8 of the Best Burgers in Columbia and Lexington

I am the chef at Storybook Cottage. I really am quite the cook, the baker and candlestick maker, and am certain that if I had the time to participate, could win most TV competitions (except that one for “candlestick making”. I am a second-rate candlestick maker).

Despite the wide breadth of my culinary skills, there are a couple of things that I just won’t cook at home anymore, because I get a wee bit tired of listening to the “helpful comments”.

Number one is fish… I can never do fish justice. Goldilocks masquerading as Husband is very picky about the seasonings I use – not too spicy, not too bland… just right (sigh). And Husband descends the stairs each day and announces that he can still detect the unpleasant lingering odor that follows a valiant attempt at Baked Snapper Livonese. Forget it. Let’s go to Captain D’s.

And the second is hamburgers. I have to agree with Mr. Goldilocks on that one. Why do hamburgers always taste better at restaurants?

One reason is that a good burger is the result of the meat hitting the grill at the right temp, cooked just long enough to keep it pink inside and then flipped with the dark, crusty stuff on the outside still intact. If only I had a cast iron grill in my kitchen with proper ventilation, a chimney sweep to keep it tidy, a turner with an edge that could slice paper, light and airy buns on hand, bright red tomatoes… so when we want burgers, we go out!

Best places to get burgers in Columbia SC and the Midlands

Old Mill Brewpub :: Lexington


Old Mill’s Brewpub Burger is chargrilled and topped with a fried egg and fried onion rings. It also comes with both cheddar and Swiss cheeses and is served with one delicious side (their sweet potato fries are yummy!) Five burger varieties grace the menu and all are served on fresh brioche rolls. $10.99 – $11.99 See the full menu here.

Old Mill Brewpub
Inside Lexington’s Historic Old Mill
711 East Main St
Lexington, SC  29072

Tombo Grille :: Forest Acres


House Ground C.A.B. Burger: Certified Angus Beef patty topped with house bacon, grilled onion, smoked tomato aioli, and cheddar, gorgonzola, smoked gouda or pimento cheese. Tombo-licious! Served with seasoned fries. $15 Love the laid back vibes at Tombo, too. Live music Mondays and Wednesdays. 

Tombo Grille
4517 Forest Dr
Columbia, SC 29206

Ruth’s Chris Steak House :: Downtown


Ruth’s Prime Burger: This stand-out burger is served during lunch (11am – 3pm everyday) and in the bar area during Ruth’s Hour (4:00pm – 6:30pm everyday). Nobody knows beef like Ruth’s, and you’ll be smiling ear-to-ear in-between bites of this beauty. Served with your choice of cheese and hand-cut fries. $13.5 at lunch and $12 during Ruth’s Hour.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

924-A Senate Street
Inside the Hilton Hotel
Columbia SC 29201

O’Hara’s Public House :: Lexington

O'Hara's burger

Public House Burger: From Dublin to Lexington with love! This signature burger is an 8 oz. custom beef blend, cooked to your liking and served with smoked cheddar, double-thick bacon, fried onions, and of course – Guinness barbeque sauce. Served with side. $12.95. 

O’Hara’s Public House
131 E Main Street,
Lexington, SC 29072

East Bay Deli :: Downtown, Irmo & West Columbia

EBD burger and coke

The East Bay Burger: Surprised that you can get an awesome burger at a deli? My friend Mitch swears it’s one of the best burgers around. Certified Angus Beef double patty burger with lettuce, tomato and onions served on a potato bun. Served with chips and pickle. $9.19. 

East Bay Deli
Three Locations:

Downtown : 1426 Main Street | Columbia, SC 29201

West Columbia: 108 Sunset Ct. | West Columbia, SC 29169

Irmo: 7688 Broad River Road | Irmo, SC 29063

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar :: Forest Acres

burger bar

Pittsburger Burger: Housemade American cheese, shoestring fries, spicy garlic ketchup, leaf lettuce, tomato and red onion. For the person who thinks having to pick up fries on the side is so 2010’s. $11.45

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar
4623 Forest Dr #4
Columbia SC 29206

Higher Ground :: Chapin

higher ground

The Run A Ground: Double the beef, smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion… an absolute beauty! If you like meat, this is for you. $13.95  Their menu offers 17 burger concoctions!

Higher Ground Char House
211 Chapin Rd
Chapin SC 29036

Pawleys Front Porch :: Five Points


The Sullivan: Grilled pineapple, guacamole, citrus jalapeño mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and pepper jack cheese. Amazing! $11.25. Pawleys grinds its beef daily from the highest quality Angus chuck roast, seasoned with a secret blend of special spices and patties the 8 oz. burgers by hand. There are 10 signature burgers on the menu plus a Build Your Own offer that let’s you construct it just the way you want it. 4 different buns to choose from too.

Pawleys Front Porch
827 Harden Steet
Columbia, SC 29205


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