Hunky Dory

Hunky Dory’s HD Burger

Hunky Dory

Address and Info

Heights

This double tavern burger may look pretty straightforward, but it’s actually one of the juiciest, beefiest tasting burgers in town. The magic is in HD's expertly seasoned blend of chuck, brisket, and don’t-knock-it-till-you-try-it beef tongue. A homemade bun, good ol’ American cheese, house pickles, and sliced red onion lend the burger just the appropriate finishing touch.

Petrol Station’s The Rancor

Petrol Station

Address and Info

Garden Oaks/Oak Forest

Like the reptilian Star Wars beast for which it's named, this 10--napkin burger’s only desire is to FEED... feed you, that is. Made with half a pound of aggressively seasoned Angus, the beef-bomb is crowned simply with cheddar, smoked bacon, and a fried egg, because in today's crazy world, that is simple.

Hubcap Grill’s Quadruple Heart Clogger

Hubcap Grill

Address and Info

Heights (& Downtown & Kemah)

All three locations of this beefed-up powerhouse lure a steady crowd of burger lovers thanks to the excellent house-made buns; hand-formed, juice-dripping 80/20 patties; and toppings that both the burger purist and wild child can get behind. But since this is a bucket list, we’re going out with Ricky Craig’s aptly named magnum opus, the grilled weiner, bacon, chili & cheese-stacked Quadruple Heart Clogger. Hope you canceled that afternoon meeting.

Kimberly Park/Bernie’s Burger Bus

Bernie’s Burger Bus’ Detention Burger

Bernie's Burger Bus

Address and Info

Bellaire (& Katy)

We think the picture speaks for itself, so we'll just say this: house-ground Angus beef, whiskey-griddled onions, BACON GRILLED CHEESE BUNS.

Stanton City's Bites’ The Original Bacon Cheeseburger

Stanton's City Bites

Address and Info

First Ward

For a damn-fine burger with a little side of nostalgia, hit this neighborhood champion of all things beef. The family-run grocer's been around since the '60s, eventually turning into a burger spot in the ‘80s when husband and wife team Art and Theresa Fong inherited it. Though the adored Art has since passed, you’ll still find Theresa flippin’ big, beefy house ground patties and making everyone feel like family. You can go full throttle with stacks of candied bacon and hash browns, but before that, get a taste of the burger that started it all.

Julie Soefer Photography/The Hay Merchant

The Hay Merchant’s Cease & Desist Burger

The Hay Merchant

Address and Info

Montrose

This burger is so damn tasty, it legitimately almost sparked a lawsuit. Here's how it all went down: sibling eatery Underbelly dubbed their standout burger the "UB Double Double," which apparently was a little too close to the signature burger of a certain uptight chain. Soon after, they were gifted a cease and desist letter by said uptight chain. A quick name change later, and this double-cheese, double-beef, super-legal burger can now be found serving time at The Hay Merchant.

Lankford Grocery’s Grim Burger

Lankford Grocery

Address and Info

Montrose

This is not the kind of place you visit on a diet, as the smells wafting from the flattop will have you gearing up for an insanely bad-for-you burger faster than you can change your Coke to diet. Since you went this far, you may as well go full fatty with this bacon-loaded, sliced jalapeño, egg, and gooey macaroni & cheese-adorned house favorite. Cash only.

The Shack Burger Resort’s Cooter Jack

The Shack Burger Resort

Address and Info

Cypress

Locally sourced, fresh-formed, and sloppy as all hell, these burger gurus adorn their masterpieces with everything from queso and bacon to hot Cheetos and fried bananas. Though spice lovers can take solace in the Dang Dang, it's the Cooter Jack that hits all of our topping checkpoints. Buttermilk fried onion strings for crunch, smokey BBQ sauce for sweetness, chipotle mayo for richness and heat, and gooey jack cheese... for cheese. Get it on a jalapeño cheddar bun (our choice), a pretzel bun (some people's choice), or no bun at all (WHOSE CHOICE IS THIS???).

B&B Butchers & Restaurant

B&B Butchers & Restaurant's Burger Diane

B&B Butchers & Restaurant

Address and Info

Washington

While yes, you usually go to a steakhouse for steak, lunch is a completely acceptable time to exercise your option for something less fancy (i.e., cheaper). This fork and knife burger, a riff on a cognac and mushroom gravy smothered steak Diane, is well worth the $14 price tag. Of course if you're in the mood to to ball out, you can add foie gras for another $12.

Pappas Burger's Frito Pie Burger

Pappas Burger

Address and Info

Galleria

This homegrown joint from the Pappas family uses Prime trimmings from the neighboring steakhouse to make respectably great burger patties, which we are completely disrespecting by telling you to order covered in Fritos, queso, and Pappas chili. But it's on the menu so, their fault.

State of Grace's Butter Burger

State of Grace

Address and Info

River Oaks

All hail the great state of Texas, because not only does this burger have frozen butter chunks dotted right into the patties, it's also done “carpetbagger-style” – meaning it shares a bun with a crispy fried oyster topper, American cheese, caramelized onions, and for an extra few bucks, thick cut bacon and an oozing fried egg. Spend the extra couple of bucks.

Tookie's Burgers

Southern Goods' SG Burger

Southern Goods

Address and Info

Heights

With a menu chock full of good ol’ boys like pork belly cracklins and BBQ plates, it may be hard to order the burger at this Southern standout. We'll make it unhard. Top-notch cuts of beef take a spin in the grinder before being formed into two aggressively seared and pink-in-the-middle patties, each of which gets a cheese blanket before being stacked and packed into a buttery and toasted salt & pepper bun, along with house b&b pickles and fresh produce. At its side? Potato salad and comeback sauce. Long story short, you want this.

Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse

Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse's Vic Burger

Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse

Address and Info

Downtown

As V&A expanded their lunch hours, what used to be only a Friday special is now available every weekday. Prime ground beef, house-cured bacon, and a duo of American and cheddar make this a burger worthy of Vic's good name.

Moon Tower Inn's Cheech or Chong

Moon Tower Inn

Address and Info

East End

Head here on Wednesday for BOGO Burger Night and you won't even have to choose between the Cheech – generously stacked with thick-cut bacon, sambal mayo, poblano, and creamy goat cheese; or the Chong – a beauty with thick-cut bacon, house pickles, cheddar, Creole mustard, and a gloriously yolky sunny-side egg.

Bernadine's

Bernadine's Cheeseburger

Bernadine's

Address and Info

Heights

Proving this Gulf Coastal concept is not all about the sea, this by-land blend of chuck and brisket comes big and mighty on remarkably good Texas Toast, crisped and slathered with mayo. The accoutrements – house b&b pickles, beef-fat griddled onions, and L+T – are simple enough to let the juicy burger shine.

Glazed the Donut Cafe

Glazed the Doughnut Cafe's Double Bacon Cheeseburger

Glazed the Doughnut Cafe

Address and Info

Medical Center

Since scratch-made doughnuts slathered with a sugary glaze clearly weren't enough, these guys decided to throw a duo of meat bombs and some bacon & cheese in between two of them. It’s kinda hard to believe the heart-clogger is available so close to the Med Center... but it is, so you can hit it up after you pass your yearly physical.

State Fare's Hicks Burger

State Fare

Address and Info

Memorial

Housed in the former Pour Society, this rebranded concept from Cherry Pie Hospitality’s Lee Ellis and culinary director Jim Mills is bringing Texas comfort fare to new heights. As in, this colossal burger stacked high and sloppily with griddled pastrami and onions, melty Gruyère, a fat squeeze of burger sauce, and house-cut chicken-fried French fries, because this is Texas.

Kenny & Ziggy's

Kenny & Ziggy’s Zigalicious

Kenny & Ziggy's

Address and Info

Galleria (& Rice Village)

This Jewish deli may not make their patties in house -- they're a custom blend of short rib and skirt steak from Pat LaFrieda in NY, so that's fine by us -- but they most definitely make their own pastrami. The smoky, meltingly tender slices come piled high on the 1/2lb, crazy-good burger along with ‘slaw, aged Swiss, and Russian dressing. It's not kosher, but that too, is fine by us.

Christian's Tailgate's Giant 1lb Burger

Christian's Tailgate

Address and Info

Heights (& other locations)

Sometimes, everything bigger is better. Case in point: this full pounder, which is widely considered among Houston's burger elite by anyone with tastebuds. Get it in pure form with just cheese and the usual suspects or, who are you kidding, stacked with chicken-fried bacon.

Bramble's Cheeseburger

Bramble

Address and Info

Briargrove

Be warned: Chef Randy Rucker’s 44 Farms burger is for mustard lovers only. A thick coat of the sweet and hot house-made condiment is what makes this already-great, wood-grilled burger extraordinary. A hefty amount of melted Redneck cheddar and house pickles finish the job.

Mocking Bistro's American Wagyu Hamburger

Mockingbird Bistro

Address and Info

Montrose

This old-school classic has managed to keep up with the cool kids, despite being a hefty $32. Chef John Sheely’s house blend of chuck, brisket, and short rib helps with that, as does the decadent foie gras topping and truffle frites side. If you're looking to save a buck, the bacon-marmalade-topped M Bistro burger is just $11 at the bar.

Jonathan's The Rub

Jonathan's the Rub's The Texas

Jonathan's the Rub

Address and Info

Memorial

Texas is awesome, because living here means you can get a hulk-worthy, house-rubbed 10oz chargrilled burger, pack it in ‘shrooms, caramelized onions, bacon, then cover it in thick, creamy Texas gravy and call it lunch.

Mel's Country Cafe's Mega Mel Burger

Mel's Country Cafe

Address and Info

Tomball

We're fairly certain it's clear at this point that eating all of these burgers will help you along in kicking the bucket, so if you've managed to make it this far, you may as well go balls to the walls. This is not so much an enjoyable burger experience, but rather a challenge to those brave enough to face the beef. Those who accept it will have two hours to consume 1.5lbs of ground beef, a FULL pound of bacon, 1/4lb of cheese, and all the trimmings. Victors will get their name on the wall of fame and all the glory that comes with having consumed nearly 2lbs of meat.

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1. Hunky-Dory Tavern 1801 N Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77008 (The Greater Heights)

Built around a wood-fired hearth, this dark, sophisticated Heights restaurant serves British-American cuisine like black pudding, pork belly, and game pie in a romantic dining room. At the full-service bar, a shorter pub menu features steaks and chops along with a selection of wines and around a dozen specialty cocktails. Polished wood tables, classic white-rose centerpieces and low lighting makes Hunky-Dory the ultimate date spot -- just be sure to come hungry and ready to share because they don't fool around with portions here.

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2. Petrol Station 985 Wakefield Dr, Houston, TX 77018

Petrol Station used to be exactly that: a gas station. Now, this refurbished counter-service spot is dishing up of the tastiest burgers in Houston. You'll also find a fantastic craft beer list that's divided into beginner, intermediate, and expert levels. Once you've made your burger and beer picks (a favorite is The Rancor, a 10-napkin burger topped with cheddar, smoked bacon, and a fried egg), you can enjoy your meal out on the patio.

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3. Hubcap Grill 1133 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008 (The Greater Heights)

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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4. Bernie’s Burger Bus Stop 5407 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77401

Some of Houston's best burgers and fries come straight out of a big yellow school bus, otherwise known as the kitchen of Bernie's Burger Bus. Bernie's still has waiters and seating though, not to mention milkshakes, wines, and beers on tap. The gourmet burgers, all of which have school-themed names like "The Principal" and "Homeroom," are constructed from a blend of house-ground black Angus beef and served on locally-baked buns. Add in homemade condiments and you've got the best school lunch ever.

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5. Stanton's City Bites 1420 Edwards St, Houston, TX 77007 (The Greater Heights)

Serving Houstonians since 1961, Stanton's has an array of sandwiches, snacks, and sides that will, more often than not, stick to your sides. The former grocery store is especially known for its half-pound burgers topped with artery-clogging accouterments like deep-fried bacon, twice-fried onion rings, and house-fried pickles. The interior has a retro, almost cafeteria-like feel with plenty of tables and a counter for ordering.

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6. The Hay Merchant / Underbelly 1100 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

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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7. Lankford Grocery & Market 88 Dennis St, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

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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8. The Shack 16602 Cypress Rosehill Rd, Cypress, TX 77429 (Cypress)

It's time loosen that belt a notch or two -- The Shack is a Houston favorite where the beef is fresh and local, and the burgers. Are. Stacked. Located in Cypress, this joint's got 18 signature beef burgers topped with everything imaginable from brisket to fried eggs to potato chips to spicy honey -- each creative combination provides the perfect blend of spicy, sweet, and savory, and the dropping grease is accompanied by just enough crunch. You're gonna need to make room if you're going to tackle one with a side of hand-cut fries or onion strings. You're also gonna need a beer -- there are dozens on tap from all over the Lone Star State.

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9. B&B Butchers 1814 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007 (Washington)

You can’t get more Texas than in-house dry-aged USDA Prime and Texas Wagyu served in cuts larger than your head. Or a chicken-fried pork chop with sausage. Or a Carpet Bagger on the Half Shell, a filet with bacon, blue cheese, and a fried oyster on top, all housed in an oyster shell. Fill up on all this and a couple of superb cocktails, like the Blood Orange Sky or the French Diplomat at Houston’s B&B Butchers & Restaurants, a butcher shop-steakhouse hybrid in the Sixth Ward. While we suggest hunkering down at a table in the elegant, exposed brick dining room, the antsy among you will head to the deli counter, where you can grab the same delicious meats, either by the pound or stacked in a sandwich.

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10. Pappas Burger 5815 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77057

This homegrown joint from the Pappas family uses Prime trimmings from the neighboring steakhouse to make respectably great burger patties, which we are completely disrespecting by telling you to order covered in Fritos, queso, and Pappas chili. But it’s on the menu so, their fault. In line with the comfort eats, the digs are designed with a diner aesthetic, and feature retro foam green chairs and a black-and-white tiled kitchen.

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11. State of Grace 3256 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098 (River Oaks)

Atlanta restaurateur and Houston native chef Ford Fry has brought his culinary magic back home with this modern, globally and coastally inspired lodge. Former Ciao Bello chef Bobby Matos mans the open kitchen and the giant, wood-fired hearth, offering you not only great food but an entertaining and immersive experience. There's a great oyster program and an upscale, vintage feel to the space, with a marble bar and handsome wooden and leather furniture.

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12. 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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13. Stomp's Burger Joint 3107 Highway 146, Bacliff, TX 77518

This wild-west themed spot in Bacliff offers hearty burgers served with bacon-blended patties. The space is casual -- designed in a cozy, run-down fashion -- and decked out with long group-friendly tables and as well as cozier booths. Grab a couple of Dos Equis and thick cut onion rings for the table, and a gut-bomb raspberry chipotle and cream cheese-filled sandwich, and you'll never hesitate about making the trek here again.

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14. Southern Goods 623 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008 (The Greater Heights)

This Southern restaurant in Heights restaurant is a collaboration between former Underbelly chef Lyle Bento, BBQ guru Patrick Feges of Killen’s Barbecue fame, and the late Goro & Gun’s J.D. Woodward -- along with restaurateur Charles Bishop. Indoor or covered patio bar seating means you’re good to go no matter the weather, and a constantly rotating menu keeps things from getting boring. One mainstay, however, is the bourbon balls, a dessert you absolutely need to make room for.

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15. Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse 1510 Texas St, Houston, TX 77002 (Downtown)

Just across from Minute Maid Park, this swanky steakhouse is the place for power dinners, legal eagles, celebratory sports fans, and visiting athletes. The encyclopedic wine list scores big with oenophiles, professionals and average Joes, alike. For sides, think duck fat fries and bacon and bone marrow crostini. For a more casual experience, sit at the chef’s counter and watch the kitchen show.

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16. Moon Tower Inn 3004 Canal St, Houston, TX 77003 (East End)

Awesome events like horror movie nights and growler giveaways, tons of craft brews from their wall of taps, and exotic hot dogs like a wild game sausage make Moon Tower Inn a unique and enjoyable hangout. Oh, and they have a backyard, too.

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17. Bernadine's 1801 N Shepherd Dr Ste B, Houston, TX 77008 (The Greater Heights)

Distinctively Southern, Bernadine’s is a contemporary Gulf Coast seafood restaurant that gleans inspiration from restaurants along the Interstate 10 corridor, from Apalachicola oyster shacks to fish fry stands in South Texas. Bernadine’s offers brunch, lunch, and dinner menus of seafood and snacks and large plates. For dinner, you’ll dive into the menu by choosing a couple of briny starters, namely Gulf oysters on the half-shell and Gulf ceviche with Tennessee apple leche de tigre, radish, shaved onion, and pepita gremolata. Shifting away from seafood, continue your meal with the confit duck leg, paired with chaurice sausage, roasted chicken jus, creole mustard spaetzle, and fermented rainbow chard. Ask for cocktail recommendations, but you can’t go wrong with any of Bernadine’s speakeasy-inspired beverages; as you sip on your Kentucky Mule with bourbon, lime, mint turbinado, and Angostura bitters, you’ll be transported to the world of Prohibition, when Houston Heights was, begrudgingly, under the “dry ordinance.”

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18. Glazed The Doughnut Café 1333 Old Spanish Trl, Houston, TX 77054

A 24/7 doughnut shop, just what the world’s largest med center needs. Come here for franken-treats like the maple-cream, bacon-topped “macon”, or one that’s basically a banana split on a doughnut.

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19. State Fare 947 Gessner Rd Ste B190, Houston, TX 77024

State Fare has a bright and simple atmosphere and features innovative, lowbrow comfort food that’s as big and bold as Texas and goes well with anything on its extensive drink menu from craft beer to specialty cocktails. If you want a side of heart palpitations, go for its colossal burgers, which come stacked high with things like chili and molten queso or griddled pastrami and chicken-fried french fries. For a more dining-out feel, the smoked double-cut pork chop with root beer syrup and seared Ahi tuna with crab fried rice and jalapeño ponzu are spot-on.

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20. Kenny & Ziggy's 2327 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX 77056 (Uptown)

Kenny & Ziggy's mission is to give Houstonians an ultimate New York deli dining experience right in Uptown. Breads and cakes are made in-house, and pickles and meats are cured onsite. Fish are flown in daily from the Big Apple, and master slicers are on call to properly cut them in the European tradition, ensuring a silky and tender texture. The menu spans cabbage, Hungarian goulash, Romanian chicken fricassee, latkes, grilled Mediterranean tuna, and sweet potato pancakes, in addition to signature cut-to-order pastrami and corned beef sandwiches. And whether you get a sandwich, burger or knish, expect it to come in the kind of colossal portion only your grandmother would force on you.

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21. Christian's Tailgate Bar & Grill 2820 White Oak Dr, Houston, TX 77007

Christian’s Tailgate is a Midtown sports bar that serves great burgers and beer. The flavor-packed patties come in three sizes: small (1/3lb), large (1/2lb), and giant (1lb), and are stacked with your choice of toppings, like green chili, crispy bacon, onion rings, and jalapeños. The menu has a whole section dedicated to shots that range in price from the $3 vodka peach Silk Panties to a $9 Jameson and Guinness combo.

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23. Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar 1985 Welch St, Houston, TX 77019 (Montrose)

Mockingbird is the casual hang out spot you've been looking for. The menu is familiar with a slight French influence and is updates seasonally. Go for lunch and get a bacon-marmalade topped, kobe beef M Bistro Burger and fries for $10, it's the more affordable cousin of the dinner burger that is also toped with seared foie gras (and is also awesome).

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24. Jonathan's The Rub 9061 Gaylord Dr, Houston, TX 77024 (Memorial City)

Although it's outside the loop, Jonathan's The Rub is more than worth a trip to the suburbs. This Italian steakhouse serves up dishes like seafood fra diavalo in addition to Houston staples like fried chicken & grits and bigger than your head bone in ribeyes.

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25. 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.