If you’ve spent much time in Austin, you know people like to bite into weird things. This is why you can find burgers topped with chile con carne, pickled ginger and sushi wasabi, and artichoke-pesto sauce. At some places, you can even order a mystery burger.
Since no responsibly farmed burger is off limits, you can find patties sculpted from longhorn, buffalo, chicken, turkey, lamb, and all sorts of veggies and grains. But classic burger concoctions garner plenty of attention too, so long as they’re good. Here are some of the best places in Austin to bite into a tasty burger, conventional, or otherwise.
A hip, modern diner with a kitchen overseen by well-known chef Andrew Curren, 24 Diner is a place where you can count on getting great food at any time. The beef and lamb burgers on the menu satiate and satisfy. But Betsy’s Veggie burger and the Goat Cheese Veggie burger, each featuring a patty made from beets, mushrooms, lentils, rice, pumpkin seeds, and golden flaxseeds, make this always-open eatery a place where anyone can order and eat veggie burgers with gusto.
Casino el Camino
Described by one of our team members as a “hole-in-the-wall wonderfulness,” Casino el Camino has established a name for itself on the Austin burger scene. The place itself is a little worse for wear, but it prides itself more on the quality of its food than on the trendy appeal of its decor. If you want a cheap, no-nonsense burger, Casino el Camino, has just what you’re seeking. The Amarillo Burger, a three-quarter pound Angus beef patty topped with Serrano chiles and jalapeno jack cheese and dressed with a flavorful cilantro mayo, is their take on a classic Texas burger. It pairs well with the Bloody Mary, which is spiced to order on a scale spanning from spice-less one to ghost chili 10. And bonus: It’s in walking distance from AMLI on 2ND and AMLI Downtown.
Dan’s Hamburgers and Fran’s Hamburgers
Dan’s Hamburgers and Fran’s Hamburgers are as iconic as any Austin burger joint. We group the two together because they spawned from the same operation, Dan’s Hamburgers, in 1973, but they are two different places today. Dan’s and Fran’s, located near AMLI at Mueller, offer a range of old-fashioned burger options in classic diner settings, and both are as intricately connected to the Austin food scene as any restaurant in the weird city you call home.
Another burger joint with unconventional burger values, but a sterling reputation for quality food, Hopdoddy’s is an indisputable favorite in Austin. Antelope, rabbit, and cabrito burgers are all among the less conventional patty variations on offer.
Also close to AMLI Downtown and AMLI on 2ND, Hopdoddy’s has a a lot of gluten-free burger options. The La Bandita veggie burger, made from a corn and black bean patty topped with avocado, arugula, and goat cheese, is especially popular. As is the Ahi Tuna burger, which features sushi-grade tuna, honey wasabi, pickled ginger, nori chips, and teriyaki glaze.
If you like truffle oil, the Parmesan-sprinkled truffle fries are worth splurging on. Organic margaritas, other hand-made cocktails, and an extensive craft beer selection round out the experience.
Another iconic Austin burger joint is Sandy’s, with a prime location across the river from AMLI Downtown and AMLI on 2ND. This drive-in style restaurant serves cheap, old-fashioned burgers and hot dogs that are pretty good, especially considering their negligible cost. As high-value as Sandy’s savory eats are, it’s worth mentioning that they serve up some well-received dessert. The inexpensive frozen custard is something plenty of Austinites pick up whenever they visit Barton Springs or Auditorium Shores.
If any burger joint is more of an Austin culinary cornerstone than Dan’s, Fran’s, or Sandy’s, it’s Hut’s Hamburgers. Since 1939, Hut’s Hamburgers has been stealing the hearts of Austinites by satisfying their stomachs. They have mastered the craft of building the classic burger, and their quintessentially American Hut’s Favorite hamburger has remained a diner’s favorite for decades.
Located on 6th Street, just a short walk away from AMLI on 2ND and AMLI Downtown, it’s beef burgers are made from tender Texas-raised meat, and all burger variations can be crafted with longhorn beef, buffalo meat, boneless chicken breast, or vegan veggie burger.
For a chain restaurant, Smashburger does a wonderful job of impressing food connoisseurs. The burgers are reliably high-quality and the wait rarely long. The shakes are great, and the rosemary fries addictive, and have a few locations, one being near AMLI at Mueller.
Burger lovers who live in Austin have it good. The burgers in the vicinity are more than just tasty. They are high-quality and, relatively speaking, cheap. Take advantage of these advantages. Live Life + Love Life with a made-with-love burger and your favorite type of fries from time to time.
What’s your favorite Austin burger?
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