Johnson's Drive In Restaurant - The Best Burger in North Carolina

Claxton Johnson, Hero of Burger Lovers.
If there will ever be one place, one restaurant I'll ever miss if I ever move away from North Carolina, it's Johnson's Restaurant in Siler City. Those who know me, know my favorite cheeseburger in the world, prior to Johnson's, was Tommy's out in Los Angeles. This rivals it. So take this post as one of the most serious ones I've ever written on the subject of gastronomy . It is not a joke, not a drill, this is some serious taste-bud armageddon they've got going on at Johnson's.

To experience chili-cheeseburger history in the making, it does require a short drive. It is however, a pilgrimage you shouldn't ponder. Never in your life will you taste a burger so divine as what this quest will yield. Trust me.

 I had learned about Johnson's burgers from a co-worker on my first job, after returning to North Carolina several years back.Whether it's true or not, I was told by my former co-worker, that Johnson's is one of two connected restaurants which serves a unique type of chili-cheeseburger. The first restaurant is called The Stockyard; located in the Siler City cattle auction that takes place each Monday, and the other Johnson's Drive-In, a kitschy greasy spoon off Highway 64. (I'm told the Stockyard location is now closed.)  The auction which is where the beef comes from, offers the additional service of pick your own cow, where as my co-worker explains, you can have it butchered, and cooked by the staff right there in the restaurant. This also explains why Johnson's Restaurant is closed on Mondays, and also is the reason that their beef is always fresh and unique. It's because it comes in each morning, freshly ground from the stockyard. Hand picked, never frozen, Carolina blessed, grain-fed beef, that is grilled only after it's ordered. Fixings such as coleslaw and chili are prepared daily for your hamburger, which tragically- but tastefully, had a heart beat just a short twenty-four hours ago.
This is what heaven looks like.

Sounded compelling to me. The problem is there's a catch, according to lore.They only have a certain amount of beef each day, ground fresh each morning, so when they run out, they close up shop for the day. So at about 10 AM the crusade begins, as hordes of people descend upon Johnson's.

The first time we ever went to Johnson's, it was life changing.

I ordered two Chili Burgers with lettuce, tomato, chili, mustard, and onions under the hood with a mountain of chili cheese fries. You will melt as they assemble this weapon of mass hunger destruction, covered in a slice of cheese, 1/2 inch thick, gooey, melted, Velveeta cheese that's beautiful enough to make any American proud. I was anticipating a good burger- It wasn't: it was transcendental.  It was like a food epiphany. The meat was so tender, so juicy, so unbelievably incredibly good, that I cannot for the life of me, recall a single hamburger in my thirty years in this world ever tasting anything as good as this. It's seductive, sensual, it's a burgergasm that will leave you screaming for more. You'll crave this burger, dream of this place.

Chili-Cheese Fries.
Johnson's Drive-In is a song to be sung among burgerphiles for all time. It is, without a doubt, the best burger in North Carolina, if not the entire East Coast... perhaps even all the way to Barstow, CA and my Tommy's. This is one darn, darn, darn amazing burger. This is the definition of comfort food, or soul food if you will. Johnson's knows what they're doing. They're not to be messed with.

It's hands down the best burger in North Carolina.

Welcome to Burger Happiness.

Johnson's Drive-in Restaurant

1520 E 11th Street
Siler City, NC 27344


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