If you’ve been looking for the best burgers in Austin, you’ve come to the right place. This post is part of a series on The Austinot.
All the posts in this series start with “Search for the Best Burger Joint in Austin” in the title. Remember, I’m looking at not only the burgers, but the experience itself.
You’ll always get an honest take on the burger joints that I’ve visited. Keep in mind that these are just my opinions. I’m sure you may agree or disagree, and I’m good with that either way.
Regardless, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
The Tavern Austin First Impression
Located on 12th and Lamar, The Tavern Austin is a great find. Two floors, tons of flat screen TVs on various sports channels and an upstairs outdoor patio with four flat screens of its own. There is also parking across the street, which is a very nice feature for a downtown joint.
As I walked in, some laidback blues poured out over the speakers and my eyes couldn’t help but glance around at some of the fun signs posted about the place. Hardwood floors and an old school wood bar were also features that caught my eye. The business crowd was in the house, as well as a smattering of families and hipsters. It was pretty much anyone’s joint.
We went upstairs to “Augie’s Attic” and were quickly greeted by a waiter in a ball cap. I know The Tavern has had a history of negative reviews for poor service, but for us that wasn’t the case. Our service, though not stellar, was definitely more than adequate.
As a side note, they have a cool little dumbwaiter that brings the prepared food upstairs from the kitchen down below.
Austinot Eric’s Burger Review Criteria
If you’ve read my other articles in this series, you’ll know that I rate burger joints using a 1-10 scale, with 5 being Average. (Don’t be a hater. If I rate you a 5, that means you were average.)
Roughly speaking, a score of 1 translates to “worst ever,” while 10 translates to “God handcrafted this himself.” Remember, you are free to disagree with me. This is just my honest take.
When reviewing a burger joint, these are my categories:
- Burger Patties
- Burger Taste
- Other Factors
The Tavern Austin Burger Joint Review
- Burger Patties = 9. Thick, juicy, flavorful 1/3 pound patties that were nearly perfectly seasoned, definitely perfectly cooked and left very little – if anything – to desire. A solid 9. I almost rated my patty a 10, but I couldn’t bring myself to give it a perfect mark because it wasn’t as piping hot as the burger I had at Nau’s.
- Bun = 10. This is how a bun must be made. It was incredible. I almost wondered if they baked it fresh on site, but didn’t ask. So get this, the bun was perfectly sized for the burger, never fell apart, was buttery and incredibly soft on the outside, while being toasted just right on the inside. It was so soft that it reminded me of memory foam…you know, like what you get on those expensive mattresses. It was so amazing, I actually took the time to point it out to the folks who were dining with me.
- Cheese = 8. Finally, a place with a thick burger that knows that thick burgers need an extra slice of cheese, and real cheese at that. I was extremely well pleased, as the cheese melted over the sides of the patty. A great addition to this incredible burger.
- Messiness = 8. The burger was messy in a good way. It was a huge burger that I had to press down in order to get a bite in, and it messed just enough to know that I was into something special. Great stuff!
- Garnish = 8. The garnish was fresh and chilled. The bacon crisp, the tomatoes thick and fresh and the lettuce crisp and cold.
- Taste = 9. This burger was incredible, amazing and I think it will be tough to beat. Keep in mind, I’m rating burger joints in this series. As far as burgers themselves go, you are going to be hard pressed to find a better burger. Though I may find one in my travels, you can bet your bottom dollar that if I’m anywhere near 12th and Lamar, I’m stopping by The Tavern.
- Fries = 6. The burgers come with kettle chips, rather than fries. I don’t like this at all. Again, if you are going to serve burgers, serve fries alongside. Don’t skimp. If you want to offer kettle chips as an alternative, fine. But the standard side should be fries. The fries were decent, maybe a mark of a 7, but the fact that they didn’t come standard with the meal lowered this mark to a 6.
- Atmosphere = 8. The Tavern is a very cool place. If you love sports and good pub food, you’ll love the Tavern. I’d bring any out of town guests who love burgers here for sure.
- Cleanliness = 7. Other than a few crumbs on some nearby tables, the place was generally clean. For such a large establishment, that is a pretty good sign. Bathrooms were clean too. It wasn’t perfect, but definitely better than average.
- Other Factors = 8. The Tavern had a good selection on their menu, though I can’t speak to anything other than the amazing burger and decent fries, with the exception of their potato skins (which were very good). The waiter was adequate and the service decent enough. The Tavern gets high marks in this category for the level of selection on their menu. For a pub, it’s quite extensive.
Bottom Line on The Tavern in Austin: 8.1 out of 10
Overall Score = 8.1. The overall score is the average of the 10 categories.
The burger at The Tavern Austin is a sight to behold and a treat that you should feel guilty about eating. The patty is huge, the cheese plentiful, the bun perfect, and the garnish cold, thick and crisp. This burger will not disappoint!
The atmosphere is great and there is parking across the street. The service was decent and the prices reasonable. But hey Tavern.. if you are going to serve amazing burgers like this, please make fries part of the meal. Kettle chips…really?
If you are looking to go for a quick lunch downtown, or have friends from out of town who love burgers, you definitely want to stop by The Tavern. If you are just a burger fan and looking for one of the best Austin has to offer, you need to head out to The Tavern and try it for yourself.
And so my…
Search for the Best Burger Joint in Austin Continues
So far, of burger joints in Austin reviewed on the Austinot, here is the scorecard:
#2 – score 8.0 – Your Mom’s Burger Bar (Tied for 2nd so far) CLOSED see below.
#2 – score 8.0 – Opal Divine’s Freehouse (Tied for 2nd so far) 6th Street location CLOSED see below.
#8 – score 7.0 – Billy’s on Burnet (Tied for 8th so far)
#8 – score 7.0 – Moonie’s Burger House (Tied for 8th so far)
Burger joints that have shut down since they were reviewed:
1. Opal Divine’s (The 6th street location is closed but they have other locations so give them a try.)
Other places that have been suggested to review:
- 2nd Bar + Kitchen
- 24 Diner
- Austin Land and Cattle
- Austin Java
- Black Sheep Lodge
- Blue Star Cafeteria
- Burger Tex 2 on Guadalupe
- Cain and Abel’s
- Counter Cafe
- Cow Bells
- Dan’s Hamburgers
- Dart Bowl
- Foreign and Domestic
- Fran’s Hamburgers
- Hat Creek
- Hill’s Cafe
- Hideout Pub
- Hoover’s Cooking
- Hula Hut
- Hut’s Hamburgers
- Jack Allen’s Kitchen
- Luke’s Inside Out
- Ski Shores
- South Congress Cafe
- Top Notch
Got one you’d like added to the list? Comment and let us know! (Only suggestions of burger joints founded in Austin will be added.)