There are no bad hamburgers. There are just bad people in charge of making hamburgers.
Captain BIlly Whizzbang's
This counter-service restaurant is one of the best spots to get a burger in Waco, what with their local meat delivered every day, Blue Bell milkshakes, and fried jalapeños. You can get a turkey burger if you're feeling healthy but, and trust me on this, make sure you Whizzbang your fries.
901 Lake Air Drive
10:30am-8pm Mon-Fri; 10:30am-4pm Sat; Closed Sun
Located near TSTC's campus in Lacy Lakeview, Dave's Burger Barn serves fresh, additive-free, 100% pure beef or chicken, and has been hand-selecting their buns and breads every morning for almost ten years. Even the tomatoes are local. Get the Zipper Ripper Challenge if you're okay with the Meat Sweats. If you can finish the five beef patties, five strips of bacon, five slices of cheese, all the veggies, and the dressing of your choice...and the pound of fries...and a drink...by yourself in less than 12 minutes, it's free.
600 North Patricia Street
10:30am-9pm Sun-Thu; 10:30am-10pm Fri-Sat
This tiny burger joint is one of my favorite places. Like, ever. You may have to sit with people you don't know, but you won't really care, either.
1810 Herring Avenue
10am-6:30pm Mon-Fri; 10am-2pm Sat; Closed Sun
Staff Pick: The Jalapeno Cheeseburger.
Before Chip & JoJo descended on Waco like Manifest Destiny reincarnate there was Health Camp. Opened in 1948 as a food truck for servicemen at Connally Air Force Base, Health Camp opened in its current location a year later, and has been doing The Damn Thing ever since. Serving burgers, malts, and shakes, you would be doing yourself a disservice to pass it up while you're here. Their prices are as ridiculously reasonable as the food is wonderful.
2601 Circle Road (right off The Circle, next to Magnolia Table)
Jon Lillie’s Steakhouse
This steakhouse/burger joint/nacho palace/seafood shop can give you pretty much whatever you want. They have affordable kids specials and a full-service bar full of tongue-in-cheek menu titles. It’s an excellent place to hit up when you want something a little bit off the beaten path.
5102 North 19th Street (Lake Shore and North 19th)
11am-9pm Tue-Thu; 11am-10pm Fri-Sat; 11am-3pm Sun; Closed Mon
Okay, so this is maybe the one place on this whole daggum website that features a chain. But with locations mainly in Texas (I mean, come on, Shreveport and Bossier City are basically East Texas; and Birmingham, Alabama? Well, whatever.) we felt like we could get away with it. Twisted Root is the place to go for a more adventurous side of a burger experience, with beef, buffalo, wagyu beef, and one of venison, elk, lamb, ostrich, rabbit, camel, duck, and/or boar rotating daily. You can even get veggie burgers, gluten-free buns, and cheap beer!
801 South 2nd Street, right off of I-35 South. If you can't find the building, may God help you with your blindness.
11am-9pm Sun-Thu; 11am-10pm Fri-Sat
Located at the end of a strip mall that includes a gas station and a place to buy scrubs (not the kind that can't get no love from you), Tom's serves a great hamburger, hot dog, steak fingers, and Mexican Jambalaya.
6818 Sanger Avenue
10am-8pm Mon-Fri; 11am-3pm Sat; Closed Sun
True story: The Wife and The Daughter were visiting family in Waco when we lived in Nashville. I stayed back to work and save up vacation days. Saturday morning came around and I couldn't figure out what to do for lunch. There was a Whataburger close to Birmingham, Alabama, three hours south. Got the dogs in the car and drove it, ordered a #2 combo (and some extra fries for the dogs), got back in the car, and drove home. She asked what I did that day. "Grabbed some lunch," is all I said. She might not know this story. If you're visiting Texas, it's a must-stop for at least one meal.