Yay! Our first installment of “Ask Austin Eavesdropper” is starting off with an important reader question: Who serves the best burger in town?

Austin may be a tofu-munching, coconut water-drinking vegetarian mecca, but let’s face it: This is still Texas, and our carnivore contingent is loud and proud. So when a sweet gal from the east coast wrote in with this question, I put Megan – AE’s food writer — on the case:

I’m moving to Austin in a couple months and visiting for the first time next weekend! I’ll be meeting up with my bosses and house-hunting, but my boyfriend and I LOVE FOOD. Specifically burgers — I have a burger crush on a little dive bar in Virginia that I fear I’ll never get over — and margaritas. We like other things too, but those are the highlights. Any must-visit places that do those things well? We’ll be staying close to SoCo (I feel like a local already!) if that helps narrow things down, but we’re willing to travel for good food.

–Callie from the East Coast

In 2010, I had an Experience at Your Mom’s Burgers when I split an order with a friend. Separating the two halves looked like a slow-motion shot in a commercial where food stylists spend hours getting ingredients to do what I got to witness with my BARE eyes: The crispy things were crunchy. The melty things dripped in gooey loops. The patty itself trilled a high operatic note when we cut it in half. And, I got to wash it down with my very own beer that I purchased at the gas station across the street. It was a darn good evening.

Why did I not go back after 2010? I had tacos to eat. And other dishes to try. Austin is such a meanie like that.

That was the first place I thought of when I got this question.

I also thought of the aroma of baking bread that whirls around your nose, travels up into your brain and lands gently on your taste buds you when you walk into Hopdoddy’s on South Congress, and how this very bread is the bun around my two favorite patties: The Goodnight and Ahi Tuna Burger. But be ye warned! Lines are second only to Franklin’s BBQ during peak hours.

Because I love you so much, Callie, I polled a few buddies of mine whose lives also revolve around food and the tasting of it. These recommendations are from Austinites who have 40 years of living here combined. That’s the age of a human person, so take this seriously. Here are their actual comments:

-Casino El Camino is big, juicy, greasy, and delicious.
-P. Terry’s has good “fast food” burgers, but nothing that’ll bring a tear to your eye.
-Hut’s is always a classic…and they have so many unique ways of preparing the burger.
-Bartlett’s is formerly Houston’s. If they’ve maintained the quality and menu, then they should still have the hickory bacon cheeseburger… freakin’ delicious.

-Your Mom’s Burgers –not good for you but tastes amazing. They just moved to 51st street.
-And I cannot believe I’m saying this, but Phil’s Icehouse has the 78704 Burger, and it’s incredibly delicious.
-OH! How could I forget…Contigo… That burger is unreal.

-Phil’s is definitely good across the board (homemade buns).
-Top Notch - good old-fashioned greasy burger. (Fun fact: This was the burger joint in Dazed & Confused)
-Roaring Fork – mmm…delish.
-Opal Divine’s – actually a pretty badass burger.
-Casino el Camino – scary staff, good burgers.

-The trailer just outside of Gibson – probably the best patty I’ve had here.
-Casino el Camino, although it has been a long time for me.
-Jackalope’s burgers are pretty huge.


There you have it! Thanks so much for being the very first, inaugural “Ask Austin Eavesdropper” question-asker, Callie! If this post inspired you to go out and eat a burger, Tweet us (@TollyM), would ya? And speaking of American rituals (like burger-eating), remember to GO VOTE today. Preferably on a full stomach. One full of burgers.

Next week, we answer another pressing issue: Where in Austin can you clean a leather purse? Our style contributor has the answer.

  • Callie McLean

    I feel so honored! Thanks so much for all the burger knowledge, my tastebuds are doing a happy dance :)

    • Tolly Moseley

      Our pleasure, Miss Callie!

  • Amelia

    Am I in the minority for still liking (no, loving!) Mighty Fine??

    • Tolly Moseley

      Certainly not, Amelia. I think Texas Monthly deemed them one of the 50 Best Burger places in the state a few years ago, right?

  • RLReevesJr

    Hey Tolly, I’ve got a running series up. It’s got 15 or so spots on it.

  • Breanna

    Um, MEGAN, I’m a little sad you did not ask me for my input, as YOU WELL KNOW I love me a good burger.

    Also, where to clean a leather purse – YES. YES YES. I need to know the answer to this.

    • Megan


    • Rachel from Love a la mode

      Shoe Hospital on Steck and Burnet. They are amazing leather conditioner/repairers. I trust them with everything!!

  • Sean Loyless

    The bacon cheeseburger at Thistle on 6th is my personal favorite!

    • Megan

      Hi, Sean. Why is that? I’m curious. Might have to try it.

    • Tolly Moseley

      Hey @google-e247f4918c819892a99416f90be1c807:disqus! I too would like to hear more about this Thistle of which you speak, because I actually haven’t tried it yet. Thoughts?

      • Sean Loyless

        Oh geez, I never got a notification from this! Sorry Tolly and Megan! I like it because it’s cooked exactly how you request it, and it’s only $7.50! They have a pretty amazing Veggie Burger and it’s on special on Wednesdays.

  • Rachel from Love a la mode

    As soon as I saw the title of this post my immediate reaction was “AHI TUNA BURGER FROM HOPDODDYS!!!!!!!!!!!!” and then I got sad because I won’t be in town for 2 more weeks. Luckily you mentioned it so you are officially allowed to stay an expert on all things Austin :)

    PS It’s not near SoCo for this soon-to-be Austinite, but if anyone is generally in North Austin and craving Hopdoddy’s, their new(ish) location on Anderson pretty much never has a line.

    • Tolly Moseley

      @RachelfromLovealamode:disqus, I am also an ENORMOUS fan of Hopdoddy’s Ahi Tuna burger! I like how even pescatarians can blaze their own victorious path to gluttony there. The last time I went, I ordered the Ahi Tuna burger with my husband and was all, “oh I’ll just eat half…couldn’t POSSIBLY finish the whole thing!” 10 minutes later, whole thing, gone.

  • Nancy Giacomo Lemon

    love love your blog, tolly and you ain’t half bad yerself….momma lemon

    • Tolly Moseley

      @facebook-1221070006:disqus, you know I’m a HUGE Momma Lemon fan myself!! So the admiration is mutual. ;) Thank you for the sweet words!

  • Amy Starnes

    As a newer Austin resident, I see I have some eating to do. Thanks for the list! I also like Wholly Cow- probably the juiciest grassfed burger I’ve ever had!

    • Tolly Moseley

      Ah, Wholly Cow — good suggestion, Amy. I actually haven’t eaten there yet. What kind did you order there?

  • Andrew Hill

    How did Jack Allen’s not make this list? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good P. Terry’s and even a burger from Roaring Fork, but Jack Allen’s has the best burgers in Austin- hands down. Thanks for sharing!

    • Tolly Moseley

      Nice, Andrew! I drive by Jack Allen’s at least 3x a week on the way to/from my silks studio, and am often STARVING afterwards…now I know where I can go solve that problem. ;)

      • Andrew Hill

        Glad I could help. Get their salsa, too! I believe they can it themselves (atleast they open up fresh jar when you ask for it).

  • Jason Gentry

    Hill’s Cafe south congress south of Ben White. Very republicanny but great burger

  • sara95

    Who Has the Best Burgers?

    Answer the question now for a chance to win a $100 gift card to your favorite fast food chain.