged OG Trill Burger and Grilled Onion Burger, there’s also a vegan smashburger featuring Impossible patties and vegan cheese that made quite a name for itself out in the dessert.
How to book: Follow IG for updates on pop-ups and opening announcements.

Hotline Burger

Energy Corridor

How many smashburgers is too many smashburgers? Trick question. The limit does not exist.
This former burger pop-up and Underground Hall purveyor, now in its own brick-and-mortar out near George Bush Park, is slinging out some of the crustiest smash patties around. Get ‘em on toasty and buttery Hawaiian rolls smothered in cheese, sizzled onions, crunchy pickles, and house Smack Sauce.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Brooke Viggiano is a contributor for Thrillist.