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Posted by MEZ 20 Aug 2009 10 Comments

outside char-grill

Char-Grill is a Triangle chain that specializes in hamburgers, steak sandwiches, fries, and shakes at very affordable prices. The location in Durham has lots of indoor and outdoor seating, black- and red-tiled walls, and oldies playing on the sound system.
inside char-grill

You place your order on a long strip of paper, then slide it through a chute to the cooks. When it’s done, the cashier will call your name on the loudspeaker. Hamburger prices include catsup, mayonnaise, chili, mustard, onions, pickles, lettuce, and tomatoes. You can add on cheese, bacon, or coleslaw for a small additional price.


My Char-Burger was pretty tasty, especially with the gooey American cheese. It’s just not a good, old-fashioned cheeseburger without some processed cheese sticking to the back of your teeth. This was a mid-sized burger, which is the right size for my appetite.
I did wish the buns were warmed, though.

chargrill fries

The fries were plain to my taste; I prefer either skinny fries or ones with seasoning salt. These were lightly salted and thick. They worked well for dipping in the shake, for those Wendy’s Frosty dippers among us.

chargrill shake

Speaking of the shake, my chocolate one was very good but make no mistake, this is a dessert, not a beverage—straws are no use here. The light chocolate flavor tastes like cocoa.

I’d pick Char-Grill over the nearby fast food joints any day. Ingredients taste fresher and the level of customization offered is great.

1125 West NC Highway 54
Burgers and Sandwiches: $2-$4.80.

Reviewed 8.19.09.


  • judas_escargot said:

    Good burgers, bit on the done side, but great classic no-frills taste. I thought the grilled chicken sandwich was good too, if overpriced. Don’t bother with the hot dogs.


  • Anna said:

    I went awhile ago. Though the concept is fun I thought the food left a lot to be desired. I have no plans to return.


  • Mandy said:

    I love Char Grill, the burger with crispy edges. It’s just classic. I always get mine with ketchup and mustard, cheese and onions. Shakes are ok on their own, much better for dipping fries in, as you say.


  • JC said:

    Like others have said, I like the concept but the food was just ok (burger was well overdone, fries not memorable). If I’m in the area and craving a burger, I’ll make the extra effort to go to Five Guys.


    MEZ replies on August 25th, 2009 at 12:35 am:

    Interesting, because I had my first Five Guys burger a few weeks ago and it was too greasy for me! But I did go to the Southpoint Mall location, so I don’t know if getting it from a food court may have colored my opinion. I would still have it again sometime, if I happened to be there and craving a burger. Moral of my comment, though–I still need to find the Only Burger truck and give them a try.


    Tooth replies on August 25th, 2009 at 8:50 am:

    Although the Only Buger truck roams freely, it is always at the Durham Farmer’s Market every single Saturday.


  • swc said:

    the char-grill foray into durham has not been a good one. the least of any location i have tried. and only-burger and wimpy’s has them way beat anyway. and yes, five guys is great if one is forced into actually being at the mall.


  • keysunset said:

    I’ve been a Char-Grill fan for years. I don’t know if location to location matters, but original Char-Grill on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh (yes, I know it’s not in Durham …) is the best, followed by the one at Edwards Mill and Duraleigh Rds. (again in Raleigh, sorry Carpe Durham people!).


  • Sol said:

    For my money I say that the best burger in Durham is at Dain’s (on 9th st). Really fresh, lotsa fixins, homemade buns, etc. OnlyBurger is good too.

    And i’d definitely take a Cook Out burger over Char Grill any day of the week. I’d put them in the same category but I think Cook Out is much tastier.


  • chrrgrrl said:

    I though char grill was good. I’d leave the fries and eat two burgers instead. Especially if you work in that wasteland part of durham.


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