What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Burger review of the month: Char-Grill

Posted July 30, 2012

This month, The Straight Beef bids bon voyage to founding member and elite burgiatrist, John McManus. Before he heads out for the Sunshine State, we thought we’d give John the floor for a bit of philosophy on love, burgiatry, and… Char-Grill.


You don’t really want to marry a supermodel. (Just set aside the fact that I did, accepting that there are exceptions to every rule.) And you certainly wouldn’t want to eat caviar and drink champagne at every meal with said super-spouse, would you? No, you wouldn’t. By the third meal, you’d be craving a burger and fries, and even if Heidi or Fabio (as the case might be) would join you for such common fare, you’d be at your wits’ end waiting while he or she primped for the outing.

No – what you really want in the long run is a reasonably and accessibly attractive mate who’s more than willing to throw on jeans and a T-shirt when your tummy rumbles to hit a good ol’ stand-by joint with you for a sure-thing 4.0 (out of 5.0) classic American cheeseburger and a few laughs.

Fives, you see, are the supermodels of burgers. They’re rare, fickle and high maintenance. Just about the time you fall in love with one, its personality will change as to become unrecognizable, if not downright hostile. I do not regularly pursue or profess my love for the burgers at Chuck’s or Mojoe’s (both rarified TSB fives) because I know that if I were to be so overt, I would be served stale Quarter Pounders faster than you can say yama-hama.

Fours, on the other hand, are the marryin’ kind. They’re not too fancy, but they look good, taste good, and can be counted on to treat you right time after time. Without effort, you can spend a little QT with them more than a couple of times a week without ever tiring of their company. In fact, over the years, you can form a deep and lasting bond that just grows stronger with every satisfying meal, eventually developing an unshakable trust. These are the burgers you want to commit to, even raise a couple of sliders with.

So if you’re looking for a long-term commitment with a burger that won’t leave you and will always treat you right, go to Char-Grill. Take your better-than-average significant other with you when you go.

The Straight Beef’s review of Char-Grill: Solid 4.0, every time.


Scott Blumenthal, Michael Marino and John McManus are The Straight Beef, a group of professional burgiatrists who review, rate and rank Triangle-area burgers on their award-winning blog. You can read more about The Straight Beef, including their education and scholarship, ratings system, and burger categorization method here


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  • Cahulawassee Jul 31, 2012

    Not to complain, but is there a review hidden in there somewhere?

  • davidgnews Jul 30, 2012

    Char Grill is great, gone there for more years than I'll admit. I'm glad I didn't need one of the worst reviews ever posted here to go there !

  • jenjengirl89 Jul 30, 2012

    "I just wish I could have a fountain Coke with mine."
    NO COKE! Cheeseburger, Cheesburger, Pepsi, Pepsi chips!

    J. Belushi

  • littleteacher Jul 30, 2012

    Love, love, love Char-Grill. Started with the original on Hillsborough St. in 1980 and now eat mostly at the one in Cary, because it's much closer. But still like to visit the "old" one for old-times-sake.

  • harrisjl Jul 30, 2012

    Char-Grill is da bomb; I would give it a 5; Best in Raleigh IMO; Hamburger Steak sammich everything but tomatos (personal preference) never disappoints....

  • koalumni Jul 30, 2012

    I have to agree, they are the best. I just wish I could have a fountain Coke with mine.

  • Stormy13 Jul 30, 2012

    Char Grill on Hillsborough Street! No better place within the entire city of Raleigh, and that goes back to 1968!

  • Frizz Jul 30, 2012

    I had my first Char Grill Steak Sandwich back in 1970. The only thing that's changed since then is the price.

    Why change? You can't improve perfect.

  • Outside the Beltline Jul 30, 2012

    Other burgers may tempt me away, but I keep going back to Char-Grill. I've never been disappointed. The atmosphere is part of the charm.

  • UpChuck Jul 30, 2012

    Char Grill is the truth...and they have tasty milkshakes.