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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Burgers, American
Counter service

Mon–Sat 11:00am–10:00pm

Features Outdoor dining
Bar None
Credit cards None


7525 Burnet Rd.
Austin, TX
(512) 452-2181
Top-Notch Burgers
The best retro sign in Austin is still glowing strong after a change in ownership

We’ve gotta give the Galaxy Café/Zócalo people mad props for buying Top Notch when its owners retired, and for promising to keep the status quo. Like any Austin landmark that you can point out in a Linklater film, it’s the kind of place whose loss or significant change would depress absolutely everyone (we’re still not over the death of the Drag). Happily, these charcoal grills are firing as ever, the staff’s mostly the same, and the brown Formica-and-wood-paneled interior certainly hasn’t changed in more than three decades.

As of press time, the new ownership—whose burgers at Galaxy we’ve never been all that impressed with—hasn’t really changed the burgers, which are thin and grilled over charcoal to well done, but aren’t dry or rubbery. Although the American cheese is applied to cheeseburgers after they come off the grill, it still, remarkably, melts. But it’s the fried chicken that really warrants food-geek loyalty. Watch as pieces are pulled out of the brine and breaded before your eyes, resulting in ideally crisp coating that is deliciously seasoned and concealing juicy meat within.

Fries are average (hand-breaded onion rings fare much better) and milkshakes are watery. But the nostalgia runs plenty thick, and we are grateful to still be able to enjoy its flavor.

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