March 6th, 2012

H-Town Showdown: Houston’s Best Burger

A burger used to be some ground chuck between a Butter Krust bun. Twenty years ago, the philosophy of using fresh produce, Kobe beef or chutney over mayo woulda got you run outta town. My how things have changed. Our attention spans have shortened so much that now we……wait a minute- what was I saying? Oh yeah- now we need options! Everyone’s got their burger besty, so without further ado…who ya got?


Bernie’s Burger Bus

Justin Turner, the former personal chef of Houston Rockets star, Shane Battier, made his way to Houston from Chicago before opening Bernie’s Burger Bus. Since then he’s been all over town promoting his mobile burger teachings with incredible items like “The Bully”, “The Principal” and “The Substitute”—my personal favorite—a burger topped with bacon, caramelized onions and bleu cheese.


Christian’s Tailgate

The decadency of a one pound burger topped with fried bacon makes us think that the Christian’s moniker may be a bit tongue-in-cheek. However, we gotta confess, that cramming it into your hungry maw like it’s your last meal before the rapture is worth a thousand Hail Mary’s. Is CTG your patron saint of burger divinity?


Shepherd Park Draught House

It’s never a bad idea to order food that’s named after one of the cooks in the back, so don’t fear El Chito. A burger topped with fried egg, gouda, gorgonzola, bacon and cranberry may make your cardiologist blush, but it keeps a smile on our faces. Extra points for hand-cut fries and Karbach on tap.


Lankford Grocery

I wonder if Mr. and Mrs. Lankford had any idea that the tiny fruit stand they opened in 1938 would become a Houston institution known best for one helluvah hamburger. Not strictly a burger joint, Lankford Grocery serves up enchiladas and breakfast on the fly, but it’s the Grim Burger (complete with mac & cheese, fried egg and jalapeno) that keeps people coming back for more. Their original will knock your socks off with delicious simplicity too.


Hubcap Grill

A Heights staple at this point, a lot of their menu items sound like Dennis the Menace done got loose in the kitchen. Mom and dad never let you crunch Cheetos on, well, anything to be honest, and peanut butter only saw the light of day in sack lunches and to get the gum out of your hair. Putting such things on a slab of fresh ground beef? Creative genius.

You Choose

That’s right, this one’s on you. Is there a bringer of burgers that you feel deserves a presence here among the competitors? Let us know in the comments. We’ll tally your suggestions into the final results.

— The Loop Scoop


Kristen G — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 3:56 pm

The Burger Guys “Best Meat Juice”

David Gutierrez — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 3:58 pm

Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack

Ricky Craig — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 4:12 pm

I say Jack n Box! But we are all winners

Allen King — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 4:26 pm

Tough choice for me between Bernie’s and Hupcap. Love them both. I would rank Stan’s City Bites and Sparkle’s Hamburger Shack above Christian’s (my vote for #3 on your list) and wish they would have been included. I’m not sure why Lankford continues to always make these lists. It used to be one of my favs, but it seems to really have slipped the last several years (or maybe it just seems that way because there are soo many newer arrivals to the scene with much better burgers).

Richard — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 5:06 pm

@Kristen G and David G, you’re picks will be added to the final count. Thanks!

@Ricky, you joke—JITB’s onto something using croissants, never mind that it’s probably frozen and used on a breakfast sandwich. You’ve done waffles, why not their buttery, flaky cousins?

@Allen, I’m ashamed to say, none of us have been to Sparkles. Rest assured, it’s been added to the list of future burger adventures. Thanks for the suggestions.

James Pruitt — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 5:49 pm

Hubcap Grill….hands down best burgers I’ve ever had….. @JEPruitt

Chas Hollis — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 5:51 pm

Burger Palace on Sage is the best burger in Houston that I have found since moving from Los Angeles a year ago where I wrote a burger blog
I do however enjoy Christians Tailgate (Washington Ave. Location Only). But if you are looking for a breakfast burger, you should go with the “Early Gorilla @ Liberty Kitchen. (English muffin, Queso, Egg, patty, lettuce etc.)

jacob — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 5:51 pm

I would say flaming patties deserves a spot on that list

D.B — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 5:57 pm

I have been to all of the above. Bernies Burger Bus Hands down. Hubcap is very good. But the quality of Bernies meat, homemade sauces and bread puts him at a hole higher level..YUMO!

Karla O — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 6:02 pm

I’d have to say that Bernie’s Burgers has to be the best burger I’ve had. I’ve gone there many times and it is AMAZING every time.

Todd g — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 6:08 pm

#1 burger. Bernie’s burger bus!!

Susan — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 6:11 pm

Bernie’s Burger Bus! The Principal is a delicious standard, and the Substitute is always filled with creative genius! When we venture into Houston, our first question is “Where’s Bernie’s today??” Vote Bernie’s!!

Nathan — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 6:24 pm

Petrol station. Rancor. Amazing.

Gina C — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 7:45 pm

Hubcap Grill has my vote

Margo — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 7:56 pm

Hubcap for the win. Lankford has slipped

laura dennison — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 7:58 pm

Bernie! I love their fresh ingredients, friendly staff, and creative burgers! Awesome. My votes for Bernie!
Laura Dennison
Houston Tx

Kevin — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 8:00 pm

Hubcap grill has the best burgers I’ve ever tasted!

Rich — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 8:01 pm

Hubcap Grill

TheBolRj — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 8:06 pm

Bernie’s has the vote. Easily! I’ve had many a burger and none compare. Even the regular “principal” is great.

Donna Manley — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 8:45 pm

Bernies Burger Bus Fo Sur!!!

timf — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 9:24 pm

Barnaby’s never make these list. They are for sure in the top 3 best burgers in Houston.

Richard — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 9:35 pm

Timf, I wouldn’t argue with you there. They make a fine burger.

Natasha — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:23 pm

Gotta go w/ Bernie’s
Or as a write in Lorenzo’s on Washington

Matt — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:33 pm

Bernie’s. Can’t beat all homemade ingredients Justin uses

Shannon Wright — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:33 pm

I must try Bernie’s now.

St johns fire — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:57 pm

The bus for sure

timf — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 11:06 pm

Richard, Bernie’s been getting my money lately.

M.M. — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 11:13 pm


g — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 11:19 pm

bernies burger bus for surrrreeee

lisa — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 11:28 pm

loyal to lank’s, but trying hubcap on Thurs. Bernies blue cheese and bacon-now that’s making the choice reaaaaally difficult! Christian’s great but too goddamn messy.

stephanie — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 11:33 pm

Berniessss burger bus!!!!! The best!

s — Tuesday, March 6, 2012 11:38 pm

how did christian tailgate get such good reviews in the first place? it’s a hooter’s type sports bar with squished burgers. yuck

Rauk — Wednesday, March 7, 2012 12:27 am

Bernie’s yo! although That boy Ricky Craig is a fool and good burger slinger himself!

Zac — Wednesday, March 7, 2012 12:54 am

Bernie’s hands down. I’m not sure that no. 2 is even on the list. Hatch chile burger at Lorenzo’s is my #2

ShadyAcresBeerAdvocate — Wednesday, March 7, 2012 2:09 am

Hubcap Grill Hands down!

Will Slaughter — Wednesday, March 7, 2012 9:19 am

Bernie’s Burger Bus

Blake — Wednesday, March 7, 2012 10:17 am

This list cannot be taken seriously without Burger Guys on the list. Hubcap has some interesting toppings and what not, but their overall quality of food is not at all on the same page as The Burger Guys. It’s like a suped up Corevette vs a Ferarri: you may have some cool mods to make your Corevette fast and be unique in a world of non-unique cars, but the Ferarri is better quality without having to resort to eclectic modifications (ingredients). Burger Guys deserves this list more than any of these other spots. I have had them all except for Lankford.

Stephan — Wednesday, March 7, 2012 10:38 am

I’ll say this about The Burger Guys, after four visits, I was not impressed enough to say for sure they should go on the list. There are a bunch of good burger places in Houston, I saw Sparkle Burger mentioned, I love that place, and maybe it should have been included.

However, as we visit more and more burger places, I’m sure we’ll have to have a new vote. ;-)

Shawn Armstrong — Wednesday, March 7, 2012 11:24 am

Bernies Burger Bus for sure! Always a great, fresh flavor

jc — Wednesday, March 7, 2012 11:48 am

I second Petrol Station. Good beers, too.

Richard — Wednesday, March 7, 2012 11:53 am

@jc, I’ve waited two hours on two separate occasions for the Rancor, as fantastic as it may be, it’s not worth that wait.

Tea Jones — Wednesday, March 7, 2012 2:19 pm

Love the analogy, Blake. Burger Guys is going to be added to my short list.

pdp — Wednesday, March 7, 2012 3:01 pm

Wow. Props to someone mentioning Sparkle burger. Lankford Grocery is my vote for the best.

Mike — Wednesday, March 7, 2012 4:24 pm

Shepherd Park

Kate — Wednesday, March 7, 2012 5:51 pm

Gotta go with Bernies Burger bus!

s — Wednesday, March 21, 2012 2:41 pm

Bernie’s is the best! Delicious always

del — Monday, September 24, 2012 12:35 pm

Burger Guys are good, but good enough to go back to? Not really. Too many out there that are waiting to be tried and eaten.

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