Originally published May 18, 2017. Last updated on June 30, 2020.
Love burgers? Here’s a list of Charlotte’s 23 best burgers spots.
From old-school to gourmet, Charlotte’s burger scene is sneaky good. This list is in no particular order; it is not a ranking.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, each spot listed below has ever-changing set-ups — from indoor and patio seating to takeout only. Call ahead to be sure you have the latest information. The ones temporarily closed at the time of publishing are marked with an asterisk.
Vibe: Tiny, hidden spot near NoDa’s Heist Brewing with a walk-up window and outdoor table for eating. A resilient Charlotte staple, Brooks’ reopened in January after losing co-owner Scott Brooks in a tragic shooting. It then closed for a couple months due to the pandemic, but Brooks is back again.
What to order: Burger “All The Way” with mustard, onions, and homemade chili.
Vibe: Fast-casual interior located in an Elizabeth strip mall, with a newer location in South End.
What to order: Bang Bang Burger — American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, homemade pickle, and “Bang bang” sauce with fries.
Backup order: Cowboy Burger — sharp cheddar, bacon, and homemade barbecue sauce with fries.
(3) Ace No. 3
Vibe: At this counter service spot in Belmont, you’ll find communal seating inside and a patio with picnic tales and string lights. And while there are no concrete plans for a rooftop at this point, look for this as a possibility in the future.
“It’s actually quite hard to create a concept this simple,” says owner Paul Manley, who also owns Sea Level and The Waterman. “Every single item you use and every process you do has to have meaning and impact.”
What to order: “The Ace” burger consists of two patties, American cheese, onions, pickles, and “comeback” sauce on a toasted potato bun. You can also build your own burger (single, double, triple, or veggie) and add bacon or egg ($1 each). You can also get your burger on a gluten free bun ($1).
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 ground beef patties with double American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mayonnaise, and “special sauce” on a toasted bun, served with French fries.
(5) The Crunkleton
Vibe: Classy cocktail bar in Elizabeth. Wash down the burger with an Old Fashioned.
Description: The popular Crunkleton Burger is topped with cheese, lettuce, pickles, and house-made Crunkleton sauce served with fries.
[Related Agenda guide: 8 things to know about The Crunkleton, the #1 hottest bar in Charlotte right now]
(6) The Dive N
Vibe: It’s an old-school diner in Pineville. You’ll find picnic tables out front and retro decor inside.
What to order: Jimmy Special — double cheddar burger topped with onion rings, pickles, mustard, and special sauce.
Vibe: Upscale urban grocery store in Myers Park, SouthPark, and Uptown.
What to order: Reid’s Steak Burger — 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).
(8) The Stanley
Vibe: It’s a fancy restaurant from James Beard semifinalist chef Paul Verica.
What to order: The cheeseburger will set you back $18, but damn it’s delicious. It comes with house-ground NY strip and tenderloin mixed with some foie gras and white truffle, topped with aged cheddar, pickled onions, hot house tomatoes, and served with truffle potato chips.
[Related Agenda guide: 2020 Rankings: The 20 best restaurants in Charlotte, right now]
(9) 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 — farm egg, peppered applewood bacon, cheddar, tomato, Bibb lettuce, and M&B sauce.
Backup burger: Moo & Brew Burger — brew-braised onions, brew chili, brew cheese, and yellow mustard.
What to order: Pterodactyl Burger ($5.25) — 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).
What to order: The house burger, which comes with bacon, herb mayo, and a caramelized onion marmalade.
Vibe: This low-key joint makes the bold claim that they’re “home of the best chili cheeseburgers, french fries, and onion rings in the nation.”
Description: All chiliburgers come with tomatoes, pickles, onions, mustard, and chili.
(13) Oak Steakhouse
What to order: The Oak Burger — grilled sweet onion, tomato, Bibb lettuce, white cheddar on a brioche bun served with truffle frites. Add a fried egg for another $2 or add Benton’s bacon for $3.
(14) 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. We’ve heard it’s one of Luke Kuechly’s favorite late night hangouts.
What to order: Boogan’s Bacon — beef patty, pretzel bun, bacon marmalade, bacon strips, iceberg leaf lettuce, tomatoes, sliced red onions, and roasted garlic aioli. Served with your choice of side (go with the sweet potato tots).
(16) The Asbury
What to order: The Asbury Burger — house ground beef patties, pickle and saffron mayo, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and griddled cheddar.
(17) South 21 Drive-in
Background: Drive-in Southern comfort food restaurant a few miles from Uptown on Independence Boulevard. Serving gems like the Super Boy since 1955.
What to order: Super Boy ($5.65) hamburger — two beef patties, cheese, mustard, onions, lettuce, and tomatoes with French fries.
(18) The Goodyear House
Vibe: New NoDa neighborhood restaurant inside of a transformed early 1900s mill home. The Goodyear House recently expanded its outdoor seating, too.
What to order: Goopy burger — Shipley Farms beef, cheddar, pickles, onion, and shredded lettuce on a benne seed bun. Make it a double for $4 more and/or add Benton’s Bacon for $3 more. It’s designed to taste like a more delicious version of the McDonald’s Big Mac.
[Related Agenda guide: The 18 best patios in Charlotte, right now]
(19) Crepe Cellar*
Vibe: Super chill and cozy European gastropub in NoDa.
What to order: Crepe Cellar Burger — Gruyere, onion straws, garlic aioli on a potato bun. If you’re doing a group appetizer, go with Crepe Cellar’s Pesto Brie Fries or the Burrata.
(20) Bad Daddy’s
What to order: Basic Burger — 6-ounce freshly ground custom beef blend.
Backup burger: When you’re craving breakfast, but it’s actually lunch time, go with the “Sam I Am Burger” — American cheese, over easy fried egg, rosemary ham, and fresh-made pesto.
(21) Midwood Smokehouse
What to order: Sure, you know Midwood for its barbecue, but have you had the burger? If not, try The Roadhouse — chuck and brisket burger patty with ketchup, mustard, pickles American cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Add brisket or chopped pork for another $3.
(22) Foxcroft Wine Co.
What to order: This top-notch wine bar also serves a signature burger — ground hanger steak, grilled onion, pea shoots, tomato, truffle aioli, and your choice of cheddar or blue cheese.
(23) Mr. K’s
The tradition: Opened in 1967, Mr. K’s has served several generations of children, many of whom grew up to take their own kids here. The restaurant carried on this year in memory of co-owner Pamela Dizes, whose parents were the original founders. Dizes died in summer 2019 after a long fight with breast cancer.
What to order: The Big K — a quarter-pound burger with cheese — and top it off with Mr. K’s irresistible soft-serve, of course. It’s a Charlotte summer necessity.
[Related Agenda story: A new chapter begins for Mr. K’s as longtime owner passes away]