Top 5 Underrated Burgers in Houston (According to You)

Photo courtesy Just Burgers
The Texas Burger at Just Burgers is a force to be reckoned with.
Well, Houston, you've proven your love of burgers yet again.

More than 1,100 people voted in our poll to determine which burgers in Houston don't get their fair due, and the results are in. It actually wasn't even close for first place, either. Forty-five votes separate first and second places, though the rest of the votes were a little closer.

Some of you wondered in the comments how the winner of last year's burger bracket, Rainbow Lodge, could be underrated. My answer? I don't know, guys, you picked these spots! I do think that all of the options were good ones, though, as they aren't places I would have immediately thought of when wanting a great burger.

Of course, they are now. And I'm on a mission to try them all.

Without further ado, here are the most underrated burgers in Houston.

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We've Narrowed Down the Most Underrated Burgers...Vote Now!

Categories: Burger Break

Photo courtesy Listos Restaurant
This burger from Listos got A LOT of votes during the initial call for comments.
Last week we were seeking burger inspiration from you, dear readers. In an effort to expand our burger horizons, we wanted to know what you felt were the most underrated burgers in Houston. Hopefully yours, too, will be expanded in the process.

We received hundreds of responses on the blog and on social media, which is awesome. Clearly you folks are passionate about your beef! In order to narrow down the top five most underrated burgers in Houston, we've put together a handy poll. Check it out and vote on your favorite option.

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The Most Underrated Burgers in Houston...According to You

Categories: Burger Break

Photo courtesy Bernie's Burger Bus
This is not an underrated burger. We all know this rocks.
We recently tallied the votes and revealed what you, our dear readers, think are the most underrated restaurants in Houston. There were a lot of votes, and the initial call for comments sparked much discussion about hidden gems, great, underappreciated food.

But now we've got a new challenge for you: Burgers.

Oh, we Houstonians love our burgers. I regularly joke that if I want people to read things I write, all I have to do is put "burger" in the headline. I'm only half kidding.

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Steak 'n Shake: Chili, Beans and Great Hamburgers On The Road

Photos by John Kiely
The Jamaican Jerk Double is a wild selection.

Pete Wells became widely recognized for his all-question review of Guy Fieri's restaurant, published in The New York Times. I was more impressed that Wells took on the everything-is-better-in-New-York mentality with a more enthusiastic review of the hamburger from Indianapolis-based Steak 'n Shake than the one he gave to a burger from New York's local favorite, Shake Shack.

A Steak 'n Shake Steakburger is as good as Wells declared, and it's one of the best you'll get from a national chain. The french fries are also exceptional. When it comes to local hamburgers, though, the burgers-are-better-in-Houston mentality does indeed apply, so my family reserves visits to Steak 'n Shake for road trips. This holiday season we stopped at the franchise outside Covington, Louisiana.

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Wake Up on New Year's Day With Less of a Hangover

Photos by John Kiely
A two-fisted approach to drinking will save you a lot of pain.
New Year's Eve is sometimes referred to as "amateur night" by people like my friend Freddy, who refrains from going to any of his favorite bars on this occasion. I disagree, and view New Year's as a special night when many revelers enjoy champagne, spirits and cocktails for celebrations, rather than the usual beer or wine that flows on most holidays.

The only amateurs are people who view drinking as a competitive sport and keep a score of how many glasses or shots they've knocked off, before their math skills dwindle to zero. However, even if you're drinking like a pro, it's easy to lose track and wake up wishing it was January 2.

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Burger King's 'Big King' Is Nothing Like a McDonald's Big Mac

Photos by Christina Uticone
I loved this burger. (Now that's a whopper.)
That Burger King expects us to see their new double-decker "Big King" sandwich as some kind of NEW menu item is a little insulting. I don't even eat Big Macs, and I knew this was a straight copycat before I took the first bite. Here is the sandwich description from the Burger King website:

Our new BIG KING™ Sandwich features two savory fire-grilled beef patties, topped with, melted American cheese, fresh cut iceberg lettuce, crisp onions, crunchy pickles, and featuring a sweet thousand island style dressing, all on a warm, toasted, sesame seed bun.

Once you recover from the grammar that just happened, I'm confident that you will see -- as I did -- that even on spec, this sandwich is nothing more than a freaking Big Mac.

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UPDATE: Is The Burger Guys Closing for Good? YES.

Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
The sign on the door says it'll open after Sunday, but we're not so sure.
Update: Owner Jake Mazzu has confirmed that The Burger Guys is closed. See his statement on the next page.

On the heels of the shuttering of The Burger Guys' downtown location, today comes the rumor that the original location on Westheimer is closing as well, or possibly already closed.

We ventured out to the Westside burger shop and found it dark and locked up during the lunch hour when owner Jake Mazzu and chef Brandon Fisch are typically slinging burgers to hungry Houstonians.

A sign on the door reads "Closed due to technical difficulties. Will be open after Sunday."

Unfortunately, we're pretty sure the spot won't be open Sunday after all.

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100 Favorite Dishes 2013: No. 67, Bad-Ass Hambur-Torta at Pistolero's

Photo from Pistolero's
The bad-ass hambur-torta is neither a hamburger nor a torta. Discuss.
This year, leading up to our annual Menu of Menus issue, Kaitlin Steinberg counts down her 100 favorite dishes as she eats her way through Houston. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most awesome, most creative and, of course, most delicious in town. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that seem particularly indicative of the ever-changing Houston foodscape. It's a list to drool over.

My dad was recently in town for a visit, and after eating fairly healthy food on the first several days of his trip, we were feeling pretty proud of ourselves. We hadn't yet given in to our normal father/daughter dining whims, which tend to include a lot of carbs and a lot of ice cream. I was trying to figure out where to take him next when he stood up from the sofa across from me and uttered a shocking proclamation:

"I want a burger. Like, a big, crazy burger with everything on it. A big, meaty, over-the-top burger."

At first I was confused, and I assumed he was kidding.

"OK, OK, hang on," I said, rolling my eyes. "Give me a second. I'm trying to think of a really good salad place."

"No," he said, his eyes widening in anticipation. "I mean it. I want a big, sloppy burger."

"Well, then," I said. "If you're sure ... I know just the place."

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Little Bitty Burger Barn Changes Hands; Former Owners to Open Restaurant in Wisconsin

Photo by Francisco Montes
Jay Hengtgen, in the burger hat, and Ricardo Luna, far right, with fellow chefs at Wingtoberfest 2013. The two men are pulling up stakes and moving to Wisconsin.
"We have a cult following here, and I'll have the same thing up there," Little Bitty Burger Barn owner Jay Hengtgen told me, discussing his decision to sell the popular burger joint and move back to his home state of Wisconsin.

The sale was finalized last Friday, November 1, and on Monday the new owner, Orlando Delcid, officially took over. Somehow the sale of the restaurant slipped under the radars of most people, but Hengtgen said it wasn't the result of a hasty decision or an offer he couldn't refuse.

"I had advertised that we had it for sale, and that's when he approached us," Hengtgen explains. "We're at 90 percent capacity right now, and no matter how many bells and whistles or how much advertising you buy, you can't put any more people in here. I told Ricardo (Luna), my partner, that if we were going to keep it, we would have to double in size. And I just didn't want to do it down here."

Fortunately for devotees of Hengtgen's jalapeño cheeseburger or "little bitty sliders," we're told the new owner isn't planning on changing anything.

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The Rest of the Best: The Top Ten Burgers in Houston 2013

Photo by Troy Fields
The Grim Burger at Lankford Grocery inspires thoughts of a delicious burger-y death.

Our 2013 Best of Houston issue is here, and in many cases, picking the best item in many of the categories was no easy task. In order to show off all the culinary greatness Houston has to offer, we'll be rounding up the "rest of the best" in some of our favorite categories during the next several months. Bon appétitt!

Speaking of no easy task, on to burgers.

When you search "burgers" on our blog, you get 2,615 entries. That's how much we love burgers. We write about them alllll the time. There are a lot of them in this town, too -- far more than ten -- but this list is comprised of the ten very best burgers around, from the plain janes to the totally out there.

I may have complained about gourmet burgers in the past, but that was before I encountered all that Houston has to offer, burger-wise. This city is a veritable playground for the wondrous and the whimsical in burger-making.

So, without further ado, these are our top ten favorites from around Houston. We know you have your favorites too. So come on, let us have it in the comments.

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