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Best hamburgers? Let’s do this.

Beef burger from Jackson Hole Burgers, Lawrenceville (AJC Staff)

Beef burger from Jackson Hole Burgers, Lawrenceville (AJC Staff)

The burger scene in Atlanta is gearing up for a serious makeover this coming year. Consider:

  • Shaun Doty’s YEAH! Burger is slated to open this spring in White Provision. I hear they’ve already approached Usher about the marketing campaign. (Kidding…)
  • Across town, Farm Burger will also debut in spring in the Decatur space that was formerly Voilà. Owner George Frangos was working the crowd at the Georgia Organics conference in Athens last weekend.
  • Grindhouse Killer Burgers owner Alex Brounstein is reportedly shopping for a second location for his breakout success in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.
  • Richard Blais and Barry Mills has been shopping for a Buckhead location for Flip Burger Boutique.

Which all raises the perennial question: Where are the best burgers in Atlanta?

To help me prepare for an exploratory burger-thon, I am asking for your help. Please recommend some good hamburgers in the comments section below. Please qualify it by telling me what is good about the burger you like. Also, please do not tell me (here) about the burgers you hate, or why someone else’s favorite burger might not be worthy of its bun.

I am most interested in the raging debate between thin and thick patties, between custom sauces and timeless garnishes, and between enormous two-fisters and dainty sliders. (The burger I best like is like the iPad…not too big, not too small).

Looking forward to your thoughtful input.

I’ll post some of my favorites next week if the conversation stalls. Thanks!

87 comments Add your comment


February 26th, 2010
11:31 am

Moe’s and Joe’s.


February 26th, 2010
11:48 am

Bocado’s burger is simple and delicious. Two juicy patties with a few house-made pickles and american cheese on what appears to be an H&F roll. BlissfulGlutton has more:


February 26th, 2010
11:49 am

Give the pimiento cheeseburger with butter pickles, red onion and cravable BBQ mayonnaise at South City Kitchen Midtown a taste. Only available at lunch, BTW.


February 26th, 2010
11:54 am

My favorite is Counter Burger in Roswell. I know its ITP but talk about organic meat and veggies, able to order rare or well done, the sauces, to bun or not to bun and the awesome sweet potato fries and turkey chili.


February 26th, 2010
11:56 am

My all time ATL faves are the Flip Burger and the H&F burger. The latter is so famously delicious it’s praises really don’t need to be sung yet again, but a best-of list would be invalid without it.

I prefer the more modest-sized patties, but for thick, large patty types, I’ve had great ones at Cypress Street in Midtown (the Maytag, an angus burger with crumbled blue cheeese & carmelized onions) and at Flatiron (their signature Flatiron Burger). Both of these have a nice bread/meat ratio despite their size. They also have a nice charred flavor and have always been cooked to a perfect medium at my request.


February 26th, 2010
11:58 am

H&F burger…simple, double cheeseburger thats just done right. What makes this burger are the house made H&F bun, ketchup, mustard, and oh-so amazing sweet pickles. I usually don’t like pickles on burgers, but wow are there’s good.


February 26th, 2010
12:02 pm

Atkins Park makes a nice burger


February 26th, 2010
12:08 pm

For a basic, fresh burger, can’t beat George’s in VA-HI.


February 26th, 2010
12:12 pm

Yep, George’s in Va-Hi when you want a good ol’ basic cheeseburger. Awesome!


February 26th, 2010
12:13 pm

I don’t eat beef but if you are looking for a turkey burger, my favorite turkey burger is a tie between George’s and the spicy one at the Vortex.


February 26th, 2010
12:19 pm

I agree with the commenter on your other column that 5 Seasons has a great, under the radar burger. (Prado, though it was when Dave was still head chef. Haven’t yet had at Westside.)

Vortex remains delicious to me as well, after sampling other supposed best-of burgers in other locales, there’s is still damn good.

And, I’m being pestered by my cohort here that the Butcher’s Cut at Flip is the best he’s ever had (and he is also a fan of the aforementioned burgers).

Steven A.

February 26th, 2010
12:27 pm

Burgers are sort of unique for me in that I favor different places depending on what style I’m craving. If you were to ask me, flat out, what I think is the best, I’d have to go with Holeman & Finch. I do feel like I need to try Grindhouse before stating that definitively, however. If we’re talking freaky burgers, probably a toss up between The Vortex and Flip. If I just want a run-of-the-mill fast food chain hamburger, Five Guys does the trick, but I hold out hope that In-N-Out will make inroads one day.

If the priority is grassfed/local/sustainable, I’ve heard Cakes & Ale makes a fine burger, but have not tried it myself on any of my trips there. Looking forward to see what Farm Burger brings to the table on this front.

Merideth Ray

February 26th, 2010
12:30 pm

Ann’s Snack Shack, H&F,
and Highland Tap!!


February 26th, 2010
12:42 pm


February 26th, 2010
12:46 pm

Pink Slime anyone?


February 26th, 2010
12:54 pm

The burger at JCT Kitchen bar they have for $10 burger and a beer night. Pimento cheese spread and an onion ring on the burger – delish!


February 26th, 2010
12:55 pm

In-N-Out Burger. John please use your Atlanta foodie connections to get the best burger place on the planet to come to Atlanta. For under 3.00 you can get the Double Double, two fresh patties, melty American cheese, scratch made bun and their secret sauce. They also have a secret menu. Next time anyone is on the West coast go there but I warn you. You’ll crave their burgers for life. When I’m in San Diego I will eat there almost every day for lunch if I can withstand the long waits.


February 26th, 2010
1:20 pm

I forgot about Ann’s. THAT is a serious burger.


February 26th, 2010
1:37 pm

It doesn’t seem to get much attention, but I love The Porter’s burger.

Petie The Crab

February 26th, 2010
1:54 pm

Wow, I remember the old “Ollie’s Trolley” in Big A. A great burger but I didn’t buy many because I just couldn’t see spending $2.00 on a hamburger. My how times have changed…….


February 26th, 2010
1:58 pm

The “Yoshie” burger @ the Chicopee G.C. club house in Oakwood. A delicious burger with a hint of Japanese flare.

FM Fats

February 26th, 2010
2:07 pm

Burgers come in so many variations it’s impossible to name a “best” for me. I’m pretty happy with The Vortex, Flip, the Angus sliders on Wednesday at The Shed, Steinbeck’s in Oakhurst, and The Porter. I miss Chef Carmen Cappello’s SHAME burger at his defunct Lamplighter.


February 26th, 2010
2:29 pm

Ted’s Montana Grill – consistently voted or considered best burgers in Atlanta. ESPECIALLY the Bison Burger – unbelievably GOOD


February 26th, 2010
2:46 pm

GEORGE’S FO SHO! hands down best burger EVER…if you are looking for the all-american type burger. The burger at Abbatoir is a good high end burger but i will stick with my all-american..just cannot go wrong.

Steven Truex

February 26th, 2010
2:47 pm

I enjoy many burgers in the area, but to me the stndout is the burger at market in Buckhead. A great piece of beef perfectly cooked simply topped with crispy onions and perfect homemade Russian dressing. Though it is not the typical venue one would expect to eat a burger it is truly magnificent. Give it a try.

Jim R.

February 26th, 2010
2:56 pm

Can’t beat George’s..Hand patted and fresh ground. Kaiser roll type bun and cooked to order. There is a reason it’s been that way for years and will be for many more. Some items lend themselves well to be called ‘High-End’, burgers ain’t one of ‘em.


February 26th, 2010
3:29 pm

nothing is better than a Vortex burger!

Mike G

February 26th, 2010
3:42 pm

John, some friends of mine and visited just about every decent burger place, mostly ITP, a couple of years ago. Things have definitely changed since then, but here is a roundup of some good burgers and my impressions:
Muss and Turner’s – the best hamburger in Atlanta, hands down, I think. They source the beef locally, it’s grass fed, cooked on a smoking hot Green Egg and since they get it ground at the source, they can cook it medium rare. YUM!!!
Six Feet Under – great burger, on the large side, they must use a 70/30 grind or something because they are juicy no matter how much they cook it.
Ann’s Snack Bar – go for the experience, the burgers are fairly inconsistent – from dry to perfect, they are a huge but it’s one of the few local places in ATL that uses the “smash” method, vs the “don’t press out the juices” method, unfortunately, even with that technique she does not get a crust on her burgers. All that said, the experience makes up for it ten-fold and sometimes you get a burger that’s just out of this world.
Bone’s – great burger, meat is ground in house, also on the large side, great beef flavor and they will cook it to order – a must visit.
Highland Tap – similar to Bone’s, but I’m not sure if they grind their own beef. Still a good burger and one I think most people don’t think about, especially for lunch. Every time I’ve been there for lunch there aren’t more than 4 or 5 others in the restaurant.
We did this before Five Guys came to town, now I guess they are the big players doing the “smash” method, but I don’t think that’s what you’re looking for. Some other noteworthy places: Goldberg’s on W Paces, I am still a fan of the Vortex pimento cheese burger, The Porter as others have mentioned, Houston’s hickory-cheddar burger – there’s something about the cold cheese and the crunchy onions.


February 26th, 2010
3:47 pm


February 26th, 2010
2:29 pm
Ted’s Montana Grill – consistently voted or considered best burgers in Atlanta. ESPECIALLY the Bison Burger – unbelievably GOOD[/QUOTE]

I agree!!! The Bison burger is GREAT!! But my favorite burger joint has to be 5 Guys!!!!!


February 26th, 2010
4:29 pm

Chain: 5 Guys
Local: Anything from Flip or anything from Vortex that has their blue cheese spread on it


February 26th, 2010
6:37 pm

H&F, Muss and Turner’s and Miss Ann’s, 3 best burgers in Atlanta

Matty Light

February 26th, 2010
7:01 pm

5 Guys really is good, but nothing in Atlanta beats George’s.


February 26th, 2010
9:50 pm

I have to disagree with all the accolades for George’s. That was one of the most bland burgers I’ve ever had outside of fast food.

JIMBOB (aka James Robert)

February 26th, 2010
10:04 pm

Doesn’t this ‘best burger’ blog come up on ajc about every 8 to 10 days?? or is it my imagination??

Atlanta is blessed with many good burger joints. Haven’t been to most of them, but I’ve always been pleased with the bison burger at Ted’s. The bun is buttered and toasted/grilled. Just an all around good eat.

Bill W.

February 26th, 2010
11:38 pm

Churchills (near the Hwy 120/Johnson Ferry intersection in Marietta) makes my favorite classic burger in the city. Thick, plenty of fat, lightly toasted bun and perfectly cooked every time. I get mine medium rare with cheddar and jalapenos. Love Vortex, too, but I think Churchills has them beat.

As far as thin patties go, I love Grindhouse, but if you haven’t tried Rhea’s Take Out Foods in Roswell, you haven’t lived.

No one has taken shots at the bad guys here, so I’ll give it a shot. Five Guys burgers are burned to a crisp and taste like a boot heel on a bun. The Counter seems highly over-rated to me; there is not enough fat in the meat, and they are strangely firm. Not the right texture for a burger at all.

[...] has a favorite!!  See what people are saying at John Kessler from the AJC’s AMAZING… blog who inspired this post.  I’m going to have to go with my local favorite The Highland Tap. [...]

Chip Shoulder

February 27th, 2010
8:39 am


How could such a universally-beloved concept vanish at the peak of its popularity? It was the Dave Chappelle of restaurants.


February 27th, 2010
8:46 am

I have to go with Vortex for traditional and Flip for adventurous.
What I’m really thinking of is my trip to San Diego next week. Am I looking forward to delicious fish tacos? Sure. But, what I’m really getting my taste buds ready for is a bacon cheese burger at Ho-Dads. My mouth waters every time I think about it.


February 27th, 2010
9:22 am

A Zesto Chubby Decker is darn close to an In n Out without the 2000 mile drive. Way underrated and right under our noses in the really fine chrome and stainless building on Ponce. The Vortex also produces a pretty fine product with minimal hassle in a sit-down setting.


February 27th, 2010
10:13 am

John, if you are looking for a dive, hole in the wall with some of the best burgers I have had in town, The Rusty Nail Pub is great! Their burgers are juicy and cooked to order…yes rare if you want them. Their sides are delicious too…fried okra, great green beans, red beans and rice, and others too not just your old fries or fries.


February 27th, 2010
10:15 am

In and Out has the best “fast food” burgers. Locally, Watershed’s burger rocks! and the onion rings are the best i’ve had.


February 27th, 2010
11:00 am

I have to say Houston’s burger is fantastic! A buttered toasted bun, delish meat and not too thick! I love the Butchers cut at Flp as well.

Jim R.

February 27th, 2010
11:50 am

Well said beff, The burgers at the Rusty Nail are great! They also have some of the best bar-b-que around. Do it themselves and make their own sauce. It is indeed a dive. A dark, friendly, place that actually used to be a burger joint in the 60’s called Sandy’s. Who remembers Sandy’s hamburgers?


February 27th, 2010
12:05 pm


February 27th, 2010
12:19 pm

The EARL in East Atlanta sure makes a tasty burger. I like it with either a side of their amazing tater tots (yeah, I know, you wouldn’t think tater tots could be amazing) or fried okra. The kitchen has a very deft touch with the deep fryer. They make a mean patty melt, too.


February 27th, 2010
1:31 pm

I’ve tried all of the burger places mentioned above and Five Guys is the best bang for the buck as well as the best and freshest tasting burger. 5G also has a secret menu – I order a grilled cheese with 2 patties. Their cheese dogs are amazing! Yesterday, some guy ordered a regular burger (2 patties) and added 2 more! I didn’t get to see if he finished it or not, but he made pretty good progress while I was there. Anyways, 5G is my #1 choice for a quality and affordable burger.


February 27th, 2010
2:32 pm

Houston’s has a great burger. H&F burger is also good. I’m looking forward to trying some of the suggestions. Thanks.


February 27th, 2010
3:49 pm

The Velveeta Burger at Cheeseburger in Paradise (near Perimeter Mall) is outstanding.
Plus, you can get frozen adult beverages, listen to local performers, or Buffett tunes when they’re not playing.



February 27th, 2010
5:15 pm

JCT has an outstanding burger.

Virginia Fossier

February 27th, 2010
7:47 pm

The best straightforward hamburger is at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse for lunch. Add grilled onions and Provolone cheese served with onion rings and you have enough for two people for $9.99