Food & Drink

The 14 Best Burgers in San Antonio

Published On 08/18/2015 Published On 08/18/2015
Best burgers in San Antonio
Courtesy of Mark's Outing

It’s safe to say that hamburgers have come a long way since their origins on ships bringing German immigrants to America in the 1850s (at least we had the decency to cook them, Huns). We can all agree that the whole cooking-the-meat thing is vital, but after that, things become a matter of taste. Fried or grilled? Good ol’ American cheese, or something a bit more... well, nuanced? Topped only with a smear of mustard, or piled high with a barrage of toppings? Whatever style you prefer, you can find a superior example of it in the Alamo City. These 14 spots may differ in the details, but each puts out a damn tasty burger.

Original Fatty’s Burger

Mark’s Outing

Address and Info

Eastside

Feel free to choose a different side, as the beans with the Original Fatty’s Burger are free to enjoy while you wait for your food. A bit odd, perhaps, but it works. So do the thick, juicy burgers, served on a house-made, slightly sweet bun. Feeling especially bold? Give the Icecream Burger -- yep, topped with fried ice cream -- a try.

Courtesy of Tycoon Flats

Flats Burger

Tycoon Flats

Address and Info

Tobin Hill

Made with the restaurant’s signature sauce -- a heady concoction of garlic, onions, spices, and six varieties of peppers -- the Flats burger is spicy without being aggressive and pairs nicely with sweet potato fries. The patio is great for large groups; throw in some live music and few margaritas, and you’ve got the makings of a pretty great night.

Good Ol' Burger

Burger Boy

Address and Info

Tobin Hill

If your grandpa says things like “I used to get a cheeseburger for a dollar, and they were worlds better than the crap you’re buying today for three times as much,” take him to Burger Boy. Everything about it is old school, from the look of the place to the price and the burgers themselves. Like at all old-style burger joints, the patties are thin, which is why a double is in order. Seating is limited, but unlike its counterparts on this list, Burger Boy has a drive-thru.

Sam’s Burger Joint

Bean Burger

Sam’s Burger Joint

Address and Info

Midtown

The Fritos-, salsa-, and refrieds-topped Bean Burger with avocado slices and green chiles is not for those with digestive issues. But if you can stomach some heavy-duty flavors, the payoff is worth it. The burgers are great, but what really sets Sam’s apart is the atmosphere. It’s an under-the-radar music venue with an eclectic array of genres on the calendar and a cool, laid-back vibe.

Double Cheeseburger

Danny Boy’s Hamburgers

Address and Info

Los Angeles Heights

The menu is simple and there are bars on the windows, but the burgers are juicy perfection. Want fries? Too bad -- they’re not on the menu. Want ‘em to turn up the A/C? Not gonna happen because there isn’t one. You won’t miss these accouterments, though, thanks to the friendly service and simple, old-fashioned burgers made from scratch every time. Have the double cheeseburger with jalapeños, a can of Dr Pepper (or BYOB), and chips.

Fattboy Burgers and Dogs

Slimmboy

Fattboy Burgers & Dogs

Address and Info

Far Northwest and Dellview

The menu at these sibling-owned joints is small, but Fattboy makes up for this by being big elsewhere. We’re talking big portions -- unless you opt for the Slimmboy, Slimmfries, and Coke in a Slimmcup -- and big cheese. Oh, the cheese -- orange and melty all over everything. The beer list is pretty notable as well, and the hand-cut fries are the final component in a substantial and satisfying meal.

Bavarian Patty Melt

Bobby J’s

Address and Info

Northwest/Helotes

Sure, you could opt for the $32, 4.5lb Mighty Gonzilla Burger with cheese, but that might prove to be a bit heavy for lunch. Instead, honor San Antonio’s other early settlers -- you know, the Germans -- and try the Bavarian Patty Melt, a third-pounder with Swiss, sautéed onions, sauerkraut, and mustard. It will leave you wondering why sauerkraut isn’t a burger option everywhere.

Courtesy of Chris Madrid’s

Cheddar Cheezy

Chris Madrid’s

Address and Info

Beacon Hill

The simple Cheddar Cheezy is a great option, but only if you’ve already tried the Tostada Bean Burger (which is like a Frito pie on a bun, or maybe more like the glorious end result if you could successfully mate a burger and nachos). Chris Madrid’s is an SA institution for some very good reasons: consistent food, a welcoming atmosphere, and friendly service that makes even first-time diners feel like regulars.

The Cove

The ‘09er

The Cove

Address and Info

Tobin Hill

Time to get fancy. The Cove has a fiercely loyal following thanks to its locally sourced ingredients and how at home you feel every time you eat there. Lamb, bison, and brown-rice patties are offered, but the ‘09er is made with grass-fed beef topped with goat cheese, pesto aioli, roasted red peppers, spring greens, tomato, and onion. It’s a thoughtful take on an American classic and a great example of what The Cove is all about.

1/2 Pound Cheeseburger with Jalepenos

The Lord’s Kitchen

Address and Info

Eastside

Sure, the neighborhood isn’t pristine, but you’re buying a burger, not a house. There’s a huge outdoor dining area with mismatched furniture, so finding a table is not a concern, even when the restaurant is teeming with its usual military-heavy crowd. Neither is going away hungry, as these half-pound burgers are absolutely ginormous. It doesn’t skimp on toppings, either, so when you ask for jalapeños, be ready to commit.

Courtesy of Joes Hamburger Place

Cheeseburger

Joe’s Hamburger Place

Address and Info

Beacon Hill

It doesn’t get much more divey than Joe’s, but that’s OK. What they’re not spending on interior design and advertising... well, they’re not spending on kitchen equipment, either, because that’s ancient. There’s nothing fancy about Joe’s -- no secret spices, no gourmet side dishes. What you’re getting is a burger akin to those made 40 years ago -- simple, straightforward, made from scratch, and at a rock-bottom price you won’t believe.

Double Meat And Cheese Burger

Candy’s Old Fashion

Address and Info

Downtown

Ambiance? Not so much. But you won’t care when you taste these burgers. Old-fashioned is an apt description, as are “filling” and “budget-friendly.” Service is consistently fast and attentive. In short, Candy’s gives you everything you could want in an old fashioned burger -- it’s greasy, cheap, addictive, and served with a smile.

Michelle Burgess/Thrillist

Crazy Carl Burger

Crazy Carl’s Mobile Eats

Address and Info

UTSA

Roadrunners hoping to avoid the freshman 15 need to steer clear of Carl’s, a popular fixture at The Block SA food truck park adjacent to the UTSA campus. Unruffled by fat and calories? Consider the toasted Krispy Kreme bun and go for broke with your Crazy Carl Burger with cheese, grilled onions, and seared jalapeños; alongside Cajun fries. It’s so worth the splurge.

Original Big Juicy

Longhorn Café

Address and Info

Various locations

When people in, say, Paris imagine how Americans eat, the picture they get in their heads is of Longhorn Café and the Original Big Juicy. It’s an order-at-the-counter spot for big, messy food that hits a few specific boxes. Big portion? Check! Deep-fried or otherwise gloriously greasy? Check! Doused in gravy, condiments, or sauce of some kind? Check! It’s a carnivore’s nirvana.

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Michelle Burgess is a San Antonio writer. Follow her @MishiBurg.

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1. Mark's Outing 1624 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205

Embrace the weird at this colorful burger joint: while you enjoy a complimentary side of beans (an odd yet tasty thing Mark's Outing does), consider trying their infamous Ice Cream Burger, which, no joke, is topped with fried ice cream. If you're not feeling that adventurous, they're also well-known for their Original Fatty's Burger -- thick, juicy, and served on their signature, slightly sweet house-made bun.

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2. Tycoon Flats 2926 N Saint Marys St, San Antonio, TX 78212 (San Antonio)

Get your hands on some of the best burgers in San Antonio at family friendly spot, including the Flats Burger, which comes with their must-try signature sauce (garlic, onions, spices, and six varieties of peppers). If that doesn't turn up the heat for you, go for their classic Tex-Mex, particularly the tasty fish tacos. Whatever dish you decide on, be sure to kick back with a craft brew and some live music in their spacious beer garden.

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3. Burger Boy 2323 N Saint Marys St, San Antonio, TX 78212 (Tobin Hill)

Burger Boy is keeping fast food old-school with its thin griddled patties, cheap prices, and retro decor. The simple menu includes greasy-in-a-good-way burgers, crinkle-cut fries, corndogs, and milkshakes. There are seats inside and out, and there's a drive-thru.

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4. Sam's Burger Joint 330 E Grayson St, San Antonio, TX 78215 (Tobin Hill)

Sam's is a local hero when it comes to burgers and live music. From legends to up-and-comers, the performers they bring in at this under-the-radar venue add to the chill atmosphere. The burgers? Not so chill. If you can handle it, consider trying the Bean Burger with Fritos, salsa, refrieds, avocado slices, and green chiles. Be sure to wash it down with a beer or cocktail, and prepare to digest for hours.

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5. Danny Boy's Hamburgers 1537 W Summit Ave, San Antonio, TX 78201 (Los Angeles Heights)

Want to know how good the burgers are at Danny Boy's Hamburgers? Go on a hot day and you'll be so enthralled by their juicy, from-scratch burgers that you won't even notice the bars on the windows, the lack of A/C, and the absence of fries on the menu. Yes, that good. Your burger (make it a double with cheese) will come with a side of friendly service and old-fashioned style.

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6. Fattboy Burgers & Dogs 2345 Vance Jackson Rd, San Antonio, TX 78213 (Dellview)

"Everything is bigger in Texas" may be one of the oldest cliches in the book, but Fattboy proves the saying to be true: the burgers at this siblings-owned spot are big in size and flavor and smothered in gooey cheese. Even their chicken burger is aptly named the Fattchick. The hot dogs are worth your time, too, which the menu claims are the best you'll ever have. Find out for yourself with a side of hand-cut fries or fried pickles.

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7. Bobby J's 13247 Bandera Rd, Helotes, TX 78023

The creative burgers at this counter-service spot know no bounds when it comes to flavor and size: they have a $32, 4.5lb option if your stomach and wallet are up for the challenge. Some of their specialty burger options include the Bavarian Pattie Melt and the Frito Pie Burger, which somehow taste even better when eaten with a cold beer during one of Bobby J's live music performances. Throw in a side of their homemade french fries or fried dill pickles and you're set.

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8. Chris Madrid's 1900 Blanco Rd, San Antonio, TX 78212

Although San Antonio's patron burger saint passed away in 2012 at the tender age of 61, Chris Madrid's legacy lives on through the long lines at his eponymous burger joint. On a Saturday at lunchtime you can expect at least a 20-minute wait, which seems a bit silly until you receive your monstrous Tostada Bean Burger, which looks and tastes like the lovechild of a burger and nachos. The friendly service and inviting atmosphere at this family-owned, Tex-Mex-themed spot will make you feel right at home.

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9. The Cove 606 W Cypress St, San Antonio, TX 78212 (Tobin Hill)

The Cove actually began as a laundromat and car wash -- its husband-and-wife team added food service as an afterthought, and now, years later, it's gained a dedicated following because of its welcoming atmosphere and organic, locally sourced ingredients. They offer lamb, bison, and brown-rice patties, plus their ‘09er, which is made with grass-fed beef and topped with goat cheese, pesto aioli, and roasted red peppers.

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10. The Lord's Kitchen 118 Seguin St, San Antonio, TX 78208

The huge outdoor space at this Eastside spot ensures that you'll find a seat, and the mismatched furniture gives a homey, backyard vibe. The huge burgers are piled (literally) with toppings, and are best ordered with a side of fries.

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11. Joe's Hamburger Place 2423 Blanco Rd, San Antonio, TX 78212-2107 (Beacon Hill)

Not much has changed at Joe's over the past 40 years -- and that's what makes it one of the best burger joints around. It's the epitome of a dive (essentially a shack with bars on the windows) and that includes the kitchen. There's nothing fancy back there or inside their burgers. You're in for a simple, from-scratch patty at a price that hasn't changed much in 40 years either. With an old-fashioned burger this good, who needs gourmet sides?

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12. Candy's Old Fashion 115 S Flores St, San Antonio, TX 78204

What this spot lacks in ambiance it more than makes up for in taste and service. The straightforward burgers here meet all the requirements of a quality, old-fashioned offering: greasy, cheap, and quick. Whether you order a burger, a salad, or fried fish, your meal will be brought to you with speed and a smile, and the prices won't break your bank either. It's old-school in every way.

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13. Crazy Carl's Mobile Eats 14530 Roadrunner Way, San Antonio, TX 78249

This little cart is one of the popular kids in the Block SA food truck park next to the UTSA campus. It packs a lot into its repertoire, but it doesn't get better than the OG Crazy Carl Burger: five ounces of fresh Angus beef with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, and mustard on a butter-toasted bun. OK, it does get better if you're brave enough to go for the toasted Krispy Kreme bun and a side of Cajun fries.

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14. Longhorn Cafe 17625 W Blanco Rd, San Antonio, TX 78232

What began in the '50s as a small taco stand is now a divey local favorite flipping anything-but-small burgers. You're coming here for the Original Big Juicy, with bacon and cheese, of course. Their burger selection is near-perfection, and with plenty of other fried options on the menu -- from tots and onion rings to sandwiches like the chicken fried steak -- you're in for a greasy treat, no matter what you order at the wood-paneled counter.

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