Your top 21 burgers in NYC
To crown the city’s most democratic of eats, we asked more than 30,000 readers to vote for New York’s prestigious patties. Loosen your belts, people!
Thu Aug 7 2014
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Time Out New York readers are a pretty savvy crew, so when it came time to hand-pick the top 21 burgers in all of Gotham, we left it up to our clued-in following. And what we got surprised us—sprinkled in with tried-and-true classics like Donovan's and J.G. Melon are neighborhood joints like Bay Ridge's Kettle Black and Astoria's Twist & Smash'd. Take a gander at our readers' 20 best burgers and see if your choice made the list.
RECOMMENDED: All of NYC's best burgers
This German-inspired eatery broils its ten-ounce prime-beef patty before piling it high with bacon, fried onions and your choice of cheese (American, cheddar, Swiss, gouda). Pillow-like pretzel buns direct from Deutschland and sweet and spicy mustards whipped up in-house make it worth the ferry ride. $7.50.
- 817 Castleton Ave, (Regan Ave), 10310
Queens locals go gaga for this grill-fired number. The sports bar turns out plenty of signature griddle-smashed burgers (chicken with chipotle mayo, veggie with mango salsa), but it’s the Angus beef with cheddar that really charms New Yorkers, encased in a crisp-edged bun branded with the restaurant logo. Single $5.50, double $9.50.
- 34-02 Steinway St , (between 34th and 35th Aves), 11101
The inspiration for this West Village tavern may be British, but its burger is all-American: Chef Justin Furr hand-rolls his Ames, Iowa–imported Angus brisket, adds a dash of salt and pepper and lets the burger sizzle on an open grill. A complement to the tangy, mature Murray’s Cheese Shop cheddar, he sandwiches the beef with red-wine-vinegar-pickled beet root, baby gem lettuce and an over-easy egg balanced between house-made poppyseed brioche. Whew! $18.
- 19 Greenwich Ave, (between Christopher and W 10th Sts)
First flambéed in Maker’s Mark bourbon, this half-pound grade-A patty is layered with cheddar and crowned with apple-smoked bacon. A Brick City Baking Company white bun bookends the boozy burger after it’s sprinkled with sweet, caramelized shallots. $15.
Just under eight ounces and freshly ground with secret-recipe mix-ins, the dry-aged round at this Upper East Side bar and grill cooks in a cast-iron skillet until crispy on the outside. A toasted soft bun just barely contains the meat, which is smothered in a heap of caramelized onions and deliciously melty American cheese. $15.
- 1055 Lexington Ave, (at 75th St), 10021
According to chef Michael Manhertz, it’s the most sought-after burger at the checkered-tablecloth chain—and for good reason: The flattop-grilled patty is pressed in a clamshell griddle for a crisp outer crust and pink, juicy center. Five halved sour pickles topple above American cheese, market lettuce, sliced tomato and a four-inch sesame-seed Bimbo bun. $8.95.
Classic is right. Both this Irish-accented corner bar and its burger have been Queens fixtures since 1966, and the sandwich is as refreshingly no-fuss as the rest of the wood-paneled joint, set beneath the rattling 7-train tracks. The charbroiled half-pounder is built with ground New York strip and humbly topped with lettuce and tomato, and cheese, bacon and onion options. A pint of Guinness to accompany your meal? A no-brainer. $10.95.
- 57-24 Roosevelt Ave, (at 58th St)
It’s no secret that Dale Talde (see above left) has a food-world love affair with swine—the place is called Pork Slope—but the beef at this rollicking Brooklyn canteen gives the pig a run for its money. The Top Chef alum drapes griddle-charred black Angus with good ol’ American cheese in a squishy Martin’s potato bun; crisp, chopped onions and sliced pickles add a delightfully contrasting texture. $11.
- 247 Fifth Ave, (between Carroll St and Garfield Pl), 11215
People lost it when Danny Meyer’s globe-spanning burger empire traded its crinkle-cut fries for hand-cut russet frites. Thankfully, that likely scared Meyer from ever messing with his beloved burger recipe, a fan favorite and critics’ darling since its debut at a Madison Square Park hot-dog cart in 2004. The thin patties look fast-food–esque, but its proprietary Pat LaFrieda blend (brisket, chuck and short rib)—shellacked in mayo-based ShackSauce and American cheese in a griddled potato bun—classes things up. Don’t change a thing, Danny. $7.35.
A butter-toasted sesame-seed bun supports this double-decker of grass-fed chuck, grilled in grease at this woodsy watering hole. Once the American cheese has melted, sliced tomato and chopped onions are layered on top, followed by a shower of shredded lettuce and squirts of yellow mustard and mayo. $12.
- 339 9th St, (between Fifth and Sixth Aves)
Yes, it’s really 28 bucks, and yes, it’s cheeseless. But you’ll still love it, what with nine succulent ounces of prime-grade, dry-aged rib eye, skirt steak and brisket from carne king Pat LaFrieda to distract you. If that’s not enough, the caramelized-to-a-melt onions and seeded Balthazar brioche should seal the deal. $28.
- 113 MacDougal St, (at Minetta Ln), 10012
Gooey Gruyère imported from Switzerland and slow-cooked, caramelized onions blanket this namesake ten-ounce heavyweight, whose soft Pane d’Oro Bakery specialty roll is slathered in rosemary aioli. We don’t have to tell you that this hulking number requires a few (or five) napkins. $15.95.
Your typical burger this ain’t. What other killer patty can you think of that comes glazed in jufran (spicy-sweet banana ketchup from the Philippines), topped with a soy sauce–garlic Maggi aioli and finished with a disc of longganisa (a chorizo-like pork sausage spiked with paprika and brown sugar)? Um. Yeah, we’re stumped too. $17.
- 201 First Ave, (between 12th and 13th Sts), 10009
Staff butchers grind juicy, Nebraska-sourced beef daily for the five-ounce wonders at this no-longer-so-secret hideaway. Colby and white cheddar melt across the patties, which are smothered in an onslaught of classic toppings—lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, ketchup, mustard and mayo—and then squished inside an Arnold’s bun. $8.27.
- Le Parker Meridien Hotel, 119 W 56th St, (between Sixth and Seventh Aves), 10019-38
New Yorkers have been sinking their teeth into this half-pound favorite for nearly five decades, and its popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing down. New England sirloin, chuck and top round are patted into a hefty puck, cooked under a salamander broiler and hooded in American cheese, sliced tomato, iceberg lettuce and—the porky cherry on top—tangles of deep-fried bacon. A thick-cut raw white onion hidden under the patty cuts through the supple beef with a good crunch. $9.
- 331 W 4th St, (at Jane St), 10014
At this century-old bar, chuck and bottom round are ground in-house daily to form handmade, charcoal-grilled patties. Laid atop a buttered and grilled brioche bun, the lettuce-and-tomato-only burger beckons for toppings of your choice, including specialties like house-made mozzarella and blue-cheese dressing, as well as ginger barbecue sauce; fried onions; and thick-cut bacon baked in maple syrup. $12.
- 96 Berry St, (at North 8th St), 11211
It’s an oldie but mos def a goody: The kitschy corner tavern has been flipping some of the best burgers in town since 1972, and its preparation harks back to a simpler time. Griddled diner-style on a flattop, the eight-ounce, medium-rare beaut is served open-faced with melted American cheese. A lightly toasted bun sandwiches the meat with sliced tomato, crisp lettuce, red onion and dill pickles like it always has and—here’s hoping—always will. $11.
- 1291 Third Ave, (at 74th St), 10021
Tuesday nights are mighty popular at this neighborhood crowd-pleaser, and it doesn’t take a Sherlock to figure out why: two-for-one burgers! The build-your-own plate starts with charcoal-grilled American beef and is served with a mess of topping options—cheese (Swiss, cheddar, blue), sauce (chipotle mayo, BBQ), produce (fried mushrooms, raw onion) and even chili. $8.95.
- 8622 3rd Ave, (between 86th and 87th St), 11209
The Brits get a bad rap when it comes to burger-making, but Birmingham native April Bloomfield silenced the naysayers with the game-changer at her Michelin-starred gastropub. The celebutoque shrewdly amps up the minerality of the burger’s chargrilled half-pound base with tangy Roquefort cheese, housing the colossal undertaking in a fluffy brioche. $21.
- 314 W 11th St, (at Greenwich St), 10014-23
A lunch-only offering, this half-pound puck of black Angus beef is seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled to order. A slice of Vermont cheddar oozes over the edges, sticking to crisp leaves of iceberg lettuce and thick-cut tomato slices. A sesame-seed brioche bun from Amy’s soaks up both the juices and house-made curry mayo. $14.
- 170 John St, (between Front and South Sts), 10038
- 24 Minetta Ln, (between Sixth Ave and MacDougal St) 10012
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