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Did you know that more than 85 percent of the Texas cattle population can be found on ranches and in feedyards in the Texas Panhandle? The area around Amarillo, Texas, is considered the Beef Capital of the World. And the Panhandle itself has, in recent years, become one of the nation’s major hubs for dairy production. It’s not a stretch to say that a vast majority of the cheeseburgers available in the United States have ties to Amarillo.

That means we have some amazing burger joints in the city. Here are a few of the most popular burger restaurants and cheeseburger spots in the area.

Coyote Bluff Restaurant Amarillo's Best Burger

Coyote Bluff Cafe
2417 Grand St.

The outside isn’t much to look at, unless you’re drawn to small buildings surrounded by a scattering of antique agricultural parts. But the food inside is nationally known. From regional shows like Texas Country Reporter and The Texas Bucket List to national programming like Man vs. Food—in which host Casey Webb sampled its extra-spicy “Burger from Hell”—this tiny restaurant has built a larger-than-life reputation. It’s regularly one of the city’s top ranking restaurants on TripAdvisor due to its classic approach to burgers, large portions, kind staff and fast service. Plus, it’s located just off Interstate 40. It may be small but Coyote Bluff is mighty.

Pro Tip: For the full regional appeal, try the green chile cheeseburger. Be sure to sample the fries and fried pickles, and don’t sleep on the ribeye steaks either. The Hell Sauce isn’t just hot, but has a delicious pepper flavor. 

Blue Sky
I-40 location: 4201 I-40 West / 806-355-8100
Southwest location: 5060 S. Coulter / 806-322-3888

Now a Texas chain with locations as far away as Abilene and Midland, this restaurant started in Amarillo, opened by a family that originally introduced Burger King to the city. But Blue Sky doesn’t offer a cookie-cutter, big-brand approach to food. Blue Sky’s juicy burgers are always fresh, never frozen, 100-percent ground chuck, served on buns baked fresh daily and alongside fries made from hand-cut potatoes. Everything is fresh, and that’s one reason Blue Sky regularly wins Amarillo’s “Best Burger” competitions. Most Amarillo residents have that one out-of-town relative who insists on a meal at Blue Sky every time they visit. They know it’s special.

Pro Tip: The fries are great, but also consider the crispy chile sticks (fried anaheim strips) or fried jalapeño rings. The chili cheese fries are also worth a try. The shakes and floats are as legendary as the burgers, blended with Blue Bell ice cream and in a variety of flavors beyond the standard chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. The outdoor seating on spring or fall evenings is excellent. You’ll find a lot of families dining here.

Golden Light Cafe
2906 SW Sixth Ave.

High on the list of Route 66 travelers through Amarillo, the Golden Light is a fixture in the city’s burger scene and may offer the epitome of the greasy-spoon, classic diner-style cheeseburger. The Golden Light Cafe first opened in 1946—it’s the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Amarillo—and its longevity makes it a landmark along the Mother Road, surrounded by antique shops, quirky bookstores and some of the city’s most unique shopping. 

Pro Tip: The double Certified Angus Beef patties are always delicious and pair perfectly with a cold beer and the authentic roadhouse setting. Try the cheese-loaded fries with bacon, and expect huge portions. Beyond the burgers, the green chile stew also has a lot of local fans. The Golden Light isn’t fast food, so expect a bit of a wait. On weekends, the Cantina next door hosts live music.

Elmo’s Drive-In
2618 SW Third Ave.

If you’re after a blast-from-the-past cheeseburger without all the fancy secret sauces, this is your place. For nearly five decades, Elmo’s has been serving its inexpensive, no-frills burgers to generations of Amarillo residents—and a real, live carhop still takes your order. These are simple, juicy, fit-in-your-hand cheeseburgers and they taste like nostalgia. (There’s no website, but you can find a menu online.)

Pro Tip: If you do want extra stuff on your burger, Elmo’s will certainly accommodate. The jalapeño burger is just the right amount of spicy and the mushroom-and-swiss burger is good, too. Get a cherry limeade.

OHMS Cafe & Bar
619 S. Tyler St.

The Fuller family has operated this eatery for more than 30 years, and it consistently offers Amarillo’s best fine dining. It’s definitely upscale. But if you’re searching for the best burger in Amarillo, it may secretly be the bar burger at OHMS. It’s not on the menu, but ask for it and you’ll be delighted by the result. It comes with gouda and a scratch-made secret sauce that those in the know just can’t get enough of.

Pro Tip: Sit at the bar, say “I’d like the bar burger,” and play it cool.

210 SW Sixth Ave.

Only open for lunch downtown, this little dive sits in the shadow of Amarillo’s tallest building, and serves some of the best old-fashioned hamburgers in town. The lunch special—a cheeseburger and side for $8.50—is still an incredible value between 11 a.m and 2 p.m. These are served “smashed” with grilled onions.

Pro Tip: The Extreme Cheddar Burger is extremely good. The Peanut Butter Bacon Burger is extremely weird (but still good). If you’re not in a burger mood, try a cheese fritter, which has a cult-like following in the city.

Green Chile Willy’s
13651 I-27

Located about halfway between Amarillo and Canyon, this family-owned restaurant specializes in green chile fare—its green chile chicken-fried steak is legendary—but the burgers receive high praise as well. It’s been featured on The Texas Bucket List and offers a classic, country-style cheeseburger or hamburger just the way you like it.

Pro Tip: The Green Chile Cheeseburger is amazing, but don’t miss Wild Bill’s Grilled Buffalo Burger if you’re after something a little more exotic. Good steaks, too.

Shark Beach Burgers
1505 East FM 1151

Do you want a burger or do you want an experience? If it’s the latter, Shark Beach is for you. It’s a little hard to explain, but this is a tiny, mom-and-pop burger hut with a small patio surrounded by 10-plus acres of … stuff. Like 46 trailer loads of sand, picnic tables, surfboards, a lifeguard stand, mannequins, and a lot of other decor. “Beach” isn’t an exaggeration. The Bailey family—who own Shark Beach and arrived in Amarillo from South Padre Island a few years ago—are fun, enthusiastic about the city, and locally beloved.

Pro Tip: The cheeseburger is classic, just the right amount of greasy, and definitely served with good vibes. That’s all you need to know, along with the fact that you’ll want to order a cherry limeade. Expect live music and a family-friendly crowd.

Six Car Pub & Brewery
625 S. Polk St.

Locals got excited a few years ago when Six Car arrived on Polk Street in the middle of downtown Amarillo, and it wasn’t just because of the brewery. (The beers are excellent.) The creative and flavorful menu continues to get attention, and that includes a variety of burgers. The eponymous Six Car Burger is made with a half-pound Angus beef patty and beer cheese, with an intriguing house remoulade. Other options—a smash burger with grilled onions and jalapeños, a tangy BBQ pulled pork burger—also get attention.

Pro Tip: The Climate Change Burger features pepper jack cheese, grilled jalapeños and a house hot sauce. It is legitimately hot. Unless you have a Hot Ones-ready palate, consider asking for the sauce on the side. You can upgrade any burger with Wagyu beef for an extra $6.

Yellow City Street Food (YCSF)
2916 Wolflin Ave.

This chef-owned joint has a passionate following for its imaginative twists on street-food favorites, and of course the New American-style menu includes burgers. The menu shifts from time to time, but YCSF’s signature burgers—the Yellow City Burger, the spicy Santa Muerta Burger, the Wake & Bake—are always worth a try. In a region defined by cattle, YCSF surprises plant-powered travelers with a robust vegan and vegetarian menu, including a housemade Veggie Burger with a veggie patty, vegan cheese and vegan remoulade.

Pro Tip: Any of the burgers can be made vegetarian—just ask. They also serve Impossible patties on request, but Chef Rin’s vegan recipes are actually better than the big brands. The tacos are excellent, too, and you should always order the Animal Fries.