The Go-To Burger Spots in Winston-Salem (and the surrounding area)
If you are craving a good juicy burger, then keep reading! The “burger joints” in and around Winston-Salem offer a lot of varied styles and concepts. Since there are so many good ones, we are going to go through some of the “great” ones. Here are some of the best burgers in Winston-Salem.
Updated September 2023
East Winston | 1521 E 5th St.
The first place that needs to be mentioned is probably the most unconventional on this list. Yes, their Mexican food is hard to beat in town, but their burger is unexpectedly delicious. It is not even on the menu, but know that it is there. Just ask for it. In addition to mayo, they have avocado as a spread, and that adds a whole different dimension to the burger. Add the tomato, onion, and lettuce and it stacks up with a grand American meal with a Mexican flair. Pro-tip: stick with a single patty. The double is too over-the-top. Find them at 1521 E 5th St. in WSNC.
Rural Hall | 1009 Bethania Rural Hall Rd
Slightly north of Winston-Salem in Rural Hall lies one fine hot dog and burger joint, King’s Hot Dogs. You should follow their social media because they are pretty entertaining. But this is about burgers, and their double cheeseburger is a juicy stack of delicious. Their toppings are fresh, their pickles crispy, and their tomatoes succulent. The fries are pretty good and well-seasoned, as well.
Clemmons | 4124 Clemmons Rd.
Another one outside the borders of Winston-Salem, Joe’s Take-Out is located just outside Tanglewood Park in Clemmons. They have gourmet hot dogs, brisket, BBQ, and, of course, burgers. They have an OKC burger where the burgers are grilled on onions, just like the Oklahoma City tradition. They have a BBQ burger with tangy BBQ sauce, Tennessee style, Carolina style, and so on. But, truly, you can’t go wrong with Joe’s Smash Burger. Try it with mayo, pickles, tomato, and onions. You will not be sorry.
West End | 926 W 4th St.
If you are ready for a different dimension in your burger, you have to try the Hamburger Grinder from West End Cafe. Try it with delicious provolone and habanero-Jack cheeses, 1000 Island, spinach, tomato, and pickles. It comes on a great toasted hoagie roll. The cheese combo and crispy spinach and pickles, along with a wonderfully seasoned patty and tangy dressing, make this a fantastic take on a traditional burger.
Smith Reynolds Airport | 3820 N Liberty St.
Off the beaten path and hidden in the back of an airplane hangar/garage, if you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t know it was there. That’s a shame. This is a hidden gem that needs to be uncovered, and awareness needs to be made of the goodies within. While everything in the Piedmont Aviation Snack Bar is good, the burger is a joy. Wonderfully seasoned patties with fresh, crisp toppings on a toasted hamburger bun with a bit of mayo and lite mustard. That makes this burger soar.
West End | 878 W 4th St.
A neighborhood staple, this small but mighty bistro is in the picturesque West End. They are known for their brunches and dinner, but you are certainly remiss if you do not try their “Chef’s Double” burger. Two smashed patties, Chef Jay Pierce’s special sauce, shredded lettuce, a lot of American cheese, pickles, and onions, all on a brioche bun. It is a mess. But it is a messy delight.
Thruway Area | 914 S Stratford Rd.
A burger at a sandwich joint? What is a burger? It is a sandwich, right? Right. A very good burger is to be found at Hero House. The smashed patty has a great umami-laced onion undertone that is reminiscent of classic diners of yesteryear. That onion flavor should be understated but definitely noticeable. You get that at Hero House. It is even better when you have actual onions along with pickles, tomatoes, and mayo. A nicely grilled bun wraps itself around this delicious burger.
Downtown | 424 4th St.
Situated at a wonderful historic intersection in downtown Winston-Salem, the Young Cardinal Cafe brings you The YC Burger. It is a pub burger with a 6oz. ground beef patty, onion aioli, pickle slices, sliced tomato, and white cheddar cheese. The onion aioli is a bit messy, but the flavors are amazing. All the ingredients make for a big, juicy, messy, delicious treat.
South Winston / Washington Park | 1381 Peters Creek Parkway
Another fantastic burger from a non-conventional burger joint. Mr. Barbecue roared back after the devastating fire in 2019 and delivers some of the best Lexington-style BBQ in the state. Their hot dogs are some of the best in town, too. But, the cheeseburger… The cheeseburger is not to be missed. If you can take it, get the double and get it on a regular bun. The brioche bun is a bit chunky for this burger. But, the patties have great seasoning, and the toppings accentuate and do not dictate the burger’s flavor.
Downtown | 285 W 4th St.
A relatively new player in the WSNC burger game, Heff’s Burger Club is no-nonsense, to the point, and pretty darn good. There are a few signature burgers on the menu: The Heffy Baby, which is a little on the spicy side; the Piggy Wiggy (think hickory smoked bacon and griddled onions); and the flagship, The Lady Killer. It comes with white cheddar, “shreddy letty,” Niki’s Pickles (made in Pilot Mountain), and black garlic sauce. You can get that in a single or double, each patty is a 4 oz smash. It’s not for the faint of heart.
West End / Ardmore | 425 W 1st St.
A local favorite for sure. The Michael Family of restaurants showcases some great food around town, and their burger concept is top-shelf. Based on a prohibition-era theme, you can get speakeasy-inspired bevies and upper-level food. There are no less than 13 special burgers and probably over a thousand different ways to modify those or build your own. You start with three of the freebie ingredients and then build from there. Over 28 toppings, seven different breads (and bunless or lettuce wrap options), 10 spreads, more than nine cheeses, and seven different proteins to choose from. Need I go on?
Lexington | 6999 Old U.S. Hwy 52
Nick’s is in Welcome, North Carolina, and is exactly what its name says: Old Fashioned burgers. There are specialty burgers with things like pimento cheese, bacon, mushrooms, patty melts, and even the ability to have a burger with up to FIVE smash patties. But, really, a double cheeseburger from Nick’s is substantial enough to be a satisfying meal. Nick’s knows how to smash and season the heck out of a burger.
West End | 750 Summit St.
The newest addition to the scene is not really new, nor is the concept. West End Poke had a bit of a transformation. The new joint is called THAT PLACE in the West End. From the ashes of the phoenix known as Uncle Buzzy’s to the triumphant return of some of the best savory sandwiches you can find in the area, TPitWE brings the cool items (like the RARE roast beef sammies, chicken sammies, hot dogs, and of course, burgers) from Uncle Buzzy’s back to life alongside the cool (literally) poke bowl options that made West End Poke awesome. It’s the best of both worlds. This is not some “carnival sideshow” restaurant. This is a legitimate burger and poke amalgamation that is waiting to be your new favorite place.
Downtown | 450 N Patterson Dr.
Contributed by Tim Beeman:
Tim Beeman is a food-loving blogger and podcaster, author of The Man Who Ate the Town, and host of the podcast of the same name. Tim has been writing and promoting food for over 13 years. He loves his restaurateurs, his executive chefs, and the food service folks in WSNC. Follow him at @manwhoatethetown on social media.