3500 1/2 W. Cary St.
Second Place: Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Third Place: Station 2
It could be that the success of Carytown Burgers and Fries lies in owner Mike Barber's view that getting a hamburger is anything but a fast-food experience. Everything is cooked to order at this favored West Cary mainstay, and they don't stint on quality in the details, from the fresh buns and the plentiful condiments to the tender meat. "You aren't talking about another restaurant when you are in our place," Barber says. Food aside, the vibe at this place — situated in a rustic 1840s toll house and adorned with a comfortable new patio — definitely is more inviting and mellow than your normal burger joint. Barber says plans for a second location in the West End are in the works for later this year. And even though it's a chain, originally based in Washington, fresh ingredients and quality beef, not to mention the free peanuts, keep area Five Guys Burgers and Fries locations in the running at second. And locals swear by the delicious burgers (and fine beer selection) at Station 2, a Shockoe Bottom up-and-comer housed in a former fire station. It features "humane beef" from Virginia's Buffalo Creek Farm.