You don’t have to travel very far to find a great burger in the East Bay — though “great,” of course, is in the eye of the beholder. From East Bay neighborhood spots to trendy areas in Oakland and Berkeley, you can find all kinds: classic diner burgers that’ll fill you up, smash burgers with delectable lacy edges, and classic burgers from pedigreed chefs. There’s even a game-changing veggie burger or two. All of them have their charms.Read More
16 Juicy Burgers in the East Bay
Where to go when you’re craving a big burger
Phila Burger Station
This little diner-style burger joint in Richmond’s 23rd Street corridor specializes in two things: solid, simply dressed burgers and (also quite excellent) cheesesteaks, all dished out with some of the friendliest service in the East Bay.
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Popular Albany brunch and burger spot 310 Eatery specializes in “Los Angeles–style” street food, with a dash of Asian dishes in the mix as well. Their most popular burgers come overloaded with dozens of toppings — we see you 405 Traffic Jam, with your bacon-short rib patty, portobello mushroom, crispy onions, and pastrami — but there are also more “standard” burgers that are just as excellent, such as the Street Burger, which comes smothered in bacon jam.
As its name indicates, the “Good Burger” is quite good — a classic with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar, aioli, and burger sauce. But the Mexi Cali burger might be even better, subbing in avocado, pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, and “sideshow aioli” to create a spicy, drippy delight.
It only follows that pitmaster Matt Horn’s tribute to the American diner, Matty’s, highlights a decadent, meaty burger. The namesake Matty Burger features two patties made of dry-aged beef, then topped with caramelized onion and cheese on a brioche bun.
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This tiki-inspired bar’s burger is the perfect accompaniment to a bucket of rum or two. The burger features two Cream Co. beef patties with pineapple-Maui onion jam, American cheese, Kewpie mayo, and pickles on a potato roll. Don’t forget to add crispy Spam on top.
This popular beer garden is an Oakland institution by this point, known for its lively outdoor patio, boozy slushies, and, not for nothing, its nicely charred burgers and sausage sandwiches. Those looking for a particularly decadent burger experience can opt for the “5150,” which has a patty that’s half beef, half ground-up bacon or the mac and cheese burger (which is exactly what it sounds like, a burger topped with mac and cheese). Even vegetarians have multiple — well, two — burger options: an Impossible burger and one featuring a chipotle black bean patty.
After a stint at the Lodge in Oakland, this East Bay pop-up has landed in its new home at Two Pitchers Brewing Company, sharing an outdoor patio made perfectly for a burger and a brew. The burgers all feature Stemple Creek beef, and the tried and true Original Fried Onion burger is the way to go if you’re looking for a more classic burger, but if you’re in the mood, the Chili Willy comes with, well, chili, along with onions and a pickled jalapeno, perfect after a day of day drinking beers.
Clove And Hoof
Clove and Hoof is a restaurant, but it also doubles as a butcher shop, meaning that every meaty item is processed in-house. There’s only one burger, but the C&H Cheeseburger is tough to beat: It’s two four-ounce beef patties with caramelized onion jam, pimento cheese, romaine lettuce, bread and butter pickles, and pickle mayo on a sesame seed brioche bun. Add beef tallow fries, and it’s game on.
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The simple, juicy patties with their crisp edges are the draw at this Oakland mini-chain, which has already become a local institution since its first location (on Grand Avenue) opened in 2010. The milkshakes are excellent, and so are the ballpark-style garlic fries.
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This former food truck is known for serving some of the most decadent-looking veggie burgers you can find in the East Bay — no timid little sprout-topped bean or mushroom patties here. Malibu’s offers original plant-based creations like the Ghostown Burger (two Impossible patties, American “cheese,” onion rings, lettuce, tomato, and barbecue sauce).
Park Burger serves a variety of beef burgers topped with everything from bacon, cheddar, and cheese to fried shallots and chili. The lamb burger is also an excellent choice, covered with in-house tzatziki sauce, and arugula. Vegetarians can get in on the action here too, with black bean patties, Impossible patties, or a fried portobello in place of meat.
Jo's Modern Thai
Jo’s might not be the obvious option for a burger, given its focus on chef Intu-on Kornnawong’s Thai-Californian cuisine. Still, the restaurant’s pork laab burger is worth pausing over while perusing the menu, as it features a fried pork laab patty with lettuce, cucumber, and shallots, plus a laab dressing and makrut lime mayo.
One of a very small number of solid dining options located in close proximity to the Oakland airport, this family-run spot is known for its very hefty and juicy burgers — the double is a real whopper of a meal — and its garlic fries. Not in the mood for a burger? The teriyaki plates are a crowd favorite as well.
As its name suggests, this family-owned strip mall burger joint in San Lorenzo, tucked between a dental office and a tax-preparation operation, sticks to the classics: just simple, well-executed, inexpensive burgers. The loftiest item on the item is probably also the most popular: the signature Classic Burger, which comes topped with pastrami and cheese.
This Hayward institution serves the Platonic ideal of an old-school diner burger — just beautifully charred meat on a bun, served without fuss or adornment, apart from maybe some relish or grilled onions. Get it with a malt on the side. Don’t forget to bring cash.
Hazel's Drive In
Hazel’s Drive In has long been an East Bay staple for comforting, old-school burgers and has been in operation since 1947. The hungriest of your group should go for the Willy with its XL-sized patty and grilled onions, or the western bacon cheeseburger that gets a hit of barbecue sauce. While you’re at it, don’t skip out on the milkshakes.