Top Notch

Top Notch

7525 Burnet Rd
Austin, TX 78757


Let’s talk about Top Notch. Can we? We should.

Let’s start the dialogue by focusing on the retro appearance. Top Notch has been around since 1971 and is one of those gloriously preserved places that helped start my love affair with Austin. The signage, drive-up illuminated menus and restaurant interior are so wonderfully nostalgic. It’s a bona fide, albeit often overlooked, iconic landmark in North Austin. Isn’t it fabulous?

Continuing the discussion, it’s fair to say Top Notch is considered a burger joint above all else. They still cook all their patties over a flame grill, which IMHO is a high indicator of care-factor on their behalf.

However, once the novelty of the time-warp surroundings wares off, I can easily see how locals would prefer other burger joints to this one. For the most part I enjoyed my “Top Pick” burger with special sauce, grated cheese, onions, & hickory sauce, but found the combo of sauces just too overwhelming. Maybe it was a mistake not selecting the humble cheeseburger. 

Shoutout to the sides though- it was a tough call to choose between the tater tots (a most undervalued potato-based side dish) and the onion rings, but I’m sure you’ll agree based on the photo alone that I was still a winner.

SO CRISPY! Honestly, battered onion rings are so superior to breaded ones. Fact.

Now let us begin a discourse about Top Notch’s fame. Most folks would say that Top Notch is most renowned for being a featured location in Dazed and Confused. Click here to check it out. Yes, it still looks exactly the same. No, the fries are not soggy.

It is time for a change! Time for Top Notch to become famous for their real masterpiece, their true magnum opus – their fried chicken.  So often I have heard people asking where the best fried chicken in Austin can be found, and so often the suggested answer is usually a modern restaurant or trailer.

People of and visitors to Austin, I am here to tell you that you that some of the most excellent and well priced fried chicken in town is to be found here.

The batter is fantastically crispy yet light, the chicken within is moist and juicy and the whole thing is incredibly addictive. And for the pièce de résistance- you can sit in your car and have them bring it out to you at the drive up. Which naturally means you don’t even have to get out of your sweatpants to revel in the delights.

I’d also like to thank myself for getting through this entire post without using “top notch” as an adjective.

Top Notch on Urbanspoon

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Posted on Aug 14, 2012


  1. Cole says:

    That was a top notch post.

  2. Scott W. says:

    Agreed. You can see them doin’ up the breasts in the back too. No frozen chicken here.

    What I do need to try is their chicken salad sammich with onion rings along with the chicken salad between the bread.

  3. Scott W. says:

    Also, they have movie night outside and cruise night. bring your cooler of beverages and pull up a lawn chair.

  4. Nola says:

    Lovely to see you last night. Must. Go. To. Texas!

  5. Mike says:

    No matter what anybody says, I always order mayo on my burger. Other stuff masks or distorts the meat’s flavor; mayo brings out the flavor.

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