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Husk Burger
Husk Burger
Bill Addison

Charleston's 21 Most Essential Burgers

With or without cheese?

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Husk Burger
| Bill Addison

On Monday we brought you the 13 hot new hamburgers in town, but today Eater presents the classics. These are the burgers you recommend to friends when they say, "Where do I go for a really good cheeseburger?" These are the tried-and-true beef between bun options from around the Lowcountry — the very essential burgers. From high-end steakhouses to modest diners, these selections are the ones you want to eat over and over again.

Think we missed one? Leave it in the comments.

Presented in alphabetical order.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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39 Rue De Jean

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Classic French cafe 39 Rue de Jean offers a quintessential bistro burger. Thick and meaty, this patty requires two hands. The grill is seasoned after years of service to cook up the perfect temperature. Toppings range from bacon lardons to stinky (heavenly) blue cheese. And the crisp fries are no throw-away side item — you'll likely devour them along with the burger.

Butcher & Bee

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The burger isn't always on the lunch menu at Butcher & Bee, but when it is, order it. The patty is a special blend of beef and is topped with the "specialist sauce." If you miss it at lunch, look for it on the late-night menu. [Photo: Andrew Cebulka]

Coleman Public House Resturant & Tap Room

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Mount Pleasant's Coleman Public House is know for their great selection of beers and burgers. There's many variations, including a simple, classic cheeseburger or a caprese-topped version. [Photo: Coleman Public House]

Cru Cafe

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Hit up Cru Cafe for lunch to sample the burger au poivre — a handheld take on the classic French preparation for steaks. Extra ingredients like pepper jack cheese, aged cheddar, roasted poblanos, bacon, or caramelized onions will cost you an extra 50¢.

Cypress

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The squishable stacks at Cypress are indulgent masses of meat. On burger night, they are only $5. Chef Craig Deihl does a lot of fancy plates, but it's good to know he can get down on a humble burger too. The traditional Cypress version is a wood-grilled burger with bacon jam, pimiento cheese, butter lettuce, and a yeast roll.

H&R Sweet Shop

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Open since 1945, H&R Sweet Shop is a classic, no-frills diner in the Old Village. The chef, Mr. Coffee, serves the griddled patty on a soft, thin bun with American cheese and grilled onions. This hearty menu item will only set you back $4.75.

Halls Chophouse

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Sit at the bar at fancy steakhouse Halls, and you'll get a chance to sample the dry- and wet-aged steaks for only $12. To make the burger, chef Matthew Niessner uses 10 ounces of beef trimmings from the aged offerings, which creates a concentrated meat flavor. The presentation is kept simple with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, and a special sauce.
Chef Sean Brock's burger has reached cult status in Charleston. No one would ever want to deny themselves a chance to eat a meat patty with the bacon ground in. Two slabs of beef, American cheese, and a pillowy bun make the burger worth trying once, twice, maybe 400 times. [Photo: Bill Addison]

Moe's Crosstown Tavern

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Moe's has flipped burgers for years, and you can taste the perfected patina of the grill in every bite. On Tuesdays, the meaty minions are half-price. Try the goat cheese and poblano pepper combination or the more traditional fried green tomato BLT option.

Oak Steakhouse

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While others may question why you’re ordering a burger at a steakhouse, you know that this beef patty is made of the finest Certified Angus Beef cuts. Chef Jeremiah Bacon’s special blend is a melt-in-your-mouth mixture and topped with a buttery bun. The best part? It’s only $10 during happy hour. Oh, and the truffle fries.

Poe's Tavern

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There's nothing better than ocean breezes, sunshine, and a whopping good burger. Poe’s is there for patrons coming off the beach in search of filling fare. Everyone has a favorite, and the menu items are named after the mysterious and macabre poet Edgar Allen Poe's work. Relax under an umbrella and order a Tell-Tale Heart or Annabel Lee burger.

Red Drum

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Southwest-influenced Red Drum offers a thick, wood-grilled cheeseburger on the menu. Chef/owner Ben Berryhill keeps the presentation pared down to lettuce, cheese, onion, and tomato, but also offers a bacon and barbecue version if you're going all out.

Sesame Burgers & Beer

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Sesame has several stores, so it's likely there's one near you. With ingredients ranging from banana slices, to pineapple, to guacamole, there's something for everyone. The restaurant even has a choice of patties: beef, chicken, turkey, or bean. This is the go-to for groups with varying tastes in burgers.

Star's Rooftop & Grill Room

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There had to be at least one slider on this list, and Stars has it. Sit at the handsome Walnut Bar and order one of these petite creations. The smaller stature of the patty allows for a perfect oak-grilled sear while maintaining moisture. The buns are made in-house to fit. And the slider really isn't that small — for a mere $3, guests can consume several bites of beefy goodness. Order two and leave satisfied.

Tattooed Moose

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Dive bar with famous food Tattooed Moose offers a classic example of two thin patties, onions, lettuce, tomato, American cheese, and special sauce between toasted Kaiser rolls. Don't leave without ordering a side of duck fat fries.

Ted's Butcherblock

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The staff cuts and grinds the meat in house, so it doesn't get much fresher than the patties at Ted's Butcherblock. Every Saturday, the meat market/sandwich shop comes up with an Ultimate Burger, and the creations are cooked to order on the Big Green Egg staged out front.

The Lot

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Tuesdays are burger night at James Island's The Lot. Chef Alex Lira sears an ample grass-fed beef patty and tops it with cheddar — the presentation may change, but the meaty flavor stays the same. The crisp, thick-cut fries are on point as well.

The Macintosh

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Simple pairings of lettuce, tomato, onion, Nueske's bacon, and cheddar cheese make the beef on this cheeseburger sing. It's big enough to split if you order appetizers to share. The Pecorino truffle fries on the side are a winning combination.

The Rarebit

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The burger at The Rarebit starts with a blend of short rib, chuck and brisket. The four-ounce patties are cooked straight on the flat top to get a crispy exterior, before getting condiments of any kind. Choose from a double or single stack, depending on your hunger for beef.

Two Boroughs Larder

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This burger is only available on Wednesdays (and sometimes at brunch), but you need to experience mornay dripping down your fingers as you bite into some of the most delightful double patties you’ll ever find. The sauce is a quarter of the appeal, but the pickled ramps/cucumbers/seasonal vegetables really pull the zing into it.

Salty Mike's

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Saddle up on the deck at dive bar by the harbor Salty Mike's for views of the Charleston sunset with a cheap beer and quintessential American burger in hand. The meaty meal comes from the kitchen at Marina Variety Store above the bar. Chef Ryan Collins spent 11 years on that grill, so he's had some practice perfecting the beefy bite.

39 Rue De Jean

Classic French cafe 39 Rue de Jean offers a quintessential bistro burger. Thick and meaty, this patty requires two hands. The grill is seasoned after years of service to cook up the perfect temperature. Toppings range from bacon lardons to stinky (heavenly) blue cheese. And the crisp fries are no throw-away side item — you'll likely devour them along with the burger.

Butcher & Bee

The burger isn't always on the lunch menu at Butcher & Bee, but when it is, order it. The patty is a special blend of beef and is topped with the "specialist sauce." If you miss it at lunch, look for it on the late-night menu. [Photo: Andrew Cebulka]

Coleman Public House Resturant & Tap Room

Mount Pleasant's Coleman Public House is know for their great selection of beers and burgers. There's many variations, including a simple, classic cheeseburger or a caprese-topped version. [Photo: Coleman Public House]

Cru Cafe

Hit up Cru Cafe for lunch to sample the burger au poivre — a handheld take on the classic French preparation for steaks. Extra ingredients like pepper jack cheese, aged cheddar, roasted poblanos, bacon, or caramelized onions will cost you an extra 50¢.

Cypress

The squishable stacks at Cypress are indulgent masses of meat. On burger night, they are only $5. Chef Craig Deihl does a lot of fancy plates, but it's good to know he can get down on a humble burger too. The traditional Cypress version is a wood-grilled burger with bacon jam, pimiento cheese, butter lettuce, and a yeast roll.

H&R Sweet Shop

Open since 1945, H&R Sweet Shop is a classic, no-frills diner in the Old Village. The chef, Mr. Coffee, serves the griddled patty on a soft, thin bun with American cheese and grilled onions. This hearty menu item will only set you back $4.75.

Halls Chophouse

Sit at the bar at fancy steakhouse Halls, and you'll get a chance to sample the dry- and wet-aged steaks for only $12. To make the burger, chef Matthew Niessner uses 10 ounces of beef trimmings from the aged offerings, which creates a concentrated meat flavor. The presentation is kept simple with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, and a special sauce.

Husk

Chef Sean Brock's burger has reached cult status in Charleston. No one would ever want to deny themselves a chance to eat a meat patty with the bacon ground in. Two slabs of beef, American cheese, and a pillowy bun make the burger worth trying once, twice, maybe 400 times. [Photo: Bill Addison]

Moe's Crosstown Tavern

Moe's has flipped burgers for years, and you can taste the perfected patina of the grill in every bite. On Tuesdays, the meaty minions are half-price. Try the goat cheese and poblano pepper combination or the more traditional fried green tomato BLT option.

Oak Steakhouse