By: Megan Jasso
It's Impossible to Rank Charlotte's Burgers!
I have to say, I think it might be nearly impossible to rank Charlotte burgers. Why? First, there are countless amazing restaurants in our city with awesome burgers. Second, every one of my favorite spots has something different to offer. So, in lieu of actual rankings, here are my favorite burgers, based on what you’re looking for.
Best “No Frills” Burger
Zack’s Hamburgers (South Blvd)
I have to admit that I’ve lived in Charlotte for a while now and I just discovered this gem of a restaurant. It’s everything I look for in a Mom and Pop burger joint - small, unassuming and it looks like it hasn’t changed in decades. Order the Zack’s Special with fries and you’ll be greeted with two juicy patties with slices of cheese to match, along with a tasty secret sauce, pickles, mayo, onions, tomato and lettuce.
If you don’t want to take my word on how great these burgers are, go and try them for yourself. But make it during lunch - Zack’s is closed on weekends (they must be doing something right!).
Best Burger For When You Want To Build Your Own
Bad Daddy’s Burgers (Dilworth)
I love everything about Bad Daddy’s. The atmosphere, the tater tots, the drinks, the staff - they’re all amazing. I can never decide on a pre-made choice here because they all are so good, so I normally opt to create my own. I get the beef patty, pepper jack cheese, fresh jalapenos, jalapeno bacon, grilled onions and the special Bad Daddy’s Sauce (seriously, I don’t know what’s in this stuff but it’s addicting).
Another reason this place rules? They have a serious bacon selection - jalapeno bacon, applewood smoked bacon and FRIED BACON. Who knew fried bacon was a thing? I did not, but I’m happy to know it exists. What a time to be alive!
Best “Date Night” Burger
Cowbell Burger & Whiskey Bar (Uptown)
So for the record, I’d be more than happy to go on a date to any of these places, but Cowbell gets the top spot because it has the fun and upbeat Uptown atmosphere while delivering some seriously awesome food.
It’s small, so expect to wait for a little bit, but luckily they serve up amazing drinks at the bar (I recommend the Cucumber Mule). Anyway, once you’re seated, I recommend the PM Burger. Get this - it’s a burger, topped with pulled pork, Guinness beer cheese and deep-fried jalapenos. Seriously, I can’t even put into words how amazing this burger is. Go try it now!
Best Burger For Under $5
Pinky’s Westside Grill (Wesley Heights)
If you’ve never been to Pinky’s, get there immediately. First of all, the vibes at this place can’t be beat. It’s funky and fun - what do you expect when they have an actual car on the roof? Everything on the menu here is amazing, and better yet, it’s super cheap.
The Pterodactyl Burger is 5 ounces of juicy goodness and you can load it up with a ton of extras for free. Best part? The Pterodactyl is only $4.95. At that price, you definitely have to add on something extra. Like the fried pickles. Also A+.
Best Burger To Enjoy After A Night At The Bars
Diamond Restaurant (Plaza Midwood)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left Thomas Street Tavern or The Peculiar Rabbit after a night out with friends and walked straight to the Diamond before heading home for the night. First of all, this place is a classic-style diner and gets so packed at nights that it makes me nostalgic for college - you know, the place EVERYONE gathered to eat after the bars closed?
Back to the burger. Get the Big Block (two patties) burger and go “all the way” with lettuce, tomato, onions, mayo and pickles. Amazing. It has that classic, comfort-food taste that makes you feel like you’re eating a burger at your mom’s kitchen table instead of at a restaurant. I love it. Also, word on the street is that this place uses the same recipe as the old Penguin Drive-In that sat a few doors down.
The Honorable Mention
The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar (South Park)
Ok, full disclosure - Cowfish is probably my favorite restaurant in Charlotte, hands down. If it wasn’t always insanely crowded I would go here every week. The only reason Cowfish only got an honorable mention is because their sushi is to die for, and I can never choose a burger over one of their specialty rolls when I go there.
However, I have tried the Jalapeno Show Stopper and it’s actually life changing (maybe only for me because I’m obsessed with anything jalapeno). It’s a half-pound burger, jalapeño-infused cream cheese, jalapeño bacon, fried jalapeños, jalapeño citrus aioli, lettuce, tomato and fresh jalapeños. SWOON.
The Decision is Yours....
There's a burger for any occasion and any person in the Queen City! Hit up these local joints for a taste of something special. Did I miss something? Comment your favorite burgers in Charlotte below! Until next time!