For top burger picks in Houston, we turned to Bryan Caswell, chef/owner of two restaurants: slider spot Little Big's, and Reef, which was named one of the top seafood restaurants in the nation by Bon Appétit and is also home to some of the best sliders in the U.S., according to Food & Wine magazine. Both Little Big's and Reef earned rave reviews from Damon Gambuto, our Los Angeles correspondent.
Caswell, a two time nominee for the James Beard Best Chef Southwest award (2010 and 2011), Next Iron Chef Season Three finalist, and one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs (2009) says his favorite everyday burger is one done Texas diner style (double meat, double American cheese, grilled on the flattop and served on a buttered, grilled bun). On top, he likes mayo or aioli and a fried egg. The one ingredient he can't stand is ketchup, much like San Antonio chef Jason Dady, and yours truly. Validation!
Scroll down for all of Bryan's top burger picks in Houston.
Bryan Caswell's Top 5 Burgers in Houston
1. The Cheech at The Moon Tower Inn: Buttery bun, thick medium-rare patty, roasted poblano pepper, not too crispy bacon, goat cheese, Sambal mayo and a fried egg. This burger is a force to be reckoned with! A regular routine for me. Best time to go? Wednesdays is buy one get one free day...dangerous.
3004 Canal Street, Houston, TX (map); 832-969-1934
2. Viva Patty Melt at Hubcap Grill: I grew up loving this type of burger. My dad and grandfather are big patty melt guys. Grilled onions, swiss cheese and toasted rye. Simple and perfect.
1111 Prairie Street, Houston TX 77002 (map); 713-223-5885; hubcapgrill.com
3. Cease and Desist Burger at The Hay Merchant: Double the meat and double the cheese. Fresh grind and tasty. Straight forward and back to basics.
1100 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77006 (map); 713-528-9805; haymerchant.com
4. Country Fried Bacon Burger at Christian's Tailgate Bar & Grill: This burger goes best with an SEC college football game. Big, thick-cut bacon says it all.
Three locations in Houston, see christianstailgate.com for details
5: The Cheerleader at Bernie's Burger Bus: When I'm driving around town and see this food truck I always hit the brakes and pull in. Fried jalapeños, jalapeño jack cheese, roasted tomatoes and jalapeño ranch. This one is a belly burner, spicy heaven.
Various locations, see berniesburgerbus.com for updates