Food & Drink

We Narrowed Down the Best Burgers in Memphis

Stacey Greenberg Published On 02/23/2015 Published On 02/23/2015
Belly Acres
Belly Acres | Holly Whitfield/Thrillist

With a combination of dependable, solidly delicious burger joints, greasy dive-bar burgers, and a crop of shiny new gourmet burger restaurants, Memphis has a pretty wide range of meat patties. Choosing the best burger in town is almost as difficult as choosing the best barbecue. Here's the best mix of 22 burger joints to start you on your seared, cheesy, and greasy journey.

Southern Gentleman

Belly Acres

Address and Info

Midtown/Overton Square

The latest addition to the Memphis burger scene, Belly Acres offers locally sourced beef with a slew of different toppings and buns. The Early Riser (served on waffles with a fried egg) is tempting, but the Southern Gentleman is impossible to resist. Order it for the seriously thick bacon slices, roasted slice of sweet potato, and pickled greens draped over the beef patty, all dressed with maple ketchup for a sweet touch.

Courtesy of Huey's

World Famous Huey Burger

Huey's

Address and Info

Multiple locations

There's a reason Memphians have voted Huey's the best burger restaurant time and time again, and it's not just that you can write all over the walls and shoot toothpicks at the ceiling through straws. The classic, purist-pleasing World Famous Huey Burger boasts a 1/3lb juicy beef patty on a toasted sesame seed bun, cooked medium, and dressed to your specifications with Swiss or cheddar cheese. A side of the ginormous crispy fried onion rings is a must.

Oshi Burger Bar | Courtesy of Ben Fant

Father's Office

Oshi Burger Bar

Address and Info

Downtown

At this upscale Asian-inspired burger diner, the Father's Office burger is all business and just one of several sophisticated, purist-angering options. It's a proper hand-formed Texas patty of black Angus beef, grilled to medium and topped with bacon, funky blue cheese, tangy onion jam, peppery arugula leaves, and a smear of earthy truffle aioli. All those accoutrements call for big, fluffy, juice-absorbing buns, which are made just down the street at Bluff City Bakery.

Courtesy of Erling Jensen, The Restaurant

Erling's Bar Burger

Erling Jensen

Address and Info

East Memphis

Erling’s Bar Burger is the epitome of a chef burger. It’s made with blackened buffalo, topped with crispy Benton bacon, sautéed onions, and Stilton aioli, and is served on a fresh, house-made bun. Best of all, it's half-price on Wednesdays.

Poutine burger

Kooky Canuck

Address and Info

Downtown/Cordova

Everyone focuses on Canadian-owned Kooky Canuck's Kookamonga Burger -- a 4lb monstrosity that you can get for free if you can eat it all in an hour. But those seeking an experience less taxing on the gastrointestinal tract have to go for the Poutine burger. It's an 80/20 ground chuck patty topped with hand-cut fries -- yes, the fries are on the burger -- cheese curds, and gravy in a pile of delicious, Canuck-inspired excess.

Sean Cooley/ Thrillist

Soul Burger

Earnestine & Hazel's

Address and Info

Downtown/South Main

There's no earthly explanation for the Soul Burger's greatness, so it must be due to the spirits of the haunted grounds of Earnestine & Hazel's, a former brothel now known for its jukebox- and beer-loving crowd and for mind-blowing late-night burgers. The Soul Burger is deceptively simple, made from thin, seasoned beef patties cooked on a well-worn griddle, doused with the secret, tangy "Soul Sauce," swathed in American cheese, and topped with pickles and onions on a plain bun. Nothing will ever taste as good as a Soul burger washed down with the Champagne of Beers at 2am.

MoJo Burger

Memphis MoJo Café

Address and Info

Bartlett

The secret to the burgers at Memphis MoJo Café is that they use three meats ground together -- angus, sirloin, and brisket. The house burger includes mustard, pickle, and onions. Cheese options include sharp cheddar and smoked gouda. If you really love the patties, you can get up to four of them on your burger.

Kwik Check | Holly Whitfield/Thrillist

Bibimbap Burger

Kwik Chek

Address and Info

Midtown

No burger list is complete without a version of the most trendy fusion burger of them all: the bibimbap. Memphis' Kwik Chek takes its signature bibimbap's pickled carrots, sprouts, cukes, red sauce, and fried egg and places them all on a blackened beef burger and a simple, toasted bun. The result is a savory, flavorful, nicely textured delicacy that's enough to satisfy a couple of cravings in one swift bite.

The Big Deuce

The Slider Inn

Address and Info

Midtown

Does a slider have a place on a best burger list? When it's as ridiculous as the Big Deuce, yes. On the Big Deuce, you're getting two juicy, grilled beef patties with bacon, slices of melty Swiss and American cheese, tomato, pickles, and onion, plus mayo and mustard -- no substitutions or changes allowed.

Young Avenue Deli | Holly Whitfield/Thrillist

Homestyle Seasoned Burger

Young Avenue Deli

Address and Info

Midtown/Cooper Young

The Young Avenue Deli's Homestyle Seasoned Burger is a burger's burger. It's an enormous, freshly ground, half-pound beef bomb grilled to a perfect medium. The meat is moist, savory, and tender, served open-faced on a Kaiser roll with cheddar or Swiss cheese and lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickle, and condiments on the side. Add a huge pile of the Deli's award-winning hand-cut fries (or better yet, sweet potato fries) for maximum satisfaction.

Stuffed Burger

Mot & Ed's

Address and Info

Crosstown

Mot and Ed’s is a family-owned Southern eatery that serves soul food favorites with Ms. Edna's (the Ed in Mot & Ed’s) twist. Some say she has a special seasoning, others say it's just all the love she puts into the products… both are probably right. The stuffed burgers -- either turkey or Angus beef -- have been the biggest draw. You can stuff your burger any way you like with a variety of cheeses, sautéed mushrooms, roasted peppers, grilled onion, fresh spinach, bacon, or jalapeños. Be prepared to wait a minute, as all burgers are made to order and slow-cooked to perfection.

Babalu

Baba Burger

Babalu

Address and Info

Overton Square & East Memphis

Babalu’s specialty is tacos & tapas, but the Baba Burger generates quite a bit of buzz. It’s made from Aspen Ridge Natural Angus beef and topped with roasted Roma tomatoes, caramelized onions, white cheddar cheese, Haas avocado, smoked bacon, chipotle aioli, and served on a sweet sourdough bun. The only weird thing about ordering a burger at a tapas place is that everything is meant to be shared and comes out of the kitchen as it’s made, so don’t count on actually eating your burger and sweet potato fries together.

John T Burger

Hog & Hominy

Address and Info

East Memphis

Named for John T. Edge (noted author, tastemaker, and founder of the Southern Foodways Alliance), Hog & Hominy’s signature burger is an Oklahoma onion burger cooked on a flat-topped grill. Made with 5oz of ground Claybrook Farms Angus beef, the burgers are seasoned with salt, pepper, and a special house-made garlic powder. Next comes the onion and American cheese. It’s then steamed for maximum gooeyness and topped with shredded lettuce that’s been mixed with pickle juice and a squirt of French’s mustard. It’s served on a Wonder Bread bun and best enjoyed with a frosty PBR.

Courtesy of River Oaks

Chef José’s Sirloin Burger

River Oaks

Address and Info

East Memphis

Some may argue that ordering a burger at a fine dining restaurant is insane, but the burger at River Oaks has been elevated to a whole new level. Chef José’s Sirloin Burger is made with 9oz of a special mixture of ground sirloin, caramelized onions, and crispy bacon. It’s served on a crusty roll with homemade aioli and a choice of Gruyere, blue cheese, or aged cheddar.

The "World Famous" Greek Burger

Alex's Tavern

Address and Info

Vollintine Evergreen

It's hard to put your finger on exactly what makes the Greek Burger at Alex's Tavern the perfect dive-bar burger. Is it the secret mix of Greek seasonings? The cast-iron skillet it's cooked in, which has seen the sear of 1,000 late-night burgers? The patty's slightly crisp outside and hot, juicy inside? Whatever it is, this unassuming tavern makes up for the humble yet charming atmosphere with one of the best burgers (and ribs, and wings) in town.

Courtesy of Sweet Grass

Pimento Cheeseburger

Sweet Grass and Next Door

Address and Info

Midtown/Cooper Young

Whether you're at upscale Lowcountry restaurant Sweet Grass, or its casual-bar cousin Next Door, you can order the massive Pimento Cheeseburger for a hunk of Southern flavor. The joint starts with local beef from Claybrook Farm formed into a beastly 8oz patty, then melts a heap of sweet, tangy pimento cheese on top. With the addition of crisp lettuce, peppers, onions, and the best house-made sweet pickles you've ever had, this burger is over-the-top good.

Top's Burger | Stacey Greenberg/Thrillist

Hamburger

TOPS Bar-B-Q

Address and Info

Midtown (& other locations)

TOPS Bar-B-Q is almost as well known for its burgers as it is for its barbecue. The fact that you can add barbecue to your burger doesn’t hurt, either. These burgers aren’t anything fancy, just a basic quarter-pound burger like you might find in a dive bar, but readily available in the daytime, all over town.

Patti La Mellte

RAWK'n Grub (address and info)
All over Memphis (food truck)
If you like the burgers at Memphis Mojo Café, then you’ll be pleased to know that RAWK’n Grub uses the same combination of ground brisket, sirloin, and chuck. The must-try burger on the truck is the Patti La Mellte. It's an 8oz patty with homemade smoked Gouda, pimento, and American cheese, and caramelized onions, served on grilled wheat-berry bread. It'll undoubtedly make your taste buds sing.

Courtesy of Trolley Stop Market

Farm Burger

Trolley Stop Market

Address and Info

Medical District

All of the burgers at the Trolley Stop are farm-fresh. Made with Claybrook Farms Angus beef, they are also GMO-free. The burgers are unsurprisingly named Farm Burgers. Toppings include crispy bacon, melted cheddar cheese, and ripe avocado, and everything is served on a toasted bun. They also offer a mighty fine pimento cheese-topped burger, as well as a mushroom melt.

Waffle Burger

Bedrock Eats & Sweets

Address and Info

Downtown

Four our gluten-free friends who get tired of wrapping their burgers in lettuce, we present the Waffle Burger (made with almond flour) at Bedrock Eats & Sweets. The waffle is the right amount of sweet and savory and doesn’t fall apart. It’s also quite massive. The burger is topped with bacon, cheese, caramelized onions, and a spicy aioli. Definitely worth a try whether you hate the gluten or not.

Courtesy of Broadway Pizza

Broadway Burger

Broadway Pizza

Address and Info

Broad Avenue Arts District & East Memphis

Broadway Pizza is an institution. They make their burgers like they make their pizza -- big and hearty. With nearly a pound of meat, the Broadway Burger is big enough for two meals. Hand-patted just before it hits the grill, it’s then perfectly seasoned and served with crispy crinkle fries.  It’s an amazing burger at a great price.

Dyer's Double Double

Dyer's Burgers 

Address and Info

Downtown/Collierville

You're getting "the best burger in the world" according to New York City chef Justin Warner, who named Memphis' Dyer's Double Double to our list of the best burgers in the country. The secret ingredient is the vitamin "G," or the 100-year-old garlic-infused grease that the restaurant uses to fry up its beef patties. The Double Double has two squashed and fried patties and two slices of gooey American cheese on a simple bun, and it's worth the grease stains.

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Stacey Greenberg has eaten a lot of burgers. A lot. She's the author of the award-winning blog, Dining with Monkeys

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1. Belly Acres 2102 Trimble Pl, Memphis, TN 38104 (Overton Square)

The latest addition to the Memphis burger scene, Belly Acres offers 100% grass-fed, locally sourced beef with a slew of different toppings and buns, like the Early Riser (served on waffles with a fried egg) and the Southern Gentleman with bacon, sweet potato, and greens. And as if the one-seater airplane that appears to fly through the restaurant's facade weren't a clear enough indicator, the decor is as much a part of the dining experience as the food. Painted murals color the space throughout, kids' menu items are served on take-home frisbees, and if you'd like a beer, feel free to take a seat at one of the reclaimed tractor seats.

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2. Huey's Restaurant 77 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103

At this pub-like restaurant, customers are given leeway to write on the walls and shoot toothpicks on the ceiling. And while the digs are divey, the burgers here are high-class and have earned the restaurant the title of the best burger restaurant time and time again. It's nothing more than a 1/3lb juicy beef patty and cheese slice on a sesame seed bun, but that laser-focus on a few simple ingredients is likely what makes this restaurant a purist's delight.

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3. Oshi Burger Bar 94 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103 (Downtown)

This is an upscale Asian-inspired burger diner and its Fathers Office burger is just one of several sophisticated, burger purist-angering options: a proper hand-formed Texas patty of black Angus beef, grilled to medium and topped with bacon, funky blue cheese, tangy onion jam, peppery arugula leaves, and a smear of earthy truffle aioli.

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4. Erling Jensen's The Restaurant 1044 S Yates Rd, Memphis, TN 38119

Chef Erling Jensen knows what fine dining looks like, and at this East Memphis institution, he takes every measure to to ensure his version matches every upscale expectation you might have. The servers are all uniformed, the menus and white tablecloths are pressed, and the clientele comes dressed to impress. It's the kind of place you take all your out-of-town friends and family to eat fancy non-poultry meat, and if you have room left over, a Maker’s Mark-infused chocolate souffle that is the chef's signature dessert.

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5. Kooky Canuck 97 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103 (Downtown)

As the name suggests, the log cabin-inspired restaurant that is Kooky Canuck is Canadian-owned -- and that's why its second best-loved burger is the Poutine Burger, and its first is the 4lb monstrosity known as the Kookamonga Burger (free if you eat it in less than an hour). The menu boasts other calories-packed diner grub fit to satisfy a hiker's appetite, including a sirloin marinated in maple syrup, and montreal-style hot dogs.

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6. Earnestine & Hazel's 531 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103 (Downtown)

Earnestine & Hazel's is a former brothel now known for its jukebox, beer-loving crowd and mind-blowing late-night burgers, like the deceptively simple Soul Burger made from thin, seasoned beef patties cooked on a well-worn griddle, doused with the secret, tangy "Soul Sauce," swathed in American cheese, and topped with pickles and onions on a plain bun.

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7. Memphis Mojo Cafe 7124 Stage Rd Ste 101, Bartlett, TN 38133

Originally conceptualized as food truck fare, the burgers at Memphis Mojo Cafe are universally-pleasing takes on "redneck gourmet" that are reasonably priced to boot. Popular picks include sweet potato grits, and juicy burgers made with three kinds of meat ground together (angus, sirloin, and brisket). In its brick-and-mortar incarnation, the shop manages to keep its charm through red walls, friendly staff, and a clean, well-maintained space.

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8. Kwik Check 2013 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Overton Square)

Come for a sizzling-hot bowl of rice, veggies, bean sprouts, spicy sauce, and the meat of your choice all topped with a sunny egg that's almost too pretty to eat. Grab some chopsticks and mix it all together while the sizzle evenly distributes the yoke. It's hearty, satisfying, and seemingly pretty healthy. To pinch a few more pennies, order the Bi Bim Bap burger instead and get all of the same flavors, no chopsticks necessary.

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9. Slider Inn 2117 Peabody Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Midtown)

Memphians love patios almost as much as the beer they drink on them, and lucky for the Slider Inn in Midtown, it has both amenities in abundance. In addition to its daily specials, this neighborhood bar specializing in tiny burgers has a three-buck pint night on Tuesdays. With a kitchen open until 2am and a bar until 3am, it's the perfect end to a perfect evening. Bonus: it is apparently home to the "only Lobster Roll in the midsouth."

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10. Young Avenue Deli 2119 Young Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Midtown)

Young Avenue Deli is one of the most popular live music venues in Memphis, not only for its expansive stage and large seating area, but also for its equally extensive food and drink selection. The menu of greasy goodness is divided into “Munchies,” “Specialties,” “’Dillas+Pizza,” and “Dessert,” and its highlights include award-winning French fries, beer battered artichoke hearts, and the Super Veggie sandwich, which comes bursting with roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, romaine lettuce, sprouts, feta cheese, and black olives. And with over 100 beer options (30 of which are on tap), you won’t tire of Young Avenue anytime soon.

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11. Mot & Ed's (Southern Eatery) 1354 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

At this family-owned restaurant, Ms. Edna serves up southern favorites with a twist. The burgers are a draw here, and can come stuffed with a variety of cheeses, sautéed mushrooms, roasted peppers, grilled onion, fresh spinach, bacon, or jalapeños and paired with sides like sweet 'n spicy corn on the cob. In keeping with the comfort food ethos, the restaurant promotes community fellowship with an event stage and accompanying bar where diners can socialize.

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12. Babalu Tacos & Tapas 2115 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 (Overton Square)

Jackson-based Babalu might have tacos in its name, but that doesn't mean it's an exclusively Mexican restaurant. Tapas and empanadas are on offer here, but so are fried gulf shrimp, cubanos, and a much-lauded burger. It's made with Aspen Ridge Natural Angus beef and topped with roasted Roma tomatoes, caramelized onions, white cheddar cheese, Haas avocado, smoked bacon, chipotle aioli, and served on a sweet sourdough bun. As for the tapas and tacos menu, we recommend sharing orders and starting with guacamole, which will be made fresh at your table, with sundried tomatoes.

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13. Hog & Hominy 707 W Brookhaven Cir, Memphis, TN 38117 (East Memphis)

Hometown boys Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman's restaurant has a homey feel thanks to a bright & airy atmosphere, a wood-burning pizza oven in plain sight, and waiters dressed in plaid. They not only serve incredible pizzas, like the Fontina, boudin, and scrambled egg-topped Prewitt pie, and cocktails, but also have outdoor seating and bocce ball. Looking for late night dining and brunch? Stop searching, they have that here too.

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14. River Oaks Restaurant 5871 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38119

River Oaks is one of the finer restaurants in Memphis. The restaurant takes a French-American slant with a menu featuring entrées like herb-crusted lamb rack, steak frites, and daily meat, fish, and poultry specials. Chef José’s Sirloin Burger -- topped with bacon bits -- is particularly notable, as are the mini sliders. The dining room is large and bustling with a stocked bar, large windows, and a few outdoor tables.

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15. Alex's Tavern 1445 Jackson Ave, Memphis, TN 38107 (Vollintine Evergreen)

This unassuming tavern makes up for the humble (but charming) atmosphere with one of the best burgers (and ribs and wings) in town. Is it the secret mix of Greek seasonings? The cast iron skillet it's cooked in that has seen the sear of a thousand late-night burgers? The patty's slightly crisp outside and hot, juicy inside? Whatever it is, it's perfect.

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16. Sweet Grass and Next Door 937 S Cooper St, Memphis, TN 38104 (Midtown)

Sweet Grass and Next Door are a perfect pair: an upscale low-country restaurant and its casual bar cousin. But at either, you can get a delicious taste of Southern flavor -- say, with the Pimento Cheeseburger, featuring local beef from Claybrook Farms, tangy pimento cheese, crisp lettuce, peppers, onions, and the best house-made sweet pickles you've ever had.

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17. Top's Bar-B-Q 6130 Macon Rd, Memphis, TN 38134

This Bluff City chain has been dishing out traditional, slow-cooked, Memphis-style barbecue (and sandwich and "picnic" packs) since 1952. Today, there are locations all over the city, but all serve their extensive list of burgers, rib sandwiches, and lauded pork and brisket plates in a fast-casual diner atmosphere.

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18. Trolley Stop Market 704 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 (Downtown)

Trolley Stop’s daily pies are developed by pizza masters and local farmers Jill & Keith Forrester. Trolley's farm-to-table toppings include tons of vegan and vegetarian options. Go for the Margherita pie with super-fresh tomatoes, big tangy chunks of mozzarella, and fresh basil. Also in store are a wide variety of locally made artisan goods.

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19. Bedrock Eats & Sweets 327 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103 (Downtown)

This Downtown health food restaurant and marketplace offers a solid Paleo brunch menu featuring healthy takes on traditional Southern fare: think chipotle grits, churro waffles, and biscuits and gravy. Bedrock Eats & Sweets also sells pre-made sandwiches and salads for those on the go (you can also get 'em via their delivery service), and a nice selection of smoothies, sweets, and bulletproof coffee.

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20. Broadway Pizza 2581 Broad Ave, Memphis, TN 38112 (Binghampton)

Broadway Pizza served pizza and soul food from an unassuming joint on Broad Ave for decades before opening a second location in East Memphis in 2014. While it's certainly no deep dish, Broadway offers a thick crust and heavy portions of sauces and toppings, all baked UNDER the cheese. The locals' fan favorite is the Cheeseburger pie, which has everything you'd get on a cheeseburger minus the bun: the cheese, beef, pickles, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and yes, ketchup and mustard.

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21. Dyer's Burgers 205 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103 (Downtown)

This historical Beale St. joint is famous for its burgers -- so famous, that its Double Doubles have been called the best in the country, if not world. One can only speculate, but one source of their superior quality may be the oil they're fried with, the 100-year-old garlic-infused grease known as "vitamin G." And while the frying oils might be a century old, the red-and-mint-themed venue is spick and span, and sports glossy tiles and neon signage that help the venue maintain its retro vibe.

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