We Narrowed Down the Best Burgers in Memphis
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.
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.
World Famous Huey Burger
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.
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.
Erling's Bar Burger
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Homestyle Seasoned Burger
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.
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’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
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.
Chef José’s Sirloin Burger
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Sign up here for our daily Memphis email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in the Blues City.