In the wide world of international cuisine, where influences from the big dogs like Italy, India, China, France, and Japan reign supreme, the United States lags miles behind. While this is likely due in large part to the age of our nation as compared to the relative ages of other countries who have been eating (and therefore cooking) for centuries longer than we have even existed, it is nonetheless striking that the USA (global superpower and all) barely registers a blip on the global food map. And yet, albeit faint, a blip does exist. That blip is the USA’s singular greatest contribution to the world of food - the old-fashioned, American burger. Enter: this guide to the best burgers in San Antonio
Let’s just say that the USA knows how to turn out burgers as if it were our patriotic duty to do so. And the best burgers in San Antonio are doing their part to support and defend this American icon. So if you happen to find yourself in SA craving that perfect burger, the restaurants on our map are more than certain to satisfy your need.
A note on parking: Each of these restaurants has a different parking situation. We will provide advice and recommendations if parking is difficult or tricky. If it isn’t mentioned, you can assume it’s easy, straightforward, and plentiful.
13 Best Burgers In San Antonio
The one, the only…the OG of the San Antonio burger scene is Chris Madrid’s. Chris Madrid has been a favorite of Alamo city locals since the day that Chris Madrid himself set up shop and opened his doors in 1977 as “Chris Madrid’s Tacos and Burgers.” Now open in a new building after the original was severely damaged in a fire, Chris Madrid’s continues its long-term commitment to excellent food. And if back-to-back wins for SA’s best burger in 2020 and 2021 don’t prove that, we don’t know what does.
Chris Madrid’s is primarily known for burgers which are super cheesy; seriously, it feels like a 1:1 ratio of cheddar to chuck. It, therefore, stands to reason that their most popular burger is the appropriately named, “Cheddar Cheezy.” If cheese is your thing, Chris Madrid’s will win your heart.
Regarding parking, Chris Madrid has a dedicated lot, but it is quite small. There is additional parking on residential side streets but plan on doing some hunting.
Diana Madrid (yep, Diana is the sister of the late Chris Madrid) decided to take matters into her own hands when Chris Madrid’s was sold off to a new owner who wasn’t part of the family. She opened Diana’s Burgers to keep the name and commitment to cheese alive and her thriving burger joint is a testament to the Madrid name.
Located in Woodlawn Lake on the city’s west side, Diana’s hot pink building where she cooks up greasy, but delicious hamburgers has become a neighborhood staple and home to many a burger regular.
The menu includes 5 classic thin patty burger choices, all of which are smothered in gobs of cheese per the Madrid family tradition, and can be paired with a side of fries, nachos, or chalupas.
Bunz Handcrafted Burgers
Fresh and from scratch – that’s what Bunz is all about. Everything in this SA hamburger joint is made 100% in-house – sauces, cheeses, buns (or should we say “bunz”) – all of it from scratch. This attention to quality has earned Bunz some high praise in the 2 years since they began operating, including being voted San Antonio’s best burger for the 2022 Express-News Reader’s Choice Awards.
When it comes to ordering, you could definitely go with a classic cheeseburger (here it’s called the Z Bunz), but the 7 specialty burgers are pretty dynamite and worth exploring. Try the Mercedes Bunz topped with chipotle mayo, refried beans, pepper jack cheese, a poblano pepper, an egg, and bacon. Or give the Bunzai a go; it’s topped with BBQ Asian pork ribs, coleslaw, and pickled jalapeño. Seafood, chicken, and vegan burger options are also available.
Parking is unfortunately a very tricky business at the downtown location of Bunz as they do not offer dedicated parking. The most obvious place to park is a surface lot across the street from the Embassy Suites Hotel, however at $22 to park, it is crazy pricey, so try to avoid it. The Rand Parking Garage is on the other side of Soledad St. from Bunz and is a more affordable option at $6/hr or $14/3hrs. If possible, we suggest trying to nab some street parking with digital meters for $1.80/hr.
If you want to avoid the parking headache, just head to their location near La Cantera Mall as they have a dedicated lot and drive-thru.
Housed in a 100-year-old gas station just off 281 and N. St. Mary’s is Tycoon Flats. The restaurant boasts a prime location north of downtown San Antonio, with an indoor dining room (the gas station part), and an outdoor, dog-friendly beer garden with lots of trees and natural shade. Throw in the full bar and Tycoon Flats makes for the perfect evening out with friends to enjoy one of San Antonio’s best burgers.
When it comes to their burgers, Tycoon Flats shines in the specialty burger arena. The patties are thick and juicy, the buns are light and airy, and the toppings range from the mundane to the positively wild. You can choose from more than 15 house specialty burgers including the likes of the Monte Cristo burger with melted mozzarella, thick-cut fried Canadian bacon, and raspberry preserves, or the Fried Apple Blue Cheese Bacon burger (previously featured on the Food Network series Burgers, Brew & ‘Que) topped with fried granny smith apples, blue cheese aioli, applewood smoked bacon, onion, and house-made bacon onion jam.
All burgers come with a side of French fries, but we recommend upgrading to sweet potato fries because YUM. A few other menu highlights include their fried appetizers (fried pickles, fried mushrooms, fried vegetables) or their array of hot dogs.
Tycoon Flats offers a small parking lot behind the restaurant off Woodlawn Ave. But if that’s full, signs indicate that guests are also allowed to park across Woodlawn in the sizable parking lot of the El Ojo bar and club.
At first glance, Mr. Juicy is overwhelmingly underwhelming. Their two locations are quite small, both with minimal seating areas, and menus with only 6 burger options. And that’s it. But while it’s not uncommon for a restaurant to do only a little but do it well, at Mr. Juicy, they take it to the next level. They only do a little, but they do it the BEST.
Chef Andrew Weissman, of famed fine dining eatery Signature, expanded into the world of burgers back in 2019 when he opened Mr. Juicy (yes, you read that correctly). It was an immediate runaway success with the secret sauce of the operation actually being…a secret sauce. In this case, it’s Chef Weissman’s take on the peppery, French steak sauce, au poivre sauce. All you have to do is ask for your burger “wet,” which admittedly doesn’t sound appetizing, but will transform your burger, and perhaps your life, for the better.
Bonus: if you’ve never tried New Mexico green chile, Mr. Juicy is one of the few places in San Antonio where you can experience it. Try their green chile cheeseburger and then feel free to drop us a note telling us just how right we are about this one.
Armadillo’s Texas Style Burgers
Sometimes all you want is a no-frills, delicious burger and Armadillo’s two locations fit this bill. They aren’t flashy, they don’t offer a lot of unique options, and they aren’t innovative, but you won’t leave disappointed or hungry. Armadillo’s is simply old-fashioned burger perfection – you know, because tradition tastes good.
And in Armadillo’s case, tradition doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Their 1/3 lb burger ranges from just $6.25 to $8.15. Highly recommend the popular mushroom burger with sauteed mushrooms and Swiss cheese for $7.95. The portion size is great, the food is tasty, and the price is right.
Fattboy Burgers and Dogs
The dynamic duo, Frank Torrez and Veronica Khan, are the movers and shakers behind San Antonio’s Fattboy Burgers and Dogs. Torrez and Khan, who also happen to be brother and sister, have been a force on the SA restaurant scene for many years, with Fattboy being their second venture. Given their familial relationship and the fact that they live and work in the same neighborhood, it is no wonder that they aim to be the premier family dining location for the best burgers in San Antonio.
Fattboy offers two burger options – a ¼lb Slimmboy and a ½lb Fattboy – both of which are served on sesame seed buns and then loaded up with toppings of the guest’s choice. And this is where Fattboy makes its mark – the quantity of toppings is outstanding and gives every visitor the option to fully customize their burger. And if burgers don’t happen to sound appealing at the moment, Fattboy’s menu also includes a variety of chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, fries, and onion rings.
Cheesy Jane’s is another San Antonio old-timer. They have been serving up consistently mouthwatering cheeseburgers from their 50s-style diner on Broadway for over 20 years. And after selling off three locations to add a small fleet of food trucks to their repertoire, Cheesy Jane’s is a perennial favorite of both the brick-and-mortar and food truck worlds alike.
Cheesy Jane’s menu largely sticks to the classics and offers only a few house specialty burgers. Their classic burger can be ordered in four different sizes (third, half, three-quarter, and one-pound burger) and comes with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onions. Wrap it up with your favorite choice of cheeses and toppings, throw in a side of their tasty tater-tots or French fries, top it off with a flawless milkshake, and you’ll find out pretty darn quick why Cheesy Jane’s is at capacity most of the time. Simplicity and perfection get the job done.
Parking at Cheesy Jane’s is best done in their lot across the side street, Groveland, next to Gibson Costume Shop.
Chunky’s Burgers is something of a celebrity in the world of eating challenges. As home to the “hottest burger in the world,” Chunky’s has played host over the years to competitive food eaters, men (and occasionally women) who have something to prove by flexing their spice-tolerant muscles, and Adam Richman of the Travel Channel’s Man vs Food, all of whom have shown up to try their hand at defeating the 4 Horsemen Burger. This burger is topped with 4 peppers - jalapeño, serrano, habanero, and ghost – and if it is successfully consumed within 25 minutes, you get your picture added to their wall of fame (barfing will disqualify you).
A few “fun” facts about this burger, you have to eat it with gloves on as it will burn your skin, you must sign a waiver before consumption, and if you happen to throw up and miss the provided bucket, you will be charged a $20 cleaning fee. Full disclosure: we are not suggesting/recommending/encouraging you to do this. In fact, we think it’s totally bonkers.
But even if you’re not a masochist, Chunky’s is still worth a visit. And with 17 other solid hamburger choices available, there’s really no good excuse to torch your insides with the 4 Horsemen.
Burgers at Chunky’s are actually just that, “chunky.” They are filling, the buns are homemade, and you have an abundance of options for toppings. Some local favorites include the Island Burger with a teriyaki glazed patty and grilled pineapple, or the Zipper Burger with grilled jalapeños and cream cheese (for the record, we do like it spicy, just not lethal).
Open since 2005, Mark’s Outing is a San Antonio burger joint with a long history of appetizing food and serious fun. They are the home of the $25.99, 2lb burger challenge. Guests who manage to successfully put away this monstrosity can earn their place in Mark’s hall of fame by having their picture posted on the wall of the restaurant. And that’s the first thing you notice when you walk in – there is a staggering number of people who can apparently eat a 2lb burger!
In addition to the 2-pounder, Mark’s has a number of standard hamburgers on their menu as well as a few specialty options like the BBQ Burger and the Coaches Chili Burger. We liked the All-Star Avocado Burger with added bacon. Mark’s also offers some non-red-meat options such as a turkey burger, and three vegetarian options including a black bean burger, a beyond beef burger, and an in-house veggie burger with mushrooms.
Mark’s Outing is located southeast of downtown with a second location set to open at the Rivercenter Mall. Mark’s also operates a food truck and can be booked to cater your events or parties.
Parking is to the side of the restaurant or on the street. If you are in a hurry or the lot is full, order your meal ahead of time, and pick it up at the walk-up window at the front of the restaurant.
Chester’s Hamburgers is a fast-casual chain of local restaurants with four San Antonio locations where they have been making old-fashioned hamburgers since 1984. Their burgers are cooked to order and served on fluffy 5-inch, poppy seed buns that they bake fresh on a daily basis.
The burger menu at Chester’s is on the standard side, with a burger/cheeseburger version of the house faves (bacon, chili, and green chile). Chester’s green chile cheeseburger is our go-to, which they boast of having done since the beginning, back when they had to order the green chile directly from New Mexico since you couldn’t buy it in Texas.
WEBSITE | Multiple locations
Longhorn Cafe touts itself as the home of the original Big Juicy. And indeed, the burgers are just that - big and juicy - and have been so for 35+ years.
At Longhorn Cafe, service is friendly and casual. You place your order at the counter and sit down, and then they call you when your food is ready. We recommend you order whatever big and juicy burger suits you at the moment but be sure to add some of their fantastic tater tots. Vegetarian burgers and gluten-free bun options are available. And if burgers aren’t what you’re feeling, try their crowd-pleasing chicken fried steak sandwich.
Chef Benjie got his burgers going in 2015 when he cashed out his 401k and bought a food truck. After a few years of mobile success, he expanded in 2017 and opened his brick-and-mortar location near the intersection of Bitters and Blanco on the city’s north side. While you can still catch the food truck at events around town, the restaurant is the best way to sample some of Benjie’s superb burgers.
For reals, SUPERB. Benjie’s Munch is all about “scratch comfort food.” The menu is burger, sandwich, salad, and snack heavy, but they have doubled down on freshness, so nothing is ever frozen, and the ingredients are of the highest quality. They grind up their own chuck for the burger patties and procure soft, delicious brioche buns from a local baker for their sandwiches and burgers.
The menu rotates frequently, so there is always something fresh (literally and figuratively) and new to be tried. Options range from the standard to the highly unusual – ala the Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese or Hatch Chickpea Veggie Burger. The burger menu follows suit with a few traditional offerings, as well as some house specialties. We absolutely loved the Candied Jalapeño Bacon Cheeseburger; the subtle sweetness and spiciness of the jalapeños perfectly balanced with the flavor of the savory grilled patty. We also recommend Benjie’s Rocket Burger with bacon, arugula, and red onion jam.
Protip: Benjie’s has a Top Secret hidden menu of specialty items that the chef can make if asked specifically. These items are long-time favorites that rotate on and off the main menu and can be recreated by request. So, if you happen to be there when what you want isn’t available, just ask the cashiers for the top-secret menu and they will let you know what the chef can whip up.
The Cove is kind of a study in contradictions. On the one hand, it is a family-friendly restaurant, previously featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, with a focus on sustainable, local, and organic ingredients and food. On the other hand, it is a car wash, outdoor beer garden, children’s playscape, and dog park. While it may defy conventional classification, the Cove, in all of its delightful quirkiness, definitely deserves a seat at the best burgers table.
The Cove’s burger offerings are as unique as the restaurant itself. They offer a sizable selection of vegetarian and vegan options as well as some burgers that are sure to please the carnivores out there. We recommend the Blue Bison (made with a grass-fed bison patty) or the Good'a Burger. And while this is a burger-focused article, it would be irresponsible of us not to mention their uber-popular fish tacos, served up on non-GMO blue corn tortillas. Delish!
While the parking lot out front of the Cove is on the smaller side, they have done a bang-up job making parking easily accessible in a number of areas around the restaurant. A map or parking options can be viewed by clicking here.
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