The Hay Merchant
The Hay Merchant is actually a beer garden, but don’t let that fool you – they make what is possibly the best burger in town. It’s so good they even got into legal trouble with In-n-Out burger, which is why the burger is called the Cease and Desist Burger. It’s a decadent burger with twice the cheese and meat, created by chef Chris Shepherd, whom you might recognize thanks to Underbelly, his wildly popular Montrose restaurant. Shepherd is proud of Houston’s food culture, and his pride shows in his cooking; ingredients are bought straight from farmers, meat is butchered right before cooking and vegetables are grown in-house when possible.
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 3:00 pm – 2:00 am, Sat – Sun 11:00 am – 2:00 am
This restaurant is the ideal place for a quick and economical burger that tastes like homemade fare. It’s been around since 1963, and for good reason. Even their back-to-basics website lets you know that good burgers is what they’re about, no frills. The burgers are classic and scrumptious, cooked to order and served with crispy fresh fries or savory onion rings. Most customers opt for a cheeseburger, but if you feel like challenging yourself, there’s no harm in trying the bacon burger. Those with more specific tastes will appreciate the Swiss cheese and mushroom burger. Milkshakes are also available in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and orange flavors. Service is friendly and familiar, so you’ll feel right at home.
Address & telephone number: 304 Sampson St, Houston, TX 77003 +1 713 227 2094
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 7:00 am – 4:30 pm
There’s a Philly cheesesteak burger, and it’s all sorts of gooey and delicious. That’s really all you need to know, but we’ll tell you more. This burger joint has a hole-in-the-wall vibe, but its creativity and quality merit much more than that. Their ground beef is fresh and the patties are always consistent in size and taste, which is an important qualifier for a reliable burger that will keep you coming back for more. For something even more adventurous, try the sticky burger, with bacon and peanut butter. Sides include sweet potato fries, cheese fries and chili cheese fries. Be warned – the location is cash only.
Address & telephone number: 1111 Prairie St, Houston, TX 77002 +1 713 223 5885
Opening hours: Mon – Sat 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Bernie’s Burger Bus
Bernie’s Burger Bus is a beloved Houston food truck (with a locale!) known for its wittily named burgers. The kitschy high school theme is fun and whimsical, with menus that look like notebooks and desk seating. You can order Preschooler sliders, a spicy Fire Drill with spicy guacamole, or a Detention, which uses two grilled cheese sandwiches instead of a bun. Instead of sides, they offer “extracurriculars” – hand cut fries with toppings that range from truffle oil to jalapeños. Thinking of extra toppings? ” You’ll have to ask for “electives,” which include customer favorite Tipsy Onions. Milkshakes round out the menu of classic and delightful options.
Address & telephone number: 5407 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire, TX 77401 +1 713 349 9400
Opening hours: Sun – Thur 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Fri – Sat 11:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Stanton’s City Bites
This eatery has an interesting story, for sure. They began as a family-owned grocery store that casually served burgers with the help of the youngest members of the family. They’ve since decided burgers were a better business and expanded their menu with specialty burgers and impressive sides. Bestsellers include the Luke Skywalker, with fried bacon, mushrooms and provolone, and the Truck Stopper, a classic burger with two crunchy onion rings inside. There are also vegetarian options, like portabella mushroom burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches. Don’t miss out on the house chili and tater tots, either.
Address & telephone number: 1420 Edwards St, Houston, TX 77007 +1 713 227 4893
Opening hours: Tue – Thur 11:00 am – 8:00 pm, Fri – Sat 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Sun 11:00 am – 4:00 pm