Burgers are the most simple pleasure. The summer-like smell of the grill. The greased bag holding mounds of golden, salty fries. A splatter of sauce as you sink into the first bite. Already drooling? Then you’re going to love this list of the best burger spots in Lake Tahoe.
While this list won’t necessarily go in order of delicious-ness, we have deliberately placed Chico’s as number one. Because it is (in our unofficial opinion) the best burger in South Lake Tahoe. A surprising choice? Maybe to some. But to those who know, it’s an obvious winner.
Agreeable prices, ultra-friendly service, soft buns and crisp, Cajun fries all support our argument. We love its nondescript location at the Y. We love that we’re always greeted with a smile and that they’re generous with the sauces. We love that they never rush us, even when we can’t decide how many bonus tacos to order on the side. (Yes, they also have bomb tacos & burritos here.)
A single patty burger at Chico’s is massive. But we still suggest the double cheeseburger. Two seared patties snuggle under a blanket of perfectly melted cheese. There’s all the normal fixins’—tomatoes, lettuce, onion—but there’s also plenty of room to get crazy if mushrooms or avocado are a must-have for your dream burger.
Yet, despite all of this, we might be most enamored by their french fries. Akin to a beer battered fry, they’re crispy, crunchy, salty and well, perfect. Between the burger and fries, they’ve truly mastered everyone’s favorite combo and for that, we applaud you, Chico’s.
Our advice: Like it spicy? Order grilled onions and jalapenos on your burger. And also, call ahead. Despite keeping mostly consistent hours there’s been a few times that the craving hit and we were left sad and hungry on their doorstep.
Something of an institution in the South Lake Tahoe burger world, Izzy’s has had a dedicated following of burg-lovers since 1982. They’ve been voted the ‘Best Burger in South Lake Tahoe’ by the Tahoe Tribune over 25 times. We could almost end the pitch there.
But we won’t. Because we actually enjoy describing the charbroiled goodness behind an Izzy’s burger.
First of all, its official name is Izzy’s Burger Spa. We can’t help but imagine those juicy, ⅓ lb patties relaxing to a sound bath and deep tissue massage before heading to the grill. Or maybe it’s called a burger spa because you get to bathe in charbroiled burger smoke as you sit in the sun anxiously awaiting your number to be called. (We mean that in the best way possible.) In either case, the imagery behind is burger spa puts a smile on our face.
And we haven’t even gotten to the burger itself yet. Much like the shack that serves it, a burger from Izzy’s is unpretentious in the best way possible. The charbroiled flavor is a bit of a masterpiece, elevating every menu item from the most classic cheeseburger to the (highly recommended) mushroom burger.
Izzy’s also does a great job with chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers, fish ‘n chips, chili and beyond. All that excellence can sometimes equate to a long line. We told you people love this place.
Our advice: Can’t decide between fries and onion rings? At Izzy’s, you don’t have to. The Frings have you covered with a 50/50 split. We love when you can have your cake and eat it too.
Another reliable favorite in delivering on the “tasty, quick and cheap” front, Big Daddy’s does super simple, super good burgers. And they serve ‘em up quick.
Located just off Highway 50 in the Bijou neighborhood, Big Daddy’s is easy to get to no matter where you’re staying in South Lake Tahoe. In fact, everything about this place is easy. From the spacious parking lot to the quick, order-at-the-counter service. Even the to-the-point menu of classic burgers and sides is easy as it gets.
Of course, all that easy might be too easy for some. Because easy is uncomplicated. Easy is simple. Easy is no-frills. What we mean is—Big Daddy’s is craveable, cheap and good; but it’s not particularly special.
If you’re like us, a classic burg is something to appreciate. It might not blow you away, but it’s never going to disappoint you either. There’s no risks or long lines or crazy toppings. It’s just solid, reliable and, dare we say, nostalgic of the roadside burger we grew up eating. You gotta love a place that can deliver on that.
Our advice: Big Daddy’s sells beer too. Craft beer, in fact. It’s a rare treat to find such a quick, simple food joint that has cold beer on draft. So our advice is… order beer with your burger. Solid advice, no?
Unlike the rest of the South Lake Tahoe burger spots on our list, Lucky Beaver is a sit-down restaurant with table service. It’s a good thing too—because their ½ lb patties almost require a fork and knife.
It’s also the only burger on our list that’s located at Stateline. So if you’re staying at the casino hotels or any neighboring accommodations, this one will be within walking distance.
The Lucky Beaver serves up a serious, serious burg. The prices, of course, reflect that. (Burger & fries combo ranges from $16-$20). But in this case, you really do get what you pay for. Not only are the burgers huge, but they come in a wild array of flavor combinations with excellent patties made of 50 day dry-aged prime rib to chuck, brisket & short ribs.
Burger toppings go well beyond the limits of necessity, with things like deep fried jalapenos, brie cheese, fried eggs and caramelized onions on the menu. They’re over-achievers in the french fry department too. Pair your burger with fresh cut fries or tater tots, with cajun or garlic parmesan seasoning.
Steaks, starters and salads are available for the non-burger lovers in your party. (But really, why are you hanging out with those types anyway?) Just kidding. Kind of.
Our advice: Lucky Beaver also serves some of South Lake Tahoe’s best breakfast sandwiches and burritos. Lunch is great too. Don’t worry—there’s no shame in eating here three times in one day.
As divey as a burger joint can be, the Char-Pit, with it’s tiny shack of a building and quirky decor, delivers on juicy, flavorful, old-school burgs. The line out the door will tell you—this spot has more than earned its title as one of North Lake Tahoe’s favorite burger spots.
It’s tough to beat the great American classic of a charbroiled bacon burger with fries, but Char-Pit has a full menu of summer favorites. Ribs and chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and clam po’ boys are all tempting distractions. But we’re here for the burgers. And a double Yankee burger with american cheese will always do you right. These guys have it truly mastered.
While the burgers are consistently great, the Char-Pit can be a fickle mistress. The parking lot is funky, the service can be slow, and prices are a bit high. If you can get past that (we sure can), then the burger is definitely worth it.
Our advice: Okay, so the line is long. But in an ode to simpler times, let’s embrace a slower pace of life by sipping draft beer in the sunshine and forgetting that we have anywhere else to be. Oh also, get a soft serve cone to dip your fries in.
At Inclined Burgers, the mission—much like the menu—is unfathomably simple. Good burgers. Good beer. Lucky for all of us burg monsters out there, they deliver on that mission tenfold.
Small and unassuming, clean and modern, Inclined Burgers is like the mature, older sister of the old-school burger shacks that we love so very much. A reasonably priced burger, a double burger, a Bonanza burger, a “Beyond Meat” burger and a fried chicken sandwich are the only entreés on their menu. But they’re not all business. Fun sides like cheese sauce and bacon relish grace the add-ons menu, and there’s garlic fries. Like super garlicky, garlic fries.
In the spirit of balance, there’s also a green salad and veggie basket. But so are draft beer, root beer floats and soft serve ice cream. We’ll let you decide which way the scale tips.
The only downside here (if there was one to speak of) is that seating and parking are limited. Nothing that a great burger can’t fix though, right?