Today, September 18, is National Cheeseburger Day, and to honor the momentous occasion, I wanted to put together my Top 25 Cheeseburgers list for the readers of AY Magazine. But before we deep dive into cheeseburger madness, let’s go over a few ground rules.
First, these are purely my selections and do not reflect the opinions of other staff members. Second, I fully understand the limitations of this list. I am one person. I have not eaten every cheeseburger in Central Arkansas.
Speaking of areas, you will notice that this list is very Little Rock-heavy but does includes selections within an hour’s drive of the capitol city. If you are a restaurant reading this, and feel excluded, please reach out to me. I will do my best to come out and try your burger between now and next year.
Finally, this list only includes 25 burgers. It was tough to narrow things down and several great burgers just did not quite make the cut. Enough with the formalities. Let’s get to it!
25. Doe’s Eat Place
While Doe’s will always be known for its three-pound Porterhouse, tamales and soaked salad, you’d be wise not to forget about the burger. This 80/20 fresh beef burger comes with all the fixings and your choice of cheese. It’s simple, straightforward, and hits the spot.
24. North Bar
The North Bar Burger is big, like get a knife and fork, big. It comes with Angus beef, Provolone, remoulade, lettuce, and tomato on a sizable brioche bun.
23. The Hurley House Cafe
Go big or go home at The Hurley House Cafe, and that means ordering the double cheeseburger. It’s a beautiful, well-composed burger, highlighted by thick patties, two slices of American cheese, and a soft, white bread bun.
22. Gadwall’s Grill
Yes, yet another double cheeseburger makes my list. This time from Gadwall’s Grill, the beloved restaurant in North Little Rock. This is a big burger, drenched in mayo and appropriately greasy.
21. Too Sweet Bar & Grill
What a wonderful representation of a classic flat top-grilled cheeseburger with a great crust. If you don’t know about Too Sweet Bar & Grill, please put it on your to-do list. I recently did and am thankful for it.
20. Count Porkula
Do not miss Count Porkula on Thursday’s. That is when the brisket burger makes an appearance. It’s an absolutely decadent offering with grilled onions and two strips of bacon.
19. Rock Bottom BBQ
This is the backyard burger without all the hassle and fuss of having to make it yourself. The nice, smokey patty with a hearty slice of tomato, crisp lettuce, and a grilled bun are the components that help land this burger inside my Top 20.
18. Mama’s House of Burgers
Here’s another slightly greasy, fat patty burger that’s drenched in American cheese and comes with raw, sliced onions and pickles on a grilled, white bread bun.
Make the drive up to Conway for Shorty’s double cheeseburger. You won’t regret it. While smaller in stature than some of the other doubles on this list, this version makes up for in taste.
16. Salem Dairy Bar
We have no shortage of dairy bars throughout Arkansas, and, out of all the ones I’ve been fortunate enough to visit, Salem Dairy Bar serves up the best burger. The beef/American cheese combination and thin bun pairs well with a side of onion rings and a shake.
15. EJ’s Eats and Drinks
This one came out of nowhere to land on my list. I had it last week for the first time and really enjoyed it. Maybe it was a touch heavy on the mayo, but I rarely view that as a detriment. The real magic with the burger comes in the form of a perfectly buttered, then grilled bun.
This is a burger’s burger, a true representation of an American classic. Bacon on a burger is often overkill for me, but not this time around at Stoby’s.
13. David’s Burgers
How could I not include the Central Arkansas burger titan on my list? Props to David’s for churning out a delicious, no-frills burger time and time again. The key for me? Those super fresh toppings and buns, along with the thin, grilled, slightly greasy patties.
12. Midtown Billiards
With the Midtown Billiards’ burger, it’s all about attention to detail. The toppings are properly lined up and the patty is grilled to a perfect medium. They even slice the burger right down the middle to expose the good work.
11. Big Orange
Much like David’s, Big Orange is a burger behemoth that also happens to crank out a consistently good burger time and time again. You have plenty of options, but I tend to lean towards the Hickory Smoke with sharp cheddar, barbeque sauce, pickles, and fried onion strings.
At Esters, make sure to get the Appaloosa Burger. This beautifully-composed burger comes drenched in Provolone and remoulade, but it’s the crispy onion strings topper that vaults it into my Top 10.
9. Brood & Barley
There is nothing in the area like Brood & Barley’s Raclette Burger, a half-pound monster with ground chuck, Pilsner onions, and an eye-popping blanket of raclette cheese.
8. Morrilton Drive Inn
Don’t make the mistake of trying to drive while eating this burger. It’s a glorious mess, loaded with two small slabs of greasy beef and a heavy hand of toppings. Just pull over, wolf it down, and get back onto I-40.
7. Jude’s Delight
The Mack Daddy Burger coming out of the Jude’s Delight food trailer on South University has one trait that stands out more than any other burger on this list: seasoning. Monique seasons this burger right, and the same can be said about the accompanying fries.
6. K Hall & Sons
At K Hall, the jumbo cheeseburger is the way to go. You definitely want the fatter, juicier, hand-formed patty. The beef is a little loose, but in a good way, and the fresh toppings bring a welcomed coolness to the burger.
5. The Root
The fresh ground, pasture-raised beef from Simon Farms is what separates this burger from much of the competition, but so too is the super soft bun that stands up well to the meat and toppings.
4. Leo’s Greek Castle
The Leo Burger, a double patty concoction dripping with American cheese, is an unpretentious burger work of art and an absolute must-order on every visit to this Hillcrest hangout.
3. Ciao Baci
Ciao Baci’s People’s Choice Burger has been a favorite of mine for a few years now. The thicker patty is always grilled to a perfect medium, the toppings are always plentiful, and somehow the bun always maintains its integrity.
2. The Lab Food Truck
Where do I begin? The Lab Food Truck’s Miso Cheesy Burger is pure burger bliss. A smashed, crispy-edge 1855 Black Angus beef patty, along with miso glazed onions and gooey American cheese, resides on a toasted brioche bun. The hint of heat from mayo combined with the subtle sweetness of the tomato jam, vault this burger to another level.
Beef, bun, pickles, cheese, and salt. That’s it. This super juicy, cast iron-seared burger is borderline amazing and is worth the drive from any corner of Arkansas. The burger is fairly small, which is perfect, as it gives you stomach space for the pizza.