The Best Burger Spots in Nashville, Tennessee

There are plenty of places to enjoy a classic hamburger in Nashville
There are plenty of places to enjoy a classic hamburger in Nashville | Courtesy of Hank’s Hamburgers
Photo of Kathryn Beeson
8 June 2020

There’s no point asking where you can get a burger in Nashville. But in a city filled with trendy industrial-chic hipster burger bars, traditional family diners and well-regarded local chains, which spots are the best? Culture Trip has asked our local insiders to recommend some great spots in Nashville. So whether you’re looking for a fancy sandwich that pulls out all the stops, or just a good, old-fashioned American burger with fries, there is sure to be something that you’ll enjoy.


Restaurant, North American
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The aptly monikered Joyland – the brainchild of famous Southern chef Sean Brock – is all about celebrating the region’s best-loved culinary delights. In other words, it’s a heaven full of burgers, biscuits and Southern fried chicken. Expect a no-nonsense menu of classic American fast food. There are no fancy toppings here – just a hamburger or a cheeseburger finished with a combo of pickles, onions and house sauce. Perhaps unusually for a Southern burger joint, there are plenty of vegan alternatives on the menu, so meat-free folk and obligate carnivores can dine side by side with no issue. Recommended by local insider Cristy Wicks

Rotier’s Restaurant

Restaurant, American, Fast Food, Street Food
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The mom-and-pop Rotier’s Restaurant is something of a Nashville institution. It opened as a post-war pinball and beer joint in 1945 and soon found fame with its “French Bread” hamburgers, which continue to win awards across the country to this day. As Nashville is not a city that’s short on burgers, to stick around this long, you have to be good, and Rotier’s doesn’t disappoint. There’s a hearty menu of burgers, sandwiches and other diner classics, and you can expect typical American portion sizes for the incredibly reasonable prices it charges. Recommended by local insider Erica Commisso

The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden

Restaurant, Beer, $$$
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Away from the eyes of the thousands of tourists that visit Nashville every year, The Pharmacy attracts local people as the best wurst-burger joint around – yes, that’s right. Alongside its inventive burgers menu (have you ever seen a stroganoff burger anywhere else?), The Pharmacy doubles up as a German biergarten and wurst (sausage) seller. As a happy result, there’s an extensive list of German beers that are perfect for washing down your meat and fries. Recommended by local insider Leena Kollar

ML Rose Craft Beer and Burgers

Restaurant, American, Pub Grub, $$$
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Nashville chain ML Rose has three locations across the city, all based on a winning craft-beer-and-burgers formula. Each one is big on local craft beer, so if you’re a hop hound who’s all about tasting new brews and getting to know the local beer scene, ML Rose is the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat while indulging your passions. The burger menu is fun, original and offers plenty of choices, ranging from a classic burger to off-the-wall options and everything in between. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd


Restaurant, North American
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With three locations across the city, local barbecue and burger chain Hugh-Baby’s is a Nashville staple. The menu is fast food, pure and simple, at fast-food prices; if you’re craving a quick, affordable snack that tastes as good as it looks, Hugh-Baby’s will set you right. Founded by the same team behind the famous Martin’s Bar-B-Que, the mini-chain has been turning heads from further afield and has even been featured on the Food Network. Perhaps you’re looking at America’s next big thing? Recommended by local insider Erica Commisso

Emmy Squared

Restaurant, North American, $$$
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Dine Detroit-style at Nashville’s branch of Emmy Squared. Located in the heart of the Gulch, an upscale neighborhood, this Great Lakes-inspired joint serves Detroit-style pizza and burgers plus “some of the best waffle fries ever made” in the eyes of our local insider. Tempting. Despite the restaurant’s Midwestern inspiration, you’ll find the laid-back Nashville vibes that people flock to the city for, as well as a casual but interesting menu of all of your favorites. The Le Big Matt burger is a must-try. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd

Makeready at Noelle Hotel

Boutique Hotel Restaurant, American, $$$
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Make no mistake about it – Makeready, housed downtown in the basement of the Noelle Hotel, is one classy joint. Think chic industrial-inspired decor, a “seasonal approach to US tavern food” and a list of craft beer and cocktails that’s something to write home about. Sometimes, you just want to feel fancy while eating your burger and fries – and what a burger. There’s only one on the menu – a simple, classic cheeseburger – but it might be as close to perfection as this list comes. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd

Burger Up

Restaurant, American, Dessert, $$$
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Tucked away on the edge of the 12 South neighborhood is Burger Up, a friendly spot that’s all about sustainability, ethical consumerism and good, old-fashioned Southern hospitality. While Burger Up is among the coolest of the 12 South cool, it’s ready to welcome just about anyone. For proof, take a look at its organic, locally sourced menu. A burger with fries will set you back approximately $12 – a steal for the quality it provides and a price point that’s accessible outside the upscale 12 South crowd, too. Recommended by local insider Juliette Lefaivre

Parson’s Chicken and Fish

Restaurant, American, North American
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It’s rare that a meal out at a restaurant ever feels as chill as eating out in your friend’s garden with a couple of icy beers (no matter how much pally branding it tries to hit you with). Parson’s Chicken and Fish is the exception that proves the rule. Dollar beers at happy hour, a menu packed with barbecue and fast-food favorites and a large patio in the sun give Parson’s the feel and conviviality of a backyard get-together, but with professional chefs manning the grill. Recommended by local insider Cristy Wicks

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