Alabamians know a good burger when they taste one. From state-based chains like Milo’s and Jack’s to its diners and dives—even its temples of gastronomy—the magical combination of beef patty, bun, cheese and condiments is a Yellowhammer delight.
The best burgers are hand-patted and cooked to order. Many are ground in-house, with flavor boosters like high-fat Wagyu beef, bacon, or tallow. Some offer double patties. A few are topped with a fried egg, which provides its own sauce.
We searched throughout the state for local legends and online darlings, collating several “best-of” lists to choose representatives that we consider to be the best burgers in Alabama.
Available at lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, The Bacon Burger boasts provolone cheese, bacon, red onion, house-made pickles, mixed greens, and mayonnaise. It’s drawn accolades from online publications like BuzzFeed, Best Things Alabama, Delish, and Big 7 Travel. Look for casual dining and both traditional and funky cocktails at the downtown Tuscaloosa establishment.
With eight options, Butch Cassidy’s hamburgers are a perennial favorite in the Port City, winning several “best burger” contests. Cassidy’s dubs its namesake Butch Burger as “Soon to be NOW famous,” but the bacon cheeseburger (topped with all the usual suspects) has long had a loyal following. The frontier theme continues with the Wild West Burger and the Prairie Bacon Burger.
No burger in Alabama has received more press than the Hamburger Fonfon at Chez Fonfon, Frank and Pardis Stitt’s bistro next to their much-lauded restaurant, Highlands Bar and Grill. The heritage-beef grind is topped by nutty French Comte cheese, and served with a griddled Brioche bun, pickles, and dijonnaise—all house-made—and grilled red onion.
Its namesake is the Chubba Burger (bacon, American and Swiss cheeses, lettuce, tomato, grilled onion, mayo, and pickle) but the attention-grabber for many fans is the Zydeco, with bacon, house-made Cajun horseradish sauce, and a mound of fried onion straws. Twenty sauce options range from ranch and barbecue to the self-explanatory “Quite a Bit Hotter.”
It prepares patties with a pedigree, grass-fed dry-aged beef raised nearby and ground in-house with a bit of beef tallow for extra flavor. The Farm Burger includes aged Vermont white cheddar, caramelized onions, and house “FB” sauce. The menu includes Weekly Local specialty burgers, build-your-own choices, and the Double Bacon Cheeseburger (patties are made from a beef-bacon blend). Other options: house-made vegan and chorizo pork patties, Beyond Burger, and chicken.
Auburn, Lake Martin
Known collectively as “Niff’s Specialties,” choices include The Wickled Drummy (house-made pimento cheese, bacon and Wickles pickles) and The Niff Jr. (four cheeses, bacon and fried egg). Patty choices include a half-pound beef burger, vegetarian garden patty, black bean patty, grilled or fried chicken breast, turkey burger, and vegan Beyond Burger. Any burger can be “Nifferized,” with double protein for an additional charge.
This family-run restaurant in a small store outside Bessemer has been flipping burgers, a couple hundred a day, for decades (the store’s even older). A great sandwich (making several best-of lists) at a great price, the thick, juicy patties are hand-formed and grilled. Variations on the standard hamburger-cheeseburger theme include bacon, chili, barbecue, Hawaiian, or mushroom.
Originally a parked food truck, it moved to a brick-and-mortar building in 2013. Choose burgers by patty size —four-, six-, or eight-ounce. The Gunter Pile is a no-bun mashup—a base of fries topped with a six-ounce burger patty, and covered in cheese, gravy, grilled onions, and fried onions.