The Burger Showcase

From sliders to super-stacked, dirt-cheap to foie gras-topped, and local to global, these opposites show the diversity of our local burger selection
Photographs By Logan Cyrus

No Frills
This classic, served with just burger and bun, has stayed the same since the family-owned restaurant opened in 1973, and at $3.25, the price hasn’t changed much either. Order a Brooks Burger plain, or add bacon, chili, cheese, slaw, tomato, lettuce, onions, mustard, or mayonnaise. Brooks’ Sandwich House,  2710 N. Brevard St., 704-375-7808.

Iced Up
Cowbell Burger & Whiskey Bar’s signature “GFY” Burger (it stands for “Good For You”) comes as a blended chuck and short rib patty topped with arugula, prosciutto, apricot marmalade, Creole mustard, and decadent foie gras. $20. Cowbell Burger & Bar, 201 N. Tryon St., 980-224-8674.


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As It Comes
Enormous and messy, The Zack’s Special has dominated plates at its namesake’s diner since 1975. Zack’s nod to the Big Mac comes with two beef patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, mayonnaise, and a special sauce—all between a toasted bun. It even includes fries. $5.25. Zack’s Hamburgers, 4009 South Blvd., 704-525-1720,

With the Works
At Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, you can choose your own adventure. The meat choices include bison and chicken, and toppings range from pineapple to rosemary ham and 10 cheese options, including Brie and feta. Pictured above: two 7-ounce patties, bacon, Brie, avocado, over-easy egg, red onions, tomatoes, and lettuce on a brioche bun. Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, 3 locations,


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Charlotte style
If the city had a signature burger, it would be the (unfortunately named) White Trash Burger. Stacked with ubiquitous-in-Charlotte fried pickles, the hefty, five-ounce burger is also topped with skinny, crunchy onion rings, gooey provolone, and a dash of spicy ranch. $4.50. Pinky’s Westside Grille, 1600 W. Morehead St., 704-332-0402; 9818 Gilead Rd., Ste. B-101, Huntersville, 704-727-0142.

Carolina style
Since 1945, The Diamond has served all the Southern favorites—fried okra, hush puppies, fried pork chops—and the burger is no exception. Order the Southern style burger for the requisite chili, mustard, onions, and coleslaw toppings. $4.75 (for 1/3 pound). The Diamond, 1901 Commonwealth Ave., 704-375-8959.


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Charlotte loves "burgushi." A concept started locally, Cowfish’s Bento Box comes with the combination of a juicy mini-burger with American cheese, pickles, and red onions, plus other little compartments filled with sweet potato fries, a refreshing cucumber salad, edamame, and a basic, four-piece sushi roll. $12. The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar, 4310 Sharon Rd., 704-365-1922.

Grilled cheese meets burger with The Hungover Cyclist at Kickstand. The no-frills burger isn’t for amateurs—it packs a large beef patty and tomato slice between two grilled-cheese sandwich “buns.” Extra street cred goes to those who can down this bad boy and a side of tater tots. $10.95. Kickstand Charlotte Burgers ’n Bar, 1101 Central Ave. 704-332-1010,


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The Local-est
The large, upscale NC Local Burger tops a grass-fed beef patty from Baucom’s Best on toasted Great Grains focaccia with Cultured Cow cheddar soaked in Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Copper Ale, dainty Lucky Leaf microgreens slaw, and a sunny-side-up egg from Baucom’s. $13-15. Gallery Restaurant (at The Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge), 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., 704-248-4100.

For decades, the founders of Nom Nom Burgers have “Americanized” Asian fare, so they decided to flip the focus and open a shop serving “Asianized” American fare, namely, burgers. The namesake Nom Nom Burger comes with a ground-beef patty glazed with house-made teriyaki sauce, provolone cheese, shiitake mushrooms with mirin, caramelized onions with ginger-orange marmalade, sesame seeds, and mayonnaise. $10.50. Nom Nom Burgers, 1600 E. Woodlawn Rd., Ste. 170, 980- 219-7233.


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Going Places
The Pimento Burger comes in a brown paper bag. Inside are two things necessary for eating—the burger, and napkins. Grab the burger, lift it, and squeeze lightly, and watch as the housemade pimento cheese starts to sneak out the sides, the tomato slices shift a bit on the sliding onions, and the burger makes a juicy sound when you bite it. In this burger from a food truck, it seems all the pieces can’t wait to show off their delicious moves. $9.50. Auto Burger and Fry Guys food truck, 980-205-0429

Staying Put
A quarter-pound patty sizzles on a griddle. The corners of a solo slice of yellow American cheese droop over the flat circle of beef. The Big K takes just a few minutes to cook; then it’s plopped upside down between a white, wheat, or onion bun at this South End staple that has served the basic burger since 1967. $3.65. Mr. K’s Soft Ice Cream, 2107 South Blvd., 704-375-4318.



Categories: Burgers