The 4 Types of Burger Joints

Burger Fries DrinkMeat on a bun. What could be simpler? The humble hamburger has been one of America’s dietary staples for well over a century. It has survived through low-fat and low-carb crazes. Here in Texas there are plenty of places to choose from. But despite all the variety, you can categorize burger joints into four major types.

Fast Food

This one is the most obvious: McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s are everywhere in this country. Regionally, you might also find Whataburger, Sonic, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Checker’s, Rally’s or a myriad of other chains. These kinds of burgers are so ubiquitous that they’re not even much of a treat. They’re just something to eat when you’re “on the go”.

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Before there were fast food restaurants, there were diners, cafeterias and lunch counters. These are the kinds of places that invented the American hamburger. These are the greasy spoon kind of places where you can get a good patty melt. Diners tend to be locally owned, though there are several diner-style chains, like Steak ‘n Shake and Johnny Rocket’s.

Fast Casual Restaurants

This is the fastest growing category of restaurants. Fast casual burger joints combine aspects of both fast food restaurants and diners, with a more polished corporate feel. Fast casual restaurants may cost a few bucks more than traditional fast food joints, though they pride themselves on better food and better service. Some of the most prominent fast casual places include Shake Shack, Five Guys, Fatburger and Smashburger.

Upscale Burger Joints

A step up from fast casual places you’ll find more upscale burger bars. These places often have locally-sourced ingredients and more exotic types of meats like Wagyu beef, Bison or even kangaroo. You can also get a variety of toppings, like avocado, chorizo, or my favorite, chili and Fritos. I don’t know of any national chains in this category, but we’ve got some good ones here in Dallas. My local favorites are Hopdoddy, Rodeo Goat and Twisted Root, though there are many others that I still haven’t tried.

Other Choices

There are plenty of other places you can get a burger: pubs, steakhouses, BBQ joints and casual dining chains like Chili’s, Applebee’s and TGI Friday’s. You can get a good burger at a lot of places, or at least a mediocre one. But the best burgers come from burger joints that specialize in this All-American meal. Hamburgers are one of my favorite foods, and it’s nice to have so many options.

What are some of your favorite burger joints? Let me know in the comment section.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs regularly at

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2 Responses

  1. February 18, 2017

    […] trinkets there, and there certainly weren’t any toys that didn’t come with a burger and fries. There were plenty of toys there for me and my sister to buy. She liked the Glow Worms; I […]

  2. February 18, 2017

    […] (mostly the latter), I would head back across the street for more classes. Sometimes I would have burgers and beers at the Peanut Barrel, though I rarely ever drank before going to class. I can’t say […]

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