I will never turn down a good burger. I love a burger towered with high-quality ingredients and designed to be a full culinary journey. And I love a good burger only dressed with the necessary basics for that nostalgic familiar juicy taste. So the only real struggle is deciding which burgers from this list of the best burgers in Louisville would be my order.

The Best Burgers in Louisville: 14 Thick & Juicy, Diner-Style, & Exotic Meat Burgers!

I was once asked a hypothetical question by a friend “what would your final meal on death row be?” – I’ve got some pretty morbid friends, don’t hold it against me – and as curious as the nature of the question was, I was determined to give a well-thought-out honest answer.  

I thought about it long and hard. What would I crave? Would it depend on my crime? Do axe murderers prefer vegetables? All the possibilities ran through my head. Until I realized the one thing I am ALWAYS in the mood to eat: a burger. More specifically, a cheeseburger with fries and a coke- an all-time classic. 

I will never turn down a good burger. I love a burger towered with high-quality ingredients and designed to be a full culinary journey. And I love a good burger only dressed with the necessary basics for that nostalgic familiar juicy taste. So the only real struggle is deciding which burgers from this list of the best burgers in Louisville would be my order.

Check out a few of these other posts:

See also
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burger from grind burger in louisville ky
You can never beat a juicy burger and some bomb fries!

The Best Burgers in Louisville: Thick & Juicy

When your mouth waters for the thick and juicy, that first bite will have you saying “Mmmm that IS a tasty burger” (in Samuel L. Jackson’s voice of course!).

So whether it’s a quarter pounder, a third pounder, or a royale with cheese – a hand-packed patty really makes those extra ounces matter. So here is a list of the best burgers in Louisville that are big, thick, and juicy.

See also
The 45 Best Places to Eat in Louisville, Kentucky

 
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burger from grind burger in louisville ky
Grind Burger is a Louisville staple, and with so many options, you’ll definitely be saying “holy cow!”

Grind Burger Kitchen

What started as a food truck in 2012, Grind Burger Kitchen has now grown to be a Louisville burger staple. The now permanent location is tucked in NuLu and serves chef-led gourmet burgers.

The open industrial space showcases beautiful arched windows and doorways (that are sooo much better than those other golden arches, if you know what I mean.) But I love to get a beer and a burger to enjoy on the front patio. 

All of the burgers are cooked to order and are freshly ground, grass-fed, and come as a ⅓ lb (with an option for the two patty diner-style – if you’re into that). And if you’re into cheese just as much as you’re into beef – you’re gonna want to get the Southern Burger. It’s cooked to order (personally I do Medium rare – but you do you!), and topped with sharp cheddar pimento cheese, bacon, and spicy dill pickles. It’s meaty and cheesy and messy in the best possible way. 

But don’t get carried away with your carnivore instincts just yet! You might be surprised that one of the best burgers in Louisville is actually the veggie burger! The chickpea, lentil, mushroom, quinoa, and roasted veg blend is topped with smoked ketchup, lettuce, onion and tomato.

And Ya’ll, this burger’s been to Flavortown. That’s right, the Grind Veggie Burger has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. So stop in and see what all the hype is about, frosted tips and hair gel not required.

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burger from holy grale in louisville ky
With local beef and a pretzel bun, you can’t go wrong with a burger from Holy Grale! (Photo Credit: @taniarafflesberger)

Holy Grale

You can’t have a list of the best burgers in Louisville and not include the former church-turned-bar – Holy Grale. But I have to report that the beloved Holy Grale burger has gone through a little remodel, just as the interior dining room did. Adorned with a new stained glass bar, hymnal menus, crucifix shrine and old-world concrete bar top.  

But don’t prepare your penance just yet- our prayers have been answered by chef Jonathon Searle. The burger is still made from local 3D Valley Farm beef and Klaus’ pretzel bun. But this time it is topped with sharp white cheddar, smoked bacon, and onion jam. 

It still has that blend of juicy and savory with that slightly sweet onion finish. Indulgent doesn’t even cut it. And did I mention it pairs perfectly with a beer!

Alex&nder

There are a handful of chefs in the city that make food so delicious, you should be following them. And executive chef Josh Lehman is one of them!

He is insanely talented. His palette for the nuance of flavor and his commitment to local fresh ingredients makes dishes so good you’ll be sad they’re gone when the seasonal menu changes. But then you know you’ll cheer up again once you see all the NEW fun entrees on the next menu

So when chef Josh debuted the Umami Burger I knew it would be instant love. Local 3D Valley Farm beef, onions, gruyere, and charred scallion aioli all on a potato bun. This burger delivers on its namesake – it’s packed with all the fun playful umami flavors. 

The Umami burger can be found on both the dinner and Sunday brunch menu. However, the Alex&nder kitchen is only open Thursday – Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at 11am. It’s also a good idea to double-check their Instagram because they are sometimes closed to the public for private events.

See also
The 11 Best Places to Get Pizza in Louisville, Kentucky

Ribeye burger from 80-20 @ Kaelin’s in Louisville KY
The Ribeye burger from 80/20 @ Kaelin’s is messy but worth the sticky fingers! (Photo Credit: @mytattedtake)

80/20 @ Kaelin’s

“If you can’t stop, please wave” reads on the outside of 80/20 @ Kaelin’s. But you should definitely stop in for one of the best burgers in Louisville! 

The dining room is a large open building with a farmhouse industrial feel, with a huge open patio that sits above Newburg Road. Kaelin’s was an old neighborhood staple that has recently been revived and brings back all the nostalgia along with it. 

The space was specifically remodeled with family gatherings in mind. Even equipped with an ice cream and malt shop for extra memory making. In years past they’ve served the official derby burger (who knew that was a thing?), and they currently have 6 specialty burgers to choose from. 

You could go with the signature 80/20 burger – I mean it is their namesake, but I think the real star is the Ribeye Burger. It’s a house-ground blend of ribeye, tri-tip, and sirloin patty, covered in bacon jam, 80/20 sauce, shredded lettuce, grilled pickled onions, tomato, a sunny side egg and bacon on a pretzel bun. 

And it’s even better that there is a vegetarian black bean burger option as well!

Red Hog

As a sister restaurant to Blue Dog Bakery, Red Hog is Louisville’s first craft butcher shop. The dining room operates as a full restaurant as well as an attached butcher counter for raw food to go. Their list of local farms that they source ingredients from is extensive because they are committed to sustainable, humane, and ethical farming practices. 

But remember when I said there are some Louisville chefs that you should be following because everything they do is so delicious?? Well, Red Hog head chef Katie Smith is one of them! She’s young and creative and super impressive – she’s even a graduate of the LEE Initiative program! 

So Red Hog and chef Katie are the perfect pairing. Almost as perfect as the Dry Aged Cheese Burger. This burger is loaded with house-made bacon jam, aged white cheddar, burnt onion, and pickles. 

It may sound simple, but with the fresh ingredients and in the hands of a talented chef like Katie – it’ll be the burger you never forget, and I take NO responsibility if it haunts your dreams with how delicious it is.

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Burger from Mussel and Burger bar in Louisville KY
Hope your mouth is big, because Mussel and Burger Bar has some big ole’ burgers! (Photo Credit: Mussel and Burger Bar)

Mussel and Burger Bar

With two locations, one on Taylorsville Road and one downtown across the street from the eclectic 21C hotel, Mussel and Burger Bar serves really good mussels and really really good burgers. 

The dining room is a beautiful blend of vintage and industrial. The floor-to-ceiling golden velvet curtains and exposed brick walls will have you asking yourself – is this place too fancy for a mere cheeseburger? But these aren’t ordinary cheeseburgers. These are some of the best burgers in Louisville!

All burgers are ground in-house daily and are designed with a gourmet twist. My favorite part is that all of the burgers are designed with their own corresponding condiments. Like the Mediterranean burger that’s a lamb patty topped with quince marmalade, house mixed greens, feta cheese, and tzatziki sauce. 

Or the Argentinian burger that’s topped with thick-cut provolone cheese, caramelized onions, chorizo Argentino, chimichurri sauce, housed mixed greens, and oven-roasted tomatoes. 

And in addition to burgers made from beef, chorizo, lamb, and crabmeat, there is also a vegetarian burger made from beets, mushrooms, and red quinoa.

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car in front of dizzy whiz burger place in louisville ky
Dizzy Whizz, opened in 1947, is about as retro as you can get! (Photo Credit: @georgia_the_explorer_ky)

The Best Burgers in Louisville: Diner-Style

You ever crave a greasy spoon? Like I know it’s not something I willingly admit – especially when I can be a bit of a food snob (but like just a BIT of one.) 

But I love a greasy spoon. I love a greasy burger. And I really love the smash diner-style patty that’s cooked on a well seasoned flat top that gets the edges of the patty nice and crispy. And some of these greasy spoons have the best burgers in Louisville, just sayin’.

If it’s good enough for Bob Belcher – it’s good enough for me. And when that perfect burger hits just right, it makes me want to do a happy dance (that may or may not look like Tina’s wiggle dance).

See also
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Toasty's Cheeseburger burger in Louisville KY
Toasty’s serves up that smashed patty realness, served with a pickle! (Photo Credit: Toast’s Tavern)

Toasty’s Tavern

Toasty’s Tavern is a charming personality-filled diner nestled in Shelby Park. The narrow dining room is dimly lit with walls of stacked exposed brick and lots of retro branding.

The menu is curated with all your diner favorites: breakfast sandwiches, hot dogs, chili fries, and of course (the real reason you came here) – BURGERS! For the insatiable burger hankering nothing hits quite the same as the quintessential diner classic Cheeseburger.

A smashed patty with sharp American cheese layered with crispy iceberg lettuce, griddled onions, pickles, and toasty’s sauce (and be sure to upgrade your cheeseburger to a double-decker patty melt for the true diner experience!) But trust me this burger is FAR from the stereotypical greasy spoon diner style, it’s a classy diner burger. Because as Toasty’s likes to say “classy is a state of mind.”

There’s also a vegan burger option for the fellow vegan foodie!

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double decker burger at Bunz burger Louisville KY
A double-decker burger from Bunz Burgerz won’t leave you hungry in an hour! (Photo Credit: @louisvillefoodie_)

Bunz Burgerz

Whatever you do, do not let the “Z” in Bunz Burgerz scare you away! Because you will be missing out. Recently they’ve moved to a shiny new location in the Village Market Food Hall, but it’s the same old Bunz ya’ll know and love!

All burgerz are cooked in that traditional diner flat top style, with plenty of options for either one smashed patty or the double-decker patties. There’s 11 different specialty burgerz to choose from, but we all know what a good burger really comes down to – the burger sauce. 

And that Bunz sauce pairs with just about anything. It’s a creamy cajun mayo that’s got that perfect tang for both burgerz and fries. So if you’re into a burger so good you don’t care about the mess – go with The Baxter Ave. It’s a double patty burger with a fried egg, cheddar cheese, bacon, red onion, and you guessed it – BUNZ SAUCE.

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burger from ollie's trolley in louisville ky
Grab a fast burger from Ollie’s Trolley with some seriously delectable seasoned fries!

Ollie’s Trolley

Ollie’s Trolley is practically a Louisville landmark! It’s so cute, because YES it is in an actual trolley car parked in Old Louisville.

 The history of Ollie’s Trolley is fascinating (and briefly was associated with Colonel Sanders!). The original trolley started here in Louisville, and at one point had 100 different locations. In fact, an Ollie’s Trolley still stands in both Cincinnati and Washington D.C., but Louisville is the only location that still serves from the picture-esque trolley car. And as cute as the cart is, it’s TINY.  

So this is a take-out only situation. And since the cart can only fit a few people at a time, you do have to wait in line outside until it’s your turn. The cart is also cash only.

Now, these burgers are simple. They’re not fancy with lots of toppings and specialty ingredients. But that doesn’t matter, because The Ollie Burger is cooked in seasoning and topped with Ollie sauce and reminds me if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! OH, and I triple dog dare you not to get addicted to those fries.

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whizz burger dizzy whizz louisville ky
The Whizzburger is a true Louisville original, and much better than that other fast food option!

Dizzy Whizz

Dizzy Whizz has been doing curbside ordering way before it was (pandemic) cool. They’re the 1940’s retro fast food joint that will remind you of when your grandparents talked about waitresses on roller skates.

It’s THE fast food place that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! Why eat from a lousy national fast-food chain when you can get a bag of burgers from Dizzy Whiz? The burgers are way better and the ice cream machine actually works! 

The real specialty is the Whizzburger. It’s a double-decker burger with their special secret sauce. And if you’re like me, and was raised on Kenan and Kel’s Good Burger movie, you know a retro fast-food burger that has a secret special sauce is a winner – obviously with an orange soda.

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six forks burger in louisville ky
Six Forks Burger Co. has your traditional burgers but also… Burmese python burgers?! (Photo Credit: Six Forks Burgers)

The Best Burgers in Louisville: Exotic Meats

Sometimes we burger connoisseurs are always chasing our next thrill. If beef burgers seem too conventional it’s time to branch out! So whether you’re adventurous, curious, or you lost a bet – these are the best burgers in Louisville that feature exotic meats.

Game

Game is the little wooden shingled cabin on Lexington Road, that serves elevated wild game like you’ve never had before. But be warned this place is not for the faint of heart. 

Kangaroo, Wild Boar, Venison, and Elk are just a few of the choices Game offers. The selection of unconventional proteins comes in many styles, so if you’re game to try them all, you’re in luck! 

The list of exotic meats comes in sliders, meatball samplers, and fully dressed burgers. Game is the perfect place to grab a group of friends and order everything as a meatball sampler and trade tasting notes with one another. It’s scary, it’s fun, it’s SCARY FUN!

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Exotic Beast Burger- from six forks burger company louisville ky
The Exotic Beast Burger with a blend of ground Wild Boar, Elk, Waygu Beef & Bison. (Photo Credit: Six Forks Burgers)

Six Forks Burger Co.

Right in the heart of Germantown, Six Forks Burger Co. makes burgers, fries, hotdogs, and sausages loaded with so many goodies you’ll feel like it’s a day at the fair. 

You can build your own Angus burger with an extensive list of sauces like Caribbean Jerk, Chocolate Bourbon, and Coconut Honey Mustard. Premium toppings like Homestyle Chili or Sauerkraut, and premium cheeses like White Queso, Smoked Gouda, or Pimento. 

They also have an Exotic Beast Burger with a blend of ground Wild Boar, Elk, Waygu Beef & Bison, if you wanna get all your game under one bun.

But if you dare seek more adventure, swap your beef patty for a Burmese Python, Camel, or Alligator Burger. No guys that’s not a typo – this family friend burger shop serves Burmese python burgers!!

See also
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burger from hammerheads louisville ky
Hammerheads serves up some seriously delicious burgers in a cozy basement atmosphere! (Photo Credit: @louisvillefoodlife)

Hammerheads

Even though the Hammerhead shark is a symbol of the sea, Hammerheads is all about quality smoked bbq. Upon your first trip to Hammerheads, you might be thinking “Am I eating in a basement?” And the answer would be – yeah, kinda. 

But don’t let that hold you back, you might be surprised that this restaurant basement quickly becomes your favorite bbq spot in the city. It’s easy for the atmosphere to grow on you when the food is this good. Everything is smoky and fall-off-the-bone tender. 

Hammerheads is a sister restaurant to Game, so you can find some crossover with the Venison Burger that comes on a pretzel bun with blue cheese and a sage mayo. Or the Elk Burger that comes with brie cheese, and sun-dried tomato mayo on a pretzel bun. 

Just be sure to arrive earlier rather than later to find some street parking and a table, because they can get busy with waits regularly over an hour for a table.

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vegan double cheese burgers from shahar cafe in louisville ky
The vegan double cheeseburger from Shahar Cafe is a gut-busting meal! (Photo Credit: Shahar Cafe)

Shahar Cafe

Okay, so Shahar Cafe‘s burger may not quite be “exotic” but they do have something special going for them – they are vegan and they are FIRE, which is good because their slogan is ‘plant based heat’. Yes, one of the best burgers in Lousiville is vegan!

At their Bardstown Road location, you can get a double cheeseburger with all the fixings using the very delicious, and very “real”-seeming Impossible meat. Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s wimpy – these burgers are sure to leave you stuffed and maybe even moaning because you ate too much.

This is definitely one of those Louisville burger places where you can bring your omnivore friends and they will feel satisfied. Shahar Cafe fills you up!


What do you think of our list of the best burgers in Louisville? Did we miss any? Drop us a comment below!

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I will never turn down a good burger. I love a burger towered with high-quality ingredients and designed to be a full culinary journey. And I love a good burger only dressed with the necessary basics for that nostalgic familiar juicy taste. So the only real struggle is deciding which burgers from this list of the best burgers in Louisville would be my order. So here are the 14 best burgers in Louisville including thick & juicy burgers, diner-style burgers, and burgers with exotic meats!
 
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4 Comments

  1. You need to try the burger at the new Awesome Impact on the corner of Fifth and Chestnut. You will walk away with awe and gratitude.

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