When you’re in search of the best burgers Nashville has to offer, V for Vetrano comes to your rescue. As a self-appointed burger aficionado, and after many visits to the best (and worst) dining in Music City, I often get asked about where to eat. A tough question when you’re dealing with picky eaters with tons of dietary or preferential restrictions. But there is one thing that never fails: burger places. So long as the menu offers a vegetarian (typically a black bean) burger option, you can always turn to the American classic.
As Nashville grows and new dining options pop up on each block corner, it might be tough to decide which ones are worth the trip and price point; the ones you’ll tell your friends about for years to come and visit time and time again. Let me lend a helping (and greasy) hand by breaking down a few of my favorites.
Nestled in the trendy Gulch neighborhood, Burger Republic is the best for over-indulgence. Their highly rated Tennessee burger, topped with fried onions, bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce, is the one variation I can’t tear myself from time and time again. After tasting a good portion of their menu, I can confidently report that they’ve mastered many ways to top their tender and thick beef patties. Known for more than their burgers though, BR offers alcoholic (and non if you’re a total prude) milkshakes. A S’mores Milkshake (pictured below) is the perfect ending to a satisfying and high-calorie meal. Don’t miss this one, but be sure to schedule extra time at the gym to work it off the next day.
(Note: Burger Republic’s first restaurant is in Lenox Village. And if you’re asking yourself, “Where?!,” that’s exactly why I focused on The Gulch’s location.)
The new kid on the block, FLIP Burger comes to Nashville from Top Chef: All Stars winner Richard Blais. This boutique burger joint is anything but ordinary. The sleek design, inventive menu and perfectly flavored patties make this one of the best options for burger lovers in Music City. The generously sized, and well-prepared Caesar Salad makes a great starter and the Oaxaca burger — beef, avocado, cilantro-lime mayo, queso fresco, pico de gallo– is my favorite of the offerings on the burger menu. Not a fan of beef patties, FLIP Burger has lots of other patty options, including tuna, chorizo, chickpea and fried chicken.
The best of the rest. Can you ever really beat an original? Burger Up anchors the 12 South neighborhood as Nashville’s first boutique burger joint, which is usually full of foodie fans including Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman. The locally sourced beef and perfectly topped patties makes every savory bite the best of Music City’s options. The Marathon burger –the vegetarian black bean patty– is one of my favorite things on the menu (especially topped with a couple of perfectly fried pieces of Benton’s bacon). The Woodstock beef burger with Benton’s bacon, Tennessee Sweetwater white cheddar and Jack Daniels maple ketchup is also a staple in my Burger Up rotation. But always a must: truffle fries. The most delicious and fresh-cut fries in the city, tossed with truffle oil will have you coming back for more soon after your first visit.
While the top three burger joints in the city are Burger Up, Burger Republic and Flip Burger, some of the best burgers themselves are often found on menus where the American classic isn’t a focal point. In an effort to keep you best informed, I’ve included a few burgers that should not be left out when dining in Music City.
Husk: Only available on the lunch menu, the Husk burger is greasy, cheesy and a MUST for those days where calorie counting is the furthest thing from your mind… or when last night’s activities are causing you severe pain. The delicate Southern cuisine anchoring the menu is the only reason the burger isn’t known simply as the Hangover Cure.
Pinewood Social: I’m hesitant to include this one of the list, as they’ve recently changed the presentation and style. Something I hope is just a temporary lapse in judgement. The first variation of the burger was served California style with two flattened patties, mayo, mustard and traditional fixings, which would exceed any In-N-Out fan’s expectations. On my last visit, the burger was cooked as one thick, dry patty. Order at your own risk.
Robert’s Western World: Any Nashville local will tell you that Honky-Tonk hopping is the last thing they want to do when company comes to town. But ask a local where to get a late-night burger on the NashVegas strip and the answer is unanimous. A burger at Robert’s Western World is just what you’re looking for when you’ve single-handedly polished off a bottle of Fireball Whiskey and are in need of a delicious savory treat to soak it up.
1808 Grille: This hotel restaurant-bar has classy and sophisticated dining, but when it comes to the burger all bets are off. This secretly sauced, messy delight that will satisfy all of your guiltiest food cravings. And if the food coma you’re in is too hard to wake from, the hotel has some of the most comfortable rooms in town.
PM (Veggie Burger): For veg-friendly audiences, the Veggie Burger at PM is a must. Served on a toasted kaiser bun with traditional fixings and wasabi mayo, the vegetarian pattty is cooked in a sweet, peppery barbecue glaze that makes your mouth water with every satisfying bite.
There you have it. The best burgers Nashville has to offer. I gave you the tools, now the rest is up to you. Grab a handful of napkins, your keys and get to eating! And as always, please share your experiences with me in the comments below.
Your favorite didn’t make the list? Holler at me in the comments below or on Twitter at @CMVetrano. I’m always open to suggestions and recommendations for Listen It’s Vetrano’s next “Best Of” list.