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Jon Watson: Burger hunt – Muss & Turner’s

Muss and Turner's buger

Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not interested in the burger “craze”. I’m interested in burgers.

Honestly, every time that I write the word “burger”, I can feel the snark boiling up inside myself. Like many of you, I’ll be glad to see the craze die down so that this dish can lose the sense of cliché that it has developed as of late and return to what it has been for the last 100 years: Just plain awesome.

They’ve been popular for a long time – yes, even before there was a Shake Shack in New York – and once the bandwagon hopping fervor has calmed, they will remain one of our favorite dishes.

Some of you may remember that John Kessler began a burger search earlier this year that evolved into his “Burger of the week” segment. Thanks to over 200 comments from our readers, John was armed with more potential burgers to try than one man could hope to get through. However, duty called and John moved back to the head of the reviewing table, and now this charge should pass on to little ole’ me.

I won’t be resurrecting the “Burger of the week” segment exactly, nor will I be doing a “Burger of the month”. That could get exhausting for the both of us. But I still think that it is my duty to report on the best burgers in Atlanta as I happen upon them.

I spotted one repeated suggestion among the many you provided that needed immediate attention. That would be the burger from Muss & Turner’s in Smynings, which happens to be my current “new favorite.”IMG_0030

A single thick patty of Riverview Farms grass-fed beef, cooked to order, draped in melted cheddar and cilantro mayo, and topped with red onion and roasted poblano peppers. All wrapped in a fluffy challah bun. Juice seeps from deep within the patty as I cut the burger into halves.

Be still my beating heart.

Though the cilantro mayo and roasted poblanos add some very nice flavor, nothing overwhelms the pure grass-fed taste of the meat. It is obvious that the team behind this burger respects their beef.

If you are a lover of a great medium rare burger, Muss & Turner’s should be stop number one for you. As a restaurateur, it shows a great vote of confidence in your product – not a lack of concern for your customer’s safety – to not only willingly tread into medium rare territory, but to specifically recommend it.

If you aren’t a fan of medium rare because of the texture, I can respect that. To each his own, I guess. However, if it is fear that prevents you from experiencing the eye-rolling delight one derives from a perfectly juicy medium rare burger, you are missing out. Put it on your bucket list. Make it your New Year’s resolution. However you do it, don’t meet your grave without KNOWING if it is for you. Some of you will surely thank me.

At $10.93, this is not a cheap hamburger, but it doesn’t taste like one. It is worth every single penny. I’ve spent more than that on other burgers in town and they have not come close to this. If you cringe at the thought of paying anything over $5 for a burger, regardless of quality, we will just have to agree to disagree. But, if you don’t mind paying extra for a burger you will remember, make it a priority to get to M&T as soon as possible.

Oh, and like pretty much anything that I put in my mouth, I highly recommend that you spend the extra $2 and add bacon. Totally worth it.

- by Jon Watson, Food & More blog


- Jon Watson writes about Popular Eats for the AJC Dining Team. He also publishes his own blog, Live To Feast

35 comments Add your comment


November 18th, 2010
8:03 am

it’s a great burger. as with just about everything on their menu, it’s obvious the amount of thought and care that M&T puts into the process from sourcing ingredients to preparation. i also don’t understand the hesitance to spend a little extra on a great burger. $10.93 is a pretty inexpensive meal for a high quality restaurant and this burger blows away most entrees at that price point.


November 18th, 2010
8:32 am

M&T is a great place to eat – hard to go wrong with anything on the menu. It’s tough for me to journey outside the Perimeter for lunch, but I have to make a pilgrimage for one of their sandwiches.

BTW, if you go into one of the new ‘burger bars’ and someone tells you it’s illegal to server a burger below medium, please walk out. I hate that.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Saralee Parker, Live to Feast and Ryan Turner, John Kessler. John Kessler said: Jon Watson: Burger hunt – Muss & Turner’s [...]

Thomas S.

November 18th, 2010
9:03 am

Great article/post! I appreciate your attitude towards reporting burgers “as I happen upon them”. This is right down the street from me and I don’t visit M&T nearly enough.


November 18th, 2010
9:21 am

Geez that looks fantastic. Thanks for the heads up on this one. Great post!

Jenny Turknett

November 18th, 2010
9:32 am

If restaurants in Atlanta wonder why there’s a spike in burger sales today, this is it. I’m ready to run out and grab a great burger after reading your post!


November 18th, 2010
9:37 am

Glad you guys finally gave the M&T burger some love! One of the best in the city and no doubt worth every penny. Hope you got a chance to try their fries because they too are top notch. For thick-style burgers, nobody does it better (I say this because this is a totally different burger experience than H&F…not better or worse, just different).


November 18th, 2010
9:51 am

Busy or not, I don’t see John Kessler turning down too many opportunties to find a great burger.

Bob from Accounttemps

November 18th, 2010
2:14 pm

For me, a good burger can’t be cooked on anything but an open flame. I ate and M&T a few months ago and my wife’s experience definitely supports your review, Jon — she thought it was fantastic. Alas, I didn’t have a burger and my experience was “less well”. I guess we’ll have to go back and order the same thing next time.


November 18th, 2010
2:17 pm

M&T burger is a great one, the Andy Burger at Cafe de Sol in Poncey Highland still my favorite. Can’t wait to see what the M&T team are gonna do in the old Joel space.

Hal Cromer

November 18th, 2010
3:11 pm

Great Burger. Everything about M&T is original. If there’s anything out there anywhere like it I’m unaware of it, but definitley not here in ATL. I was doing catering events a few years ago and I overheard one of the managers say: “If I had the money I would move to another major city and COMPLETELY copy MUSS&TURNER’S, I would change the name only……”
It’s like they have they’re own genre of restaurant (for lack of a better term)…..My personal recomendation if you’re not in the mood for a burger or don’t eat red meat: The Tuscan Raider Sandwich (chicken). It’s phenominal……


November 18th, 2010
4:16 pm

I want one… Now!!!


November 18th, 2010
4:24 pm

I’m glad that M&T’s is getting some pub… they certainly deserve it. I have yet to have anything there that wasn’t fantastic.

When I moved intown from Smyrna a few years ago, the only downside was that I was leaving M&T. I am very excited to see what they do with Local Three, which is in Joel’s old space.

Keep it up, Ryan and Todd.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tara Monique, Burger and Brew. Burger and Brew said: Nice burger review of @mussandturners from John Watson at @ajc – [...]


November 18th, 2010
4:54 pm

That is one mighty fine looking burger. And you’ve touched upon a pet peeve of mine – some of these new burger specialty joints (and other higher end restaurants) who do not have the confidence in either their meat sourcing or food handling skills to be willing to offer a burger cooked less than medium. Put a disclaimer on the menu, make me take a blood oath not to sue, but don’t make me order an overcooked burger!


November 18th, 2010
5:35 pm

I definitely want to get over there and try one. Also, have heard so much about the after 10pm only burgers at Holeman and Finch(did I get that right?) and can’t wait to dig in. But I’ve got a surprise for you….one of the best burgers I’ve had anywhere ever was at a taqueria, NOT a burger joint. Next time you go to Pure Taqueria consider ordering their burger. The toppings are not what I would usually think of as burger toppings but they come together in perfect harmony.


November 18th, 2010
6:09 pm


November 18th, 2010
6:21 pm

right there in Smyrna...

November 18th, 2010
7:29 pm

is US Cafe. get you a superburger and some crinkle cut fries and you’ll be in heaven y’all…


November 19th, 2010
8:24 am

@I LOVE NY -HAHAHA. I knew it was only a matter of time before you showed up to spread your douchiness. For a guy that hates ATL, you spend a lot of time looking into what we are doing. You get how predictable your comments are, right? Why do you spend your time here? Youd think that you would be busy going to all of your own city’s top tier sellout chef’s money making burger joints (RAMPANT in NY) rather than sitting around your roach infested broom closet of an apartment making fun of a city that you are obviously bitter against. What’s wrong? Did your ex-friends in Atlanta run you out of town for being such a ridiculous snob?



November 19th, 2010
9:39 am

Apparently there’s a bridge in NY that’s missing a troll. Leave him alone and maybe he’ll go back.


November 19th, 2010
3:32 pm

M&T rocks!!!!

Don in Marietta

November 19th, 2010
3:41 pm

Jon Watson and John Kessler: Jon, you have discovered what my group of foodies discovered some time ago. We had our own burger hunt four or five years ago. We crowned Six Feet Under’s the best, with a tie for second of Ann’s Snack Bar and Bone’s. But, after having The Burger at Muss & Turner’s, we immediately crowned a new champion. It is the best burger in town. Nothing else comes close. By the way, earlier this week, I went back to Six Feet Under, and yesterday went to Muss & Turner’s. Still no contest. The Burger at Muss & Turner’s rules!

Don in Marietta

November 19th, 2010
3:43 pm

Oh, one final thing about The Burger at Muss & Turner’s. About a month ago, I had one, and it was so good, I doubled-down, and had a second. The only thing better than The Burger at Muss & Turner’s is TWO burgers at Muss & Turner’s!

Jon Watson

November 19th, 2010
3:46 pm

@ I LOVE NY – I’ve tried to stay out of this as much as possible, but your Atlanta bashing has gotten pretty old. Regardless of the screen name you decide to use – yes, we can see all of them – your comments are consistently mean spirited and rarely have anything to do with the post topic. If you want to continue to post comments here switch to something constructive, or at least something relevant to the post, other than just expressing your disdain for Atlanta and it’s residents. Otherwise, I’m going to have you blocked.

Steven Josovitz

November 20th, 2010
11:45 am

I know chain burger places don’t get a know but TED’s Bison Burger is pretty darn incredible. The George’s Cadillac with Chedder, Bacon , BBQ and Fried Crispy Onions is superb…… I am heading over to re-visit Muss and Turner’s in Holy Grail Search….


November 20th, 2010
12:24 pm

Glad to hear about M&T’s.Finally found a place that will cook my burger the way I want.Can’t wait to go .


November 21st, 2010
6:13 am

Thanks Jon for putting I love Ny in her place. If she bashes us again send her packing. My guess is that the only thing she eats is Jenny Craig!


November 21st, 2010
10:39 am



November 21st, 2010
10:46 am

Miss Ann’s Snack Shack on Memorial Drive, Atlanta, GA: “Home of the Ghetto Burger”

I had the “Hood” burger which is the Ghetto Burger with Coleslaw on top. UNBELIEVABLE!

Thanks for the article. I will definitely go and try this burger that you have reviewed as well.


November 21st, 2010
11:44 am

US Cafe on Piedmont Rd at Sidney Marcus Blvd has the best burgers in Atlanta. Always fresh and never frozen.


November 21st, 2010
12:01 pm

A last minute suggestion from a friend in Los Angeles sent me to Father’s Office on Thursday where I had one of the best burgers in my life. Great beef topped with well caramelized onions, gruyerre(sp?), blue cheese and arugula all served on an oval shaped bun. Someone should replicate that combination here.

Rosalyn M.

November 21st, 2010
12:19 pm

Ms. Ann Snack Shack…unbelievable!


November 21st, 2010
12:27 pm

To this day I still haven’t come across a burger I enjoy as much as the good ole Ollie’s Trolley ones back in the 70’s.


November 22nd, 2010
9:29 am

Another favorite of mine where they will do a medium rare burger is the Porter Beer Bar. They also have the best pomme frites in town.