Gwen Fowler



Who makes the best hamburger? Here's what you said

Posted 8/31/2010 10:57:00 AM

People sure are passionate about hamburgers.

When Discover South Carolina asked its Facebook fans to name their favorite, we got lots of suggestions. I wrote recently that Food Network Magazine said Nu-Way Lounge and Restaurant in Spartanburg made the best in South Carolina -- its Redneck Cheeseburger. The beef patty is topped with pimento cheese.

Here are some others that folks suggest you try. If the restaurant has a website, click on its name to check the place out. 

River City Café is a favorite in the Myrtle Beach area, with six locations along the Grand Strand. There are more than 15 ways you can order your burger, including a bacon cheeseburger, a chili cheeseburger, a blackened burger, a Jalapeno burger and a turkey burger. For the truly hungry, the R.C. burger is topped with chili, mushrooms, jalapenos, bacon, Swiss and cheddar. My favorite part is that roasted peanuts are always available, and you’re encouraged to throw the shells on the floor.

Sno-Cap Drive-In has been open since 1964 and is proud to say that it still has a very 1964 look. It’s one of the few places around that still offer curb service. In addition to burgers, there are dogs, salads, sandwiches and quesadillas.

Rockaway Athletic Club, 2719 Rosewood Drive in Columbia might sound like a gym, but it’s a restaurant/bar that has long been a favorite for its pimento cheese and other burgers. Former President George W. Bush once stopped in for a burger.

Boot’s and Sonny’s Drive-In, 120 E. Henry St. in Spartanburg, is best known for great hot dogs, but folks also say they make a mean burger.

Pawleys Front Porch in the Five Points area of Columbia offers about a dozen types of burgers, and most are named after South Carolina islands or coastal communities. There’s also a scary-sounding one named Hugo. When Guy Fieri of Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” visited, he tried the Fripp Island burger, which features Southern salsa (made with cowpeas) Boursin cheese and fried green tomatoes, and the Sullivan’s burger, with grilled pineapple and guacamole.

Sonny’s Dutch Mill, 550 N. Anderson Road in Rock Hill, has been serving burgers and hot dogs for more than 50 years. Choose a hamburger, cheeseburger or Big Ben, a 6-ounce burger, or you can get any of them double.

Carolina Wings might be better known for ribs and wings, but the burgers are popular, too. The restaurant has about a dozen locations around the state.

Ned’s Sandwich Shop, 500 N. Main St. in Aynor, is best known for the Ned Burger, for those with a big appetite. A very big appetite.

Café Rivera in Greer offers such fine dining choices as roasted duck and grilled salmon at dinner, but burgers occupy a big chunk of the lunch menu. Among the types are portabella and Swiss burgers and bacon and bleu burgers.

Willard Farms in Gable (near Sumter) is a place to buy fresh produce, but you can also stop for lunch. The farm offers the Willard Original, “original for lots of reasons,” and the Willard Double, “twice the perfection.”

Rush’s has about 10 restaurants in Columbia, Lexington and Camden. As a teenager, I often went with a friend to the Rush’s on Broad River Road, which was the only Rush’s at that time.

Chicora Alley in Greenville features a Chicora burger, with pico de gallo and guacamole, and an Alley burger on a roasted red pepper bun.

Some others suggested: 
Cannon’s Restaurant, 409 Trade St., Greer
Summer’s Restaurant, 2539 Fair Ave., Newberry
Ike’s Korner Grille, 104 Archer Road, Spartanburg
Gary’s Hamburgers, 410 Georgia Ave., North Augusta
Arris’ Grill, 1533 Whiskey Road, Aiken.