Much More Than Meat On A Bun

By Natasha Bazika, Patricia Canole, JP Giacalone, Chris Michael, Cecilia Ruane

When you think of a truly all-American food, nothing comes to mind more than the burger. This simple sandwich of ground beef on a bun allows for considerable creativity—and believe us there are so many variations out there, each more delicious than the last. To celebrate this all-American dish, our intrepid editorial burger squad chomped and chewed their way through dozens of patties from decades-old establishments to newer spots around town. We even covered the Outer Boroughs and were surprised at the findings. Favorites ranged from relatively bare versions found at burger joints to ones dressed with upmarket condiments and local farm cheeses at prominent chef-owned restaurants. Whether you like it medium-rare or well-done, sink in and enjoy!

Lower Manhattan

The favorite Chicago burger joint, Au Cheval, finally graced New York with a sister property, serving the same elevated burgers and American dishes the original restaurant is well known for. Since opening early this year, New Yorkers and visitors have lined up for over three hours waiting to wrap their hands around the delicious creations. The atmosphere is laid back. You’ll see diners engaging in light conversation, biting into burgers and sipping whiskey all in a well-dressed dining room with dim lighting. As for the menu, the star of the show is the cheeseburger. Add egg and bacon, and you will have a great burger in your hands. Info: -Natasha Bazika

Hell’s Kitchen

Ask me if we if bacon makes everything taste so much better. I’ll always say, “Yes!” There can never be too much bacon—especially when it’s paired with beef! The bacon bonanza is the brainchild of chef Peter Sherman, who spent time working in kitchens with the likes of David Bouley and April Bloomfield before leaving the beautiful dining world to focus on his dream of opening a gastropub. Now with a second BarBacon in Union Square, guests enjoy a menu of comfort classics flecked with a bacon bent. The All Day Sausage, Bacon, Egg, and Cheese looks like a gigantic burger instead of the soft creations from a corner bodega. Then there are the burgers that are always a big hit. Sink your teeth into our favorite honey-mustard glazed bacon burger dressed up with butter pickles on a pretzel bun. Info: -Patricia Canole

West Village

When visiting this laid back West Village gastropub order The Fedora Burger, trust us you won’t be sorry. The burger was first created for a one-night event at their neighboring restaurant, Fedora, which then became an exclusive menu item at Bar Sardine. The burger consists of a chuck and brisket patty, topped with melted smoked cheddar cheese, frizzled potato strings and slathered in sweet and smoky barbecue mayo sandwiched between a flattened and grilled potato roll. In addition to a great burger, Bar Sardine is perfect for lazy summer afternoons thanks to the large retractable doors that open for an al fresco dining feel. Info: -NB

West Village

Chef Angie Mar, the queen of meats, serves a 45-day dry-aged burger that we can’t stop dreaming about. If you’ve ever been to The Beatrice Inn, you know the meat is good—all the time— but this burger is a step above the rest. Her vision of a burger consists of a meat patty topped with red wine caramelized onions and melted D’Affinois—a French double-cream soft cheese made from cows milk—served on a brioche bun. It doesn’t get more Beatrice Inn than that. You’ll want to be sure to get a few friends together to take advantage of dining in the classic upscale West Village restaurant. Info: -NB

Hudson Yards

Leading California butcher Anya Fernald has revolutionized farm-to-table dining in her home state of California and has brought her talents East to the Hudson Yards. Belcampo’s menu features rustic cuisine and classics like the half-pound grass-fed, 28-day dry-aged beef burger dressed with white cheddar, caramelized onions, butter lettuce and topped with a brioche. Need we say more? It’s simply delicious. Info:
-Cecilia Ruane

Riverdale, The Bronx

Opened in 2014 on the former site of longtime favorite Hudson’s Bar, Blackstone continues the tradition with its intimate and comfortable feel. You might say it’s Riverdale’s answer to Boston’s Cheers! Everyone knows you here. The menu features your favorite pub grub including burgers. We recommend the Blackstone Bleu Burger an 8-ounce wonder smothered with bourbon barbecue sauce, bleu cheese crumbles, crispy bacon on a Brioche bun. Add some hand cut shoestring fries and you’re set. Be sure to check out their weekday Happy Hour, too. Info: -CR

Midtown West

The Burger Joint is said to have somewhat of a cult following for its juicy burgers. Hidden in the Parker New York hotel, the swanky space provides diners with a unique ‘hole in the wall’ dining experience, complete with a simple menu complimented by milkshakes, wines, and beers. Even though the hotel is equally deserving of your attention, we’re drawn to the classic cheeseburger with tomato, lettuce, onion, pickles, bacon and a 5-ounce meat patty. Don’t forget to order a side of fries for an authentic classic American burger experience. Queues stretching out the door to the hotel reception will convince you. Info: -NB


Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro Moderne is one of New York’s top-rated bistros and home to the DB Burger. This burger arrives tall and plump. The meat patty alone is over 3 inches thick and is made of delicious sirloin, braised short ribs, foie gras, and black truffle. The monster patty is topped with lettuce, tomato and served on a Parmesan bun with a side of perfectly crunchy pomme frites. It’s the stuff of legends—and there is no better reason to indulge in the $35 burger from the famed chef Daniel Boulud. Info: -NB

Financial District

Here is an establishment of many firsts. It was the first to have printed menus, and it was considered the start of luxury dining. The restaurant’s basement even had the most extensive wine cellar in the city, holding over 1,000 bottles of the world’s finest wines. It is also home to many classic dishes, such as the Eggs Benedict and Baked Alaska. Today, the Benedict Burger is the invention we’re excited about. The open-faced burger includes a thick meat patty, bacon and a farm-fresh egg all drizzled with truffle hollandaise and served on a toasted English muffin. Whether you’re going for a power lunch or upscale dinner, the elegant dining room is a perfect atmosphere. Info: -NB

Woodside, Queens

While Woodside bustles on and Flushing’s No. 7 continues its rounds to and from Manhattan, this Irish pub stays the same. And that’s a good thing! Old-timers line the front bar, while the wood-paneled dining room—made all the more classic with stained-glass adornment—recalls an age of authentic family dining. Irish-American pub fare like steak, roast beef, and Shepherd’s Pie dominate the menu, but it’s the renowned Woodsider Burger that justifies the trek: loosely formed from freshly ground New York strip, broiled to a perfect char and adorned with lettuce and tomato. Sharp Cheddar Cheese and Bacon make it beefy perfection. In a city with burgers of every creation, it’s nice to know that this is still one of the best. Info: -PC

West Brighton, Staten Island

Ferry over to this neighborhood staple that’s been serving incredibly delicious cheeseburgers for 28 years. Their motto: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! This jukebox sound-tracked staple has been serving no-frills cheeseburger with pride. A half-pound patty with American cheese on both sides fired on the grill and wedged between an English muffin to soak up every last drop of meaty juice. Simplicity at its best! Info: 718-447-9276.

Midtown West

Created by the Yves Jadot Restaurant Group, this restaurant focuses on delivering wholesome products to diners, including meat patties from smaller grass-fed producers and organic vegetables. Located in the Aliz Hotel Times Square, it offers guests a classic atmosphere surrounded by black banquettes, large landscape paintings, and crisp white chairs. While all of their burgers are good, the Great Jones Burger is the one on our radar. The 8-ounce Kobe beef burger is crusted with peppercorn and topped with green olive salsa verde, horseradish cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Info: -NB

Hell’s Kitchen

The Original Five Napkin Burger comes on a soft white bun and is 10-ounces of ground chuck, giving it that steak-like texture many burger aficionados dream of--nicely charred. We enjoyed it because rather than a slice of raw onion, Five Napkin serves up caramelized onions for a touch of sweetness and adds melted Gruyère for even more flavor. You’ll return! And with three other Manhattan locations, it’s hard to say “no” to such elaborate indulgence. Info:
-Chris Michael

Flatiron District

Opened in 1994, Gramercy Tavern is one of New York’s most beloved restaurants. Since its opening, it’s earned nearly every award imaginable. If that’s not reason enough to go, there is a Tavern Burger on the menu that will further convince you. The juicy burger includes a thick house-chopped patty of chuck, brisket, and short rib, grilled over hardwood giving it a smoky flavor—same as the bacon. It is then blanketed in melted Cabot Cheddar and served on a house-made potato bun with chips on the side. Enjoy this creation in a contemporary American setting in the heart of the Flatiron District. Info: -NB

Times Square

When you hear the words Hard Rock Café, what comes to mind? The neon guitar? World-class memorabilia? They’re all correct. The Hard Rock Cafe Times Square New York has an astonishing collection of rock relics, which you can see as you stroll by. However, the real crowd pleaser here are the Steak Burgers, created with a proprietary beef blend to produce the most flavorful burger possible. And if you want to add some glitz and glamour to your dining experience, then order the newest addition to the menu—the 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger™. Gold leaf (it’s edible) tops a half pound of beefy goodness—perfectly prepared with Tillamook Cheddar Cheese, leaf lettuce, vine-ripened tomato, and red onion. Through the Hard Rock Heals Foundation, a portion of all proceeds from the sale of 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger™ will benefit Action Against Hunger to assist in the fight against world hunger. Info: -PC

East Elmhurst, Queens

You might recognize the Queens location from the film Goodfellas (it’s featured in the early scene when Paulie and Jimmy steal the truck from the diner’s parking lot). It appears as its original 1952 version, Airline Diner. In 1972, it became Jackson Hole, where it remains a few minutes away from LaGuardia Airport. The family-owned diner—with branches throughout the metro area—looks about as old-school Americana as you can get, and the food is just as classic. Its juicy cheeseburgers are loaded with all the fixings—and done to perfection. Info: -CM

West Village

This restaurant had its 30th anniversary long before Shake Shack, and today, several locations can be found on Manhattan island. Due to its famed past and present, the restaurant will most likely always be busy, but trust us, this burger haunt is worth a visit. Savor a cheeseburger made with a hearty beef blend patty—cooked to juicy perfection— topped with rashers of bacon and melted cheese between two slightly toasted buns. Don’t forget to order a side of cottage fries to accompany your classic American burger experience. Info:

Midtown West

Since 1885, Keens has been serving incredible fare for New Yorkers and visitors. However, few even notice two of its most charming rooms off the main dining room: the bar and the pub, which offer guests a more casual menu. The star here is, of course, the burger—a thick half-pound patty made with dry-aged beef resulting in a vibrant and juicy burger. Top yours with a slice of onion and cheese. That’s all that is needed. Info:


If you prefer the finer things in life or looking for a splurge, head to L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, the opulent French restaurant in Chelsea. In addition to an extensive menu of French classics, the Le Burger is a standout we couldn’t wait to try. While the burger is more of a slider, diners will still enjoy two succulent beef patties topped with foie gras and caramelized peppers. The warm, crispy French fries on the side complete this extravagance. Info:

West Village

Ryan Burke and the rest of the team behind The Rum House brings casual, coastal vibes to their latest West Village addition, La Ventura. The all-day café is a light-filled, chic space, covered with plants, wooden tones, and exposed brick walls. Diners can relax and channel their inner beach town resident right in the heart of Manhattan. As for the food, La Ventura serves global coastal cuisine, including a melt in the mouth chefs lamb burger. The burger is made of a thick, tender lamb patty topped with crispy green lettuce, a slither of thick-cut tomato and drizzled with a zesty sauce. La Ventura is also known for its inventive cocktail menus, such as the Vitti, Scorpion, and La Playa. Info: -NB

Greenwich Village

It may seem like there are just too many delicious Bacon Cheeseburgers to be had in New York City. But rarely have I seen one as picture perfect as this one from Joey Campanaro at The Little Owl. It’s made from fresh short rib and brisket from Manhattan’s legendary meat purveyor Pat La Freida Meats (who also provides the bacon). Campanaro forms the eight-ounce mound of beef to ensure that each bite is heaven on earth along with American cheese and dressed with bacon. The burger is beautifully served on a house-baked bun with a hint of molasses and accompanied with fresh pickles. This has got to be on everyone’s bucket list! Info:

Yankee Stadium, The Bronx

Forget the peanuts and Cracker Jacks. It’s all about the beef at Yankee Stadium. Venerated meat purveyor, Lobel’s, has been doing what they do best and are most noted for their Steak Sandwich which is carved by hand, stacked au jus on a soft bun. It’s truly a fan favorite. But there’s more! Next time you’re at the House that Ruth Built, opt for some of the new offerings including the Meatloaf Burger loaded with cheese and fried onions and gravy. A home run, indeed! Info:
-JP Giacalone

Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

What was once a stronghold for Brooklyn’s longshoremen who worked the waterfront has been transformed into a classic vintage bar serving fabulous cocktails and a menu spotlighting the LI Burger—a pleasing burger that looks somewhat simple--but far from it. The cheese, you see, is house-made American, those double patties are dry-aged to offer up great taste. And if you don’t get an order of those fried cheese curds and wash it all down with a Long Island Gimlet, you’ll be sorry. Info: -JPG

West Village

Almost every New Yorker has heard of Minetta Tavern. Opened in 1937, this American haunt was frequented by various creatives including Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, E.E Cummings, and Dylan Thomas. Although we’re not entirely sure what drew them to the tavern, we can speculate it was the famous Black Label Burger. Made of the highest quality blend of dry-aged beef cuts—a well-kept secret of Pat LaFrieda—the meat patty is delicious and fulfilling. It is then topped with caramelized onions, sandwiched between a sesame-studded brioche bun and served with a side of pomme frites. The tavern has helmed many names over the years, including the city’s best steakhouse. Even if you don’t go for the burger, it is worth a visit. Info: -NB

East Village

If you’ve wandered around the East Village, you would have noticed the vibrant neon green sign and green façade. That is Mister Paradise, a swanky cocktail bar with craft cocktails sporting playful names and serving elevated bar bites in a chic space. When you enter, you might notice a red door toward the back. This leads to the red room, where you can have a cocktail in a more intimate setting. Be sure to order the cheeseburger, a simple classic, with caramelized onions, bacon-infused American cheese, and pickles served on a potato roll. Info: -NB

Upper West Side

It’s the newest cocktail lounge on the Upper West Side from former chef de cuisine of Dovetail, Nick Pfanerstill and long-time friend Alberto Miranda. Apart from the chic interiors, Nobody Told Me draws in diners with their menu of reimagined bar favorites, including the Nobody Burger. Diners can expect to see two patties sandwiched between a Hawaiian roll, with pickles and cheddar, topped with special sauce and served with fries. While you’re there, dive into the creative cocktail menu, while sitting in a casual restaurant atmosphere, ideal for a summer afternoon. Info: -NB

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Although a slew of copycats has prospered over the years, none have captured the elusive charm of this iconic beer hall-style eatery, with well-worn wooden floors and tables. The Luger Burger with Cheese appears only at lunch without all the bells and whistles. Remember, Peter Luger has been meat biz since 1887, and its rich, half-pound burger, made from porterhouse and prime chuck is worth a long lunch. Burgers are molded and then placed on the high-temperature broilers—used for the steaks—until they develop a dark crust. Opt also to have some cheese and thick-cut bacon. You’ve arrived at steakhouse nirvana. Info: -CM

Midtown East

On the menu since the 1930s, the Bacon Cheeseburger was dubbed the “Cadillac of Hamburgers” by icon Nat King Cole. Decades later, it never disappoints. New Yorkers refer to it as the “Cadillac” at this flagship restaurant and its two other Manhattan outposts. With nearly 400 sold each day, you could say nothing much has changed in the recipe. The beef is chopped for the restaurant into a perfect lean to fat ratio and hand-formed into six-ounce patties using a ring mold. The “Cadillac” comes standard with Double Smoked Country Bacon, American cheese, Bibb lettuce, plum tomatoes, a kosher dill pickle spear on a bun. Info: -JPG

East Village

When you think all-vegetarian fast food joint, we can bet the next thing that comes to mind is anything but a burger, but at Superiority Burger, they serve just that. The compact, all-vegetarian fast-food establishment is recognizable by its white subway tiles adorning the walls and of course its signature burger; The Superiority Burger. Made with a quinoa-based patty topped with muenster, honey mustard, and spices on a squishy bun, this all-vegetarian burger is delicious enough for us to consider giving up meat. If you’re passing through the East Village, go check it out, you won’t be sorry. Info: -NB

Midtown West

Enjoy an elevated burger inside Manhattan’s legendary Speakeasy—a bar and restaurant where business casual is highly recommended. The 21 Club is packed with history, a celebrity clientele, jockey memorabilia, and a closet of secrets—which makes us more enticed to go. The Bar room, in particular, is a step back in time to the 1930s with whimsical gifts from celebrities, presidents and sports stars—dangling above your head. When you peruse through the menu, pay close attention to the 21 Burger, a classic hamburger, with pickled relish and served on a brioche bun with fries on the side. Info: -NB