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23 of Austin's best burgers to help you celebrate National Hamburger Day

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You certainly knew this weekend was a "holiday weekend," but did you know that in addition to being the weekend that precedes the somber Memorial Day, it also contains a much more frivolous but delicious unofficial holiday?

Sunday is National Hamburger Day. Whatever that is. 

And since hamburgers are probably my favorite food item (meat, cheese, bread … what's not to love?), I decided to acknowledge this week's fake holiday and the unofficial start of summer with a few of my favorite burgers from around town. 

There are  all kinds of burgers, of course, for all occasions and tastes. Some people like a classic flat top burger; others want a fat one off of a live fire grill. There are those who go in for melted caps of American cheese, while others prefer a fancy French cheese. Maybe you're an aioli fan, or, like me, a devotee of Duke's Mayonnaise. From $4 to $24, there are all sorts of awesome burgers in this town. Here are some of the best, broken down by category.

OG flat-topper

You can taste the history of the griddle in the burgers and on the crisp edges of the bacon at Dirty Martin's (a 2021 Austin360 Restaurant Hall of Fame inductee), Crown& Anchor Pub and Billy's on Burnet. Nobody does this classic style better than these folks.

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Drive thru, please

On the go and want a really good burger? My rotation includes the smash burgers from Buddy's Burger in Northeast Austin, the greasy flat-top classic at Dan's Hamburgers (a 2022 Austin360 Restaurant Hall of Fame inductee), and a double with grilled onions and special sauce from P. Terry's, which I probably frequent more than any restaurant in Austin. 

Bar burger

If you want a flat-top burger with caramelized edges and a frozen cocktail to go with it, head to the Cavalier in East Austin. If you want a fat, backyard-style burger with a side of attitude, you're heading to Casino El Camino and trying either the roasted pepper-laden Amarillo or the Buffalo burger. For a more high-end cocktail bar experience, Honey Moon Spirit Lounge smashes Wagyu patties thin, stacks them and slathers them with American cheese for one of the city's best new(ish) burgers.

More restaurant news:Best new Austin restaurants to open so far in 2023 — from pizza to Thai

A bit fancy

One of my top three comes from Better Half. The all-day cafe serves theirs with Dijonaisse and American cheese. Get a double, and don't sleep on the chicken burger. The burgers at their sister brewery next door, Hold Out Brewing, are equally good. Hopfields puts Camembert and aioli on their standout burger cuz they're French like that. Speaking of the French, Justine's melts a nutty cap of Gruyere on its ample burger that goes well with one of the iconic bar's stuff cocktails. 

Oh, you fancy?

Odd Duck doesn't do lunch anymore, sadly, but they still serve a burger at night. The setup changes. Currently it appears to have fried soft shell crab ON the burger? IDK. I'm sure it's great because these folks are burger geniuses. The most decadent burger may be the dry-aged Wagyu burger from the locavores at Dai Due, who melt Stryk cheddar on their beast of a burger and serve beet ketchup with their big fries.

Oy-ver the top

Want a burger topped with hatch green chilies, or queso? What about pastrami or a latke? Jewboy Burgers does all that, but start with the straight ahead burger that comes with griddled onions cooked into the patty. 

If great fries are a must ...

The matchstick fries that come with the juicy burger at Clark's are some of the best in town, and the burger is just as good. 

Smoke 'em if you got 'em

Ever wonder what it would be like if you transformed a brisket into a cheeseburger? That's pretty much what LeRoy and Lewis has done with this burger. You can almost feel the smoke wafting up into your face as you dig into the gargantuan smoked patty laced with a tangy sauce and tart pickles that vibrate through the smoke show. 

Related:Austin's best barbecue truck, LeRoy and Lewis, opening a restaurant in South Austin

The CM Smokehouse trailer at Bouldin Acres serves tricked out bar food centered around smoked meats, but chef Cade Mercer's half-pound cheeseburger mostly hews to tradition, with slappy sauce and pickles atop the flattened and juicy patties. 

Hit the road

If you find yourself traversing the roads of Central Texas, you should consider a stop on the outskirts of Driftwood for the goat cheese burger, crunchy with fried onions, at the rustic Hays City Store, or point your car toward the Hill Country, where you'll find a sweet tomato and pork jam spread atop the very good burger at Hildee's Dine-Inn near Blue Hole Regional Park in Wimberley. 

New kids on the block

Related:We built a dream barbecue plate from the best Austin restaurants — and it's perfect

Aaron Franklin makes a mean burger. Who would've guessed? Juicy and crispy with a classic build, the burgers are made with beef from Creekstone Farms, which also supplies Franklin Barbecue. The burger is served after 3 p.m. at Franklin's new Uptown Sports Club in East Austin. I'm not sure if the burger at Aviary Wine & Kitchen is new or just new to me, but I was happy to see that the friendly little South Lamar wine bar that always plays great music now makes a great burger. 

More:Exclusive first look: Aaron Franklin's Uptown Sports Club opens soon with gumbo, po' boys

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