There’s no doubt Atlantans are a passionate bunch. We harbor strong feelings about our sports teams, our neighborhoods and most certainly our food. We asked the Discover Atlanta Facebook community for their favorite burgers in the city and were blown away by the overwhelming response, leaving it clear that Atlantans are just as crazy about burgers as they are, say, the Falcons. Almost 150 responses later, we have your definitive list of Atlanta’s fan-favorite burgers and a dash of the Atlanta.net editorial team’s favorites as well.
- The Vortex
An overwhelming favorite, The Vortex is an Atlanta staple. There are two locations – Midtown and Little Five Points – that serve up equally delicious (and creative) burgers. Try the Fat Elvis if you’re into peanut butter on your burger, or the Coronary Bypass – a half-pound sirloin patty topped with a fried egg, three slices of cheese and four slices of bacon – if you’re up for a challenge.
Pro tip: Head to the Little Five Points location for the full Vortex experience – including entering the restaurant through a huge scary-looking skull.
- The Varsity
The Varsity has long been an Atlanta institution, and it’s no surprise that a trip to the city pretty much has to include a Varsity burger – even President Obama stopped in during a 2012 trip to the A. The Varsity sticks to the basics so don’t even think about getting fancy!
Pro tip: Order like a U.S. President. When Obama stopped in, he ordered five chili dogs, four regular dogs and a cheeseburger. Don’t worry, Mrs. First Lady – they weren’t all for him!
- Grindhouse Killer Burgers
Grindhouse has two major locations in Atlanta, one in Sweet Auburn Curb Market and another on a gritty stretch of Piedmont Road between Midtown and Buckhead. Build your own or order one of the Grindhouse specialties, but, whatever you do, pair it with a Boozy Milkshake. And fries. Of course, fries.
Pro tip: Heading through the Atlanta airport? A Grindhouse outpost opened on Concourse D of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport earlier this summer. Stop in for a taste of Atlanta on your next pass through the world’s busiest airport.
- Ms. Ann’s Ghetto Burger
"The Wall Street Journal” named Ann’s Snack Bar Ghetto Burger the “Best Burger in America,” so of course it’s a favorite of the Discover Atlanta community. The ghetto burger started on something of a lark when a Checkers moved in across the street and Ms. Ann began serving her now-famous burgers to better compete with the fast food restaurant. To that Checkers, we say thank you.
Pro tip: Ms. Ann has eight rules posted at the snack bar. Abide by those rules or head to Checkers. Don’t worry, it’s nothing crazy, just be polite and respectful and you’ll be just fine. Oh, and don’t put your baby on the counter.
- Yeah! Burger
Another burger joint with a pretty reputable accolade, Yeah! Burger was listed as one of “Bon Appetit’s” favorite burger spots. There are two locations, both in uber-trendy parts of Atlanta – Virigina-Highland and West Midtown. Stop in to build your own burger with bison or beef and multiple bun and topping options.
Pro tip: Come for the burger, stay for the beer. Yeah! Burger has a pretty great beer list, too.
While those five are pretty high on the list of the Atlanta.net
team’s favorites, there are a few we have to add. Notably, this is our list, but it also reads a bit like the honorable mention list from our Facebook
survey. Scientific conclusion: We all pretty much agree Atlanta is good at burgers.
- Holeman & Finch Public House 10 o’clock burger
This is one for the burger elite. How can it not be – it’s the creation of a James Beard Award winner, and the restaurant serves only 24 each night at 10 p.m. on the button. This is no ordinary burger. This is a double-patty cheeseburger with house-made buns, homemade ketchup, mustard and pickles. You can reserve your burger early, but trust us when we say, you really need to be early.
Pro tip: Don’t want to wait til 10 p.m. for a burger? Head to an Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field where there is a Holeman & Finch outpost serving up delicious burgers all night.
The Bocado burger is a locals’ find, and first-timers to the Westside eatery wonder why, on a menu featuring trout and cavatelli, there is also a burger prominently listed. The answer? Well, this burger belongs on the menu; pedestrian it is not. A double stack with American cheese and house-made bread and butter pickles, the Bocado burger is a must-try.
Pro tip: If you’re at Bocado for dinner, start with a small plate. The Many Fold Farm deviled eggs, boiled peanuts, pickled green tomatoes and cherry peppers are a great warm up!
- FLIP Burger
Atlanta has almost as many “celebrity chefs” as we do burger bars, and FLIP Burger is no exception. A concept of Top Chef Richard Blais, FLIP Burger has one of the most creative burger menus on the planet. No, really. Want a burger with lobster and garlic butter in the patty? FLIP. Want a mushroom beef blend? FLIP. FLIP has all the classics, too.
Pro tip: No trip to FLIP is complete without one of Blais’ famous liquid nitrogen milkshakes. No other explanation needed, just try one.
- Ted’s Montana Grill
Yeah, yeah, we know this one is a chain, but have you had the bison burger? This is Atlanta, and we love Ted Turner (they named a baseball stadium after him, after all!), and we love his burgers just as much. The Atlanta.net team is particularly fond of the Peppercorn – this burger is seasoned and seared with peppercorns and topped with Gruyere cheese, herb Dijon mustard and baby arugula.
Pro tip: The Downtown Atlanta location is just off of Centennial Olympic Park. Go for a walk afterward to work off a few of your well-earned calories.
- Watershed’s Crabby Shrimp Burger
Technically, we get it, it’s not really a burger. There’s no beef or ketchup and mustard, but, it does have burger in the name and it is delicious, so it has a home on our list. The Crabby Shrimp Burger at Watershed on Peachtree is almost a crab cake sandwich, but better. It’s a crab cake with chunks of shrimp in a patty, on a bun, served with a big slice of ripe tomato and remoulade.
Pro tip: It’s only on the lunch menu, so make sure you go for the right meal! Also, for dessert, go for the “Very Good Chocolate Cake in a Jar.” No description needed, but it is one of Atlanta’s 100 Signature Dishes.
So there you have it, the top 10 burgers in the ATL. What do you think? Did we miss one? Is your mouth watering? Want to go grab a burger? Head to our Facebook page and let us know what makes your taste buds happy.
FLIP Burger photo by Heidi Geldhauser
Born and raised in Alabama, Ashley O'Dell has lived in Atlanta since 2008. She has a love for all things culinary and enjoys writing about Southern food culture on her blog, Dash and Dine Atlanta. When she's not writing, Ashley can be found exploring Atlanta's neighborhoods, restaurants and live music venues.