Austin is a great place for foodies, omnivores and culinary explorers looking for their next favorite treat. Every street and neighborhood is packed with delectable offerings and undiscovered favorites just waiting to be explored. If you’re looking for a really good burger here in the city, you could always go to one of the the Tried-and true spots everybody knows about – you know, Hopdoddy, Hut’s, P. Terry’s – but you could also take the burger less travelled, so to speak, by tasting one of Austin’s many hidden gems. Trust me, just because these bites aren’t in all the travel mags doesn’t mean they aren’t some of the best damn burgers you’ve ever tried! So from grass fed bovine to vegan bacon, here are seven seriously undercelebrated burgers in Austin and where to find them.
Wholly Cow – Pure Single Burger
Hidden in an inconspicuous convenient store in south Austin, Wholly Cow is a tiny breakfast and lunch spot that specializes in locally-sourced, grass fed beef burgers free of hormones, additives and unnecessary junk. Early risers can grab a tasty breakfast taco on the way to work, or stop in for a gut busting burger during lunch. These tender burgers are all about the meat, using organic pasture-raised beef, fresh seasonal produce like homemade pickles and unique flavor combos like sweet Hawaiian rolls to ensure that every bite of this burger is perfection. While many people love the paleo and super sized double patty options, the local favorite seems to be the Pure Single Burger with sweet potato fries.
Arlo’s – Bac’n Cheeze Burger
With varying locations and hours across Austin, Arlo’s is a travelling food sensation that serves up 100% vegan plant based comfort foods from out of a tiny, bistro-style food truck. A total changeup from the usual 24 hour taco stand, Arlo’s is a delicious, organic, non-GMO experience for vegetarians and omnivores alike. Each dish is prepared in house using locally – sourced plant based ingredients, because Austin loves its vegan foods. The small, specially curated menu offers burgers, tacos and a selection of sides including tots and sweet potato fries. And, oddly enough, the vegan burger that people can’t stop raving about is the faux Bac’n Cheeze Burger made with a house made soy free patty and house made seitan bacon.
The Jackalope – Honey Jalapeño Burger
Normally you wouldn’t think of going to a dive bar to find a good burger, yet, at The Jackalope that’s exactly what you’ll find! This popular watering hole and hang out on dirty sixth street has it all: amazing daily happy hours, incredible food and an undeniably Austin vibe that critics and travel shows can’t get enough of! Along with pizzas sandwiches and snacks, The Jackalope also dishes out mammoth gourmet style burgers like the Bacon Brie Burger and famous Chipotle Bacon Cheeseburger – which has been featured on the Food Network’s Best. Burger. Ever. But the locals say you have to try the sweet and savory, devilishly decadent Honey Jalapeño Bacon Cheeseburger with house made honey jalapeño sauce. My mouth waters just thinking about it…
Cow Bells – Woody Harrelson Burger
Located in the South Shore Eatery near Ladybird Lake, Cow Bells is a small burger wonder in Austin. Magazines and foodies love this spot because the burgers are straightforward and unpretentious, made in house with local meats and produce to ensure quality and freshness. Consistently named as one of the best neighborhood burger joints, Cow Bells boasts a menu full of blissful burger offerings that include the Pilgrim – a tasty turkey burger dressed with basil mayo and dried cranberries, the Blue Flame with bleu cheese and grilled jalapeño and the Rise and Shine breakfast style burger stacked with beef, bacon, ham and a perfectly fried egg. And whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat lover, you’ll agree with the locals when they say the Woody Harrelson black bean burger with honey mustard and avocado is one of the best veggie burgers around!
Lebowski’s Grill – Poblano Burger
Tucked inside Highland Lanes bowling alley in central Austin, Lebowski’s Grill is a fun, satirical little spot that serves up greasy, casual snacks and burgers inspired by the classic film that put bowling on the map. This unassuming grill is exactly what you would expect to see in a bowling alley – in fact, all it’s missing is the Dude and his gang! You can bowl a few frames then head to Lebowski’s for a delicious hot dog, Philly cheesesteak or flame broiled burger like the Buffalo Dude with angus beef and buffalo sauce or the Inferno with jalapeños, pepper jack cheese and house jalapeño ranch. But if you’re a serious pepper belly – and you’re seriously hungry – try the loaded Poblano burger with grilled poblano peppers, pepper jack cheese and house chipotle-lime mayo. A spicy and savory concoction that will keep you full for days!
Jewboy Burger – Mero Mero Mo
Inspired by the traditions of the east coast and the foods of the border, Jewboy Burgers is a one-of-a-kind, melting pot fusion food trailer in the heart of Texas. This unique – albeit irreverent – burger spot blends the kosher tastes and traditions of the east coast with all the best recipes and flavors of owner Mo Pittle’s hometown, El Paso, specializing in USDA prime beef burgers on warm potato buns. The tongue in cheek menu offerings at Jewboy include the “Oy Vey Guey” Burger with a classic Jewboy patty and spicy green chiles, the “Goyim” with pastrami and the hybrid “Yenta” Burger topped with a crispy potato latke. But the koshur burger creation that everyone is buzzing about – and for good reason – is the larger than life “Mero Mero Mo” special, done al la Mo with double meat and cheese.
Phil’s Icehouse – “78704” Burger
Rounding out the burger list is Phil’s Icehouse, a family friendly neighborhood bar and grill with great daily specials and yummy burgers and fries – in both kid and adult portions. The varying burgers at Phil’s are all named after popular Austin neighborhoods, like the “Allendale” and the “78750”, and come in full size burgers and mini burger bites, so if you can’t make up your mind you can sample one of each. Reviewers are literally brought to tears by these burgers and go crazy for the hand cut onion rings and soft sweet buns that accompany them. Some local favs include the “Brentwood” with bacon, beef cheddar cheese and sourdough buns and the “Violet Crown” with bleu cheese and cheese jalapeño buns. But the top recommended – and most underrated – burger on the menu has to be the south of the river “78704” burger with jalapeño, sliced avocado, Monterrey jack cheese and chipotle mayo on a warm jalapeño cheese bun. Can anyone say delicioso!