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Help Yourself to South Carolina’s Freshest, Tastiest Burgers

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
More from "Libby Wiersema"
Pawley's Front Porch is one of Columbia's favorite burger dives.

While there has always been disagreement about who first sandwiched a ground beef patty between sliced bread, most everyone agrees it was a delicious and brilliant idea. The evolution of the hamburger is also the evolution of the American fast-food industry, which popularized the sandwich and permanently ingrained it in our culinary landscape.

Though we’re far more famous for shrimp and grits, make no mistake about it, South Carolinians love a good burger much like most red-blooded Americans.

Ready to indulge your hamburger hankering? Here are some of the state’s best burger destinations, each featuring fresh beef and fixings:

Midlands

Pimento cheeseburger at Rockaway
The pimento cheeseburger enjoys rockstar status at Rockaway Athletic Club in Columbia.

The 1720 Burger Bar is burger central in Florence.
Best burger bet: The Pittsburgher, with provolone, grilled peppers and onions, house-cut fries and shaved rib-eye on sourdoug

You can't go wrong when you grab a burger at any Columbia location of Henry's Restaurant and Bar.
Best burger bet: Henry’s Signature Burger, with Dijon mustard-infused white cheddar, sauteed mushrooms and onion

A long-time Columbia favorite, Pawleys Front Porch is always teeming with burger lovers.
Best burger bet: The Sullivan’s, with grilled pineapple, guacamole, citrus jalapeño mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, red onion and pepper jack cheese

In the capital city, Rockaway Athletic Club is considered by many to be the best local burger dive.
Best burger bet: Pimento cheeseburger, with renowned, house-made pimento cheese

Burger with bacon, onion, tomato, lettuce, cheese from Whiteford's.
Have both hands free – and room in your belly – for the giant cheeseburger at Whiteford’s Drive-in.

In the racing town of Darlington, Joe's Grill is cooking it old-school with their hand-patted burgers.
Best burger bet: House Burger, with mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion

Patrick might be a small town, but it has a big reputation for great burgers thanks to Bill's Grill Cafe.
Best burger bet: Chesterfield County can't get enough of these old-fashioned burgers that come every which way: with pimento cheese, topped like a pizza, layered with bacon and cheese, and double- or triple-stacked. 

In Rock Hill, Burgers and Barley is the place where locals go for juicy, made-to-order burgers and cold brew.
Best burger bet: The Daredevil, with roasted poblano cream sauce, jalapeño frites, chipotle mayo, lettuce, tomato and red onion on a brioche bun

Whether you're a local or just passing through Laurens, you'd be remiss to miss the giant burgers at Whiteford's.
Best burger bet: It's all about Whiteford's Giant Burger - made-to-order with all your favorite fixings.

Grand Strand

Psychoburger on plate
You'd be crazy not to try the Psychoburger at Pawleys Island Tavern.

A day in Myrtle Beach is not complete without a fresh-from-the-grill burger from Hamburger Joe's.  
Best burger bet: Straightforward, simple no-frills joint serving fresh-from-the-grill burgers most any way you please 

Surfside Beach has been a hotspot for creative burgers (and dogs!) since Joey Doggs and Burgers opened its doors in 2014.
Best burger bet: Double Bacon Cheeseburger, with two patties, crispy bacon and cheese

In the heart of Pawleys Island, Pawleys Island Tavern, aka "The PIT," is a favorite gathering place of the burger-loving crowd.
Best burger bet: Psychoburger, with pimento cheese, chili, sauteed onions, bacon, jalapeños, coleslaw, over-easy egg and hot sauce

The Grand Strand has multiple locations of River City Cafe, making it one of the most famous hamburger hubs in South Carolina.
Best burger bet: Banana Pepper Burger, with fried banana peppers, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo

Charleston Area

Husk cheeseburger
The Husk cheeseburger is expertly charred to maintain juiciness and heighten flavor.

Historic Charleston is home to Husk, where the burger is as iconic as the shrimp and grits.
Best burger bet: There’s only one burger at Husk, an artisan creation with two patties – a blend of chuck and bacon – two slices of American cheese, steamed white onion, house-made bread and butter pickles and a special sauce on a toasty buttermilk and sesame seed bun

The Holy City is also where foodies go for fabulous pub eats, which includes the legendary burger at Little Jack's Tavern.
Best burger bet: Double Tavern Burger, with two 4-ounce half-chuck, half-brisket patties, sunchoke relish, American cheese and special sauce on a house-made, sesame seed bun

It's a good thing that Charleston has multiple locations of Moe's Crosstown to help meet the heavy hamburger demand.
Best burger bet: BLT Burger, with fried tomato, bacon, fresh mozzarella, pesto mayo and mixed greens

Head over to Sullivan’s Island and get cozy at Poe's Tavern, where the burgers are fresh, hot, and served with a bit of literary flair. 
Best burger bet: Pit & Pendulum, with applewood-smoked bacon and cheddar cheese

Upstate

Plate with cheeseburger, onion rings and fries
The Chili-Cheese A-Plenty is the Beacon’s crowning glory.

The Clemson crew regularly hits up the BGR Burger Joint when the hunger monster strikes.
Best burger bet: The Clemson, with house-made pimento cheese, bacon, red onion and mojo sauce

The Beacon Drive-In is a Spartanburg tradition thanks to decades of serving up deliciously messy burgers.
Best burger bet: Hands-down, the Chili-Cheese A-Plenty - a chili-cheeseburger sided with a heap of crunchy onion rings and french-fries

Another Spartanburg favorite, Ike's Korner Grill offers fantastic burgers in an unfussy setting.
Best burger bet: Chili-Cheese Burger, with mustard, house-made chili and onions

And yet again, Spartanburg lands on the burger map with another great, NuWay Restaurant & Lounge.
Best burger bet: Redneck Burger, with lettuce, tomato, onion, chili, mustard, mayo, ketchup and pimento cheese

When in Greenville, grab a seat at Grill Marks for a locally revered burger treat.
Best burger bet: Low Country, with pimento cheese, fried green tomato, coleslaw and lettuce

Also in Greenville, Northgate Soda Shop has found the perfect niche for its soul-satisfying burgers.
Best burger bet: Chris Evan’s Burger, with bacon, cheese and fried egg

The town of Travelers Rest is the place to experience hamburger bliss when you visit the down-home Northwest Grill.
Best burger bet: House Burger, with a ½-pound patty and your favorite accompaniments

 

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.