12 Best Places to Eat a Burger Outside this Summer

by Michael Stern

Hamburgers are good year-around, but there’s special pleasure in having one en plein air on a summer day. Check out these dozen Roadfood favorite restaurants serving the best burgers with open-sky ambiance.


White Cottage

White Cottage's breezy tables are right for made-to-order hamburgers and foot-long hot dogs longs served Yankee-style in grilled rolls. A summer-in-Vermont treat.


Clamp’s Hamburger Stand

Clamp's is a favorite hamburger drive-in restaurant for Connecticut summer people and year-rounders. Best condiment: fried onions, cooked until caramel-sweet.

Must Eats

Harry’s Place

Hamburgers at Harry's are overwhelmingly juicy. Hot dogs are plump and tasty, too, especially satisfying when bedded with a serving of spicy chili sauce.


Laura’s Little Burger Joint

Laura's Little Burger Joint is a rural burger stand in southwest Michigan with folksy charm and excellent big burgers.


Mug ‘N’ Bun Drive-In

Delicious root beer, dark and full of character, comes in frosty mugs alongside burgers, hot dogs, and pork tenderloin sandwiches at Indianapolis' Mug N Bun.


Lankford Grocery

Hamburgers at Lankford Grocery are some of Houston's best: gnarled, uneven circles with crunchy crust and juices that ooze. Breakfasts are excellent, too.


Billy’s on Burnet

Billy's is an Austin favorite restaurant where wings are superb and the Uptown Burger, topped with bacon marmalade, avocado and blue cheese, is unforgettable.



Brilliant southwestern flavors fuse with the cuisines of the world in the stylish Santacafe, one of the best Santa Fe restaurants.


Old Tin Can

A gleaming silver food truck parked at Sandpoint's Oak Street Court, the Old Tin Can is a jolly source of handsome burgers and hand-cut French fries.


Whitey’s Jolly Kone

West Sacramento's Whitey's is a jolly drive-in serving burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, deep-fried appetizers, and a small assortment of Mexican food.



Damburger, open since 1938, is a good way to prepare for a day of hiking and exploring Lake Shasta and the variety of historical and natural wonders nearby.


Pick Quick Drive-In

Fife, Washington's Pick Quick Drive-In is a roadside blast from the past, great for double bacon cheeseburgers, fries & shakes, all for about $10.