Burgers, those delightfully American menu items that have made kings out of men, arches famously golden, and a girl with red braided hair and freckles the icon of modern day road trips.

They’ve also evolved to accommodate consumers who don’t eat beef. Nowadays you’ll see ingredients like turkey, or even vegetables as the primary patty between the buns or lettuce for those low-carb lovers.

With so many choices of burgers, and places to eat them, how do you decide? That’s what we’re here for, to offer our opinion to help narrow down the options. Keep in mind we are in the metro Atlanta area, so we stay loyal to the locals. Here are our top 7 burger houses in Georgia:

1. The Vortex, three locations in the Atlanta area.

These guys take their decor and adults-only policy seriously. The Vortex is a 21-and-up-age establishment, because they cater to this demographic, not because of profanity or any other adult content in the restaurant. But, you will see plenty of plastic skeletons and vintage memorabilia on the walls, ceilings, bars, and wherever else there is space. Don’t mind us though, we’re just here for the food.

2. Porter Beer Bar, Little Five Points, Atlanta.

This award-winning watering hole is much more than its name suggests. Chef and owner Nick Rutherford is a whiz in the kitchen, concocting daily specials that go way beyond burgers, although that’s why we like the place so much.

3. The Varsity, seven locations around Atlanta and Athens.

If you’ve spent any significant time in the Atlanta metro area, you’ve probably heard or been to The Varsity. It’s a landmark, and therefore worthy of every list pertaining to burgers, in our opinion.

4. Shake Shack, a nationwide chain with three locations in Atlanta,

including concourse A in the ATL airport. Sometimes you just need a simple burger with the basics. Shake Shack is our choice for convenience burgers done right.

5. Grindhouse Burger, multiple locations in Atlanta and Athens, including two in the ATL airport.

You can get your burger fix at any of the shops, but we must recommend the original on Edgewood in downtown Atlanta. They have Kung Fu movies projected onto the tile walls. The owner, a former attorney, came up with the idea to help revive the downtown indoor market. It’s a must-see.

6. Flip, Atlanta. This retro-chic diner goes out of its way to give you choices.

We recommend the bison burger with the sauteed onions. Chase it with a shake and your day is made.

7. Downwind Restaurant and Lounge, PDK airport, Atlanta.

We’ve saved the best for last. This unexpected gem is unbeknownst to many but by far one of the best burgers in the state. Located at Peachtree-DeKalb airport, Downwind serves up a bacon cheeseburger (you have to order it with the bacon as an extra) that will blow your mind. The bacon is crispy, cheese melty, and rests deliciously between a split Kaiser roll. You can watch big jets and small planes taxi off the runway as you indulge in this local treasure.

Want to explore the best restaurants in Atlanta even further? Check out these restaurants in Cumming and Alpharetta.

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