This Gas Station Makes Georgia’s Best Burger

In just four years, the signature smashburger at NFA Burger in Dunwoody has reached legendary status.

NFA Burger

Tara Massouleh McCay

I’ve never been precious about where I dine. I’ve learned over the years that a white tablecloth can be deceiving, and sometimes the best culinary treasures are hidden in the most unlikely of places. Many of my favorite meals have been eaten at rickety tables, with tissue-thin paper napkins, flimsy plastic forks, and not so much as a whisper of air-conditioning.

So, when I heard buzz about an Atlanta-suburb gas station serving not only the city’s, but the state’s best burger, I had to check it out for myself. For the trip, I diverted from my typical Atlanta dining destination of Buford Highway and drove 15 minutes to NFA Burger in nearby Dunwoody. Here, the term “gas-station restaurant” is a little misleading. The Chevron where NFA Burger makes its home is more akin to a suburban single-family home than a fueling station. Yes, there are gas pumps outside and walls of soft drinks and candy inside, but you’ll also find it to be spotlessly clean with homey details like a red-brick façade, arched entries, and dormers.

I ordered two the Classic Double Burger and Sassy Fries and took them over to NFA’s dining room—a set of white picnic tables huddled under the merciful shade of a giant tree. The burger components were simple but impactful—two 2.75-ounce Certified Angus Beef patties, pickles, American cheese, mustard, and Sassy Sauce on a Martin’s Potato Roll. I was immediately impressed by the suppleness of the bun and eager to taste the crispy bits of patty peeking out. When I bit in, everything tasted exactly as it should. The bun was buttery and slightly sweet, the pickles and mustard lended a bit of tang to the unctuous beef patties smothered in melty American cheese, and the sweet-but-slightly-spicy Sassy Sauce brought it all together without overpowering any other flavors. The real star, though, was the lacey almost caramelized patty skirt. At $8 for a double burger, plus $4 and change for fries and Sassy Sauce, I was pleased with the amount and certainly the quality of the food for the price.

The only thing as good as the food at NFA Burger is the story behind it. Burnt out from his demanding career in advertising, Dunwoody resident Billy Kramer brought some levity to his weekly travels by embarking on a quest to find the country’s best burger. He started an Instagram called @billysburgers where he sampled burgers from around the country and talked to chefs about how they were made.

Eventually, he developed a recipe for his own ultimate burger. After a few friends raved about it, he experimented bringing it to pop-ups around Atlanta. In December 2019, NFA Burger—which stands for Not Fooling Around—opened inside the tiny kitchen and café counter at the Chevron off Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

Over the next few years, the business blossomed both locally and nationally. Weekend lines often extended into the parking lot and regulars grew at an alarmingly rate. Then, Food & Wine named NFA’s the Best Burger in Georgia; Thrillist added NFA to its Best Burgers in America list; and Business Insider named NFA Georgia’s Favorite Burger.

“I never thought of being able to be featured in Southern Living, or having famous chefs and CEOs come by for a burger,” says owner Billy Kramer.

Some of Kramer’s earliest childhood memories revolve around eating burgers, so he says getting to build a place where families can create memories has been one of the greatest joys of opening NFA Burger. “The other day, a mom brought her son and mother in for lunch,” says Kramer. “The child was picking at his grilled cheese and not real happy. It turns out, he was upset that his mom and grandmother were eating a burger—big boy food—and he wasn’t having it. Picking up on his tone, I went inside and made him a kid’s version of our burger. He loved it. As it turns out, it was his very first burger. They will always remember that…and so will I.”

He's also using his platform to give back to the community with events like the Burger Benefit, a burger cook-off featuring celebrity chefs that will benefit The Giving Kitchen nonprofit. As for the future of the "little gas station burger that could", the narrative is heading toward a slight revision. Later this year, the business will relocated to a 600-square-foot restaurant attached to the very same gas station where NFA Burger made its name.

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