When I moved to Austin, land of hippies and vegans, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find a good burger in town. But Austin is still Texas, y’all – meat is everywhere! I started my quest by taking the advice of touristy-type publications, but I should have known better – I’ve worked in print media and know the highest paying advertiser typically gets the most recognition. So I took a more serious approach to finding the best burger in Austin: Facebook.
Best Healthy Burger: Most of my Austin Facebook friends said P. Terry’s was home to the best burger in town. The veggie toppings are locally grown and always fresh and crisp. The beef is all natural and tasty; however, the patties are pretty thin. I would recommend getting a double (with cheese, of course). Honestly, the tomato was the best part of the experience for me. But if you want a true Austinite experience, P. Terry’s is the place; after all, they only make burgers from vegetarian cows! (P. Terry’s: 404 S. Lamar Boulevard)
Best Hangover Burger: Another local burger joint that came highly recommended was Hut’s Hamburgers. What I immediately loved about Hut’s was the variety: mushroom burgers slathered in cream sauce, Tex-Mex style cheeseburgers, burgers drenched in chili or hickory sauce, buffalo burgers… too many to name. I went with Arnold’s Best, which was a grass-fed beef patty topped with guacamole, bacon, jack cheese and lettuce. It was huge! The flavor was better than P. Terry’s, and the bun got so soggy from the grease that I had to finish it with a fork. Now, that’s what I’m talking about! (Hut’s Hamburgers: 807 W. 6th Street)
Best Beef Slider: I love mini-sized food, but a slider needs to be more than just a small hamburger. It needs to pack a bigger punch to make up for its (lack of) size, let’s just say. So I tried sliders at 219 West, J. Blacks and Cover 3. In my opinion, Cover 3 blew away the competition. It consisted of a fresh, medium rare tenderloin – not ground beef – and the bun was fluffy and buttery. The sliders actually taste nothing like the full-sized burger at Cover 3, which holds the No. 12 spot for “50 Greatest Hamburgers in Texas” according to Texas Monthly Magazine. I also liked the fact the sliders came with French onion jus and creamy horseradish on the side. (Cover 3: 2700 W. Anderson Lane)
Best Burger from a Chain Restaurant: With so many locally owned restaurants in Austin, I really try not to patronize chains; however, Five Guys Burgers and Fries is just too good to leave off this list. Five Guys has it down to a science: basic menu (just hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hotdogs and fries), simple toppings, and fantastic service. Their burgers are no where near organic and their buns are full of gluten. They don’t go out of their way to please anyone and I’ve figured out why… the burgers taste amazing! Nothing crazy, just real tasty beef. (Five Guys Burger and Fries: 3208 Guadalupe Street)
Best Overall Burger in Austin: I love a good happy hour, especially when it takes place in downtown Austin. So when I went to Lamberts, a well-known BBQ joint on 2nd Street to enjoy an hour of happiness, I was shocked to see they added a burger to their bar food menu. Of course, I had to try it. The meat was tender, ridiculously juicy and had a smoky, oak grilled flavor. The red onion and tomato were bursting with freshness and the herbed waffle fries where the perfect complement. Hands down best burger I’ve experienced in Austin so far. (Lamberts: 401 W. 2nd Street)