Dyer’s Burgers

Review by: Jane & Michael Stern

We’re not saying that a hamburger from Dyer’s is the best on earth; we’re not even saying that it is, objectively speaking, excellent. However, if you consider yourself a hamburger person, you must eat one.

You’ll understand our equivocation if you know the wicked, wicked way Dyer’s cooks its burgers — a way guaranteed to get nutrition police sirens wailing. A round of raw ground beef is held on the cutting board under a spatula and the spatula is whacked a few times with a heavy hammer, flattening the meat into a semi-compressed patty at least four inches wide. Now, the good part: the patty is submerged into a deep, black skillet full of bubbling-hot grease, grease that the management boasts has not been changed since Dyer’s opened in 1912! It’s the grease that gives a Dyer’s burger a consummately juicy interior while it develops a crusty outside and a unique, shall we say, intriguing flavor.

Our waitress explained that the grease is carefully strained every night after closing hour (usually about 4am; this is Beale Street, after all); and besides, the really old grease is always burning off, so the supply that supposedly never changes is, in fact, always changing. Whatever. The fact is that this is one heck of an interesting hamburger. We are smitten by the many ways in which it is served: as a double or triple, or as a double or triple “combo” (with layers of cheese), and with good hand-cut French fries on the side. The menu boasts that each hamburger is served “Always on a Genuine Wonder Bread bun.”

If hamburgers are not your passion, allow us to suggest another Dyer’s specialty: the Big Rag Baloney sandwich. That’s a half-inch thick slab of baloney that is fried to a crisp in the same skillet, and in the same vintage oil as the burgers.

Directions & Hours

  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM

What To Eat

hamburger

DISH
Chili Cheese Fries

DISH

Dyer’s Burgers Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Dyer’s Burgers?

One Response to “Dyer’s Burgers”

Greg Hughes

March 24th, 2007

Dyer’s is not a Beale Street original. From 1912 until the early 90’s, it was a shack on Cleveland at Union in Memphis until it was razed due to development. Some investors then bought the grease and had it transported with police escort to a new clean environment in Bartlett, a suburb.

I was introduced to Dyer’s in 1977 while in college. It was a tiny place frequented by the pro wrestlers in town. Ate a double double with Professor Tanaka and Tojo Yamamoto occasionally.

Back then, there was little choice on the menu, although quite the selection of canned lager beer. No fries. No wings. Just burgers, the hot dog, and the baloney sandwich. Chips. Canned beer and bottled sodas. The burgers were always first rate, as back then they used the hottest onions ever grown. No fancy booths, or faux-fifties diner motif. Just greasy walls, a dirty calendar, ripped stools, and squeaking screen doors.

The burger is always near perfect, and the preferred odd permutation is the “dip”, where the entire burger, after assembly, is dunked bun and all into the grease and allowed to soak a bit. Highly recommended if your constitution can take it. The burger has a crispy texture from boiling in oil, and the bun absorbs a greasy flavor as well. The presentation is still magnificent in its unique simplicity.

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