Funny, but also not so funny, story. I love burgers. I crave burgers. I could eat burgers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and never tire of them. Only I actually can’t because I was bitten by a mad, blood-sucking, vampire tick several years ago and as a result I am now, sadly, highly allergic to red meat — read: beef, pork, lamb, and the like. It’s called Alpha-Gal Syndrome — at least the name sounds cool.
Luckily, there are plenty of meat eaters here at Bleu HQ to chime in on the very important subject of Nashville’s best burgers. I will say that my all time favorite Music City option, one that I miss dearly and used to enjoy often, was the burger from Little Octopus, which has since closed. Damn, that was a good burger. I can curb my cravings with the less appealing turkey burger and have been known to get down with a veggie burger from time to time, but there is nothing quite like an iconic hamburger with all the fixings. Here are the city’s greatest.
Dinos: 411 Gallatin Ave, Nashville.
An old school Nashville dive bar, and the spot which results in many a late night, always-good-to-the-last-bite, local favorite that’s open late serving up classic burgers, fries, and booze. The Dinos burger is one of the city’s best, and usually ranks in as #1 in many a Music City native’s playbook. Thin, greasy, flat top sizzled, grass-fed patties paired with American cheese, lettuce, onion, pickle, and tomato. Add a fried egg or bacon if you fancy, or try the Dolly Burger, topped with a honey marinated squash & carrot slaw and homemade garlic Szechuan aioli. And don’t you dare do Dinos without ordering a basket of Animal Fries smothered in Velveeta, grilled onions, and special sauce.
Emmy Squared: 404 12th Ave S, Nashville; 3821 Green Hills Village Drive, Nashville.
If you’re someone who prefers something a little more gourmet or slightly elevated, if you will, let the Le Big Matt from Emmy Squared become the burger that you think about when going to sleep at night — seriously, we promise you will. We chalk it up to its two juicy patties, that special Sammy Sauce (we could drink it), and a pretzel bun that will make you question all other burger buns moving forward. We welcome this recent Brooklyn transplant with open arms!
M.L. Rose: 4408 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville.
A damn good burger with damn good waffle fries and craft beer to match. M.L. Rose has a laundry list of burger options on its menu (and one delicious veggie burger, too!). From a classic cheeseburger with the traditional fixings to the Nash Vegas, which is our personal fave complete with pimento cheese, crispy Tobasco onions, smokey BBQ sauce, and a sweet potato bun. Insiders tip: they have a dog-friendly patio, which we think it pretty cool, and they serve brunch on the weekends — the donut holes are a must.
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint: 3108 Belmont Blvd., Nashville.
Martin’s is (in our opinion) the only place in town where you can find true Southern BBQ. Locals and out-of-towners flock to one of its three Music City locations to stand in line and sink their teeth into some deliciously smoked meats. The burgers are a crowd pleaser, too. The one that’s won our heart? The Brisket Burger. They take an already perfect cheeseburger and top it with brisket and their Sweet Dixie Sauce for an explosion of flavor in your mouth.
The Southern: 150 3rd Ave South, Nashville.
One of the best in the heart of downtown is the wood-fired namesake Southern Burger at, you guess it, The Southern. They sandwich together juicy Bear Creek beef, spicy jalapeño bacon, pimento cheese, and crispy fried onions for a savory home run every time. The burger is served with a nice size side of their signature sweet potato fries, which makes the meal a real deal experience.
Redheaded Stranger: 305 Arrington St, Nashville.
The Redheaded Stranger is a new kid on the block, serving up fresh and tasty tacos on the daily. They have a gem of a burger on the menu — the Green Chili Cheeseburger — and it’s definitely a contender for one of Nashville’s best. Chopped hatch chilis, melty American cheese, Gifford’s bacon, and ranch dressing on a potato roll will keep you ordering the burger every time with a taco on the side.
Chauhan Ale & Masala House: 123 12th Avenue North Nashville.
Celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan serves up a diverse menu of outstanding cuisine melding southern dishes with traditional Indian fare. They just so happen to have a burger on the lunch menu — yes, go for lunch and order the burger as soon as possible because it’s incredible. They take their signature Chauhan blend of beef and top it with Indian green chili bacon, Amol cheese, Chaat masala onion rings, and a red wine demi glace. It’s heavenly! And while you’re at it, be sure to order the Tandoori Chicken Poutine. These two dishes are by far one of the best pairings you’ll find in Nashville.
Tennessee Brew Works: 809 Ewing Avenue, Nashville.
A marriage of both burger and beer, this beautiful couple is living happily ever after. The Five Beer Burger from Tennessee Brew Works is a fusion of mastery. With beer-infused sauces, pickles, and onions, this is one burger that is purely artisan. You can order it with a vegan Beyond Burger patty, too.
Burger Up: 2901 12th Avenue South, Nashville; 970 Woodland Street, Nashville.
For a straight forward, but really tasty burger selection, hit up one of Burger Up’s Nashville location. There’s literally a burger for everyone on the menu. Our favorites just happen to be the Woodstock: Benton’s bacon, Tennessee Sweetwater white cheddar, and Jack Daniels maple ketchup; and the Black and Blue: crumbled blue cheese, blackening seasoning with red onion and arugula. The Ramsey Pimento Cheeseburger is tops, too, if you’re into that sort of thing. Order your choice alongside a Fry Flight (trust us) and drench it all in the house-made ketchup and aioli. You will not be disappointed.
The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden: 731 Mcferrin Ave, Nashville.
While you’re sure to stand in line to get into this East Nashville burger sanctuary, it’s well worth the wait. Not only do they offer tots to accompany your burger, they just happen to have three very delicious, non-red meat burgers on the menu: the Falafel Burger, Black Bean Burger, and Daily Grind Fish Burger. It’s a great spot to hang, drink beer, and eat with family and friends, and for you meat lovers, the Farm Burger, complete with country ham, applewood-smoked bacon, farm fresh egg, and maple mustard, is the most popular among the crowd.
Hugh Baby’s: Various Nashville locations.
Now, if you’re looking for a burger on the quick that leans more towards fast-food but doesn’t taste like it, Hugh Baby’s is the burger shop for you. Martin’s Bar-B-Que Owner, Pat Martin is bringing better fast food to the masses with his trio of locations. Hugh Baby’s delivers fresh ingredients, in-house ground patties, and that beloved smokey BBQ taste, while keeping things simple and classic. The fries are just as good, and yes, there’s a veggie burger on this menu, as well — a unique blend of black beans, mushrooms, onions, and cashews. Yes, please!
Is there a noteworthy Nashville burger we missed? Let us know and we’ll give it a try!