Austin's Best Burgers: Time for you to weigh in!
A Texas burger is a sight to behold: two buns enveloping a juicy patty, crisp lettuce, melted American cheese, thick mayonnaise, sliced red tomato and diced white onion methodically wrapped and placed in a greasy paper sack. Whether delivered by a teenager on roller skates with crispy thin fries and vanilla milkshakes, served in a red plastic basket with a Shiner Bock at the local haunt or exchanged through a drive-thru window of a late night burger shack, this handheld edible is loved by its devourers.
In honor of National Burger Day, May 28 (aka Memorial Day), we narrowed our top 12 down to six great burgers — now it's your turn!
Hopdoddy — The Primetime: This artisan Kobe beef burger got a roaring shout out from a great number of individuals, including Paul Qui, executive chef of Uchiko, who prefers the Primetime cooked medium-rare to rare with a hint of mustard. He notes the Primetime is his favorite Austin burger because of its "high-quality ingredients, good burger-to-bun ratio and [its] bun." The burger is made with American Kobe beef, brie cheese, truffle aioli, arugula, caramelized onions, steak sauce and an in-house prepared bun.
Hut's Hamburgers — Huts Favorite: When it charbroils down to it, the best Hut's burger is the simplest, none other than Number Seven – Hut's Favorite, made with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes, bacon and American cheese. Sure, it's not the most innovative on the menu, but that's what Hut's is known for: No-fuss, take-it-or-leave-it, legendary burgers. And if you haven't tried a Hut's Burger you haven't been initiated into Austin. "We're always going to have Hut's in town, and it's going to have the feel-good, fifties vibe to it," Larry Perdido of Hopdoddy says. "There is nothing wrong with that, and people in Austin gravitate towards that."
Counter Cafe — The Counter Burger: Counter Cafe has a mystery burger. If you walk into the hole-in-the-wall restaurant off Lamar Boulevard to grab a bite, you wouldn't know from studying the menu that the burger is king. Yet when you overhear every person ordering a burger, you have an indication of what's really going on. The restaurant's all-natural beef patty with cheddar cheese, red onion, organic bib lettuce and tomatoes has developed a following of devotees that swear by its deliciousness. The thick patty holds it moistness well and is surrounded by a sweet bun.
Parkside — Cheeseburger: This juicy American cheeseburger is the brainchild of Shawn Cirkiel. Cirkiel's inspiration for the Parkside burger stems from grandmother's hamburger steak, which had a perfect texture he has recreated through his burger. The cheeseburger's magnificent crumble is the result of two separate grinds of beef, which gives the burger a great richness. "We've had it on the menu since we've opened, and it continues to be something we're well known for," Cirkiel says. "I eat a lot of burgers around town, but this one is still my favorite."
P. Terry's — Veggie Burger: This drive-thru restaurant is quintessential Austin, ranging from its design – created by Michael Hsu – its hip color palette, its dedication to quality ingredients, and of course its delicious burgers. Patrick Terry, owner of P. Terry's, confessed that he even eats lunch at the restaurant every day. "I'm not a veggie guy," Terry says. "I don't think I even ever ate a veggie burger until we put one on our menu. But, I have to say, I love our veggie burger. For a meat eater, that's a big thing to say."
Casino El Camino — The Amarillo Burger: "If you talk to industry folks, Casino El Camino would be amongst the favorites, but if you're talking to suburbanites, they probably wouldn't know about it," Chuck Smith of Hopdoddy says. "It's grungy, but it's really good." The Amarillo Burger is quintessential Texan, made with three-quarter pound local angus beef, roasted serrano chiles, jalapeño jack cheese and cilantro mayonnaise. It may be the dark horse of our competition, but it's muy bueno.