A Good Burger in North Carolina?

There was this list online some place… that listed the BEST BURGERS in the NATION.  Every State had some entries…. And one of the ones for North Carolina was El’s Drive In in Morehead City.


Right off 70 in Morehead, right next to some big old hospital.  I’ve heard their advertisements on the Radio a bunch of times… and then this list shows up.  I decided I had to try it.


This is their Double El’s Special with Slaw and Chili Sauce.  Supposedly their best burger.  Ordered a Coke and some onion rings to go with it.  The onion rings were pretty good.  The Coke was in a freaking can… and that Special Burger… It was… Special.  The chili sauce and slaw – was on so thin as to only serve to make the bottom bun soggy as hell.  You couldn’t really taste it.   The bottom bun was like a wet napkin about the third bite.  The beef – there were two paddies, yes… But they were flavorless and dried out.  So I had a Dry and Soggy burger.  You know how you burn a paddy on a grill really bad and then slice off all the burned layers?  THAT is what these paddies tasted like.   Dry flavorless meat.   Quite seriously, this was one of the most disgusting burgers I’ve ever had in my life.  At least I had a 2 dollar can of Coke to wash it down with.

All is not lost at El’s though.  I did also have an Oyster Burger.  Maybe it was good?


Nope.  What you can’t see was that it was drowned in ketchup under that flaccid bun.  The oysters were fried waaayyy too long in the deep fat frier, and were about has tender as charcoal with bits of crust as hard as granite.  You could break your teeth on these things.  Oh, and if it being rocklike wasn’t enough… the oysters were filled with sand… and small chunks of gravel.

Overall, El’s Drive In was a most unpleasant place to eat.  Unpleasant meaning, flat out nasty.  The service was good though.  The lady was prompt to my vehicle and very nice.  But as nice as she was for a 50 year old Car Hop, I don’t think I’ll ever go back.   In fact – I really wish I didn’t go in the first place.


11 thoughts on “A Good Burger in North Carolina?”

  1. You need to how to Melvin’s in Elizabethtown for burgers. The Grill in Raleigh or Paul’s Place in Rocky Point for hot dogs. And that’s just in our neck of the woods!

  2. I’ve come to learn this about certain, uhm, local establishments.

    Sometimes they are hidden gems. Sometimes they are disgusting to the point of being downright revolting, but are praised by locals. Largely because they’ve never had anything better for comparison. But for the rest of us, these places become memorable for all the wrong reasons.

  3. Always the worst burger you can have has the best ads. CARLS JR. Has good burgers for national chain.
    Bracken cafe near San Antonio, hit and miss, last time greasy as hell
    Red Robin pretty good with a fried egg and bacon, little pricey.

  4. So you’re telling me that not everything on the internet isn’t true?? I had a great burger last week at the Banner Elk Café in Banner Elk, NC. Very juicy patty perfect medium rare cook and the fresh toppings really complimented the high quality beef. The bun was also flavorful while being light yet not soggy. As for restaurant chains Fuddruckers has been very consistent with tasty burgers.

    1. I was very saddened to see that the Fuddruckers in Jacksonville has closed. Very disappointing. It was the best joint around here other than Five Guys. I love me some Five Guys – but they are LOUD inside.

  5. You know who makes a good burger, with conditions? Burger King. IF you get one fresh off of the broiler, IF it isn’t microwaved. That has always been Burger King’s downfall: storage of burgers that aren’t immediately purchased. Most of the time they are assembled, patty/bun, and stored in a steam table until called for. Much better would be patties and buns stored separately. Better still would be a new generation of broiler that cooks a patty in less than a minute, so that all burgers ordered are fresh.

  6. bummer. I’m always in search of a good dive & burger. The gold standard in Hodad’s in OB (San Dog).

    The joint can be nasty (that’s a feature) but the burger better be good. , had a really good burger for lunch today at Angelo’s on the PCH in Encinitas — Monster Bacon and Cheese. Usually go for their Avocado burger but this a bit more to my liking.

  7. Try Snoops in Charlotte, (one on Westinghouse) written up for their dogs, but make a pretty good burger and their rings are good.

    Hand made burgers not patties made to order.

    If only they could keep their a/c running on the hot days, downside.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *