Search for the Best Burger Joint in Austin: Casino El Camino

True Austin experience at Casino El Camino

There is no shortage of great burger joints in Austin. 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 the series will start with “Search for the Best Burger Joint in Austin” in the title.

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 if you are.

Regardless, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Casino El Camino First Impression

Casino El Camino is not hard to find. It is right on the famous 6th Street, just west of Red River.

As you enter the place, your senses are immediately assaulted. Though the place is poorly lit, as soon as your eyes adjust it’s obvious that Casino has a character all its own. There is a leering gargoyle statue that hangs from the bar and seems to be watching the patrons as they file in. In addition, large scale murals line the walls, providing even more for your eyes to feast on as you find a seat.

Casino El Camino’s Gargoyle Guards the Door

The music is loud. Very loud. Way too high in volume to hold a conversation without shouting, but that doesn’t stop people from coming in droves to sample the food. This is a classic bar in Austin. If you’re looking for a dive bar with great food, you’ll be happy you came to Casino El Camino.

My server’s name was Courtney and she was cool, friendly and always attentive to our table. For those wondering, I went with the “Chicago Burger,” basically a classic bacon burger with cheese. Fries are ordered separately, so I got a basket of those too.

Be prepared to wait for your food. They make everything to order, so a 3/4 lb. burger takes about 25 minutes to get to your table.

Austinot Eric’s Burger Review Criteria

If you read my first article 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:

  1. Burger Patties
  2. Bun
  3. Cheese
  4. Messiness
  5. Garnish
  6. Burger Taste
  7. Fries
  8. Atmosphere
  9. Cleanliness
  10. Other Factors

Casino El Camino Burger Review

Chicago Burger at Casino El Camino

  1. Burger Patties = 9. Massive 3/4 pound patties, juicy and flame kissed. Very hard to get your mouth around and the portion is so huge that the kitchen cuts it in two before serving. What is not to love?
  2. Bun = 5. The bun was nicely oiled and the right size, but crumbled apart through the course of the meal, which lowered this from a 7 to a 5.
  3. Cheese = 6. Real cheese. I feel like the burger could have had another slice to increase marks. In short, there was nothing wrong with the cheese; it was excellent. But for the size of the burger, the flavor got a little lost. If you are going to make a burger that size, the amount of cheese must match up.
  4. Messiness = 9. The burger was nearly perfectly messy.  I like a messy burger. Not too messy where it can’t be eaten, but messy enough so that you know you’ve got something special in your hands.
  5. Garnish = 6. The tomatoes were fresh, thickly cut and ample. The bacon was crisp and flavorful. The lettuce was not as crisp as it should have been and was the only thing that kept this mark at a 6 instead of a 7. I think on any other day, this mark may have been a strong 7.
  6. Taste = 8.  Casino El Camino makes a massive burger that will have you coming back for more. Juicy and rich meat with a hint of black pepper and chargrilled flavor. Like you make on the grill…only better.
  7. Fries = 8. Their fries are really good. Traditional fries that are somewhere between steak fries and fast food fries when it comes to size. Not too crispy or overdone, but not just a pile of sogginess either. A nice balance of soft and crisp. Note: A basket of fries is more than enough for two people.
  8. Atmosphere = 8. Casino El Camino is original. There is no debating that. Well loved by locals and frequented by travelers, this is a do not miss spot. The only thing about when I visited was that the volume of the music was so high that it was hard to hold a conversation. This was a real turn off, but the place is so original that it retains the high mark of 8 in this category. Turn down the music a bit and you get a solid 9 in this mark.
  9. Cleanliness = 6. The place was above average clean for a bar on 6th Street.
  10. Other Factors = 7. The music selection, though loud, varied greatly and had a little bit for everyone. The staff was cool and friendly, and the service was always quick. Don’t think my water glass ever went under half full; I tipped 30%.

Bottom Line on Casino El Camino in Austin: 7.2 out of 10

Overall Score = 7.2. The overall score is the average of the 10 categories.

The burger at Casino El Camino is more than a mouthful. It is so huge that it’s hard to get your mouth around it. It is flavorful and has a small hint of black pepper taste. The bun is sizable, but crumbles throughout the meal. The bacon was crisp and flavorful and the tomatoes were fresh and thick, while the lettuce was just average.

Entrance to Casino El Camino on 6th Street in Austin

If you are looking for a huge burger with a great taste, Casino El Camino will fill that need and more. The price was reasonable for what you get, the server was attentive and hip, and for good reason, Austinites love this place. So give it a shot; it’s definitely worth checking out.

Search for the Best Burger Joint in Austin Continues

So far, of burger joints in Austin reviewed on The Austinot, here is the scorecard:

#1 – score 8.1 – The Tavern

#2 – score 8.0 – Your Mom’s Burger Bar

#3 – score 7.6 – Phil’s Icehouse

#4 – score 7.2 – Casino El Camino

#5 – score 7.1 – Crown & Anchor Pub

#6 – score 7.0 – Billy’s on Burnet

#6 – score 7.0 – Moonie’s Burger House

#7 – score 6.9 – Mighty Fine Burgers

#8 – score 6.7 – Wholly Cow Burgers

#9 – score 6.4 – Nau’s Enfield Drug

Other places that have been suggested to review: Old School Bar and Grill, The Loop on Palmer, Cover 3, Burger Tex 2 on Guadalupe, Flat Top, Counter Cafe, Austin Java, Hopdoddy, 24 Diner, Fran’s/Dan’s, Dirty Martins, Hideout Pub, Dart Bowl, Hat Creek, Hill’s, Opel Divine’s, Collie’s, III Forks, Roaring Fork, Lambert’s, Black Sheep Lodge, Foreign and Domestic, Hoovers, and Spec’s on William Cannon.

Casino El Camino on Urbanspoon

@EricHighland asks:

I’d love to hear what you have to say. Do you agree or disagree with me?  

  • JLM

    .

    Go to the Tavern. Meat (medium), cheese (extra cheese), bun — nothing else.

    Eat it. Enjoy it.

    This is standard excellent fare. Perfectly consistent.

    It’s been here since UT played football without helmets.

    All those new joints are like whores in a silk dress. Hopdoddy my butt.

    Eat, Austin. Eat.

    You are welcome.

    .

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      Thanks @JLM:disqus I’ll definitely add it to the list. Did you know the Tavern is owned by the same people who own The Belmont? http://austinot.com/visionary-gm-takes-control-the-belmont-austin

      • JLM

        .

        Hey, let’s go get one together. Give me a jingle or I will call you.

        512-656-1383

        I will get it on tape.

        .

        • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

          @JLM:disqus I couldn’t wait and my brother-in-law was in town today, so we went to the Tavern based on your suggestion. Review coming soon.. but I’ll still take you up on going out sometime if you are interested!

          • JLM

            .

            So what is the report?

            Hell, yes, we are going to have a burger @ The Tavern.

            .

          • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

            Haha! You’ll have to wait for the post. But here’s a little hint, I’m definitely down to go back with you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1158574418 Troy Herman

    Great post. I agree with you on that as well. This is simply one of my all time fave spots to get a Nuclear Hot Bacon-Blue-Cheese-Buffalo Burger. Also, try the chili-cheese fries, they use REAL chili. Additionally, my time tip to go eat there would be to go there: late after the bar crowd has gone, early in the day before the tourists/college kids get there, or even during a rain event or shortly there after since the street crowds are very minimal. It seems that their success and foodie finds have grown since they were on Food Network and the Travel Channel.
    Those are just my little tips for other readers… enjoy!!

    P.S. Don’t tell my doctor I go there….lolz

  • http://austinstf.tumblr.com slavetofashion

    This is now on my list! I’ve heard from a few friends that it’s great, but I trust the opinion of someone who takes their burgers as seriously as I do. Great review :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/AustinWineGuy Rob Moshein

    You must try the “Pascal Burger” at Hopfield’s! My absolute favorite burger in town right now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      Coming from you @facebook-1578342294:disqus that speaks volumes… they don’t serve wine with their burger do they? haha

  • carrie

    casino el camino is grrreat; but my all time #1 burger is the bacon gorgonzola at 24 diner. their buns are a 10, easy, and be sure you get it medium, the way they make it. get the fries, and a side of the jalapeno remoulade for dipping. seriously. best burger in town. the buns. they’re so shiny.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      Thanks for the tip @84baa7a5ad9628895a12a50092b21faf:disqus I’ll definitely need to add 24 diner to my list.

  • Guy Vachon

    Definitely have to try the Tavern, but don’t miss on Phil’s Ice house. I’ve done the rounds looking for the best bacon cheeseburger in my opinion and Phil’s Ice House is amazing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      All these comments had me head out to the Tavern today for lunch. Review coming soon.

  • http://twitter.com/wonderousATX WonderousATX

    This is a great review. Quality description of the place. You forgot to mention the outdoor patio in the back and describe more about how great bar it also is. I was surprised the overall score wasn’t much higher than Mighty Fine. I figured a full point higher. Casino El Camino & Hopdoddy I give a tie for 1st place in the ATX. Just depends on the person. It is certainly the largest at 3/4lbs. Thats why it takes so long to cook. If you want spicy, get the Amarillo Burger! Good video review to watch here: http://youtu.be/t4UL35Q07TY

  • http://www.facebook.com/thekylebailey Kyle Bailey

    Nicely done, very “tasteful” review…(couldn’t resist). Def makes me wanna go get one, nothing like a thick burger!

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      If you like the thick burger.. Casino will not disappoint @facebook-1356121617:disqus let me know what you think once you go by commenting on the post. Would love to know if you agree with my review and what YOUR experience was.

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  • Clint

    I really wish Casino el Camino would change the type of bun they use. The bun they use now really hurts the overall product.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.highland Eric Highland

      Completely agree. It just crumbled apart, and that was no fun. But hey, you never know. Maybe they’ll see this review and your comment and consider their supplier.

  • http://twitter.com/nickpiesco Nick Piesco

    Seconded on the Buffalo Burger. It is also possible to get a side of fries (I’m pretty sure it’s on the opposite side of the menu, so it’s easy to miss), but it’s more fun to share. (Also, I have no idea why I just saw this today when it was posted last summer. I guess it was tweeted again today?)

    • http://www.austinot.com/ Brittany Highland

      @twitter-38505379:disqus, guilty. I tweet out older content because it makes me happy.

  • caleb

    The fact that you rate Phil’s over Casino el Camino makes me have very little faith in your system. :-)

    • http://www.austinot.com/ Brittany Highland

      Aw, 0.4 points is pretty insignificant. ;) I think sometimes people also scan over the fact that we’re not rating only the burgers, but the joints. That Cleanliness factor can make a difference. Some people care about that, and others just want a dive with an awesome burger.