Food & Drink

The Best Burger in 21 Houston 'Hoods

Published On 11/11/2015 Published On 11/11/2015
Kimberly Park (Edited)

You live in Houston, so it stands to reason that you’ve figured out your favorite burger in town, and most likely your favorite under-the-radar burger, too. But have you figured out your favorite burger in (practically) EVERY SINGLE NEIGHBORHOOD IN HOUSTON? No?? We’ll give you a head start:

Bellaire

Detention burger at Bernie’s Burger Bus

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Yes, every singular burger coming out of this big yellow school bus is pretty excellent. Yes, everything -- including daily ground Angus beef, chipotle aioli, and buttery buns -- are made fresh in-house. And yes, you don’t truly need two crispy bacon grilled cheeses sandwiching two dripping half-pound beef patties for lunch right now, but detention is not the time to get all weak on us.

The Shack Burger Resort

Cypress

Five Napkins/Grease & Weasel at The Shack Burger Resort

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Fresh. Homemade. And sloppy as hell. That’s pretty much all you need to know about this beer garden’s crazy good burger creations. Oh, and that you better not come wearing tight jeans. We can’t resist the classic Five Napkins, oozing with egg, slab bacon, and cheddar. But if you’re feeling crazy (and aren’t you always?), go for the Grease & Weasel, because it comes with most of that but also two honey buns instead of bread. Yeah.

Flickr/Adam Baker

Downtown

Hubcap Decker at Hubcap Grill

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How you judge a burger just may be one of life’s most important questions. Is it by juiciness? By beef-to-bun ratio? By the choice toppings? Or perhaps it’s by all of the freaking above! Hubcap’s custom-made buns are specially crafted to catch all of that inevitable beef juice drippage. And accoutrements like shaved ribeye, grilled wieners, and crunchy peanut butter are all kinds of delicious. Go with your heart, but purists can take solace in the fact that the Hubcap Decker is the gold standard of double cheeseburgers in town.

EaDo/East End

The Cheech or Chong at Moon Tower Inn

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You’ll be one Sad Mac if you don’t try a Moon Tower half-pounder at least once in your lifetime (but probably more than once). The Cheech comes stacked with thick bacon, sambal mayo, and creamy goat cheese; while the Chong is a beauty dripping with sunny-side-up egg, thick bacon, house pickles, cheddar, and Creole mustard. Pro tip: go for Wednesday BOGO Burger Night so you can try both.

Stanton's City Bites

First Ward

The Miss Piggie at Stanton's City Bites

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This old-school burger joint has been busting Houstonian’s belt buckles since 1961. Hit the place in stretchy pants if you want any chance of finishing its monster double cheese burger, but even more so if you’re tackling the Miss Piggie. The massive sandwich is made with a duo of fresh ground beef and bacon patty, with even more candied bacon, hash browns, and cheddar piled on top.

Kenny & Ziggy's New York Delicatessen

Galleria

The Zigalicious at Kenny & Ziggy’s

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Imagine if life were hard and you had to choose between a juicy Pat Lafrieda short rib/skirt steak burger and Kenny & Ziggy’s housemade pastrami melt. Well it’s not and you don’t. So at least you have that going for you.

The Petrol Station

Garden Oaks/Oak Forest

The Rancor at Petrol Station

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Star Wars fans and those who don’t get the reference are equally happy when this half-pound, egg-topped, smoked bacon- and cheddar-loaded beef bomb is presented before them. Buckle up and order some craft brews to wash it all down.

Gulfton

Buffalo chili cheeseburger at Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack

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Item/Venue Description

Revival Market

Heights

Revival burger at Revival Market 

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You asked for it; they made it. The Heights favorite took their meat chops to the next level when they debuted this namesake burger earlier this fall. Now you can get a duo of aggressively seared and seasoned 3oz Augustus Ranch patties covered in cheddar and served with house pickle toppers and a crazy good crispy potato side whenever you damn please (or more accurately, during lunch).

Jonathan's The Rub

Memorial

The Texas at Jonathan’s The Rub

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Somehow, even mac and cheese topped burgers feel fancy at this homegrown American restaurant. Piled onto Sheila Partin sweet sourdough buns, the Hulk-worthy 10oz chargrilled burgers get rubbed with Jonathan’s secret blend and topped with things like ‘shrooms, caramelized onions, bacon, and TEXAS GRAVY. It’d be criminal not to try them.

Christian's Tailgate Bar and Grill

Midtown

A one-pounder at Christian’s Tailgate

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Christian’s flavor-packed burgers are local legends, so it doesn’t matter if you go bacon-bacon, chili cheese, or country-fried with your toppings, so long as you do go for the full pound patty. 

Brooke Viggiano/Thrillist

Montrose

The Grim burger at Lankford Grocery

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Warning: do NOT come to this retro eatery if you are trying to watch your figure. 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 balls to the walls with the fatty bacon topped; sliced jalapeño, egg, and gooey macaroni & cheese-adorned Grim Burger.

Brooklyn Athletic Club

Museum District

The Clubhouse burger at Brooklyn Athletic Club

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We have sad news: the famed Porkobucco has been removed from BAC’s menu. We don’t know what they were thinking, but we do know the only silver lining in this cloud of crap is that now you don’t have to decide between that and their very worthy Clubhouse burger. With a freshly ground 44 Farms patty flawlessly seared to a beefy crunch and green tomato/jalapeño jam accompaniment, we’ll let this one slide. 

Rice Village

Grilled half pound burger at Benjy’s

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The Rice Village location of this beloved eatery starting offering brunch seven days a week earlier this year, so if you’re having trouble choosing between breakfast and their fantastic cheddar, house-pickle, and aioli smothered burger... just add an egg.

Harwood Grill

River Oaks

Chef’s Burger at Harwood Grill

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When a place is known for beef, you know they’re gonna make a mean burger. This half-pound steak burger is made with fresh ground Akaushi, aged cheddar, honey baked Texas pancetta, and grilled onions, all on a daily-baked challah bun. 

Just Burgers

Spring

The Burger at Just Burgers

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The buttery housemade pretzel buns are worth the trip to Spring alone. But the staff would probably look at your weird if you didn’t order a greasy, perfectly grilled burger to go inside, too. So do that and add avocado, pepper jack, and ancho mayo while you’re at it.

Big Chief’s Old Fashioned Burger 

Southwest Houston

The Big Baby at Big Chief’s Old Fashioned Burger

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Formerly Chief’s Cajun Snack Shack in the Third Ward, Big Chief still doesn’t go light on the Cajun spices when seasoning his hand-formed burgers, meaning every bite bursts with lip-tingling beefy flavor. He also doesn’t go light on the patty itself, which is about three times the size of the bun that houses it.

Timbergrove/Lazybrook

44 Farms burger at Karbach Brewing Co

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This brewhouse’s house-ground burger blend is badass. The charred, plump 44 Farms patty -- sandwiched inside a grilled eggy bun with a healthy amount of sharp white cheddar, pickles, and L+T -- is best taken down with a crisp Karbach brew. Just as it should be.

Upper Kirby

Royale with Cheese at The Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen

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This gastropub may channel London, but their man-sized burgers are U-S-A all-the-way. The Royale with Cheese -- in which house-ground beef gets loaded with Bhajia-style onion rings, a yolky fried egg, and a load of Gruyere cheese, all on a buttery brioche bun -- is fit for an American king.

Grafitti's at Union St.

Washington

The Imperial at Grafitti's at Union St.

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This barely year-old resto’ makes a burger that is worthy of a spot in Texas. Partially because the 100% Angus medium-well patties are on point; but also because the burgers are jaw-breakingly gigantic. Open wide to take in the stacked Imperial -- which has roasted poblanos, a fried egg, crispy onion strings, mac & cheese, and bacon chunks packed onto its half-pound short rib and brisket patty.

 JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers

West University

A build-your-own-burger at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers

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With an emphasis on using humanely-raised, all-natural beef and chicken, and locally sourced ingredients, this burger stop pays a lot of attention to its product. Which can only mean you don’t have to pay any attention AT ALL when building your very own JerryBuilt burger. Whatever you do, add chili cheese fries.

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Brooke Viggiano is a Houston writer who thinks the burger is up there with the wheel, the printing press, and electricity. Follow her at @BrookeViggiano.

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

Kenny & Ziggy's is a shining oasis of Jewish deli goodness right in Uptown Houston. Whether you get a sandwich, burger or knish, expect it to come in the kind of colossal portion only a Brooklyn grandmother would force on you. But that probably won't stop you from ordering sides of matzo ball soup and pastrami cheese fries, two too-good-to-ignore menu staples.

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7. 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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8. Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack 5230 Westpark Dr, Houston, TX 77056

Bubba’s is the "Home of the Buffalo Burger," which in turn means any of its excellent burgers can be made with buffalo meat, which in another turn means the patty has 70% less fat and 30% more protein, while remaining quite tasty... especially because you can feel better about piling things like chili, cheese, and bacon on top.

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9. Revival Market 550 Heights Blvd, Houston, TX 77007

This craft butcher and cafe in The Heights offers breakfast, lunch and full-service dinner and even has an in-house charcuterie program. Most of what Revival sells is made in-house, from all of the butchered meats to bottled jams, pickled vegetables and condiments. What is not made from scratch is sourced from other local and artisanal vendors.

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10. 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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11. 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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12. 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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13. Brooklyn Athletic Club 601 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77006

It doesn't get better than outdoor games, Bloody Marys with bacon, and American comfort classics, which is why Brooklyn Athletic Club remains a neighborhood favorite.

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14. Benjy's 2424 Dunstan Rd, Houston, TX 77005 (Rice Village)

This trendy Rice Village eatery offers top-notch American fare, an outdoor patio, and one of Houston's best happy hours. We recommend chowing down on some of their delicious burgers, which hold a special place in the hearts of Houston locals.

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15. Harwood Grill 2300 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098 (River Oaks)

With a mission of bringing good food and good service, the resto’s menu is both approachable and unapologetically meat-heavy. High-quality Akaushi beef comes in many forms, for instance, in a jumbo meatball appetizer; pulled over pappardelle pasta; or as a massive, Béarnaise-coated porterhouse cut. And that's just three of them.

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16. Just Burgers 16724 Stuebner Airline Rd, Spring, TX 77379

With fresh beef ground on the daily and the best housemade pretzel buns in the South, you can’t go wrong with any burger at this homegrown joint. Get the Southwest burger if you’re feeling avocado, the Chubbs if you’re feeling egg, or the Slap Yo’ Momma if you’re feeling EVERYTHING.

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17. Big Chief’s Old Fashion Hamburger 4605 W Orem Dr, Houston, TX 77045

A must-try at this Big Ward burger spot is "The Big Baby." These bigass Cajun-style burgers – formerly served out of Chief’s Cajun Snack Shack in the Third Ward – remain just as big and babylike as ever. Assertively seasoned and loosely packed with a radius that’s about two fingers larger than the bun itself, the burger's definitely worth the time it will take the kitchen to grill it up (but call ahead if you don’t want to wait in the heat).

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18. Karbach Brewing Co. 2032 Karbach St, Houston, TX 77092

Though they’ve only been around since 2011, Karbach has already made a name for itself as one of Texas’ fastest-growing breweries. That’s thanks to a solid line up of monster brews, including the crisp and refreshing Sympathy for the Lager and rich and hoppy Rodeo Clown double IPA. Find them all over town or visit the sparkling facility for tours and tastings, movie nights, and good vibes.

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19. The Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen 2712 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77098

English and Indian cuisine --shepherd's pie, fish and chips, and a variety of curries -- is served at this comfortable, London-style gastropub. The Queen Vic also boasts artisanal cocktails and both local and imported beers.

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20. Graffiti's at Union St 2003 Union St, Houston, TX 77007

With nine outrageous "burger steaks" freshly ground with chuck, brisket, and short rib, burger-holics should most definitely add this fast-casual haunt to their burger bucket list. The substantial patties come loaded with everything from baked mac & cheese to house pickles and bacon chunks. But you may want to make a few trips so you can try the other offerings, including a Texas-sized CFS and peanut butter shake.

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21. JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers 3501 W. Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77025 (The Woodlands)

This sleek, industrial-style spot serves up burgers and dogs that are Texas-sized and made with all-natural, humanely raised beef. A must-try is the build-your-own-dog, which adventurous eaters can top with add-ons like chili, fried egg, and jalapeño cream cheese. Or, go with the house cheeseburger, grilled over an open flame and topped with American cheese, griddled onions, and Ernie’s sauce (mayo, ketchup, and relish). Another fresh pick? The bacon avocado burger. No matter what, pair your choice with a thick, hand-spun milkshake.

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