If you’re looking for the best burgers in Raleigh, start salivating as we’ve been taste testing our way around the Downtown Raleigh area and today we are sharing our short-list of the top local burger joints.
As Australians who’ve been living in Raleigh a total of 9 years now, it still blows our mind at how many burger places you have here, and all over the US for that matter. It seems like there’s a burger joint around every corner.
But hey, I’m not complaining, I love a good burger and burgers are classic American fare and good for all occasions and whether you prefer your burger with a beef pattie (or two), with extra cheese or want to keep it veg, there’s a burger in Raleigh for you.
The ONLY thing missing here that us Aussies love on our burgers is beetroot. To us, it’s not a complete burger without beetroot. Am I right?
But you guys definitely beat us on size, your burgers are typically HUGE and it’s no wonder when family and friends visit us in the US they pack on a few extra pounds!
So when you visit Raleigh, or are living here like us and are on your phone researching the best burgers near me, we’ve got you covered.
We’re not sharing any big burger chains here, just local Raleigh restaurants (with one minor exception). Let’s dig in.
Best Burgers in Raleigh
MoJoe’s Burger Joint
If you’re craving a tasty burger from a classic neighborhood burger joint, you can’t go wrong at MoJoe’s in Glenwood South who have been serving some of the best burgers in Raleigh since opening in 2002.
This place is quintessential old Raleigh with a diverse crowd, fun atmosphere, and tasty creations.
At MoJoe’s you get hand-pressed patties using 100% Sterling Silver Choice Beef and you can choose from a 6 ounce, 10 ounce, or “Hall of Fame” one pounder with 9 different styles to have your burger.
On my last visit I went with the “Carnivore” style: 10 oz beef patty, crispy bacon, savory chili, pimento cheese, fried egg, avocado and a side of tater tots. And our eldest daughter loves their fried chicken sandwiches.
You can also build your own creations, plus they have gluten free buns, a dozen local beers on tap, and boozie shakes!
Popular sides include their tater tots, onion rings with MoJoe’s signature sauce, and their fried pickles.
MoJoe’s Raleigh is open late with indoor seating plus a nice outdoor covered patio and you’re just steps away from all the action on Glenwood.
Service is attentive and it doesn’t take them long to get your food out. Tell us what MoJo burger you like most?
Big Boy Burger at The Pit Authentic BBQ
I love their Beef Brisket, and Baby Back Ribs, but one of my other favorite dishes is their Big Boy Burger: two house-ground brisket patties, western BBQ sauce, brisket, pulled pork, pimento cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion straws – I changed out the pulled pork for pulled turkey!
The burger is phenomenal. I mean, look at that thing. It tasted as good as it looks and they had to basically roll me out of there!
You’ll definitely want to eat at the Pit more than once so you can to try their BBQ, their sides, and their burger!
Staff are great, they often have live music outside, and I recommend it as one of the best places to eat in Raleigh, period.
Parkside is popular for their brunch menu and is one of the best restaurants in Raleigh for traditional American comfort food the locals love, including an amazing burger!
Our friend Emily who owns The Flourish Market which is just a few doors down gave us the heads up about their burger, and we’re so glad she did.
Introducing the Parkside Burger: half pound Black Angus Short Rib and Chuck blend patty, cheddar cheese, bacon, avocado, romaine, tomato, and onion – I also added fried egg.
It’s now one of my favorite burgers in Raleigh, tasty and filling, and I recommend it to everyone. All their burgers are served with your choice of fries, tater tots or chips – I went with tater tots, and whilst tasty were just a little too salty for me!
You can wash their burgers down with one of the 20 beers on tap, a cocktail or a glass of wine!
CowBar Burger & Fries
When we visit Morgan Street Food Hall which is home to over 20 different food vendors, more often than not we’re ordering one of the delicious burgers from CowBar Burger.
They’re a small local business serving up big and tasty southern burgers fresh to order.
My favorite is the Southern Classic: chili, cheese, slaw, mustard, onion plus add ons. It easily makes my best burger in Raleigh list.
And there’s a burger here for everyone, including an amazing truffle burger and truffle fries, and probably the best vegan burger in Raleigh (check out their vegan stacker). Plus they do lettuce wraps for those avoiding gluten.
It doesn’t get more old school Raleigh than Char-Grill, a local fast-food chain that’s been serving charcoal-grilled burgers fresh off the grill since 1959.
Take a trip down memory lane at this fun burger joint with a true old fashioned feel – just placing your order is a part of the experience as you fill out a paper order sheet with a pencil and wait while your food is cooked to order.
When we think about places to eat in Raleigh to grab a quick burger, Char Grill Raleigh is a great option, and our kids love their shakes and fries!
My suggestion, start with their famous ½ Hamburger Steak Sandwich: a thick, juicy burger with lettuce, tomato, cheese, served on a sesame seed bun.
The Char Grill menu might be simple, but simple is often best!
Raleigh Times Burger
The Raleigh Times in the heart of downtown is a timeless watering hole and probably the most famous of the bars in Raleigh – even Obama had a campaign beer here!
Named after the former newspaper that occupied this 100 year old building, they have an extensive beer selection from all over the world, multiple levels and an awesome open rooftop patio with great views and it’s one of our favorite spots in Raleigh for a drink and bite to eat.
Several of their dishes keep the locals coming back, including their signature burger.
The Raleigh Times Burger: 8 oz. hand-pattied burger made with the highest quality chuck ground in-house every day and topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle, served on a potato roll.
So if you love beer, a rooftop patio, and a tasty burger, put the RT on your list – their Times Nachos is great too!
Lamb Burger at Taverna Agora
You don’t have to visit Greece for an authentic Greek dining experience when living in Raleigh, simply head to Taverna Agora Greek Kitchen & Bar.
Here you can get among the Greek style atmosphere on their award winning rooftop patio and enjoy hand-crafted cocktails and the best Greek food in Raleigh – this place is popular for many reasons!
Being from Australia where lamb is popular and common, it’s not always easy to find lamb on a menu here so when we visited recently for Caroline’s birthday lunch I was excited to try their lamb burger.
Lamb Burger: hand-pattied and topped with feta, caramelized peppers and onions, lettuce, and tzatziki on a brioche bun. Served with Taverna fries!
It was juicy, seasoned nicely and the tzatziki sauce was a nice compliment. And it’s a fairly thick burger that filled me up.
Taverna is another popular brunch spot in Raleigh, but whatever dish you go with, Caroline suggests you also try their Greek wine!
The Players Retreat, or PR to the locals, is a storied sports bar in Raleigh and a true landmark. Established in 1951, it’s the oldest continuously operating tavern between Atlanta and Washington D.C.
PR is a tradition with NC State University students and alumni, but you’ll also find an eclectic mix of people.
This is the kind of local neighborhood bar I like to find when we travel, an old school sports bar with booths and bar stools, tables on the sidewalk, and lots of TV screens for sports, but above average food!
With a focus on hamburgers and sandwiches, they serve up some of the best burgers in Raleigh. They also boast the largest collection of single malts in North Carolina.
Their burger is certified choice beef and ground in house daily. Popular burgers include:
Bernie Burger (a classic PR burger): 6 oz with bacon, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo on a Union Special seeded bun.
Wolfpack Burger: 6 oz with slaw, mustard and chili.
Hot Tip: don’t order their burgers above medium. Order it medium rare or even rare!
And the locals love their onion rings – get some donkey sauce (horseradish sauce) with them!
Raleigh has changed a lot in recent years but the PR still feels and looks much the same – a true hidden gem in Raleigh.
And kids eat free every Sunday (one free kids meal with every full priced adults meal – eat in only).
Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar
If you’re craving a burger with attitude, Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar Raleigh has massive and tasty burgers topped with gourmet toppings, a special house bbq sauce, and hand-cut fries.
Yes, this is a chain, but at least it originates from North Carolina (Charlotte) and Bad Daddy’s commit to sourcing local and fresh ingredients whenever possible.
Bad Ass Burger and Bacon cheeseburger on steroids. Plus their build-your-own burgers (so many ingredients to choose from). Fried pickles and build your own salads.
Bad Daddy’s Raleigh also serves up great non-meat options, and has gluten-free buns or sturdy lettuce wraps.
And you can wash down your burger with a good selection of local NC beers.
Lamb Burger at Whiskey Kitchen
With over 300 whiskeys and craft cocktails, Whiskey Kitchen is one of our favorite bars in Raleigh. Part whiskey bar, part Southern kitchen, they happen to serve excellent and inventive Southern food.
Located on the edge of the Warehouse District and across from historic Nash Square, Whiskey Kitchen has a repurposed industrial feel with a hip interior and a garage door that opens to the beautiful outside patio space.
From their menu, one of my favorite items is their lamb burger.
Lamb Burger: lamb patty, sheep’s cheese, tomato, vesta aioli, basil, mint, grilled bun – served with your choice of side.
If you haven’t had a lamb burger before, come try their tasty creation whilst sampling one of the whiskeys (they have whiskey flights, y’all) or cocktails.
Mama Crow’s Burger and Salad Shop
Transfer Co. Food Hall is the other food hall in Downtown Raleigh housed in the historic Carolina Coach Garage and Shops, and inside you’ll find over 10 vendors including Mama Crow’s.
If you’re looking to taste test another of the best burgers in Raleigh, come try their signature Crow Burger: made with double burger patties, house American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, charred onions, house pickles, and crow sauce.
Mama Crow’s features a menu of top-quality burgers, fresh, locally sourced huge salads, and everything is made in-house from the cheese to the yummy crow’s sauce!
And their vegan burger (SuperFree Burger) with a patty made of sweet potatoes is one of the best we’ve had.
We’ll no doubt be adding to this list over time as more great burger places in Raleigh open up and as we explore the Triangle region more.
But in the meantime, we’d love to hear your suggestions on where to find the best burger near me in Raleigh – please share in the comments!