Before my vegetarian phase of life, the best burger I ever bit into came off of my parents’ grill. It was always a thick patty, medium well, with no need for anything fancy to distract from the flavor. Just a toasted Kaiser roll and a heap of ketchup.
Now, away from our parents’ grills, here are the 8 best burgers in Charlotte, according to the C5 team. Veggie (and fancy) options included.
With onion rings, provolone, fried pickles, spicy ranch sauce.
“The fried pickles are probably my favorite thing at Pinky’s. So fried pickles on a burger? Yes please!” – Corey Inscoe
With house pimento cheese, smoked bacon, tomato-chile jam, whipped blue cheese and chips.
“The only thing wrong with this potato-chip-and-pimento-cheese- topped burger is that you can’t eat it in private. This is a problem both because it’s hard to gracefully eat something this large and because moaning with pleasure in public is frowned upon.” – Sarah Crosland
With mustard, onions and homemade chili.
“This burger is the embodiment of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ This tiny shack has produced simple and amazing burgers since 1973. The burgers are smashed on a flat top, giving them a perfect char that pairs nicely with the signature chili. And they cost just $3.50 ($3.75 with cheese.)” – Corey Inscoe
Black bean burger with white cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, green chiles, avocado, topped with chipotle ranch dressing.
“The ‘burger’ to satisfy all Mexican cravings.” – Me
Two ground beef patties with American cheese, lettuce, onions, tomato, pickles, mayonnaise. And special sauce.
“Sure, these ingredients may sound familiar *cough, Big Mac, cough* but Zack’s will make you forget any other versions of this mix you may have tried. Plus, this Charlotte institution is known for its shakes. So you have an excuse for ordering one of those to wash it down.” – Sarah Crosland
Quinoa-millet veggie burger with chipotle sunflower hummus, cucumber, onion, guacamole, homemade hot sauce.
“Wrap this in a collard leaf and it’s a smooth and spicy bundle of joy.” – Me
Our fire and brimstone veggie burger with guacamole, chipotle sunflower seed hummus, and homemade hot sauce is a ⭐️. Opt for it wrapped in a collard leaf or with our gluten free sourdough bread for a gluten free option. 🙌🏼 Thanks for capturing this beaut so well, @savorycollection! #alwaysorganic #alwaysplantbased #fireandbrimstone #neverboring #veggieburger
With Jerkiyaki glaze, pineapple salsa, pepper jack cheese.
“OK, so it sounds weird, but you have to trust us on this one. It’s a mix of salty, spicy and sweet that just works. Plus, jerkiyaki is fun to say.” – Sarah Crosland
With onion straws, gruyère, garlic aioli.
“With those ingredients I’m honestly not even sure why I even have to explain what makes this burger amazing. It has fried onions, gruyere, and garlic aioli on it, you guys. Why are you not there eating it right now?” – Sarah Crosland
Photos: David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer; T. Ortega Gaines/Charlotte Observer