Burgers done well: Chapel Hill's top 4 burger options

Al's Burger Shack. | Photo: Lisa W./Yelp

Got a hankering for burgers?

Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top burger hot spots in Chapel Hill, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of where to venture next time you're on the hunt.

1. Al's Burger Shack

Photo: Filip M./Yelp

Topping the list is Al's Burger Shack. Located at 516 W. Franklin St., it's the highest-rated burger spot in Chapel Hill, boasting 4.5 stars out of 437 reviews on Yelp. It has one other location over in Southern Village, which is also highly regarded.

Besides burgers, the menu offers hot dogs, fries and shakes. As far as the burgers go, you've got options like the Mookie (bacon-onion jam, roasted garlic aioli and blue marble cheese), the Kenny J (bacon, grilled onions, barbecue sauce and spicy pimento cheese) and the Bobo Chili Cheeseburger (chili sauce, slaw, chopped onion, yellow mustard and American cheese). (See the full menu here.)

Morgan C., who reviewed it on July 4, wrote, "Absolute Chapel Hill staple. Far and away the best burgers and fries around. I highly recommend the Mookie with roasted garlic aioli and pepper bacon jelly, along with a beautifully excessive amount of rosemary sea salt fries."

2. Sutton's Drug Store

Photo: Michelle J./Yelp

Next up is Sutton's Drug Store, situated at 159 E. Franklin St. With 4.5 stars out of 119 reviews on Yelp, the drugstore, which offers burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, breakfast and more, has proven to be a local favorite.

This eatery doesn't give its burgers fancy names, but you can choose one or two patties, then load it up with classic toppings. Grab some fries or onion rings to complete your meal. If you'd prefer a sandwich or hot dog instead, it's got those too.

Susan T. said, "It's unabashedly old-fashioned. It doesn't try to be like anything else. Nothing hipster. Nothing fancy. It offers cheap, filling comfort food (e.g., chili dogs, hamburgers), a wide selection of sodas that are hard to find, and a large candy selection."

3. Buns

Photo: Tran N./Yelp

Buns, located at 107 N. Columbia St., is another top choice, with Yelpers giving the spot to score burgers and hot dogs four stars out of 318 reviews.

Build your own burger by choosing your meat and number of patties (single, double or Tar Heel Triple), then your cheese, sauce and toppings. (See the menu here.)

You can also opt for one of its signature burgers, including the Carolina (chili, coleslaw, chopped onion and cheese), the Mexican Chorizo (beef and chorizo blend patty, topped with pepper jack cheese, avocado, pico de gallo, lettuce and chipotle mayo) and the Brunch (fried egg, bacon and cheese on an English muffin). (See those options here.)

Michelle W. wrote, "A great burger place in Chapel Hill. Make your own burger or pick one on their menu. We tried the Carolina burger and the CEO burger. ... Excellent burgers!"

4. Hops Burger Bar

Photo: Jaehee Y./Yelp

Hops Burger Bar, which also serves up beer, sandwiches and salads, is another much-loved go-to, with 4.5 stars out of 45 Yelp reviews. Head over to 140 W. Franklin St., Suite 110, to see for yourself.

Burgers include the College Hill Blues (blue cheese, sauteed onions and mushrooms, spinach and horseradish-Dijon sauce), the North Carolinian (fried egg, applewood bacon, pimento cheese, fried green tomato and lettuce) and the Spicy Goat (goat cheese, applewood bacon, sweet and spicy pepper jelly and lettuce). (See the full menu here.)

Alex L, who reviewed the spot on June 24, said, "They have the best burgers around and very creative weekly specials. I've yet to go to a place that can cook a burger as well and as tasty as these guys can. ... Being a burger bar, they have a great rotation of draft beers on tap, with an emphasis on local beers."
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