Yay! Our first installment of “Ask Austin Eavesdropper” is starting off with an important reader question: Who serves the best burger in town?

Austin may be a tofu-munching, coconut water-drinking vegetarian mecca, but let’s face it: This is still Texas, and our carnivore contingent is loud and proud. So when a sweet gal from the east coast wrote in with this question, I put Megan — AE’s food writer — on the case:

I’m moving to Austin in a couple months and visiting for the first time next weekend! I’ll be meeting up with my bosses and house-hunting, but my boyfriend and I LOVE FOOD. Specifically burgers — I have a burger crush on a little dive bar in Virginia that I fear I’ll never get over — and margaritas. We like other things too, but those are the highlights. Any must-visit places that do those things well? We’ll be staying close to SoCo (I feel like a local already!) if that helps narrow things down, but we’re willing to travel for good food.

–Callie from the East Coast

In 2010, I had an Experience at Your Mom’s Burgers when I split an order with a friend. Separating the two halves looked like a slow-motion shot in a commercial where food stylists spend hours getting ingredients to do what I got to witness with my BARE eyes: The crispy things were crunchy. The melty things dripped in gooey loops. The patty itself trilled a high operatic note when we cut it in half. And, I got to wash it down with my very own beer that I purchased at the gas station across the street. It was a darn good evening.

Why did I not go back after 2010? I had tacos to eat. And other dishes to try. Austin is such a meanie like that.

That was the first place I thought of when I got this question.

I also thought of the aroma of baking bread that whirls around your nose, travels up into your brain and lands gently on your taste buds you when you walk into Hopdoddy’s on South Congress, and how this very bread is the bun around my two favorite patties: The Goodnight and Ahi Tuna Burger. But be ye warned! Lines are second only to Franklin’s BBQ during peak hours.

Because I love you so much, Callie, I polled a few buddies of mine whose lives also revolve around food and the tasting of it. These recommendations are from Austinites who have 40 years of living here combined. That’s the age of a human person, so take this seriously. Here are their actual comments:

Casino El Camino is big, juicy, greasy, and delicious.
P. Terry’s has good “fast food” burgers, but nothing that’ll bring a tear to your eye.
Hut’s is always a classic…and they have so many unique ways of preparing the burger.
Bartlett’s is formerly Houston’s. If they’ve maintained the quality and menu, then they should still have the hickory bacon cheeseburger… freakin’ delicious.

-Your Mom’s Burgers –not good for you but tastes amazing. They just moved to 51st street.
-And I cannot believe I’m saying this, but Phil’s Icehouse has the 78704 Burger, and it’s incredibly delicious.
-OH! How could I forget…Contigo… That burger is unreal.

-Phil’s is definitely good across the board (homemade buns).
Top Notch – good old-fashioned greasy burger. (Fun fact: This was the burger joint in Dazed & Confused)
Roaring Fork – mmm…delish.
Opal Divine’s – actually a pretty badass burger.
-Casino el Camino – scary staff, good burgers.

The trailer just outside of Gibson – probably the best patty I’ve had here.
-Casino el Camino, although it has been a long time for me.
Jackalope’s burgers are pretty huge.


There you have it! Thanks so much for being the very first, inaugural “Ask Austin Eavesdropper” question-asker, Callie! If this post inspired you to go out and eat a burger, Tweet us (@TollyM), would ya? And speaking of American rituals (like burger-eating), remember to GO VOTE today. Preferably on a full stomach. One full of burgers.

Next week, we answer another pressing issue: Where in Austin can you clean a leather purse? Our style contributor has the answer.