If you like big, beefy burgers, Bluff City doesn’t want your business. The best hamburgers in this town are classic diner-style. Smashed on a griddle, the patties end up with a crispy outside and juicy inside. From dive bars to bistros, here’s where to find the best burgers in Memphis.
Known for its "World Famous" Greek Burger, this legendary local favorite is Memphis’ oldest family-owned tavern, dating back to 1953. The old-school jukebox joint’s dive-bar burger is perfectly greasy after a long night of drinking. Cavender's Greek Seasoning makes it “Greek,” there’s no hummus or tzatziki involved. Cooked to medium in a cast-iron skillet, the patty gets crispy outside while the inside remains nice and juicy. It is topped with melted mozzarella and American cheese, mustard, pickles, onion, a slice of tomato, and thick-cut steak fries, served on a fresh hamburger bun on a styrofoam plate. Wash it down with some of the coldest beer in town. Pro tip: Hit up the ATM before you go. Alex’s Tavern only takes cash.
This downtown diner has been around since 1912 and has been using the same garlic-infused "ageless cooking grease" to fry its beef patties and hand-cut fries for just about as long. (At least they strain it every day?) The diner-style Dyer's Double Double with Cheese is composed of two thin griddle-fried patties, topped with two slices of gooey American cheese, mustard, pickle, and onions, on a simple bun.
Head to this late-night institution after a night out and try the “World Famous” Soul Burger. This historic Downtown dive does it right, griddling thin, seasoned beef patties to perfection. The greasy, alcohol-absorbing burger is topped with tangy “Soul Sauce”.
This gritty club is housed in a 100-year-old building that is currently undergoing repairs. But you can still get your burger and beer fix in the back bar space, which is open while construction is underway. Referred to as The Five Spot, its entrance can be found on G.E. Patterson Avenue.
Funny story, Earnestine & Hazel’s is known for its ghost-driven jukebox, and while they were renovating the historic building, which was once a brothel, they found bones in the walls. Oddly enough, they turned out to be cow bones.
Forget the best burger in Memphis, Food & Wine named Hog & Hominy’s John T. Burger the best in the country. This Italian-Southern fusion restaurant in East Memphis named their signature Oklahoma City-style patty after the famous Southern food journalist, John T. Edge. Its made with seasoned Claybrook Farms Angus beef, smashed on a flat-topped grill with a pile of thinly shredded onions; cooked to medium-rare; then topped with American cheese (covered momentarily to make it melt). The $12 burger is served on a toasted Wonder Bread sesame bun with a dash of French’s mustard and pickled shredded lettuce.
Established in 1970, this classic Memphis chain has now grown to nine locations, so you’re never far from a Huey’s. You would never know it’s a chain from the graffitied walls and frilly toothpicks dotting the ceilings. On the menu, you’ll find 14 iterations of juicy Angus beef patty, which can be subbed for a chargrilled veggie, black bean, or turkey burger. You can have it cooked however you like, but the default is medium. Yet another “World Famous” burger, the eponymous patty is dressed with mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion, and cheddar or Swiss cheese then served on a buttered and toasted sesame seed bun. Order with a side of steak fries or substitute giant red onion rings. Another star on the menu is the steak skewers.
If you’re into stuffed burgers, look no further than this laid-back Southern eatery in the middle of Midtown. This family-owned counter-service joint is known for its soul food favorites and hearty stuffed Angus (or turkey) burgers. Pack your patty with cheeses, bacon, jalapeños, sautéed mushrooms, roasted peppers, grilled onions, and/or fresh spinach; seasoned and cooked to perfection. If you don’t feel like homestyle fries, try the sweet and spicy corn on the cob. Bring your patience, everything at Mot & Ed’s is cooked to order.
Chef Ryan Trimm revamped his popular Cooper-Young Low Country bistro with a new look and a new menu, but the Pimento Cheeseburger remains! Handcrafted with local ingredients, the beefy burger starts with a Claybrook Farms patty, topped with a heap of melted, gooey, sweet yet tangy pimento cheese; crisp lettuce, tomato, housemade bread and butter pickles, and mayo, on a soft and fluffy milk bun. Pair it with a local craft beer.
Burgers? Good. Barbecue? Good. Tops Bar-B-Q offers the best of both worlds. This local favorite has been around for more than 60 years and now has 15 locations. Available as a quarter or half-pound, single or double, with or without cheese, the greasy old-school patties are seasoned with salt and pepper and squashed with a spatula. They always come out piping hot off the flat-top grill, “Top” it with pulled pork, cooked over hardwood charcoal and green hickory wood. Skip the crinkle-cut fries and get the vinegary barbecue beans as a side instead.