Food & Drink

The 14 Best Burgers in Nashville, Right Now

Published On 01/13/2016 Published On 01/13/2016
Brita Britnell/Thrillist

Undisputedly one of the best parts of the American culinary scene is the fact that there’s a burger on nearly every single menu in the country (including the restaurants that absolutely should not be serving burgers). Nashville is certainly no exception to this rule. But, knowing which burgers are best can be almost as difficult as knowing which hot chicken to choose. Here are 14 of the best burgers in the city to get you started.

Grass Fed burger

Little Octopus

Address and Info

East Nashville

Little Octopus took Nashville by storm last year and quickly made a name for itself. Praised for their use of ingredients from around the world, Little Octopus prides itself in serving dishes to please everyone from vegans to meat lovers. The latter are, in fact, made very happy with the Grass Fed burger that’s covered in manchego cheese and a delicious house-made aioli. 

The Husk cheeseburger

Husk

Address and Info

SoBro

If you want to feel a bit high class while enjoying one of the best burgers in Nashville, then Husk is your spot. This classic burger is stacked high with double patties of Tennessee-raised beef, onions, and lots of American cheese. Arguably one of Sean Brock’s simplest and best culinary masterpieces, this burger is a tribute to the drive-in diners of his childhood. It’s only served on their lunch and brunch menus, so don’t go expecting a burger for dinner.

Brita Britnell/Thrillist

Seamus burger

Gabby’s Burgers & Fries

Address and Info

Wedgewood

Quite often a contender for the best burger in town, Gabby’s Seamus burger is a classic All-American. It’s the meaty little brother of the double-patty Gabby burger, which is a great option if you’re extra hungry. But stick with Seamus since you’ll need to save room for a side of fries; they’re some of the best in the whole city and are just as delicious as the burger.

Brita Britnell/Thrillist

Family Wash burger

The Family Wash

Address and Info

East Nashville

New and improved, the Family Wash (which moved locations last year) stole our hearts with their Family Wash burger, which is a cheesy double-patty concoction of perfection. If you haven’t checked out their new and improved location in East Nashville, this burger alone is a good enough reason to make the trip.

The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden

The Farm burger

The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden

Address and Info

East Nashville

Don’t worry, we wouldn’t dare leave The Pharmacy off of our list. Since it first set up shop in East Nashville, the Pharmacy has been a favorite spot for burgers and shakes. You’re rarely able to get a table without a considerable wait time these days, but for their Farm Burger (and, let’s be honest, for any of their burgers) the wait is totally worth it. Don’t forget that on the weekends, the Bier garden is always open for you to grab a drink while you wait.

Marathon burger

Burger Up

Address and Info

12 South

For all of our crazy vegetarian friends out there, Nashville has no shortage of veggie burger options. Our favorite: the Marathon burger from Burger Up. Instead of beef, the patty is made with a black bean and quinoa mixture and served with a crème fraîche sauce. It’s surprisingly delicious and satisfying, even if it is completely meatless.

Brita Britnell/Thrillist

Grillshack burger with thick cut bacon

Riverside Grillshack

Address and Info

East Nashville

It’s easy to overlook this little shack on the side of Riverside Drive, but we are here to advise you against this. The Grillshack is adored by Nashvillians city-wide for their explosively flavorful burgers, crispy hand-cut fries, and even their bacon bleu grilled cheese. Keep in mind that the shack is essentially to-go orders only but there are a few covered picnic benches to sit at if the weather is nice, though.

Courtesy of Tavern

The Tavern burger

Tavern

Address and Info

Midtown

Widely popular for their weekend brunch menu, Tavern has one of our favorite burgers in Nashville right now. And luckily for us all, the Tavern Burger can be ordered for brunch, lunch, and dinner. (And if you went for all three, we wouldn’t judge you.) This beef ribeye and filet burger is stacked on top of a melt-away bun with all of the traditional toppings and your choice of cheese, bacon, griddled onion, and a fried egg.

The 96 burger

Burger Republic

Address and Info

The Gulch

The 96 burger from Burger Republic was the highest-scoring burger (with a score of 96) in the 2014 World Food Championship. So, we thought that it deserved a spot on this list of amazing burgers. The patty might look like your average burger patty, but the beef is actually blended with blue cheese and then topped with honey balsamic-glazed mushrooms, onion, and (of course) a good bit of bacon. Sounds like a winner to us.

Fido

Local burger 

Fido

Address and Info

Hillsboro Village

This seemingly average looking burger comes with a few flavor twists that make it one of our favorite burgers in Nashville. The patty is ground beef mixed with lamb making it extra flavorful and delicious. It’s all topped with white cheddar, caramelized fennel & fig aioli, and some extra crispy onions.

Martin's BBQ Joint

The Brisket burger

Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint

Address and Info

Belmont

In case you simply can’t decide between a burger and a BBQ sandwich, Martin’s brisket burger marries both American traditions, resulting in one meal that packs a ridiculous amount of flavor. The Brisket burger starts out like a traditional burger: beef patty topped with grilled onion and American cheese that’s then topped with slow-smoked beef brisket and a delicious BBQ sauce.

Rotier's Restaurant

French Bread burger

Rotier’s Restaurant

Address and Info

Midtown

Rotier’s is largely famous for their French Bread burger which is essentially a regular burger on French bread instead of a traditional bun. There’s just something about the quirky bread swap that had made this burger exciting for decades.

Capitol Grille

Double H Farms TN Stack

Capitol Grille

Address and Info

Downtown

The Capitol Grille is a true Nashville staple, as is their Double H Farms Tennessee Stack burger. The beef is fresh and locally sourced from their farm which makes the double patties of this cheesy burger extra mouthwatering.

M.L. Rose Craft Beer and Burgers

The Nash Vegas burger

M.L. Rose Craft Beer & Burgers

Address and Info

8th South & West Nashville

If you’re looking for a burger menu with lots of variety, M.L. Rose is perfect. Their long list of ranges from plain cheeseburgers to turkey burgers to our favorite: the Nash Vegas burger. Served on a sweet potato bun and topped with pimento cheese, crispy tobacco onions, and barbecue sauce, it’s a unique take on the American classic.

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Brita Britnell is a Nashville-based food photographer and writer who eats a little too much and plays roller derby to burn it off. Follow her at @BBritnell.

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1. Little Octopus 505 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

In addition to serving as the flexible kitchen for pop-ups by chefs visiting the Music City, Little Octopus, formerly located in East Nashville and currently residing in The Gulch, is all about the namesake cephalopod and its deep sea peers. Caribbean and Latin influences plus regional ingredients, and the resulting menu a melange of inventive dishes like a shrimp ceviche with aioli, Worcestershire, and rice crackers, octopus with fregola, smoked fingerlings, and herb salad, and the standout burger, served with griddled Manchego cheese, piquillo aioli, tomato, butter lettuce, and an egg.

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2. Husk 37 Rutledge St, Nashville, TN 37210 (Sobro)

The Nashville outpost of Chef Sean Brock's Charleston-born restaurant, Husk changes its menu twice daily depending on the freshest finds in produce and protein. Self-described as “a celebration of Southern ingredients,” local ingredients (including herbs from a backyard garden) are at the forefront, and diners are encouraged to pair modernized Southern classics like shrimp and grits or a hot fish sandwich with a cocktail from the lauded whiskey list, over 60 bourbons on offer. But one thing that doesn't change: the Husk Burger. It's (one of) Brock's culinary masterpieces: two Tennessee-raised beef patties are ground with bacon, griddled with onions are tucked onto the patty then smothered by American cheese, topped with pickles and mustard on a squishy sesame bun.

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3. Gabby's Burgers & Fries 493 Humphreys St, Nashville, TN 37203 (8th Ave)

I'm gonna let you in on a little Nashville secret: Gabby's Burgers & Fries is one of the city's best spots for... burgers and fries. Oh, you already knew that? Then you also know that chicken burgers, hot dogs, and chili are some of Gabby's other specialties, and that even know it looks like a diner, and has diner-adjacent prices, that the the burgers are grass-fed, the sweet potato fries hand-cut, and that there's a secret menu. Right? That's a secret you'll have to figure out for yourself. You're welcome.

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4. The Family Wash 626 Main St, Nashville, TN 37206 (East Nashville)

The Family Wash, formerly housed on East Nashville's Greenwood Ave., was relocated to and renovated in East End, where it remains a popular spot for live music, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and “Pints and Pies.” Comfort food is king, because what goes better with (nightly) live music than a Shepherd’s pie or a double beef patty cheeseburger and a pint or several of cold beer? Cocktails, beer, and wine are all served on tap, and Garage Coffee Company provides Family Wash patrons with energy throughout the day and into the night.

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5. The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden 731 McFerrin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206 (East Nashville)

The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden dubs itself “Nashville’s Wurst-Burger Joint,” which is a cute play on words but might lead the uninitiated to believe the burger here is not, in fact, one of the best in the city. Which it is, and it also happens to have a variety of traditional wursts on offer. It’s also Nashville’s original beer garden -- with an extensive selection of German brews -- as well as an old-school soda jerk. Get some wurst, get the burger, get a pilsner, and definitely get an egg cream to wash it down.

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6. Burger Up 2901 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212 (12south)

Don't be fooled by its name, Burger Up is a sleek, upscale burger joint with (almost) guilt-free menu items -- contrary to your standard burger shack -- and an unbeatable happy hour to boot. Burgers are made with locally-raised beef and sustainable ingredients for a gourmet, healthy alternative to your favorite greasy patty. Start with some fried mushrooms before you bite into the quinoa and black bean burger, or the turkey and avocado burger -- and by now you've figured out you can enjoy it on a gluten free bun.

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7. Riverside Grill Shack 1000 Riverside Dr, Nashville, TN 37206 (East Nashville)

The grub at this roadside shack packs a punch for a low price. Flavorful, juicy burgers and handcut, Belgian style fries are what's on the menu, all of which you can get for under $10. Stop by for their breakfast served Friday through Sunday if you feel like brunchin'.

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8. Tavern 1904 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203

This hip Midtown eatery is the place to be seen on weekend mornings, so you’d better have changed clothes since last night. Creative Bloody Marys, mimosas, and sangria flows like a river through the dining room as patrons feast on a menu divided into “Yolks” and “Griddled”. Their hearty Tavern Burger is also available for more substantial fare.

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9. Burger Republic 420 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203 (Downtown)

This Downtown spot (or its Lennox Village counterpart) is the perfect place to gobble a beef puck, with a number of options to choose from and sides/apps like nachos, tots, and crab dip, the only thing that could make this place better is a boozy milkshake. Which it HAS.

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10. Fido 1812 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212

This breezy café located smack dab in the middle of Hillsboro Village is a favorite among Vanderbilt students, and with good reason: the specialty coffee drinks and all-day breakfast plates. Although the lines look long the space is large, and the food arrives quickly (you'll order at the counter and a server will deliver your meal). The chef whips up one of the best, underrated beef and lamb burgers in town, and the daily specials are always on point.

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11. Rotier's Restaurant 2413 Elliston Pl, Nashville, TN 37203

Picture it: a tender, juicy ground beef burger patty covered in a blanket of perfectly melted cheese and topped with crunchy lettuce, ripe tomatoes, and tangy mustard... on French bread. Rotier's Restaurant is serving up nothing short of a damn good, classic cheeseburger on a "bun" that is nothing short of shocking, but it works. As a burger purist, I understand your initial shock, but people have been flocking to the Elliston Place diner since 1945 for said burger, which should be proof enough. It's a Southern-style diner with chicken gizzards, fried pickles, and one of the most iconic burgers in all of Vandy-land.

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12. Capitol Grille 231 6th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219 (Downtown)

The Capitol Grille, tucked inside the Hermitage Hotel, has been featured in publications across the country for its food, its old-school Nashville charm, and for the gleaning popularity of the men’s art deco-style bathroom. Don't let its hotel locale deter you: The Capitol Grill is not just for tourists. Locals flock to the restaurant for a truly sustainable and upscale Southern meal. The Hermitage Hotel owns a 250-acre cattle farm, as well as Double H Farms, where a majority of the ingredients are grown, bred, and sourced for The Capitol Grille's own farm-straight-to-table menu. It's a great stop for breakfast, before the theater, or for a guaranteed fresh, local Nashville burger.

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13. Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint 3108 Belmont Blvd, Nashville, TN 37212 (Music Row)

This Belmont meatery does an array of BBQ deliciousness (brisket, turkey legs, fried bologna sandwiches, etc.), but its claim to fame is the classic pulled pork BBQ sandwich drenched in the Sweet Dixie Sauce. Martin's is definitely in the top ranks for the best BBQ in Nashville.

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14. M.L. Rose Craft Beer & Burgers 4408 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN 37209

Between M.L. Rose's 34-tap craft beer program, eight of which rotate through local, seasonal, and small batch brews, and the simple, greasy American pub fare, the relaxed and decidedly cool atmosphere will make you want to hang around and have a few (especially when the fire pits get going on the patio). If you have any trouble picking what you want from the short menu, it's because you can't choose between loaded waffle fries and a fat, craft burger like the signature Nash Vegas stacked with a thick beef patty, savory pimento cheese, crispy tabasco onions, and tangy barbecue on a fluffy potato bun. The best part is that the full menu is served nightly until 1am.

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