Here Are Charlotte’s Tastiest Burgers: 2021
Options across the city
Bleu Barn Bistro
Camp North End, 1801 N. Graham St., Ste. 100
Bleu Barn Bistro’s Barn Burger is a local grass-fed beef patty topped with applewood-smoked bacon and a free-range egg on a toasted bun. And let’s not forget the supporting cast: mozzarella cheese, roasted garlic aioli, red onions, butter pickles, and arugula.
225 S Poplar St.
The Steakhouse Burger at this uptown spot is a delightful monster: two 6-oz. Brasstown patties with caramelized onions, Ashe County cheddar, and housemade mustard on a benne seed potato bun. It might also be the tallest on this list.
4009 South Blvd., 704-525-1720
Many locals are loyal to either Zack’s or Mr. K’s, but we advocate finding time for both. As you wait in line here, you’ll debate: fries or onion rings? Blurt out your decision, then wait for yours to be the lucky number called from the microphone, ready for pickup.
This drive-in has served Super Boys to Charlotteans since sock hops were all the rage. South 21’s signature order includes two beef patties, cheese, mustard, lettuce, tomato—and a pickle spear perched atop the bun. That combination has endured for decades. There’s no reason to mess with it.
Most folks skip right over the rest of the menu and look straight to the barbecue platters at this ever-expanding barbecue spot, but the burger deserves a look. A blend of chuck and brisket, the Roadhouse comes with your typical ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and cheese, but add the sliced brisket for an additional two bucks and you won’t feel bad about ordering a burger at a barbecue restaurant.
Optimist Hall, 1115 N. Brevard St.
The newest on the list, Harriet’s Hamburgers’ exquisite blend of Black Angus short rib, brisket, and chuck charred and double-stacked with white American cheese, house-made pickles, ribboned red onions, and Harriet’s signature sauce on a buttery brioche bun is a must-try. Each bite of mouthful of meaty, cheesy goodness satisfies that urgent burger craving. The teams behind Papi Queso and The Plaid Penguin are behind this masterpiece, and they sold their first 100 burgers in less than two minutes at a preview event this summer.
Bob’s Carry Out Pile ‘Em Up
3422 Statesville Ave., 704-918-2264
The interior of Bob’s looks more like a public restroom than a takeout joint with its floor-to-ceiling tiles, but its burgers are superior. From a small window inside, order a piping hot and juicy double cheeseburger with tomato and lettuce for just $4.75, and then devour it in the car before you even drive away.
Reid’s Fine Foods
Reid’s steakburger is the gourmet market’s answer to the fast-food staple. The eight-ounce patty is a mix of ground filet, sirloin, and rib-eye, and comes with lettuce, tomato, and your choice of side (we recommend the truffle fries). If the $15 price tag is too steep, come on Tuesday for lunch or dinner at any one of their locations and get the almost half priced steakburger special. This is one gourmet meal that’s completely acceptable to eat with your hands.
Moo + Brew
1300 Central Ave., 980-585-4148
Chevre? Ah, oui. This burger joint has a pretty simple concept: burgers and beer, the beverage that goes easily with burgers. That doesn’t mean they can’t be fancy, too. The Rocket Turkey burger has a patty of farm-raised ground turkey, chevre (goat cheese), arugula, a balsamic fig spread, and roasted red pepper—everything you never thought to put on a burger, but should have.
1957 E 7th St., 704-919-0104
The Crunkleton may be most famous for its cocktails, but the spot also offers a tasty seasonal menu. Among the most beloved entrées is the aptly named A Really Good Burger, on which you can add a fried duck egg or fried oysters (among other options) for an even heartier meal.
Brooks’ Sandwich House
2710 N. Brevard St., 704-375-7808
It’s a tough call, given strong challenges from The Diamond in Plaza Midwood, Pinky’s Westside Grill in FreeMoreWest, and the newly established Billy Jack’s Shack in NoDa, with its aptly named “Napkin Burgers.” But a burger is a working-class meal, and our homing device still points us to Brooks’ humble red hut and the heft of those rough-hewn burgers with homemade chili. Eat ’em there, using the unvarnished wood shelf in the gravel parking lot as a makeshift table.
Pinky’s Westside Grill
1600 W Morehead St., 704-332-0402
Chef Greg Auten created what is now Pinky’s best-selling sandwich, The White Trash Burger, when he was looking for a creative way to use the uneaten fried pickles an onion rings he had to toss every day. The five-ounce burger (you can make it a double for $2 more) comes with provolone, fried pickles, onion rings, and spicy ranch. You can customize any one of Pinky’s championship burgers with your choice of toppings ( “Westside” style includes mustard, chili, slaw, and onion), but the White Trash burger is more than enough on its own.
Foxcroft Wine Co.
You know what pairs well with a glass of wine? A really good gourmet burger. Foxcroft Wine Co. serves a signature burger with ground hanger steak, grilled onion, tomato, greens, truffle aioli, and a choice of cheddar or bleu cheese on a house-made potato bun. Order it with a side of truffle fries and your taste buds will really dance.
Contributions come from Taylor Bowler, Andy Smith, Adam Rhew, Kristen Wile, and John Short.