Where to find the 8 best burgers in Charlotte

The White Trash burger is a speciality of the new Pinky’s Westside Grill. The burger contains fried pickles, fried onion rings, provolone cheese and spicy ranch dressing. DAVID T. FOSTER III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

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.

Get it:

White Trash Burger at Pinky’s Westside Grill

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


American “Crunch” Burger at The Liberty

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

“All the Way” Burger at Brooks’ Sandwich House

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

“Warning: Will need a nap after consuming this simple yet delicious burger.” -Sallie Funderburk

Cantina Burger at Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar

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

Zack’s Special at Zack’s Hamburgers

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

Fire & Brimstone Burger at Living Kitchen

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

Jerk Style Burger at Lebowski’s Neighborhood Grill

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

Crêpe Cellar Burger at Crêpe Cellar Kitchen and Pub

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


  1. Katie, all good suggestions for burgers, but you missed Bang Bang Burger! Please go and try their burgers, with or with out their various condiments, but the high quality beef and great hand cut fries and onion rings will have you returning frequently. Service is outstanding at this small and comfortable setting.

  2. Katie, I would suggest you take a trip to Fenwicks off Providence and try the Fenwicks Burger. To me, this is the BEST burger in Charlotte; they don’t try too hard and stick to the basics. If it is up-to-par, please write another article featuring ‘User-suggested Burgers’ to let us know if you agreed!

    Love reading your stuff, keep up the great work!

  3. I agree with everything Sam wrote regarding Bang Bang Burger. If you ever visit, be sure to try the cheeseburger egg rolls. Also, Bedder, Bedder & Moore on Abbey Place has Avery good basic cheeseburger. Finally, several friends have spoken highly of Smashburger at Cotswold shopping center.


  4. Bang Bang Burgers has the best burgers I’ve ever had. They have special burgers occasionally – like fried mac and cheese – but their classic Bang Bang Burger is delicious.

  5. Agree that you totally missed Bang Bang Burgers in the Pecan Point Shopping Center in the Elizabeth neighborhood at the corner of E. 7th and Pecan Ave. Grass fed Black Angus Beef, nothing in it but pure and simple.

  6. I lost all respect for your opinion on burgers when you included that Quinoa-millet veggie thing. That is not a burger, and is even more insulting than the concept of a “turkey rueben”.

  7. You write an article about the best burgers in Charlotte, but fail to mention Bang bang burgers is 3 time burger champion at the Moo and Brew fest…..

  8. Believe it or not, I have to suggest Sir Edmund Halley’s burger! Unreal how good it is! Make sure to have a little bit of their Guinness pudding for dessert! Nom nom nom!

  9. How about a shout out to ‘just outside of Charlotte’? Right here in ‘lil ole Belmont! Try the Cow Pig Burger at The String Bean (featured in Southern Living). They grind everything but this one has smoked bacon ground INTO the burger.

  10. Bang bang should be on this list, especially before a vegan restaurant! No disrespect, but we’re talking about meat here.

  11. Best Wings in no particular order
    Bankers Raw Bar (Woodlawn Rd)
    Picasso’s Sports Cafe (University)
    Wing King (Steele Creek/Carowinds)
    Fox & Hound (Northlake)
    TLC Wings & Grill (Pineville)

  12. QCBC is a well-kept secret in Brevard Court, Uptown. Ignorance is the only acceptable excuse because once you’ve had one of their burgers, you know there’s none better in Charlotte


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here