We love the huge influx of new burger joints that has been happening all over H-Town. Like much of the media, we've covered lots of them. But one nagging question keeps popping up.

How do the older places compare? They rarely get any press coverage. Our sister site, TWTX.co, decided to change that. They go in, and see how Fuddrucker's stacks up to today's burger landscape.

Read more at TWTX.co

On a recent visit to Robard's, we noticed a burger hiding on the very well priced Social Hour menu. Since our quest to find great burgers is continuous, we had to check it out. Our bartender took our order, asking our temperature preference. (Medium rare at a place that knows how to handle ground beef.)

In short order this burger appeared. A half-pound patty of the house grind, made from the USDA prime beef Robard's sources for its steaks. Perfectly medium rare, the patty was rocking a solid char, and its rich, beefy swagger was front and center. Topped with a melty slice of good quality American cheese, and finished with fresh veggies, this burger wowed us. It's an honest-to-Boulud American cheeseburger, without frills, executed extremely well.

Even more amazing is the price: $8, with fries. The best burger bargain in the Woodlands, by far, and one of our favorite burgers in the Woodlands.

Highly recommended. Go check it out.

Update: Robard's excellent Social Hour burger added to the list.

One of the questions we're asked most often is "Where should I eat".

Here is our list of our favorite places to eat burgers in the Woodlands area. This list represents our ideas about the best burgers in the Woodlands. We enjoy burgers at each of these places, and we think you will, too.

Our Favorites

Del Frisco's Grille - This more casual American bistro concept from the highly-regarded steakhouse chain knows its beef, and their burgers reflect this expertise. A custom grind featuring aged sirloin is formed into two quarter-pound patties. High quality cheese, fresh, crisp veggies, and an airy, eggy bun complete the package.

Hubbell & Hudson Bistro - What happens when a classically-trained chef with a love for burgers has access to the best ingredients in the world? The Bistro Burger at Hubbell & Hudson Bistro. Chef Austin Simmons starts with a carefully developed custom grind of prime beef, hand formed into a generous patty and cooked to temperature. It's covered with melted, aged cheddar and thick-cut bacon, then toped with handcrafted veggies, included oven-dried tomatoes, two process onions, and three styles of housemade pickles. No sauces are needed to dress up this master course in burger execution. For our money, this is the best burger to be had in the Houston area.

Robard's - Tucked away on the Social Hour menu may be the Woodland's best burger value. This classic steakhouse burger, a half-pound custom grind based on Robard's USDA prime steaks, is stunningly good. The beefy, expertly-handled patty is finished with high-quality cheese and fresh veggies. The value is amazing: This serious burger and excellent fries (parmesan truffle or plain) for $8.

Also Recommended

Beck's Prime - Mesquite is the key word at the well established local chain. Certified Angus beef, your choice of cheeses, sauces, and fresh veggies have kept burger lovers coming back to Beck's for decades.

Crisp - This Heights import burst on the Woodlands scene and caused quite a stir with it's Italian-accented take on casual American cuisine. The well executed burger is highlighted by addictive purple onions marinated in balsamic vinegar. It's a surprising blast of acid that pairs nicely with the high quality, hand-formed beef patty.

Fielding's Wood Grille - An obsession with high-quality ingredients and unique flavor profiles elevates Fielding's above the norm. Chef Edel Goncalves starts with 44 Farms angus beef, and artfully combines it with hand-selected cheeses, veggies, and housemade sauces to create some of the most unique burgers we've tasted. We keep coming back to his Texas Blues burger, featuring Point Reyes bleu cheese, pickled red onions, fig jam, and jalapenos.

Grub Burger - This college station import grinds its own beef, bakes its own buns, and combines this solid base with a variety of fresh ingredients to create some unique burger combinations. Don't be afraid to sample the often odd-sounding monthly special - a recent muffuletta burger was a surprising favorite.

Jax Burgers - This local take on an old-school burger joint serves up big, hand-formed patties with plenty of melted cheese and your choice of toppings. There are no gourmet pretentious here - just big, classic burgers executed well.


We're anxiously awaiting the grand opening of Del Frisco's Grille, the newest addition to the Woodlands Hughes Landing Restaurant Row. And sometimes we're not very good at waiting.

During a recent walk-through preview of this beautiful new restaurant, Executive Chef Brian McNamara asked me if I'd eaten lunch. If there's one think I've learned over the years, when a talented chef asks you if you're hungry, the answer is always "yes".

Chef McNamara's team is training hard every day, and I was glad to be a guinea pig. Behold their cheeseburger - two well-seasoned patties of aged prime beef, ground with brisket and topped with high quality cheese and fresh veggies.

The burger was outstanding. Del Frisco's is known for it's prime steaks, but it's also going to be a great spot for a more casual meal. I'll be back very soon.


One of my least favorite things to do is to write a bad review about a new, locally owned restaurant. So our review of JerryBuilt burgers was a tough one to write. We loved the concept, we loved their attention to detail... but we didn't love the burger. We visited several times, and the odd beef patty that so put us off the burger was apparently by design. So we shared our impression, which wasn't a good one.

We'd recently heard that there had been some changes at JerryBuilt, first and foremost being a new, improved burger patty. We were invited by JerryBuilt to come sample the new burger, and in the interest of fairness, we decided to give 'em another chance.

We visited the JerryBuilt location in the Woodlands, located just off the ring road surrounding the Woodlands Mall. The location is bright and airy, with ample parking.

Stepping inside, we see that the interior of the restaurant has undergone a subtle refresh since our last visit. But the formula is still the same; counter service, fresh food, lots of options. 

We ordered our traditional classic cheeseburger in order to avoid being distracted by too many toppings. In short order the burger arrived, and the presentation had changed since our last visit; gone was the clever but somewhat unwieldy vertical delivery of the burger.

Biting into this burger was a revelation. Gone was the weird texture that ruined the old burger. Front and center was a handmade beef patty, slightly juicy, with an aggressive char and a big, beefy taste. The nice quality American cheese (our choice) and the fresh, crisp vegetables completed this classic burger.

Comparing it to the old, flawed burger was like night and day. This is a very respectable burger, and one we'd not hesitate to order again. We're very pleased that JerryBuilt addressed their problems; they're now an establishment that we can fully recommend.

If you'd given up on JerryBuilt, give them another try. We think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers | 1335 Lake Woodlands Dr. (on the mall ring road)
The Woodlands, 77380 | 281-367-2874 | jerrybuiltburgers.com


JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers on Urbanspoon

We love burgers. We love restaurants that specialize in burgers. But sometimes we try to be healthy. Tonight was a case in point. After considering several options, we decided to sample a salad at Grub Burger, remembering how surprised we were by the non-burger "snacks" on the menu.

At the suggestion of Sam, the very friendly and helpful bartender, we started with the Napa salad. Mixed greens are topped with goat cheese, strawberries, mission figs, and toasted almonds. A subtle hazelnut vinaigrette finishes a savory / sweet salad, and at Sam's suggestion we topped it with a grilled chicken patty.

The result was a tasty salad we'd order again. The chicken patty had an interesting texture; it was very coarsely ground, and the chunked texture made the provided knife unnecessary.

Now it was time for dessert. Continuing the nontraditional / healthy theme, we went with a side of tabbouleh.

Bulgar wheat, chopped parsley, to,arose, mint, and cucumber are dressed with lemon juice, and the result is a light, zesty flavor that finished the meal nicely.

It's doubtful that we'll abandon the very good burgers at Grub Burger, but it's good to know that when the mood strikes, choosing healthy options doesn't mean that you're going to have to endure an unpleasant dinner. Give 'em a try.

This fascinating video from 2008, sponsored by Burger King, chronicles people around the world who are tasting their first hamburger.

As the Woodlands grows, many new burger concepts are moving into the area. But savvy locals know that burger joints aren't the only place to get great burgers. Many of the higher-end restaurants offer burgers on their lunch and dinner menus, but they're rarely the focus of the establishment.

Hubbell & Hudson Bistro is different. Executive Chef Austin Simmons is no stranger to high-end cuisine, creating composed entrees that have garnered recognition from savvy diners and critics alike. We think he's the most talented chef working in the Woodlands today, and that his dishes can hold their own against anything you can find in the Houston Area.

But Chef Austin's culinary attention isn't restricted to his superb entrees - the chef has a love of excellent burgers.

What happens when a classically trained chef devotes his refined palate and considerable talent to creating great burgers? Over the past few years we've been extremely impressed by the creations of Chef Austin, first in his tenure at the late, lamented Tesar's Modern, and more recently in his position as executive chef at Hubbell & Hudson.
For this chef, burgers are more than an item on his menu. They're a passion. Talking with him about burgers, his eyes light up just as they do talking about the exotic tasting menus he devises to satisfy his most demanding guests. The same attention to detail, and the same quest to source the highest quality ingredients is present here, and that's a rare thing in the world of burgers.
And unlike some chefs who develop one impressive burger and rest on their laurels, Chef Austin is constantly experimenting with new creations. The best ones appear on his seasonally-changing menus at the Hubbell & Hudson Bistro. Knowing of our love for burgers, the chef invited us to sample his latest creations.
First up was Chef Austin's latest take on a classic cheeseburger. Dubbed the New Bistro Burger, it's a half-pound patty of ground sirloin topped with aged Vermont cheddar. (As we've heard from both Chef Austin and Chef John Tesar, if you're not going to use a high quality cheese on a burger,  don't use any cheese at all.) The burger is dressed with thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, bibb lettuce, oven dried tomatoes, and served on a challah bun.
Biting into this burger we were hit first by the rich beef swagger. Cooked a perfect medium rare, and oozing succulent juices , the flavor of the sirloin was accented by the creamy beautifully melted, slightly sharp cheddar. The smoky bacon was a superb counterpoint, and the slightly chewy texture contrasted well with the soft, tender beef. We're not usually a fan of tomatoes on burgers, but the chef's oven-dried examples brought a bit of acidity and tang to the burger without adding too much moisture. All the flavors were in harmonious balance - each spoke with a distinct voice. In summary, the New Bistro Burger is a perfect example of a classic burger that's been crafted by a focused, talented chef. If you enjoy a classic bacon cheeseburger, this may very well be the best one you'll have ever tasted.
The second creation was as exotic as the first was traditional. The Sirloin & Braised Short Rib Burger is built around (not surprisingly) a patty that is a blend of ground sirloin and braised, shredded short rib. Cheese isn't a part of this creation - instead, the desired creaminess is derived from a petite slab of seared whole foie gras, skillfully cooked and sporting a gorgeous sear. Bacon is replaced by 600-day aged Numero Uno proscuitto, and the greenery is unique lemon-accented arugula. The burger is dressed with a subtle mushroom puree. On the side is an ounce of a port demi glace that can be added at the diner's discretion. Add it.
If you don't like to sample burgers that are beyond the range of the traditional, stick with the New Bistro Burger. But if you venture out to enjoy a bit of culinary adventure, you will be amply rewarded by this burger. The complex, earthy flavors from the sirloin/short rib patty combine with the smooth, buttery richness of the the foie to create a lush base, and the aged proscuitto brings a slight hint of saltiness and sweetness, and the more elastic texture creates a substantial mouthfeel. The meat is moist and tender, but not oozing in great quantities, no doubt attributed to the less fatty short rib.

The smooth mushroom puree provides a contrasting sort of earthiness, and the sharp, bright flavors of the lemon-infused arugula combine with the acidity and tang of the port demi to create powerful high notes that balance the deep, earthy character. This decidedly untraditional creation is a lush, powerful burger, with a symphony of distinct flavors, and the sum is considerably greater than each of the excellent ingredients that Chef Austin has combined.

Many chefs add high-end burgers to their menus, with varying degrees of success. We'd place Chef Austin Simmons' burgers alongside the best elevated burgers we've ever enjoyed, those of chefs like Daniel Boulud, Hubert Keller and John Tesar. Each of these talented men puts his encyclopedic culinary knowledge behind each burger he designs, and burger lovers owe it to themselves to sample their creations to experience just how superlative a master chef's burger can be. Houstonians are lucky that Hubbell & Hudson Bistro doesn't require a plane ticket as a prerequisite for this culinary experience.
Hubbell & Hudson Bistro | 24 Waterway Ave | The Woodlands, TX 77380 | 281-203-5641

Hubbell & Hudson Market & Bistro on Urbanspoon

Residents of the Woodlands have no shortage of good burger places in the area. From national franchises to local chains to mom-n-pop stores to chef-driven restaurants, folks in the Woodlands can eat burgers every day for a month and not visit the same joint twice.

And yet the new burger concepts keep coming. As your intrepid servants, we feel that it is our duty to check out the most interesting burger concepts and pass on to you the ones that are worth a visit.

The Woodlands Waterway neighborhood is now home to the Houston area's first BurgerFi location. BurgerFi is a Florida-based burger chain that picks up where other "better burger" concepts leave off.
BurgerFi Woodlands Waterway location
A primary focus is on healthier, all-natural ingredients, including grass-fed, never frozen burger patties. Uniquely, BurgerFi offers different types of patties to choose from, including grass-fed Natural Angus, 28-day dry-aged ground brisket, and crisp quinoa-based veggie. They even offer an all-day breakfast burger, with ingredients such as bacon drizzled with maple syrup and hash browns.
Clearly, this isn't your average burger joint. But how do these interesting creations taste? We find out.
(Disclaimer: BurgerFi was so anxious for us to sample their food that we were invited along with a hundred of our closest friends to sample the food on the day before the opening. BurgerFi picked up the tab, and also wooed us with swag including sunglasses and cool stretchy bracelets. We returned for a second visit on our own dime, and thus this qualifies as an actual review, not a retelling of a media preview.)
As purists, we wanted to sample a basic burger in all its nearly-naked glory. Some burger chains hide a mediocre burger patty behind a lot of "gourmet" toppings, and we think this is like putting lipstick on a pig. (We're looking at you, The Counter.) So we started with a basic double bacon cheeseburger, selecting American cheese from the available varieties.
Cheese is generously applied on the bacon cheeseburger at BurgerFi
What arrived was a petite, 4" bun piled high with two quarter-pound hand-formed patties, freshly cooked thick-cut bacon, and a generous portion of melty American cheese. Veggies were crisp (in the case of the lettuce) or nicely grilled (the onions.)
Biting into the freshly branded (with the BurgerFi brand logo) bun revealed a lush beefy flavor, accented by the mild American cheese. The beef was cooked medium well, but hadn't lost its juiciness; a credit to BurgerFi's process. The bacon added a nice smoky and slightly peppery undertone, and the veggies brought welcome crispness and a zing of acidity to the mix. All in all a nicely balanced burger, which we devoured in record time.

How does it compare to other "better burgers"? I enjoyed it more than Five Guys, but less than Smashburger or Beck's Prime. My biggest complaint was the size. Rarely do I feel hungry after eating an upscale burger, but about one and a half of these would have been perfect. For light eaters this may be a positive.

We also sampled several of the most popular sides: Fresh-cut fries, Parmesan and herb fries, and the ginormous onion rings.
Yes, that is a single onion ring on the left.
Clearly, the highlight was the onion ring. Huge, freshly cut union slabs were divided into rings, generously breaded with a barely-sweet batter, then deep-fried to golden brown crispness. The flavor was superb; the only downside was that the rings were so large that a knife and fork were required to eat them.
The fries were tasty but unremarkable. We preferred the extra flavor provided by the parmesan and herb dusting. We can't help but wonder if the trouble and expense of cutting fresh potatoes is worth it.
We also sampled the interesting brisket burger. Topped with both swiss and bleu cheese, two quarter-pound patties of dry-aged ground brisket brought a very different flavor profile to the table.
Brisket Burger at BurgerFi
The rich, beefy flavor of the regular Angus patty was replaced by a deeper, more earthy and robust flavor, reminiscent of a barely smoked beef brisket. The swiss and bleu cheeses added a lush, tangy tone. It was a tasty sandwich, but the patty just didn't say "burger" to us. We don't think this burger is for everyone, but some folks are going to love the different approach to creating a cheeseburger.
Finally, our favorite. The veggie burger. OK, we're kidding. We didn't try the veggie burger. You should know better.
Downsides? The burgers aren't huge, and the meals are a bit more expensive than we'd prefer, attributable to the slightly pricey fries and drinks.
All in all, we enjoyed the offerings at BurgerFi, and feel that they are a nice new option for burger lovers in the Woodlands. 
BurgerFi | 1501 Lake Robbins Blvd | The Woodlands 77380 | 713-389-5826

BurgerFi on Urbanspoon

UPDATE: Sadly, the Rockabilly Diner has closed.

The Houston City Council is making it tough on food trucks.  While many are operating in the city, they face an unaccommodating legal environment that makes it tougher for these creative mobile kitchens to offer a great experience for their customers.

Seating?  No can do.  Shaded seating?  You're kidding, right?

These factors alone put food trucks at a huge disadvantage compared to standalone restaurants.  Eating standing up isn't any fun.  Eating standing up under a hot Texas sun is even less fun.  Yet customers will endure these inconveniences if the food is good enough.

Even with these stumbling blocks, food trucks persevere, and some even thrive.  Hopefully the city council will someday change these anticompetitive regulations and let trucks compete without artificial barriers (that seem to be written by brick-and-mortar restaurant associations.)

Until then, some trucks will take refuge outside the city limits of Houston, where the regulations are based on health and safety, and not make-believe fantasies of back-of-the-truck drug deals and apron-wearing terrorists operating behind the grill.  (You can't make this stuff up.)

Enter the Rockabilly Diner, a food truck located just west of Kuykendall on FM 2920 (the first major road south of the Woodlands.)  Eschewing both the hipsters and the silly regulations found Inside The Loop, Rockabilly converted a vacant spot near a busy intersection into an al fresco location for lunch or dinner that's a real change from the typical suburban restaurant.

Parking is ample, and the bright yellow trailer houses a modern kitchen that would be right at home in a small mom-and-pop restaurant.

The kitchen at Rockabilly Diner

At the back of the property is a small seating pavilion, with a pair of picnic tables and a sturdy fan providing a breeze even when Mother Nature isn't cooperative.

Seating area at Rockabilly Diner

The entire property is clean, neat, and well kept, with little homey touches that remind you that Rockabilly isn't a corporate concept cashing in on the food truck craze.

Stepping up to the counter, we're immediately greeted by Chad McMullen, a Brooklyn transplant who's been in Texas long enough to add "y'all" to his vocabulary.  Chad is passionate about burgers, and his enthusiasm comes through loud and clear.  And his excitement is resonating with customers - Rockabilly has recently extended its hours from 11am to 8pm, serving the dinner crowd as well as those craving a burger for lunch.

On this, our first visit, we followed Chad's suggestions, and ordered a Bacon and Cheese Rockaburger.  Based around a hand-formed one-third pound beef patty, it's topped with your choice of several cheeses, generously sliced bacon cooked on the griddle right beside the patty, and the usual array of traditional burger toppings.

Burgers and bacon coexisting on the griddle at Rockabilly Diner

Nothing was started until our order was placed - no precooked patties here.  Or even precooked bacon, something that's very common at even the best burger joints.  We applaud Chad's dedication.  Another interesting observation:  Chad covers the burger patty with a lid on the grill, the same technique that Ricky Craig at Hubcap Grill uses to such great effect.

After a reasonable time for cooking and production, our burger appeared, wrapped in foil and placed within an insulated foam carrier.  This burger is packaged to travel well, but the only vacation in its future was into my stomach.

Bacon and Cheese Rockaburger at Rockabilly Diner

All this attention to detail was put to the test when we bit into the Rockaburger.  The coarsely ground beef was cooked medium well, but the covered griddling technique resulted in a nicely juicy patty, and perfectly melted cheese (pepper jack, as was Chad's recommendation).  The beefy flavor was front and center, seasoned gently with salt and pepper.  The hot-off-the-griddle bacon added a nice smoky counterpoint, and had a firm, dense, chewy consistency.  Veggies were crisp and fresh.  Our only disappointment was a slight one - a rather pedestrian bun that was neither toasted or griddled, but it did it's job holding everything together.

All in all, a very good burger, and one that we look forward to enjoying again.

There was a considerably lunch rush of Houstonians enjoying a burger in the great outdoors, comfortably seated alongside friends and strangers under the pavilion.  It's a shame that every food truck can't offer this sort of experience to its guests, but we're happy that the Rockabilly Diner has picked a location that allows for this kind of great experience.

We'll be back.

Rockabilly Diner | 6149 FM 2920 (Just west of Kuykendahl), Spring

Rockabilly Diner on Urbanspoon

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