Best Burgers Jacksonville, FL

Burger Picks from Jacksonville Local, EatDrinkJax

If you are looking for a city with burger diversity and scads of excellent hamburger choices, Jacksonville, FL  might be your town. Below are a few best burger picks from our friends at EatDrinkJax. Although they don’t rate burgers, EatDrinkJax editor, Gerry Glynn, puts all these burgers in the “great” category.

 Jacksonville is about burger diversity — freshly ground, meaty and honest …  topped with Spam, collard greens or foie gras…

“They’re all so good,” said Glynn. “We probably eat at Mojo the most because it’s close to where we live and its wide variety of Southern awesomeness provides a perfect sampler for visitors to Jacksonville. Happy hour at The Blind Rabbit is where we go when we’re hanging out and want to enjoy a craft beer and a great burger. We love Two Dudes and send visitors to the Beach there all the time to experience what locals know. If only Pinegrove Market and Black Sheep were closer we’d eat there a lot more.”

Jacksonville Burger Recommendations 

The Blind Rabbit (review) is a Jacksonville Beach hot spot, featuring a huge selection of whiskeys, along with craft beer and gourmet burgers. The Southern Burger is topped with arugula, a fried green tomato, okra and pimento cheese. The Blind Rabbit is the second restaurant for chefs and brothers, John and Jeff Stanford. Both restaurants were preceded by the popular Salty Fig food truck. (More about The Blind Rabbit on Best Burger Review).

Southern Burger
Southern Style at The Blind Rabbitt

Black Sheep (interview) is hip and cool and their rooftop patio provides a great way to see the city. The restaurant is fine dining but prices at lunch are what you’d expect at an upscale burger joint. The burgers at Black Sheep are made with grass feed beef from a local farm. The burgers are delicious and rate among our favorites. There’s only one problem: the Duck Banh Mi Sandwich is so darn good that it’s hard to order the burger if you have to choose. Our solution was to order one of each, then split.

Orsay (interview) is sister restaurant to Black Sheep. It offers a foie gras topped burger that one Jacksonville food critic calls a BARGAIN (caps are hers) at $30. Inspired by renowned chef Daniel Boulud, the Orsay Burger is made from grass-fed beef, and comes in a homemade bun with home made fries, aioli and pickles.

Epik Burger (interview) is for the person who isn’t satisfied with just a burger. Epik Burger offers over 30 styles of burger including a Hawaiian Local Burger (topped with Spam and an egg), Deep South Burger (topped with collard greens cooked in bacon fat) and a Maguro Bocho Burger, featuring sushi-inspired toppings such as wasabi mayonnaise, pickled ginger, soy sauce and sesame seeds.

Epik Hawaiian Burger
Epik’s Hawaiian Local – Yep, with Spam

Mojo (interview) has 5 locations around Jacksonville and St. Augustine. There’s so much great barbecue at Mojo that their burger can sometimes fly under the radar. But the burger is amazing, especially with thick cut, crispy bacon. The burger comes with a side, and the sweet potato mash is out of this world. If you can convince someone to split dinners with you, the Kansas City Burnt Ends are tasty, tender pieces of brisket heaven.

M Shack (interview) is the creation of local fine-dining chefs Matthew and David Medure who wanted to bring out a better burger. M Shack has proven so successful that a second location has already been opened. M Shack features grass-fed burgers and truffle fries, along with handspun milkshakes, including “adult” versions with a little kick.

M Shack
M Burger – ground fresh daily


Pinegrove Market
(interview) started as a high end butcher shop in 1968 before adding a deli. Their burgers are made daily from the dry aged beef sold in their butcher shop. The owners work in the shop, greeting customers and carving great steaks. The burgers are meaty and honest. Nothing fancy but the taste. A free selection of sides is available to first time visitors, so be sure to ask.

Two Dudes Market (review) is a mile west of the beach on Atlantic Blvd. Located in a non-descript strip plaza oh-so-close and yet oh-so-far from the busiest restaurant area in Atlantic Beach means that Two Dudes must rely primarily on local traffic. Good thing that Two Dudes is a local favorite. The Jax Beach Burger is topped with fried oysters and wasabi cream sauce, and is paired with a side of mango-wasabi cole slaw. The burgers are huge, and so are the desserts. Decisions, decisions.


EatDrinkJax LogoEatDrinkJax.com is a Jacksonville website dedicated to talking to local chefs and restaurateurs. Through one-on-one interviews, they go behind the scenes to hear from the food purveyors themselves about what makes their restaurants and their food special — the best menu items and the hidden gems that don’t get the attention they deserve.

For more on the Jacksonville Burger scene, read our interview with EatDrinkJax editor, Gerry Glynn.

(Photos courtesy EatDrinkJax)

Gerry Glynn, Digital Journalist

Eating and Drinking in Jacksonville, FL

 

Our curated Jacksonville burger list comes from Gerry Glynn, creator Gerry Glenn of the website Eat.Drink.Jax.

Officially launched in 2012, EatDrinkJax is a food-seeker’s guide to Jacksonville. Not only does it have a directory with more than 800 local restaurants and bars (complete with addresses, phone numbers and menus), but it goes behind the scenes and does one-on-one interviews with food folks — like the owner of the Jacksonville Hamburger Mary’s, and city’s own Burger Geeks.

EatDrinkJax has a small in-house review team, but it also highlights reviews from leading critics around the city. Plus, the website offers an eclectic collection of city food and drink recommendations, including a craft beer guide, gluten-free listings, and a directory of Golden Spoon winners from Florida Trend magazine.

EatDrinkJax Logo

Because EatDrinkJax is neutral platform for chefs and restaurateurs, Glynn was reluctant to give a personal “best-of” opinion, but he did talk to us about hamburgers, citing examples of who does things right in Jacksonville.

BBR: What makes a great burger?
For me it’s a combination of a lot of things. Taste is the most important. A burger needs to be flavorful while being neither dry nor greasy. Mojo is an example of a smokey, barbecued burger with fabulous taste.

Being cooked right. I like a burger that’s cooked to medium-rare. Many places want to serve their burgers well done but, for me, that takes away from the flavor. Black Sheep does a perfect job of cooking their burgers to order.

A good bun helps a lot, although I eat most of my burgers without a bun. When I do have a bun it needs to be substantial enough to hold the burger together without being intrusive on the taste of the burger itself. I want to primarily taste the burger, not the bun. Pinegrove Market gets the balance just right.

Done right, toppings can enhance a burger. But like the bun, I don’t want toppings getting in the way of the main course. Epik Burger in Jacksonville has a ton of innovative toppings and is an example of a place that gets their toppings right.

Korean BBQ Burger
Korean BBQ Burger from Epik. BBQ Marinade, Kim Chi, Fried Egg, Green Onions (Photo courtesy EatDrinkJax).

The ambiance of the restaurant can enhance the enjoyment of eating the burger. Price matters too. I’d rather pay a little more to get a great burger but when I pay more my expectations are higher.

BBR: What burger is on your bucket list?
My bucket list is actually to try as many different burgers as I can. I love burgers and will often gravitate to the burger on a menu. But, I’d rather risk an unknown burger than play it safe, so I explore whenever I can.

BBR: What burger do you love but are embarrassed to admit?
I’m not actually embarrassed about this but I love McDonalds, Wendy’s, Hardee’s and a lot of fast food places. The global success of the US fast food industry is testament to what a great job they’ve done delivering solid products with great service, prices and consistency. Even though I mostly eat at local restaurants in Jacksonville I tend to eat at fast food chains when I’m on the road and need to make a quick decision about a fast meal.

5 Very Bunny Best Burger Joints

No Rabbits Were Harmed …

Just for fun, we hunted down some of the most interesting bunny-related best burger joints the U.S., (plus one down under).

 

1. Bunny’s Onion Burger*
Oklahoma City, OK (Two locations)

Bunny's Onion BurgerAt Bunny’s it’s about the onions. They are thin-sliced and grilled, then piled high on a slightly greasy burger. Some like it with melty American; some smothered with Bunny’s chili, or both.

This burger joint has been putting its own spin on the iconic Oklahoma City onion burger since back in the 1970s when the place was called Joe’s Onion Burger. Fresh meat and Joe’s original burger recipe make this place a favorite with locals and travelers alike.

Bunny’s Onion Burgers is located at 5020 N. Meridian Ave., and on the south side, 1023 S. Meridian Ave.

*We have no idea why the official website links to a Valium ad.

 

2. The Blind Rabbit – A Burger and Whiskey Bar
Jacksonville Beach, FL

A little more than a year after rolling out their successful Jacksonville food truck, the Salty Fig (later renamed the Blind Fig), Stanford brothers, John and Jeff, opened The Blind Rabbit.  A Southern fusion joint, tinged with hints of Creole, The Blind Rabbit is a full-service, sit-down restaurant, complete with appetizers and soups, and sides and desserts. It’s the whiskeys and burgers, however, that are the draw.

Blind Rabbit Burger (by Susan K, is courtesy of TripAdvisor)

The restaurant name pays homage to the speakeasy days when a place named for a blind animal (i.e., Blind Tiger, or Blind Pig) denoted a place to get illegal hooch. And hooch they have. The Blind Rabbit serves more than 100 whiskeys (and moonshine), specialty cocktails, wine and beer (with ample local, craft selections) — and even hard milkshakes, like the Maple Bacon made with bacon-infused Buffalo Trace Bourbon.

The burgers are high-end half pounders made from a blend of brisket, chuck and short rib.  The burger menu ranges from a “Classic Chesseburger,” with Tillamook Cheddar, to thoughtfully bold creations like The Southern Burger, with fried green tomato, Creole pimento cheese, and peach habanero hot sauce. Each burger, or other “handheld”, is served with your choice of “root” veggie side (shredded tobaccos onions, baby turnips or carrots, or hand-cut fries or chips), and a dipping sauce. Think curry mayo or Bourbon-spiked Creole mustard.

Find the Blind Rabbit at 311 N. Third St., Suite 107, Jacksonville Beach.

 

3. Red Rabbit Drive In
Duncannon, PA

This May, the Red Rabbit Drive In will have been serving burgers, BBQ and shakes for 50 years. Still run by relatives of the original Red Rabbit owner, not much has changed. When you pull in, just imagine the car next to you is a Chevy Impala or a Mustang convertible (from back when the car’s lines were cooler), and you’ll experience the Red Rabbit almost like it was when it opened.

Red Rabbit Drive InCar Hop at the Ready (Photo by Andy S., via Yelp)

Even their signature Bunny Burger hasn’t changed much. It’s a modest piece of meat (a la 1960s) that comes with the de rigueur lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, but also hickory-smoked bacon, cheese, and a secret sauce that’s said to be the key to the burger’s charm. And who can resist fries sprinkled with “bunny dust”?

They make chili when it’s cold, and they have a Perry County “disjointed” fried chicken dinners. Wash it down with a birch beer or an ice cream soda.

If you can’t (like the sign says) “make the Red Rabbit a habit,” at least drive in for a taste of nostalgia. It’s only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s also closed seasonally (December and January).

The Red Rabbit Drive IN is at 60 Benvenue Road, (Route 322), just above the Clark’s Ferry Bridge.

 

4. Iron Rabbit Restaurant & Bar
Olympia, Washington

The Iron Rabbit is an up-scale pub, offering a lot more than burgers (like a rotating line up of craft beers and local, craft spirits) but the burgers are often mentioned among the best in the city. From the five regular menu burgers, the Sicilian Burger emerges the star. The handcrafted, balsamic glazed burger comes with Cypress Grove chèvre, roasted garlic and red peppers and caramelized red onions. It’s topped with organic spring greens and pesto aioli, all on a toasted brioche bun. Burgers can be served on a gluten-free bun, and a portabello mushroom or veggie burger can replace the beef (or lamb).

Rancher Burger at the Iron Rabbit (Courtesy of TripAdvisor)

Despite the full bar and a “hoppy hour,” the Iron Rabbit is family-friendly. They even have a Kid Iron Burger, topped with Tillamook white cheddar. Carrot sticks or sliced apple come on the side.

When Christian Skillings opened the Iron rabbit in 2005, one of his goals was a low-impact, sustainable business. Thus far, his commitment to local and ethical sourcing has not only helped the planet and local producers, but has given his diners a fresh and tasty menu. Beyond burgers, a sampling might include warm brie with honey, a prawn cilantro white balsamic salad, and a main dish like a New York strip with brandy green peppercorn sauce.

Iron Rabbit is at 2103 Harrison Ave NW, in Olympia’s Westside neighborhood.

 

5. Rabbit Hole Bar and Dining
Sydney, New South Wales

There are two reasons to visit the Rabbit Hole: mind boggling molecular cocktails and the hamburgers. Named one of the top burgers in the world, the “Rabbit Hole” is a wagyu beef burger on a brioche bun with Brie cheese and house-made tomato relish. The hand-cut fat chips (wedge fries for us Yanks) are notable too; crispy fried with a moist and crumbly inside. According to Rabbit Hole menu, you can sample the burger, downsized to sliders, on Tuesday evenings. And if your game for the raw thrill of fatted beef, try the Black Angus tartare with chive mayonnaise and a soft egg yolk.

Molecular Potables (by David Hoffmann, of  Davidsbeenhere.com)

Burgers are served in the main room and in the bar. The bar is where you will find some curious and potent potables. we’ll spare the words. Just watch the video by travel expert, David Hoffmann.

Take a trip down the Rabbit Hole, tucked in a basement at 82 Elizabeth St.