Though there are hundreds, if not thousands, of places to grab a decent burger in the Lone Star State, few compare to the inexplicable deliciousness that can be found in Houston. From old-school crowd favorites that have practically become institutions to relatively new establishments swiftly making a name for themselves, the burger scene is alive and well in the heart of this Texan city.

1. Cottonwood

© Cottonwood

If you're looking for the best Texas pub food in Houston, a full bar, and over 40+ beer options on tap, you ought to make a beeline for Cottonwood. While the entire menu is extensive and filled with hearty options that will leave your taste buds singing, it's the undeniable call of The Squirrel Master Burger that brings many a burger lover to Cottonwood's doors.

The Squirrel Master Burger features a poblano-stuffed beef patty, sumptuous pepper jack cheese, bacon, and the pièce de résistance: a jalapeño fried egg. Another burger on the Cottonwood menu worth mentioning is the Bleu Cheese Stuffed Burger, which is served with bacon jam, lettuce, and delightfully crispy shoestring onion fries. Make sure to order the house-cut fries with chipotle aioli to devour alongside your choice of burger.

3422 N. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX 77018, Phone: 713-802-0410

2. Backstreet Cafe

Backstreet Cafe
© Backstreet Cafe

The Backstreet Café started 30 years ago as the local watering hole, but has now evolved into a chef-driven dining institution with a focus on seasonal American cuisine. Although it's not the first place that comes to mind for burgers, this popular café offers one of the best burgers in town - Hugo's Burger.

Created by their award-winning executive chef, Hugo Ortega, Hugo's Burger is an elegant combination of avocado, tomato, lettuce, chiles toreados, Chihuahua cheese, and chipotle aioli atop a gorgeous burger and delicious bun. Served with a side of house-made fries, the only other thing you need is an order of their Nutella iced coffee and a seat with a view of the café's garden for a truly memorable meal.

1103 S. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX 77019, Phone: 713-521-2239

3. The Burger Joint

The Burger Joint
© The Burger Joint

With several awards and tons of recognition under its belt, there's no arguing that the Burger Joint offers some of Houston's favorite burgers. Every burger is hand-crafted and made completely from free-range Angus beef and nothing is left to chance when it comes to the freshness and flavor of each topping added.

The all-time favorite burger at the Burger Joint is simply referred to as The Classic. However, diners who want to sink their teeth into something different can try creations like The Opa or The Mexi. In addition to the dine-in joint, the Burger Joint also has a food truck that roams the streets with mouth-watering burgers for every occasion.

2703 Montrose Boulevard, Houston, TX 77006, Phone: 281-974-2889

4. BuffBurger

© BuffBurger

A relatively new player to the burger scene in Houston, BuffBurger has quickly become the talk of the town thanks to its new and exciting take on the good old American burger. Owned and operated by the husband-and-wife team of Paul "Buff" and Sara Burden, BuffBurger puts a premium on local, natural, and sustainable produce in their burgers. Partnering with 44 Farms, among other local establishments, means consistent quality and top-of-the-line burgers.

All burgers are cooked to medium and feature a 1/3-pound beef patty with gluten-free buns available upon request. Some burger creations to choose from include the Truffle Burger, which features truffle cheese, melted onions, truffled frisee, and truffle aioli, as well as the Texan, a combination of crispy onions, hand-cut bacon, cheddar, house pickles, and bourbon BBQ sauce.

1014 Wirt Road, Houston, TX, Phone: 281-501-9773

5. Kuma Burgers

Kuma Burgers
© Kuma Burgers

Don't let their food court location fool you, Kuma Burgers packs a mean umami-filled punch when it comes to burgers. The goal of Chef Willet, the man at the helm of Kuma Burgers, is to prove that food-court food can be high-quality, creative, and absolutely delicious. To say that he's accomplishing this feat is understating it, as his hand-formed 5-ounce burger patties are making a splash at Houston's Greenway Plaza.

What makes Kuma's burgers so special is that they are made completely out of ground chuck and will never see the inside of a freezer. All burgers are made and cooked fresh and are then topped with specialty sauces made in-house, like their sambal mayo, chunky guacamole, barbecue sauce, and scallion aioli.

3 Greenway Plaza Ste C220, Concourse Level, Food Hub, Houston, TX 77046, Phone: 832-542-3528

6. Bubba's Texas Burger Shack

Bubba's Texas Burger Shack
© Bubba's Texas Burger Shack

Family owned and operated since 1985, Bubba's Texas Burger Shack has strong ties to the local community and really knows what it means to deliver outstanding customer service. This burger shack, once an ice house off of the freeway, also lives up to its reputation of having the best buffalo burgers in the state. In fact, they're the first burger joint to even serve the burger in the city and have been offering it on their menu since the '80s.

What draws people to Bubba's is the iconic Vegas Burger, which features an intensely meaty buffalo patty. The patty is then topped with an explosive combination of bacon, avocado, Monterey Jack, the shack's signature habanero hot sauce, and a fried egg. As if the burger wasn't packing enough heat and flavor, diners can opt for a side of creamy jalapeño potato salad too.

5230 Westpark Drive, Houston, TX 77056, Phone: 713-661-1622

7. Christian's Tailgate Bar & Grill

Christian's Tailgate Bar & Grill
© Christian's Tailgate Bar & Grill

With four locations throughout the city, there's no doubt that Christian's Tailgate Bar & Grill has a menu to die for. From hot wings and tacos to wraps and sandwiches, there's a little something for everybody at this joint. However, what really draws the hordes of hungry patrons to Christian's is their selection of award-winning burgers.

There are six burger options available at Christian's Tailgate, including crowd pleasers like the Chili Burger, the Bacon Bacon Burger, and the Country Fried Bacon Burger. For the picky connoisseur, the option to build your own burger is there as well, with extra toppings like thick peppered bacon, fried eggs, grilled onions, and an assortment of cheese available. Diners can also choose between a 1/3-pound, ½-pound, and 1-pound burger patty.

2000 Bagby Street, Houston, TX 77002, Phone: 713-527-0261

8. Kenny & Ziggy's Deli

Kenny & Ziggy's Deli
© Kenny & Ziggy's Deli

What does a New York-style Jewish delicatessen know about a decent burger? A lot, apparently, because Kenny & Ziggy's Deli has won the hearts of many Houstonians with their monster of a burger, dubbed the "In Queso Emergency." The deli does everything on their menu the old-fashioned way and their burgers are certainly no different.

The "In Queso Emergency" burger starts with a classic beef patty cooked to perfection on the grill. A light and glossy challah bun is then cut and given a generous slather of chipotle mayonnaise before assembly begins. The burger is then topped with a heart-stopping combination of bacon, pepper jack, tomato, lettuce, avocado, and fried onion strings. Voila! A burger done right.

1743 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX 77056, Phone: 713-871-8883

9. Little Bitty Burger Barn

Little Bitty Burger Barn
© Little Bitty Burger Barn

Don't let this restaurant's name fool you. Little Bitty Burger Barn is one of the best places to grab a burger in Houston and the locals will be the first to agree. The Burger Barn features an all-American grill menu with 100% beef gourmet burgers as the star of the show. Fresh and never frozen, the deliciously beefy patties of Little Bitty Burger Barn have been voted the best in Houston by loyal customers.

The famous menu of Little Bitty Burger Barn includes classics like the Basic Burger, a cheeseburger, and a bacon burger, plus topping-loaded creations like the Red, Hot and Blue Burger, the BLK Blue Cheese, the Greek Burger, and the Texican Burger. This place is so good it's like getting a high five for your mouth.

5139 Antoine Dr, Houston, TX 77092, Phone: 713-683-6700

10. Pappas Burger

Pappas Burger
© Pappas Burger

Excellent burgers and excellent staff is the name of the game at Pappas Burger, a classic 1950s style diner dedicated to serving fresh and flavorful ingredients. More than your typical burger joint, Pappas Burger has been serving huge Texan-sized burgers with fresh toppings to an adoring public since 2001. Their staples are tried and true diner delights while the burgers are made from a special blend of prime beef and chuck for an unbeatably delicious combination.

Best sellers include the Pappas Burger and the cheeseburger, while other equally interesting options include the Peppercorn Ranch Burger, the Lucy Juicy Burger and, for those trying to avoid beef, a turkey mushroom burger and a grilled salmon burger. Pappas Burger also offers a veggie burger for all you vegetarians out there.

5815 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77057, Phone: 713-975-6082

11. Stanton's City Bites

Stanton's City Bites
© Stanton's City Bites

To put it simply, Stanton's is a Houston classic. Opened in the 1960's, Stanton's was originally a grocery store before becoming one of Houston's top eateries. It's history as a grocery can still be very much seen in the look and feel of the restaurant plus in the boxes of Blow Pops and M&Ms that still sit at the counter. Now, Stanton's City Bites has received praise from some of the pickiest burger eaters with its impressive array of burgers.

From the 13 burger variations on the menu, the Cowboy Brunch and the Spicy Chipotle have done nothing short of stealing the limelight. The Cowboy Brunch features a fried egg, grilled onions, house-fried pickles, bacon, and Swiss and American cheese all between Texas toast. Meanwhile, the Spicy Chipotle includes toppings like jalapeño jack cheese, bacon, grilled onions, chipotle mayo, and butter on a jalapeño bun.

1420 Edwards Street, Houston, TX 77007, Phone: 713-227-4893

12. Cliff's Old Fashioned Hamburgers

Cliff's Old Fashioned Hamburgers
© Cliff's Old Fashioned Hamburgers

A go-to place for burgers in the neighborhood, Cliff's Old Fashioned Hamburgers is a crowd favorite thanks to its homey atmosphere and no nonsense approach to food. Patrons can choose between dining in or ordering ahead of time online to pick up the mouth-watering meals that Cliff's has come to be known for.

Favorites at Cliff's include a Kobe beef burger served with the perfect balance of lettuce and American cheese, a bacon cheese burger, and a mushroom swiss burger. While the burgers are, of course, the main draw of the restaurant, Cliff's also has a great selection of tacos and sandwiches to choose from.

1822 Fountain View Drive, Houston, TX 77057, Phone: 713-780-4010

13. Cue's Burgers

Cue's Burgers
© Cue's Burgers

The epitome of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Cue's is unassuming and no-frills with a casual and comfortable atmosphere. It's the perfect place to grab a quick bite to eat or to hang out with buddies with voracious appetites, thanks to their generous portions and reasonable prices. The owners are also very friendly and are eager to help you out with some meal recommendations if the locals don't beat them to it.

While the breakfast menu is more extensive than the burger menu, diners shouldn't miss out on the ½-pound burgers that their regulars know and love. Handmade and cooked to perfection, the burgers have just the right amount of grease. Some local favorites include the avocado bacon burger and the bacon cheeseburger. Tater tots are also a popular side but the crinkle fries are just as good too.

10423 South Post Oak Road, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-726-0313

14. Killen's Burgers

Killen's Burgers
© Killen's Burgers

Despite having just opened in 2016, Killen's Burgers is already starting to see long lines forming at its doors. Killen's Burgers features an expertly blended duo of brisket and chuck to produce a patty that is so good just one bite will have you addicted. Owner Ronnie Killen attributes the great taste of their beef patties to the fact that they are 100% all-natural Angus beef. That means no hormones and no antibiotics, ever.

Of the 11 mouthwatering burgers that Killen's has to offer, standout options include the Akaushi Burger, the Texas Burger, and a bacon burger. Diners with voracious appetites, however, should try the #99 out for size. Featuring two 10-ounce patties, the #99 is a massive burger topped with Nueske's bacon and delicious Wisconsin yellow cheddar.

2804 S. Main Street, Pearland, TX 77581, Phone: 281-412-4922

15. Sam's Burgers

Sam's Burgers
© Sam's Burgers

Owned and operated by the husband-and-wife duo of Sam and Priscilla Crosser, Sam's Burgers is a homey and old-fashioned burger joint with an honest-to-goodness love for fresh, homemade food. It is that honest passion for food that has made them one of the favorite spots in town for a burger with a great bun, a handmade patty, perfect seasoning, and just the right cook.

Visitors can take their pick between a Certified Angus Beef® burger with a 6-ounce patty, a buffalo burger, spicy turkey burger, veggie burger, and chili cheese burger. Each offering comes with lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, mayo, and mustard for toppings. The hand-cut hand-battered fries are also a thing of beauty and make a great side to Sam's fantastic burgers.

1017 Dairy Ashford, Houston, TX, Phone: 281-496-4052

16. Southwell's Hamburger Grill

Southwell's Hamburger Grill
© Southwell's Hamburger Grill

Made for locals by locals, Southwell's Hamburger Grill has brought fresh food and quality service to Houstonians since 1986. Following the mantra of "treat customers like family," Southwell's puts a premium on quality service and has consistently delivered a satisfying dining experience since they first opened.

From classics like the Old-Fashioned Hamburger and the double cheeseburger to more contemporary offerings like an onion patty melt and the Hickory Burger, Southwell's has a little something for every kind of diner to enjoy. One of the tried-and-tested favorites of this burger joint is their chili burger, which has classic toppings like mayo, mustard, pickles, tomatoes, and onions in addition to Southwell's famous chili and cheddar cheese.

5860 San Felipe, Houston, TX, Phone: 713-789-4972

The 18 Best Burgers in Houston, Texas near me today according to local experts are:

Attraction Spotlight: The Menil Collection

The Menil Collection is a 30-acre art museum in Houston with a permanent collection as well as special exhibitions housed in the main building. This building anchors three others that help make up the museum campus. Two of these are dedicated to artists Dan Flavin and Cy Twombly, while the third one is for year-long installation projects. The displays found throughout the museum allow the artwork and objects to speak for themselves. There is no media to explain the art in the galleries and visitors will find no instructive information on the walls. The idea is to foster a personal, direct encounter for each individual guest. The Menil Collection is free to visit and is open from Wednesday to Sunday.

The museum's collection of African art includes more than 900 examples of metal and ceramic objects, textiles, sculptures, and masks. This gallery showcases visual traditions from Africa's central and western regions and includes sculptural arts and masks of the Senufo, Dogon, Dan, Bwa, and Baule peoples of West Africa as well as sculptures and masks in ivory and wood from the Lega, Kuba, and Kongo peoples of Central Africa. The Arts of the Americas and the Pacific Northwest collection features over three hundred objects from ancient civilizations of South America and Central America as well as from the native peoples of North America's Pacific Northwest region.

The Menil Collection's Arts of the Ancient World includes paleolithic objects and artifacts from the ancient Egyptian, Mediterranean, and Near Eastern civilizations. With approximately 600 objects, this collection spans a timeframe of 20,000 years. The oldest item in the collection dates back to around 15,000 to 9,000 BCE and is an Upper Paleolithic fragment of an implement made of bone. Also featured are stoneware and marble figures from the Cyclades Islands, ancient Greek and Roman ceramics, and bronze votive figurines from the Near East and the eastern Mediterranean. Musical instruments, utilitarian and ceremonial objects, architectural elements, and masks from the Pacific regions of Polynesia and Melanesia are all featured in the Menil Collection's Arts of the Pacific Islands collection.

The museum’s most significant holdings from before the 20th century are its Byzantine artifacts and artwork. The Byzantine collection consists of more than 1,000 everyday items. There is also a gold reliquary from Macedonia, most likely from around the year 500 CE, a bronze censer from around the 7th to 10th century that depicts New Testament scenes, and a silver paten displaying the Communion of Paul and Peter from the 7th century.

Modern artwork is at the heart of the Menil Collection. There are many examples of surrealism among the pieces in the collections, including drawings, sculptures, and paintings. Visitors can also get a glimpse of early modern pieces by artists such as Pablo Picasso, James Ensor, and Georges Seurat. Prominent post-World War II pieces are also showcased in the works of Jean Dubuffet, Jean Fautrier, and Fernand Léger. Artists of the Paris-based nouveau realism of the 1950s and 1960s are also represented in the Menil Collection.

1533 Sul Ross Street, Houston, TX 77006, Phone: 713-525-9400

More Family Things to Do in Houston

Attraction Spotlight: The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, or CAMH, is dedicated to showcasing the most exciting and best art from the region, the United States, and around the world. It is a non-collecting institution, only displaying art rather than collecting it. The art museum was founded in 1948 and strives to present new art as well as document its role in today's world through exhibitions, original publications, events, educational programs, and lectures. Located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston can be found within an iconic building made of stainless steel. This building is highly recognizable and was designed specifically for the museum by architect Gunnar Birkerts.

Two of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's gallery spaces play host to eight to ten different exhibitions every year. Displayed in the Brown Foundation Gallery, the Major Exhibition Series showcases artwork by internationally recognized artists at the forefront of contemporary art. Themed exhibits are also featured, based around questions central to present-day life and the nature of art. The Zilkha Gallery houses the Perspective Series, which displays works of art from both established and emerging artists. A publication accompanies each exhibition at the museum, designed to be used by the general public and scholars alike. These publications offer an enduring documentation of the exhibits and provide knowledge about contemporary art and the international conversation that surrounds it.

Tours at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston are designed to foster flexible and critical thinking. The museum offers free guided tours on Saturdays, led by members of its FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions – Team. These tours are about 1 hour in duration. The FAQ Team encourages visitors to observe the artwork in a creative way, promoting reflection and open-ended discussions as well as making connections between everyday life and art. The museum is open every day except Monday and is free to visit. It's recommended to reserve a tour at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston 2 weeks in advance.

Interactive workshops are also available for teachers who wish to provide their students with a chance to gain insight into the artistic process, creative approaches to creating art, and new materials. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Education Team develops programs designed to guide visitors through their exploration of new ideas, perspectives, and spaces. In addition to this, the museum offers various community programs about contemporary art not associated with one of their exhibitions on display.

Several lectures and gallery talks occur at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Each exhibition is accompanied by a number of talks, presenting a variety of ideas on each one. These can range from international scholars to showcased artists to intriguing viewpoints from both related and not so related fields. The museum also plays host to many performance, film, and music events. Films shown at the museum range from documentary to high art, often in collaboration with other arts organizations in Houston. For each exhibition in the Brown Gallery, CAMH Loft Concerts are programmed by Musiqa, a renowned contemporary classical group. Several other musical and dance performances take place at the museum throughout the year as well.

5216 Montrose Boulevard, Houston, TX 77006, Phone: 713-284-8250