BBQ is typically the hot topic of debate in Houston. However, largely under the radar is the war for best burger in Houston. Each of our contenders has a claim to the best burger in town but who really deserves the crown? They say if you can’t stand the heat of the grill, then get out of town!
Hopdoddy, in Rice Village, comes at us straight from Austin, and, College Station gives us the gift of Grub with multiple locations across Houston. They both offer unique twists on burgers with proteins ranging from tuna to pork, to chicken, and to classic beef. They both have great milkshakes to complement your meal with, but, we give Grub the slight edge on creativity because their milkshakes come spiked for some added zest. If you visit Hopdoddy, we recommend the Magic Shroom. It comes with Texas goat cheese and a field mushroom mix which gives the burger that magical flavor the name suggests. From Grub Burger Bar, the Lockhart Legend steals the show and your appetite. Bacon, Cheddar, onion rings, and a secret Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce on the patty is the recipe to this restaurant’s most popular burger and it is easy to taste why. Both Hopdoddy and Grub are considered chain restaurants, but, it’s hard to remember thanks to their laidback and feel originality.
In the Galleria area, the quiet locale, Burger Palace, is a hot lunch destination during the work week due to its prime location and great quality burgers. The crowd here ranges from casual college students to men and women in business attire and they all come for the Akaushi-beef burgers that drip with flavor. The gourmet burgers here feature top-grade ingredients paired with all sorts of house-made aioli which are enough to make us wish we had two stomachs. If you’re in the mood for something special, try the Yokozuna. It is adorned with mushrooms sautéed in Teriyaki sauce, grilled onions, wasabi aioli and a green bean tempura that give it rich and zesty flavor. And if you are coming in for dinner or a weekend meal, take advantage of their substantial beer selection!
Burgers at Lankford Grocery & Market feel Texas-sized and they appropriately pack some serious flavor for you to mull over as the juices drip from your hand. This daytime-only dive in Montrose will satisfy anybody’s burger cravings, so, hopefully, you feel the call during lunch sometime. Lankford Market feels like a blast from the past with a cash-only policy and a building with décor that makes it look like a relic from the 70s. Although its burgers aren’t the only weekday lunch special, customers do primarily come here for this local spots’ half-pound patties. For this restaurant, we recommend taking the classic road with the Old Fashion burger. This doesn’t mean they don’t have creative burgers to compete with the recent surge in burger development. We just felt the beef, grease, and cheese flavor combo was already enough to impress anyone tackling these gargantuan burgers. For a 73-year-old market, this place sure delivers.
Winner of the Houston Press Burger Bracket, Bernie’s Burger Bus is a staple of Houston cuisine and burger culture. Rising to stardom from food truck to brick-and-mortar shop, you can find this locale on Bellaire Boulevard or roaming around town on wheels serving up delicious burgers accompanied with a variety of gourmet fries all made from scratch. You read that right. Everything here is made from scratch and Chef-Owner Justin Turner leads the process. If you’re in the mood, get some spice on your palate with our recommendation: the Fire Drill. Between the spicy guacamole, the pepper jack cheese, salsa verde, and chipotle aioli you’ll get what you bargained for with this delectable selection. It’s easy to fall in love with Bernie’s. The restaurant itself is cleverly decorated as a nostalgia-invoking school with a big yellow bus you order from and picnic tables (or desks) you sit at. Do drop in if you have time for a quick recess.
On the outskirts of downtown, Stanton’s City Bites caters to anyone in Houston seeking burger nirvana. This relic from 1961 offers up specialty burgers with creative names and recipes that deliver time and time again on the promise of a satisfied stomach. The diversity of the crowd inside this seemingly dilapidated building is a good indication of how tantalizing the grill is. If it’s enough to appeal to everyone then it MUST be good. The atmosphere at Stanton’s has a quaint charm to it due to the old-timey feel. Time almost feels like it rewinds when you walk up to the counter to order and grab a glass bottle soda surrounded by memorabilia from another the past. As for the burgers, we recommend the Miss Piggie. She comes with a smokey freshly ground bacon and beef patty, the usual toppings, hash browns, and candied bacon. Biting into this burger is an enlightening experience.
You can’t talk about Houston burgers without mentioning the Hubcap Grill. For a low-key grill tucked away in the streets of downtown, this place sure stirs up a lot of attention. Delicious and filling, handmade burgers that you wash down with a cold soda or beer is the claim to fame here. They have some excellent classic burgers and some seriously eclectic selections for you to try. We find ourselves to be particularly fond of the Black & Blue with its bacon and chunky fresh blue cheese dressing, however, you shouldn’t shy away from any of the others. They are all rich in flavor and generous in portion. If Ricky Craig’s burger shack in downtown isn’t your style then you can always grab a burger and a seat at the location in the Houston Heights.
So who claims the crown of burger king in Houston? To be honest we’re still trying to figure it out. We still need to keep trying more burgers. And then we are probably going back to make sure our reviews are up to date and accurate. We’ll keep you posted.