They can be fancy. They can be messy. They’re often the thing you crave most. “Those are good burgers, Walter.” “This is a tasty burger!” Some years back, someone decided that a cooked ground beef patty sandwich was a really good idea, and they’ve been the cornerstones (that’s what they can feel like in your gut, anyway) of a good cheat day ever since.
FEATURED RESTAURANT: HARRIET’S HAMBURGERS
1115 N. Brevard St., Ste. 6
This burger joint with a walk-up window at Optimist Hall has a simple menu of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and fries, but they get everything right. The Hamburger + Cheese is an exquisite blend of Black Angus short rib, brisket, and chuck, charred and double-stacked with white American cheese, house-made pickles, ribboned red onions, and Harriet’s signature sauce on a buttery brioche bun.
911 E. Morehead St.
This wood-paneled, two-level sports bar is the place to take your family for no-frills burgers, wings, and beer on game day.
FAT CAT BURGERS + BAKESHOP
2410 Park Road
Order maple-bacon doughnuts and confetti cookies at the walk-up window, or come inside for loaded burgers, sandwiches, and salads.
A mainstay for locals, this place serves unconventional bar bites like mac-and-blue-cheese with bacon and nine signature burgers.
ACE NO. 3
This counter-service joint from the team behind Sea Level and The Waterman offers a straightforward menu of burgers and fries. Pair it with a Juicy Jay or OMB Copper—or treat yourself to a boozy milkshake.
PIEDMONT SOCIAL HOUSE
2135 Ayrsley Town Blvd., Ste. C
Order a craft beer, cocktail, or boozy slushie and play a few rounds of pool, foosball, or yard Yahtzee. Celebrate your win with some Pretzel Dippers, Social Nachos, or a Port Charlotte Burger.
1901 Commonwealth Ave.
This 1950s-style diner has retro teal booths, a jukebox, and classic dishes like burgers, fried pork chops, and fried chicken.
MOO & BREW
1300 Central Ave.
Burgers have playful names like Peter Piper, Farmer’s Daughter, and Moo Melt, and friendly servers make this spot an easy choice for a casual dinner out.
HARRY’S GRILLE & TAVERN
2127 Ayrsley Town Blvd., Ste. 103
This Steele Creek favorite is modeled after a New York gastropub, with burgers, steaks, and sandwiches. Pair it with a craft beer—or a Manhattan, if you’re feeling fancy.
PINKY’S WESTSIDE GRILL
1600 W. Morehead St.
Housed in an old auto shop, this funky spot serves massive burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches alongside waffle fries and fried pickles.
COWBELL BURGER & WHISKEY BAR
201 N. Tryon St., Ste. 1010
The sister restaurant to Leroy Fox has a roster of fancy burgers, including a foie gras-topped masterpiece for $28.
1957 E. Seventh St.
The Crunkleton may be famous for its cocktails, but the spot also serves A Really Good Burger. Add an egg or grilled bacon (among other options) for an even heartier meal.
BROOKS’ SANDWICH HOUSE
2710 N. Brevard St.
Head to Brooks’ humble red hut for rough-hewn burgers with homemade chili. Grab ’em to go or eat ’em atop the unvarnished wood tables in the gravel parking lot.
THE PENGUIN DRIVE-IN
1531 East Blvd.
These aren’t gourmet steakhouse burgers with three types of premium meat—they’re messy, condiment-heavy gut bombs you eat with pints of beer after you’ve run the Booty Loop.