You can get a grilled patty just about anywhere. But they’re the bread and butter of these local eateries.
The Blind Rabbit
901 King St., Riverside & 311 N. 3rd St., Jacksonville Beach
The dark wood and brick décor makes it a little swanky for a burger joint, but the Blind Rabbit “burger and whiskey bar” focuses on good eats and tasty cocktails. Try the Holick Burger, topped with a sunny-side-up egg, Intuition beer-braised pork belly, tomato, arugula, homemade bread and butter pickles and lemon aioli. Some extra napkins would be a good idea, too.
363 Atlantic Blvd., Atlantic Beach
This Edgar Allan Poe-themed restaurant (from the dishes named after his works to the period décor to the audiobooks on loop in the bathrooms) has a macabre vibe but a sunny day on the open-air patio will ease your fears. We recommend the Black Cat, with grilled onions, chili, applewood bacon and pimiento cheese on a brioche bun. The beach is just a block away. Ideal for a post-meal walk.
1722 3rd St. N., Jacksonville Beach & 8060 Philips Hwy., Southside
The original Col. Mustard’s is an easy-to-miss spot located in a Jacksonville Beach strip mall—but try not to. The menu is extensive and the grilled-to-order hamburgers are too: each patty is a half-pound of beef piled high with toppings. The Jaguar Special, with bacon, ham, fried onions, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese, is worth an extra point or two.
Sharky’s Burgers & Fries
2 Fairfield Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach
This tiny strip mall joint often draws comparisons to national burger name Five Guys and is a favorite of preteens in the after-school hours, but it’s locally owned and regulars say the burgers are even better. Definitely pay the extra $1.50 to get your cheeseburger topped with an egg.
3333 Beach Blvd., Arlington
Though “hamburger” is right in the name, Mary’s is better known for its drag shows, bingo and raucous atmosphere. And the menu is just as fun. Hand-formed patties are the base for adventurous offerings like Buffy The Burger Slayer and the Big Kahuna Hawaiian, topped with sliced grilled pineapple, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, pickles and Mary’s sauce.
319 23rd Ave. S., Jacksonville Beach • 5613 San Jose Blvd., Lakewood & 3 St. George St., St. Augustine
Cruisers is well-known as a family friendly place to chow down on some comfort food. In the last few years the restaurant added a few new locations with varied menus but the casual beach vibe remains. Order a side of cheddar fries with all the toppings to go with your Cruiser Burger—a classic with mustard, lettuce, pickle, chopped red onion and tomato—for one of life’s simple pleasures.
T-Rays Burger Station
202 S. 8th St., Fernandina Beach A simple diner tucked inside an Amelia Island converted gas station, T-Rays has a near-legendary reputation for its burgers. Nationally, T-Ray’s has been mentioned in publications including USA Today’s list of the 50 best burger joints in America. Go for the Big T Burger with your favorite toppings. Don’t forget the fries.
Multiple area locations
The first Five Guys restaurant, opened in 1986 by a family with five sons (hence the name), gained a cult following and when they decided to expand with franchises, their hungry fans followed. A burger from Five Guys is fast food—kind of. Their never-frozen ground beef is cooked to order in an open kitchen, and a bacon cheeseburger all the way is a bite of artery-clogging heaven.
St. Johns Town Center &108 Riverside Ave., Brooklyn
BurgerFi is a Florida-based fast-casual chain with two locations in Jacksonville. Walk in and you’ll find an eco-conscious and stylish interior with high-tech menus and furniture made from upcycled materials. Their 100% Angus beef burgers made from free-range cattle aren’t bad, either. Try the Twenty-Eight: two patties of ground brisket with swiss and bleu cheeses, lettuce, tomato, pickles and Burgerfi sauce.
One Twenty Three Burger House
123 King St., St. Augustine This relative restaurant newcomer is all St. Augustine—datil pepper-infused coleslaw and wing sauces, a sandwich called the Salt Run Special and burgers with names like King Street Classic and Riberia Street Special pepper the menu. But The Boss, a 1/3- or 1/2-pound patty covered in cheddar, thick-cut bacon and jalapeños, is all American good.
GAS Full Service Restaurant
9 Anastasia Blvd., St. Augustine Another former Northeast Florida gas station found a second life in the burger business with chef Ben Loose’s GAS Full Service. The eatery has 1950s style with classic burger options to match, as well as a few surprises like the stuffed Jalapeño Popper Burger.
630 Atlantic Blvd., Neptune Beach Founded in 2007 in Denver, fast-casual gourmet burger chain Smashburger has spread to 32 states and five countries. We prefer the Florida Burger (naturally), layered in Wicked Pimina cheese, spicy brown mustard, fried green tomatoes, lettuce and mayo. Wash it down with a hand-spun milkshake.
Many customers visit The Loop for its pizzas and chicken sandwiches, but the Jacksonville-based chain turns out a mighty good burger, too. You won’t find any trendy toppings here, just good old-fashioned flame-grilled favorites. Try the BBQ Bacon Cheddar burger with grilled onions, mayo and LTO, an American classic if there ever was one.
Tasty’s Fresh Burgers and Fries
710 Centre. St., Fernandina Beach
Check the menu board for the “burger of the day”—like The Ranchero, a 1/3-pound blend of beef and chorizo sausage topped with pepperjack cheese, a fried egg, poblano peppers and onions—and go with the sweet potato fries on the side. There’s a reason this place is called Tasty’s.
12740 Atlantic Blvd., Arlington
Epik Burger is a small fry on Jacksonville’s burger scene but its diverse menu of internationally inspired sandwiches more than measure up. The restaurant’s offerings, like the Vietnamese burger with pickled veggies, cilantro, jalapeño and spicy mayo, and the Vegan BBQ Burger served on a wheat bun with BBQ sauce, Teese vegan cheddar, cider vinegar Slaw and an onion ring.
299 Atlantic Blvd., Atlantic Beach • St. Johns Town Center • 2103 San Marco Blvd., San Marco & 1012 Margaret St., Riverside
Gourmet burgers are nearly ubiquitous these days, but M Shack was among the first to do it in Jax. The growing burger line is operated by the Medure brothers (David and Matthew) and their fine dining expertise is apparent in M Shack’s inventive menu items such as the burger on a doughnut and the “Insanity Burger,” (pictured) two patties and toppings in between two grilled cheese sandwiches.