In the heat of summer, nothing beats a delicious ‘Carolina Style’ burger with fries and an ice cold, creamy milkshake.
But with so many “burger joints” in North Carolina, it can get hard to distinguish the real from the fake. I’m not here to talk about the flashy, fancy, burger restaurants that have begun to populate each metropolis. No, I want to pay my tributes to the tried and true “joints” that are the real backbone of simple, southern, flat-top cookin’.
1. Johnson's Drive In, Siler City
Called "the best burger in North Carolina," the Velveeta Cheeseburger is worth the wait! And yes...you might be waiting as Johnson's is only open T-Sat. 10AM-2PM. This little burger joint has been serving up greasy, cheesy, meaty goodness since 1946. The best part...you can get it all for under $5 bucks, that's my kind of burger!
2. Brook's Sandwich House, Charlotte
Bring cash with you to Brook's. For a straight up burger you'll crave again...there's no games and fluff at Brook's. They could quite possibly have one of the best 'Carolina-Style' burgers in North Carolina.
3. Melvin's, Elizabethtown
At Melvin's you can't go wrong with an all the way cheese burger(pictured above). My mouth is watering from that picture!
4. Clyde's, Waynesville
In the heart of the mountains lies one of the best burgers(and southern cookin') you'll have! On your next trip to The Smoky Mountains, make sure to drop in and try a Pimento Cheese burger.
5. Emma Key's Flat Top Grill, Greensboro
Called one of the "best burgers in the triad" Emma Key's brings Mississippi cooking to NC. I've heard the Hotel California burger is quite addicting! The diverse options spice up your usual burger, yet still keep it somewhat classic.
6. Big Oak Drive In & Bar-b-q, Salter Path, Atlantic Beach
It's not a beach trip without a shrimp burger from Big Oak! Sure it's not a "burger burger" but this seaside take on a classic meal is unbeatable. Steamed bun +tartar sauce+slaw+hot fried shrimp+ketchup=HEAVEN!
7. El's Drive-In, Morehead City
Another contender for best shrimp burger is El's Drive-In. But El's has so much more than just shrimp burgers. Grab a 'Carolina Style' hot dog or classic burger!
8. Al's Burger Shack, Chapel Hill
Al's Burger Shack is the most sustainable, environmentally friendly little joint also providing some delicious burgers! The total interior is made from recycled wood from their old space, while the outdoor picnic tables are constructed from reclaimed wood...yes, some the steps are over 200 years old. Not only this, but the burgers are made from 100% all natural, pasture raised NC cattle. So, the cows are Tarheels too! Just look at the burger and scrumptious chili pictured above...yum.
9. Beaches Burgers, Ocean Isle
Beaches burgers is quaint, beachy, and downright delicious. The quality is top notch and the burger is always fresh. Beaches is a favored vacation pit stop for many families. While the exterior is modest, the burgers are not!
10. Pete's Burgers & More, Reidsville
This mom-n-pop shop does not skimp on the bacon, the flavor, or the burger. You can be sure the perfect greasy lunch is waiting just for you at Pete's. Pictured above is the triple cheeseburger. Is your mouth watering yet?
Did I rush to Cookout and grab a cheeseburger with coleslaw and mustard after typing this article? Perhaps.