Here’s a list of Charlotte’s top 15 burger restaurants and what to order at each spot.
Charlotte’s burger scene is sneaky solid. We’ve developed a great mix of old school burgers and gourmet burgers.
[Note: Yes, I’ve tasted about way too many burgers in the past few weeks and yes, my cholesterol is high – not kidding, recently had a physical. This article was originally published in May 2017 and updated in April 2018.]
#15 The Liberty
Vibe: Classy gastropub serving upscale American pub food.
What to order: “Crunch” Burger ($14) – Pimento cheese, smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, sweet onions, pickle, stacked with house chips and served on a brioche bun.
#14 Crepe Cellar
Vibe: Super chill and cozy European gastropub in the heart of NoDa.
What to order: Crepe Cellar Burger ($15) – Gruyere, onion straws, garlic aioli on a potato bun. If you’re doing a group appetizer, go with Crepe Cellar’s Pestro Brie Fries or their Burrata.
#13 The Diamond
Vibe: Cozy retro diner in Plaza Midwood, founded in 1945.
What to order: Small Block Burger – 1/3 lb. ground beef with lettuce, tomato, onion and mayonnaise.
Vibe: Cool bar and burger spot in the heart of Uptown. I’ve heard it’s one of Luke Kuechly’s favorite late night hangouts.
What to order: Boogan’s Bacon ($12) – beff patty, pretzel bun, bacon marmalade, bacon strips, iceberg leaf lettuce, roma tomatoes, sliced red onions and roasted garlic aioli. Served with your choice of side (go with the sweet potato tots).
Vibe: Burger and bar joint in Plaza Midwood.
What to order: The Fender Bender ($10.95) – beef burger topped with chili, crispy fried onions, mushrooms, slaw, American cheese and bacon.
Backup order: The Cross Country – beef burger basted with a citrus bbq sauce, topped with pico de gallo, guacamole, pepperjack cheese, and jalapeno cilantro spread.
Vibe: Upscale sushi and burger restaurant with modern interior, fish tank and back patio in SouthPark.
What to order: The Cowfish Bento Box ($14) – A combo meal featuring both burger and sushi, including a mini-burger with American cheese, pickles and chopped red onion, sweet potato fries, Thai cucumbers, edamame and choice of a 4 piece sushi roll (California, Spicy Tuna, Vegetarian or Philly Roll)
Backup burger: The C.B.C.L.T. 14 – a half-pound beef burger, cheddar cheese, applewood bacon, white cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, Cowfish sauce, brioche bun with a side.
Vibe: Self-described “lowbrow eats & drinks” in FreeMoreWest.
What to order: Pterodactyl Burger ($5) – Greg’s award-winning 5-ounce beef burger, everything style.
Burger topping options at Pinky’s:
- Everything – mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, dill pickles
- Westside – mustard, chili, slaw, onion
- Ding Dong Style – crunchy peanut butter, honey-cilantro slaw and hot sriracha sauce
Go big burger: Triple “G” three, 5-ounce patties, Westside style (this was Guy Fieri’s order when he visited).
#8 Moo & Brew
Vibe: Neighborhood burger and beer spot with a great patio in Plaza Midwood (known to many for their famous Large Marge Bloody Mary).
What to order: Farmer’s Daughter ($11) – farm egg, peppered applewood bacon, cheddar, tomato, Bibb lettuce, M&B sauce.
Backup burger: Moo & Brew Burger – brew-braised onions, brew chili, brew cheese & yellow mustard.
Vibe: Drive-in Southern comfort food restaurant a few miles from Uptown on Independence. Serving gems like the Super Boy since 1955.
What to order: Jumbo Cheeseburger ($5.95) – their Super Boy Hamburger (two beef patties, mustard, onions, lettuce and tomatoes) with two slices of cheese and French fries.
Vibe: Upscale urban grocery store in Myers Park and SouthPark.
What to order: Reid’s Steakburger ($15) – House ground filet, sirloin & rib-eye, Tega Hills lettuce, tomato and red onion served on an Artisan bun with your choice of side (go with the truffle fries).
When to order it: Each Tuesday, both Reid’s Fine Foods locations (in Myers Park and SouthPark) offer a 1/2 priced Steakburger special. It’s a popular special, they do about 300 burgers every Tuesday.
#5 Bad Daddy’s
Vibe: Neighborhood burger bar in Dilworth.
What to order: Basic Burger ($8.75) – 6-ounce freshly ground custom beef blend.
Backup burger: Bacon Cheeseburger on Steroids – Monterey Jack cheese, three pieces of jalapeño bacon, three pieces of applewood smoked bacon, housemade bacon mayo, shredded lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickles.
Vibe: Old-school, family-owned burger and Southern comfort food restaurant in LoSo. They call your order over a speaker, which is just fantastic.
What to order: Zack’s Special ($5.95) — two 100% ground beef patties with double American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mayonnaise and special sauce on a toasted bun, served with French fries.
#3 Shake Shack
Vibe: Counter-service fast food chain with a gourmet take on classic burgers, chicken, hot dogs, shakes and custard in Park Road Shopping Center.
What to order: ShackBurger – Single or Double Cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato, ShackSauce™.
Vibe: Tiny hidden spot near NoDa’s Heist Brewing with a walk-up window and outdoor table for eating.
What to order: Burger ($3.50) “All The Way” with mustard, onions and homemade chili.
Vibe: Fairly forgettable upscale fast-casual interior located in an Elizabeth strip mall.
What to order: Bang Bang Burger ($9.50) – American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, homemade pickle and Bangburger sauce with fries. A double will cost you an additional $3.
Backup order: Cowboy Burger – sharp cheddar, bacon and homemade BBQ sauce with fries.